The Chronicle began covering the coronavirus crisis before the first cases were reported in the Bay Area and a pandemic was declared. We reorganized the newsroom to dedicate nearly every resource to stories focusing on the health and economic disasters. Every day we have published live updates to reflect the most critical local, national and global updates on COVID-19, and this news is free of charge in an effort to keep our community safe and informed.
• Read the previous batch of updates from April 27-28:
• Read the next batch of updates for May 1.
• See the full timeline.
Updates from Thursday, April 30:
10:52 p.m. San Mateo County issues reminder about beach restrictions: Beaches in San Mateo County remain accessible only by foot with beach parking lots closed, county officials wrote in a Thursday update. Per the county sheriff’s office, parking along Highway 1 is also prohibited and violators will be cited. San Mateo County parks will remain closed through the weekend but the county plans to reopen 13 parks starting Monday at 8 a.m.
9:37 p.m. Sonoma County to update shelter-in-place order Friday, official says: Sonoma County health officer Dr. Sundari Mase said in a video update she will sign a new health order on Friday updating the county’s current shelter-in-place order that expires May 3. “Getting people back to work is a priority and adjusting to a new way of working for businesses and consumers is necessary to do that,” Mase said. “The new health order will align Sonoma County with the governor’s framework” of six indicators to be considered before modifying state stay-at-home guidelines.
9:13 p.m. Bay Area counties release new case counts: Sonoma County reported 13 new cases of the coronavirus Thursday to increase its total to 244 confirmed cases. Officials reported nine new cases in Solano County, where the total is now 263. Marin County reported two new cases, bringing its total to 237. Napa County reported no new cases Thursday.
8:55 p.m. Protesters hold ‘die-in’ outside Mayor Breed’s house over hotel rooms for homeless: Protesters lay flat on their backs in the street, held signs and chanted on Thursday night in front of San Francisco Mayor London Breed’s apartment as part of a “die-in” rally to decry a shortage of hotel rooms to support the homeless during the pandemic. Read the full story here.
8:48 p.m. More U.S. airlines to require face coverings for travelers: Delta, American and Frontier airlines said they will begin requiring passengers to wear face coverings in accordance with CDC guidelines for guarding against spread of the coronavirus. Delta’s requirement begins May 4, American’s begins May 11 and Frontier’s starts May 8. United and JetBlue also have face covering requirements starting Monday.
8:31 p.m. Lyft cancels electric scooters in Oakland, San Jose: Lyft has ended electric scooter service in Oakland and San Jose, part of changes that included the company announcing layoffs for 17% of its workforce amid the coronavirus pandemic. A Lyft spokesperson said via email: “We’re shifting resources and have made the tough decision to end scooter operations” in the two Bay Area cities and Austin, Texas. Lyft continues to operate its bike-share and ride-share programs in the Bay Area, including in San Jose and Oakland, the spokesperson said.
6:41 p.m. California to rework coronavirus ethics guidelines deemed ‘terrifying’: California’s public health officials will rework ethical guidelines for hospitals issued in April after groups representing thousands of seniors and people with disabilities across the country protested that younger, healthier people would get preferential access to lifesaving care in a worst-case coronavirus surge. Read the full story here.
6:15 p.m. UCSF associate professor calls for health care equity: Dr. Monica McLemore, an associate professor for UCSF’s Family Health Care Nursing Department in the School of Nursing, said one of the reasons black Americans have experienced a disproportionate impact by the coronavirus pandemic nationally is because of the, “longstanding inequities that are associated with structural racism, the divestment of our crucial public health infrastructure, and … the health inequities that were already in existence prior to the global pandemic.” During ABC 7’s Thursday virtual town hall, “Race and Coronavirus: A Bay Area Conversation,” McLemore, who said she is only the fifth black person to receive tenure in the history of UCSF’s School of Nursing, said diversification of the health care workforce is necessary going forward if state and federal officials want to “really going to get at some of these foundational and fundamental issues.”
