Bay Area Headlines: Tuesday, 4/21/20, PM | KALW

Bay Area Headlines: Tuesday, 4/21/20, PM

New Study Suggests COVID-19 More Widespread Than Data Shows / San Francisco Provides Zip Codes With Testing Data / Monitoring Cases At Nursing Homes / Slow Streets Campaign To Launch In San Francisco / East Bay SPCA To Host Drive-Through Pet Food Pantry

New Study Suggests COVID-19 More Widespread Than Data Shows 

A new study estimates that 320,000 adults in Los Angeles County may have been infected with the coronavirus. That's according to preliminary results of a study that suggests the illness is far more widespread than current testing shows and the death rate is much lower. The study conducted by the county and the University of Southern California estimated that over four percent of the county’s adult population of eight million people has antibodies to the virus. The study shows more people than were known to have been silent carriers of the virus that has killed more than 1,200 people in California.

At his daily news conference, heard today at noon on KALW, Governor Gavin Newsom said many people are asking how many people need to be tested before we can have a better handle on the coronavirus outbreak:

“Depending on who you talk to, people suggest we need to be doing a minimum 1 percent of our population every week. Others say 1 percent every day. Some people say we’re asking the wrong question: testing is not one-off. We need to test, and retest, and retest again.”

He says his team is actively considering all those possibilities. It seems the science isn’t completely clear on what will be most beneficial in helping society deal with COVID-19.

San Francisco Shares Zip Codes With COVID-19 Testing Data

Bay Area counties have been providing daily COVID-19 testing and infection updates. San Francisco recently went further, providing zip-code details. 

During a press conference on Monday, Mayor London Breed noted that COVID-19 testing data reflected disparities.

Neighborhoods that historically have been home to lower-income people or black and brown communities are seeing the highest rates of infection. SoMa neighborhoods, which have large homeless populations, are the hardest hit. The Bayview neighborhood and the Mission District also have higher rates of infection than the city average. 

But Breed cautioned that this new map should not make any resident feel more fearful or relaxed: 

"I want to be clear that what this map reveals information that helps us understand where the cases are but it in no way indicates that some parts of our city are safer than others." 

She said, every San Franciscan, no matter where you live, should continue to follow public health requirements of sheltering in place.

Monitoring COVID-19 Cases At Nursing Homes

The California Department of Public Health published a statewide report this weekend breaking down the number of COVID-19 cases at skilled nursing facilities.

We’ve previously heard about the rise in COVID-19 at San Francisco’s Laguna Honda Hospital. But this latest report shows that the newest hot spot in San Francisco is at a privately run nursing home in Japantown called the Central Gardens Convalescent Hospital. 

As of this weekend, it had 67 cases of coronavirus, among both patients and staff. 

At the city’s press conference Monday, San Francisco Health Director Dr. Grant Colfax confirmed the numbers. He said it’s really the state’s responsibility to oversee the nursing homes. But the city is working closely with the state to protect the residents and staff. 

Some other counties are choosing to get more involved. Alameda, Contra Costa, and Santa Clara counties have all issued new guidelines so that long-term care facilities can better monitor and prevent the spread of the disease.

Slow Streets Campaign To Launch In San Francisco

The city of San Francisco is beginning a campaign called Slow Streets, similar to one launched in Oakland a week-and-a-half ago. The idea is to close some streets to through traffic and allow roadways to be used as a shared space for foot and bicycle traffic. The first ones expected to be designated this week are in the city’s Sunset District, Haight Ashbury, Western Addition, Civic Center, Mission, and Bayview. SFMTA has chosen streets that don’t currently have operating bus routes, which have been significantly limited for several weeks now. Some of those routes will be added back on Saturday. 

Small Businesses Turn To Online Fundraisers To Stay Open

Many Bay Area businesses have turned to online fundraisers to stay afloat during the coronavirus outbreak. City Lights bookstore in San Francisco’s North Beach raised nearly $500,000 with a GoFundMe campaign. The nation’s oldest independent black bookshop, Marcus Books in San Francisco, is still $140,000 away from its goal to raise $200,000. Now, one of the Bay Area’s most recognizable music stores is turning to supporters for help during the crisis. Amoeba Records launched an online campaign, yesterday, to support its stores in San Francisco, Berkeley, and Hollywood, and its staff of over 400 people.

East Bay SPCA To Host Drive-Through Pet Food Pantry

And, pet owners: the East Bay SPCA this week is offering a pet food pantry to residents that need help feeding their dogs or cats during the novel coronavirus pandemic. This week's event will be held on Friday from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. in East Oakland. Those who attend will need to stay in their vehicles and are given a limited supply of food for up to two dogs or cats. Walk-ups aren't allowed. A manager describes it as a lot like a fast-food drive-through. Drive up, place an order with a staffer of how much food you need, then somebody else fills the order. More than 500 pounds of pet food was given away at last week's pantry distribution.