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Bay Area Headlines: Monday, 4/6/20, AM


California coronavirus cases slowing / Muni cuts / Santa Clara respite center

California coronavirus cases slowing

According to the San Francisco Chronicle’s coronavirus tracking tool, there are 15,189 confirmed cases in California and 349 deaths. Here in the San Francisco Bay Area, there are 3623 cases and 89 deaths.

Muni cuts

The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency is finalizing a plan that will add service to some of its bus lines but eliminate many of its other routes. Muni has seen patronage plunge during the last few weeks, as has happened with BART and other Bay Area transit agencies. Usually Muni sees roughly 700,000 daily rider trips throughout its system. But during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to officials, ridership has dropped as much as 83 percent on some days. It’s not all routes — some serving medical centers or concentrations of  "essential" workplaces have seen added ridership in the past few weeks. Those routes will be preserved, or possibly even bolstered, this week, while others are expected to be dropped.

The new plan for Muni will go into effect tomorrow and Wednesday. Wait times for buses are expected to increase, today. A spokesperson said in an email that all current lines will be in operation as the week begins, but there will be fewer operators on those routes. Altogether, Muni operates about 80 bus, light rail, historic streetcar, and cable car routes. All but the buses have been shut down in response to the coronavirus crisis. Officials say the latest cutbacks are more about safety and social distancing than about plummeting passenger counts and associated money losses.

Santa Clara respite center

One of California's first active COVID-19 coronavirus field respite centers is located at the Santa Clara Convention Center. And they took in their first two patients yesterday. This center is operated through a contract with the state. The field respite center will increase the county's capacity to treat residents diagnosed with COVID-19. The converted convention center has 250 beds, plus supplies and medicines delivered by the National Guard, to serve patients with less-acute COVID-19 symptoms. This will free up hospital beds to treat more seriously ill patients.