5:55 p.m. California makes marriage licenses, ceremonies available by videoconference: Gov. Gavin Newsom has signed an executive order temporarily allowing adults in California to obtain marriage licenses by videoconference, at the discretion of county clerks, during the pandemic. Applicants must be physically in the state of California and present a photo ID during the videoconference, which must have live video and audio, the order states. Adults can also solemnize a marriage over videoconference provided both parties, the person solemnizing the marriage and at least one witness are present for the videoconference, per the order. The order will expire after 60 days unless extended.
5:45 p.m. Rep. Barbara Lee calls for focusing resources on communities of color: Oakland Rep. Barbara Lee says California officials should target resources to communities that are experiencing a disproportionate impact by the coronavirus pandemic, such as residents of color. In an ABC 7 virtual town hall, on race, Lee said state and federal officials should provide rapid response tests, ensure that there are efficient contact tracing and housing opportunities for those that need to isolate from multi-generational households, and provide equitable treatment and health care. “So many people believe this is a post-racial society, it’s not and unfortunately, now all of these gaps and these disparities of this damage is resurfacing,” Lee said.
5:42 p.m. Antioch official in hot water after coronavirus post on Facebook: Antioch City Council will meet in a special session Friday to discuss removing a Planning Commission official who called for an end to shelter-in-place in a social media post, suggesting “we as a species need to move forward with our place on Earth” and should let the coronavirus kill older and weaker individuals. Read the fully story here.
5:38 p.m. Hercules company’s antibody test receives FDA Emergency Use Authorization: An antibody test created by Bio-Rad Laboratories in Hercules that may be able to determine whether people have been infected with and developed some immunity to the coronavirus has been granted an Emergency Use Authorization by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. The FDA’s website says the authorization was issued to Bio-Rad on Wednesday and a letter from the FDA to Bio-Rad states use of the test is “limited to authorized laboratories.” It appears to be the first Bay Area company to receive such authorization, which will allow it to use the test even though the federal government has not formally approved it. Read the full story here.
5:40 p.m. San Francisco’s public golf courses get OK to re-open: The five public golf courses administrated by the city and county of San Francisco are eligible to re-open on Monday, after clearing final bureaucratic hurdles Thursday afternoon. The city’s private courses and others in the Bay Area will also spring back to life next week, some as early as Monday. Read the full story here.
5:21 p.m. State reports 300 new cases among health care workers: There were 5,316 confirmed cases of the coronavirus among California health care workers as of Wednesday, an increase of 301 cases over the previous day’s reported total, or 5.7%, according to data from the state public health department. Officials reported one new death, bringing the total to 29 deaths among state health care workers, according to the CDPH.
5:15 p.m. Most in U.S. support stay-at-home, other mitigation measures, study finds: More than 90% of Americans surveyed in a new study said they strongly or somewhat approve of governments asking people to stay home for the next 30 days to guard against spread of the coronavirus, according to results of the study conducted by researchers from Northeastern, Harvard and Rutgers universities published Thursday. More than 90% also supported canceling major events, closing K-12 schools and limiting restaurants to carry-out service for the next 30 days. Only 7% of respondents supported reopening the U.S. economy immediately while 64% supported waiting at least four weeks, according to results of the study, which surveyed nearly 23,000 people in all 50 states from April 17-26.
5:03 p.m. Toe rashes may be sign of COVID-19 infection, per report: Rashes on toes and fingers could be a marker of COVID-19 infection, according to a U.S. dermatology study expected to be released this week, the Washington Post reported. The researchers studied 300 people with confirmed or suspected cases and found that most people with “covid toes” — purple or red lesions on the feet or hands — were young and had mild or no symptoms.
4:56 p.m. California issues $1.2 billion in unemployment payments in a single day: The Employment Development Department, which manages unemployment benefits in California, said it had paid out a record $1.2 billion Monday, after paying $926 million on Sunday. 3.7 million Californians have filed for unemployment since mid-March.
4:48 p.m. Why Newsom decided not to close all beaches: State officials pushed to close all beaches and state parks in California to try to limit spread of the coronavirus, but Gov. Gavin Newsom decided Thursday that overcrowding and improper social distancing were a problem only in Orange County. Chronicle Sacramento reporter Alexei Koseff has the story on how the decision evolved.
