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Bay Area Headlines: Friday, 4/10/20, PM



 ICU Case Numbers / When Will This End / Mask Accountability / Oakland Slow Streets / Oakland Officers Facing Termination

ICU Case Numbers

In dealing with COVID-19, Governor Gavin Newsom has been most focused on the number of people hospitalized in the state and particularly the number of people in intensive care units. Yesterday, for the first time since California’s coronavirus crisis began, the number of people in ICUs went down 1.9%. Today, they went up 1.1%.

At his noon press conference, the governor took a measured approach to looking at the numbers. “I said one data point doesn’t make a trendline, certainly not a headline,” he said. “Again, I caution people, even two data points don’t either. But when we’re in single digits, low single digits, that’s a very good day. Though again, for those who are in the ICU, our hearts go out to you.”

As of this afternoon, according to the San Francisco Chronicle, the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases statewide and around the Bay Area continue to rise at roughly 8 percent.

When Will This End

Governor Newsom said the state is in the process of putting together detailed plans for how California can get up and running again. But he said, now is not the time.


“We are as deeply eager as you are to receive that information,” he said, “about how we can go back to the way things used to be with the kind of heightened vigilance that is required of this moment before there is a vaccine and the kind of herd immunity that puts COVID-19 into the record or rather history books. But nonetheless, that will be fundamentally determined on the basis of your own individual behavior. Noone can impact this more than you.”

The governor acknowledged the challenges people are facing as they continue to limit their activity. He noted that the weather around the state is improving. With Passover happening now, Easter coming up Sunday, and Ramadan just a couple weeks away, it’s tempting to get together. He encouraged people to continue physical distancing — staying at least six feet apart — for the foreseeable future.

Mask Accountability

California lawmakers are pressing Governor Newsom's administration for more details on how it will distribute and ensure the quality of hundreds of millions of new protective masks it's buying amid the coronavirus outbreak. State Senator Holly Mitchell asked Newsom's finance director yesterday for details on the contract Newsom announced to bring 200 million masks per month into the state. Her request came in a letter allowing Newsom to spend money to execute the contract quickly. But Mitchell says lawmakers need more detailed information on who will get the masks.

Oakland Slow Streets

The city of Oakland is rolling out a new policy to deal with the societal slow-down tomorrow. It’s called “Oakland Slow Streets.” The city will close 74 miles of roads to through traffic by cars and trucks.

At an outdoor press conference, today, Mayor Libby Schaaf talked about the initiative. “And Oakland Slow Streets is trying to send a message,” she said, “that we want Oaklanders to recreate in a socially distanced manner, a physically distanced manner. And by opening up our streets to bikes, joggers, pedestrians, we are giving Oaklanders more room to spread out safely.”

Meanwhile, other Bay Area governments are taking different tacts. Santa Cruz County closed its parks and beaches this week and San Mateo County shut down its parks. In San Francisco, Ocean Beach remains open, but the Great Highway that fronts it is closed to motor vehicles, allowing pedestrians and bicyclists space to roam, for now.

Oakland Officers Facing Termination

Five Oakland police officers facing termination over the fatal shooting of a homeless man lost an important step in their disciplinary process when a hearing officer affirmed a recommendation that they be fired. The hearing officer agreed with the Oakland Police Commission’s finding that the officers should lose their jobs because of their actions just over two years ago, on March 11, 2018, when they shot and killed Joshua Pawlik. The  report is not the final step in the disciplinary process. The officers have the right to have an outside arbitrator review the case.