4:50 p.m. More than 1,100 sailors test positive aboard Roosevelt, testing updates to stop: Almost a quarter of the Theodore Roosevelt crew 1,102 people — have tested positive for the coronavirus, the Navy announced Thursday. A total of 53 sailors have recovered, and three sailors are hospitalized at U.S. Naval Hospital Guam. On the Naval ship Kidd, 78 sailors have tested positive. Because the entire crews on both the Kidd and Roosevelt have been tested, the Navy said Thursday it would stop reporting daily testing tallies and “only report significant changes on these vessels and new cases on any other deployed vessels.”
4:45 p.m. More than 1 million have recovered from coronavirus: The number of people who have recovered from the coronavirus worldwide surpassed 1 million Thursday, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. The milestone comes as global cases near 3.3 million. In the U.S., 125,949 people had recovered from the virus and 62,906 people had died as of Thursday afternoon, according to Johns Hopkins’ online tracker.
4:32 p.m. Two additional deaths in Contra Costa County: Officials in Contra Costa County reported two new deaths related to the coronavirus, bringing the county’s death toll to 27. Contra Costa County reported 13 new cases of the virus for a total of 891 confirmed cases.
4:25 p.m. Starbucks hopes to open 90% of U.S. stores by June: Starbucks will gradually open some locations to customers with modifications starting Monday with a goal of opening about 90 percent of stores by early June, CEO Kevin Johnson wrote in a Twitter post. Starbucks’ website says some locations will start expanding service to grab-and-go or entryway pickup, with seating still closed, while others will remain drive-thru only. Starbucks temporarily closed half of its 8,000 company-owned U.S. stores amid the coronavirus pandemic, the AP reported.
3:59 p.m. Police chiefs association apologizes for memo on beach closures: The California Police Chiefs Association issued a statement apologizing for a memo it sent out Wednesday night saying Gov. Gavin Newsom planned to close all beaches and state parks. “In an ever-changing environment, we sent out information regarding decisions that were still evolving, which was regrettably shared outside of our police chief membership and we apologize for the undue concern that caused to the public, our colleagues, the Governor and his staff,” the statement read. The memo was widely reported; Newsom announced Thursday that only beaches in Orange County will be closed due to crowding last weekend.
3:49 p.m. Stanford considering outdoor classes: Stanford Provost Persis Drell said the school is considering using outdoor tents for fall-quarter classes, “to take advantage of the weather and the fact that being outside is quite beneficial to stopping the spread of the disease.” Drell made the comments during a “virtual conversation” with the university community and said “absolutely nothing is off the table” in terms of fall quarter plans. Stanford is expected to make a decision sometime in June.
3:41 p.m. Bay Area ICU cases, hospitalizations reach new April low: The number of confirmed COVID-19 patients in ICUs in the nine Bay Area counties was reported at 137 on Wednesday, the area’s lowest one-day total this month, according to state data reviewed by The Chronicle. The overall number of confirmed hospitalized patients in the Bay Area was reported at 357, also a one-day low for April. In a two-week period since April 15, confirmed ICU cases had decreased 16% and hospitalizations were down 14.8%. Statewide, there were 3,497 hospitalized cases Wednesday, two more than a day earlier, and 1,192 confirmed ICU cases, six more than reported Tuesday.
3:35 p.m. Santa Clara County reports four more deaths: Four additional deaths were reported in Santa Clara County on Thursday, bringing the county’s death total to 111. The county also reported 31 new coronavirus cases, bringing the county’s case total to 2,163, according to Santa Clara County’s COVID-19 data dashboard.
3:21 p.m. — Amazon sales rise but profit falls: Sales at Amazon rose 26% during the first quarter, which included the beginnings of the coronavirus pandemic, but the company’s profit dropped 29% during the first quarter compared to a year earlier. Amazon plans to spend heavily during the second quarter to ensure faster delivery and protective equipment for its workers, the Associated Press reported.
3:15 p.m. Port of Oakland struggling: The Port of Oakland is facing a severe financial crisis — but it’s not so much because the port is missing its ships. It’s the airplanes. Port officials are expecting that, because of the coronavirus pandemic, air passenger counts will be down 95 percent in April from a year ago — and the Oakland Airport accounts for more than half the port’s income.
3:13 p.m. UCSF students set up equipment collection sites at pharmacies across Bay Area: Students at the UCSF School of Pharmacy have installed stands in public places to collect donations of personal protective equipment, or PPE. People can drop off items at participating pharmacies, including CVS stores. In San Francisco, locations include the Walgreens Pharmacy at 1300 Bush St. and the TIN Rx pharmacy at 2175 Market St. Read the full story by Tatiana Sanchez.
3 p.m. Coronavirus and colleges: Bay Area high school seniors navigate confusing admissions environment, muddied by uncertain status of the upcoming, fall semester. Read the whole story here.
2:51 p.m. California deaths pass 2,000: The number of confirmed coronavirus deaths in California has reached 2,009. Seven states — New York, New Jersey, Michigan, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Illinois and Connecticut — have higher death tolls. More than half of California’s deaths are in Los Angeles County.
2:34 p.m. Los Angeles County reports 55 more deaths, 733 new cases: County health officials on Thursday reported 55 additional deaths and 733 new cases, bringing the totals to 1,111 deaths and 23,182 cases. Nearly 146,000 people have been tested, with 14% of those positive. The hard-hit county accounts for more than half the deaths in the state, and nearly half the cases.
2:24 p.m. San Mateo County releases COVID-19 data by zip code: The county’s COVID-19 data now includes a breakdown of the number of cases per zip code. The data shows 159 cases in Daly City and 96 in South San Francisco, among other cities. See the full data here.
2 p.m. Bay Area comic Michael Pritchard a lifeline to his son, an ER doctor in New York: At 34 years old, Dr. Brian Pritchard cares for homeless and poor coronavirus patients in New York. But he daily feels the positive love of his dad, in San Rafael, so he can continue the work. Read more here.
1:58 p.m. New case at Santa Rita Jail in Dublin: One additional inmate among the quarantined population at Santa Rita Jail has tested positive, bringing the total number of active positive cases to eight, according to the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office. Two staff members/contractors are infected and 25 inmates have recovered and are still in custody.
1:57 p.m. Coronavirus and the Tenderloin drug trade: On the Fifth & Mission podcast, Del Seymour, a former drug dealer now known as the Mayor of the Tenderloin, talks about how the neighborhood is coping during shelter-in-place. Click here to listen.
1:44 p.m. Little League World Series canceled for 1st time: The Little League World Series and the championship tournaments in six other Little League divisions have been canceled because of the coronavirus pandemic. The Little League World Series has been held every August since 1947.
1:42 p.m. Coronavirus forces California initiative backers to hold off until 2022: The pandemic has scrambled plans for backers of a California initiative that would raise dollar limits on damage awards in medical malpractice lawsuits. They were aiming for the November ballot, but not anymore, reports Chronicle political writer John Wildermuth.
1:21 p.m. Fired for putting family first during pandemic: The Families First Act, a coronavirus relief law, is ludicrously flawed because the U.S. Department of Labor’s rules allow exemptions that have left millions of workers unprotected. Read more from columnist Otis R. Taylor Jr. here.
1:15 p.m. Paying property taxes during the coronavirus pandemic: Property owners in San Mateo County must pay the second installment of this year’s property tax bill by Monday to avoid penalties. In San Francisco, the deadline is in flux but probably will end up being May 15. Details are here.
1:13 p.m. Mayors ask Santa Clara County to scale up testing: City leaders of San Jose, Palo Alto, Mountain View and other Santa Clara County cities wrote a letter to county health officers and the Board of Supervisors offering their assistance and asking for ramped-up testing. The mayors proposed the county form a COVID-19 testing task force and give clear benchmarks for how many tests are needed to safely reopen and how many people are needed for contact tracing. “Without dramatic scaling of testing from the current levels of approximately 600 tests per day to several thousand tests per day, we cannot reopen our county. Although the County is best positioned to lead, we stand ready to contribute,” the letter said.
1:11 p.m. Stocks fall on global economic news: Markets slumped on Wall Street on Thursday after more reports made clear the worldwide devastation the coronavirus outbreak is causing for the economy. The Dow Jones industrial average fell 288 points to close at 24,345.72, a loss of more than 1%. Treasury yields also sank, and European stocks fell more sharply, slamming the brakes on a strong rally that had circled the world a day earlier.
12:48 p.m. UC president sees mix of classes: University of California President Janet Napolitano said none of the system’s 10 campuses is likely to fully reopen in time for the fall term, given the coronavirus pandemic. Napolitano, speaking during a webinar hosted by the Bay Area Council, also estimated system-wide financial losses in March alone at nearly $600 million. Read the story here.
12:29 p.m. Nearly 100 more Californians dead in last 24 hours: Gov. Newsom said 95 more people in the state died of COVID-19 in the last 24 hours. Officials also recorded a slight increase in the number of positive coronavirus cases. “Still so many people,” Newsom said. Patients hospitalized and in intensive care unit beds also increased within a percentage point in the last day, he said.
12:26 p.m. State updates guidance on some outdoor activities: Gov. Newsom said state officials have updated guidelines to clarify the state’s stance on certain activities like tennis and golf. Newsom said he understood people’s needs for outdoor activities, but he urged people to practice physical distancing. “I want you to see sunsets,” Newsom said.
12:25 p.m. NASCAR announces return to racing: NASCAR announced Thursday that it will resume its season without fans starting May 17 at Darlington Raceway in South Carolina with the premier Cup Series racing three more times in a 10-day span. NASCAR joins the UFC as the first major sports organizations to announce specific plans to return since the coronavirus pandemic shut down U.S. sports in mid-March. NASCAR’s revised schedule goes only through May and has a pair of Wednesday races, fulfilling fans longtime plea for midweek events, according to the Associated Press. The first race is scheduled for Darlington, NASCAR’s oldest superspeedway, followed by a second race at the 70-year-old oval track three days later.
12:24 p.m. Gov. Gavin Newsom announces the closure of all beaches in Orange County: Gov. Newsom said he will be closing beaches in Orange County following images of crowded beaches last weekend, which he called “disturbing.”
12:08 p.m. Newsom announces innovative portal for childcare: Gov. Gavin Newsom announced the creation of an “innovative” portal to connect people with childcare facilities in their area. The portal includes information researched by state officials as well as available slots and hours of operation, Newsom said during a news conference.
12 p.m. Bay Area fishermen worry as commercial salmon season starts Friday: This could be one of the biggest salmon seasons in years, yet the market will be disrupted by shelter-in-place orders that are keeping most restaurants closed or at a limited capacity. The bright spot is that prices could be lower in supermarkets.
11:36 a.m. More than 70% of tested inmates in federal prisons have the coronavirus: The response from the federal Bureau of Prisons to the growing crisis in prisons has raised alarm among advocates and lawmakers about whether the agency is doing enough to ensure the safety of the nearly 150,000 inmates in federal facilities. Read more here.
11:29 a.m. Russian leader tests positive for coronavirus: Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin says he has tested positive for the new coronavirus and has told President Vladimir Putin he will self-isolate, the Associated Press reports.
11:26 a.m. Pelosi wants stimulus money for families with undocumented immigrants: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi wants Congress’ next coronavirus relief bill to give money to families in which one parent is an undocumented immigrant if the other parent or their dependent children are U.S. citizens. Chronicle Washington correspondent Tal Kopan has the story here.
11:02 a.m. Alameda County announces three more deaths: Three more people in Alameda County have died of COVID-19 and 35 additional cases of the coronavirus were confirmed, increasing the number of cases to 1,603, health officials said.
10:58 a.m. Caltrans work on Alemany Maze could finish Friday: Continued light traffic during the coronavirus crisis is speeding the project to replace the concrete deck where Highway 101 meets Interstate 280 at what’s known as the Alemany Maze. Work could be completed as early as Friday, Caltrans spokesman Bart Ney told The Chronicle on Thursday morning. Caltrans expedited the project, originally scheduled for July, and could complete the planned 18-day project in eight or nine days with less impact on traffic than expected.
10:50 a.m. SF gives grants and aid to artists: San Francisco Mayor London Breed announced the release of $1.5 million in grants and an additional $1 million in loans to underrepresented and disadvantaged artists and arts organizations in the city. Some 65 organizations and 500 artists got the loans, which averaged $1,500. Breed also announced a second round to be dedicated solely to artists.
10:48 a.m. Summer movie season is the season of uncertainty: This year’s summer movie season, which officially starts May 1, promised a number of films by major directors, plus prestige products featuring Hollywood’s biggest stars, to help fill theaters all over the country with movie lovers of all ages. Now, of course, the coronavirus has changed all of that. Read more here and find out what’s still scheduled to come to a theater near you.
10:37 a.m. McDonald’s workers protest over pandemic response: Anger among McDonald’s workers over the company’s treatment of employees during the coronavirus pandemic is boiling over in San Francisco. A group of cooks and cashiers at the McDonald’s at 1100 Fillmore St., where employees claim four workers at the restaurant recently tested positive for the coronavirus, went on strike Thursday to protest the company’s alleged failure to prioritize the health of its staff.
10:33 a.m. San Francisco tech worker hopes comic helps humanize Asians: Laura Gao has a day job in the tech industry, but when the coronavirus hit she tapped into her skills as a cartoonist to create her digital comic, “The Wuhan I Know.” She hopes it helps illustrate the vibrant city of her birth and helps combat the negative perception of China. Read more here.
10:28 a.m. Fewer proposing closure of San Francisco Jail No. 4: With COVID-19 increasing the risks to inmates at San Francisco’s dilapidated County Jail No. 4 on Bryant Street, Supervisor Sandra Lee Fewer is proposing the Board of Supervisors vote to close the facility. Her proposal, which will go before the board’s Government Audit and Oversight Committee on Thursday morning, is supported by District Attorney Chesa Boudin and Public Defender Mano Raju, who joined Fewer at a news conference Thursday morning. The jail, opened in 1961, is seismically unsafe and frequently flooded with sewage.
10:18 a.m. New York gave $69 million to Silicon Valley engineer for ventilators, but never got them: New York paid $69 million to a Silicon Valley engineer recommended by the White House for ventilators but never got a single one, Buzzfeed News reports. White House officials recommended the man’s services after he replied to one of President Trump’s tweets.
9:54 a.m. Humboldt sheriff says he won’t enforce a beach ban: Humboldt County Sheriff William Honsal said he would not enforce a potential beach closure order expected to be announced by Gov. Gavin Newsom on Thursday. “As Sheriff, I am the protector of constitutional rights in Humboldt County,” Honsal said in a statement. “If an order is issued that I believe violates our constitutional rights, I will not enforce it.”
“As Sheriff, I am the protector of constitutional rights in Humboldt County,” he said, “and if an order is issued that I believe violates our constitutional rights, I will not enforce it.”
— HumCoSO (@HumCoSO) April 30, 2020
9:52 a.m. US crackdown on ethanol-based hand sanitizer hurts supply: As demand for hand sanitizer soars, manufacturers are finding the going tougher as the Trump administration tightens rules on use of the corn-based alcohol, Reuters reports.
9:25 a.m. New York City to close subway for four hours overnight to clean: The New York City subway will stop running for four hours overnight to be cleaned every night, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced, calling it “an extraordinary effort.” The city’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority will stop trains between 1 a.m. and 5 a.m. Essential workers will be given alternative transportation, Cuomo said.
9:11 a.m. Report claims Trump administration pushing to blame China: Senior officials within the Trump administration have been pushing U.S. intelligence agencies to find evidence to support an unsubstantiated theory that the coronavirus originated in a government lab in Wuhan, China, the New York Times reports.
8:58 a.m. Slow streets program to start in Alameda: The East Bay city on Thursday will close certain streets for the duration of the region’s stay-at-home order as part of a slow streets pilot program. “By limiting automobile traffic on these streets, the City will create more places for our community to safely walk, run, bike, scooter and roll, in alignment with its Vision Zero efforts to provide safer streets for all,” city officials said in a statement, referencing the movement to eliminate traffic fatalities and injuries. Visit this website for more information.
8:34 a.m. San Mateo County confirms 41 more cases: Forty-one more people in San Mateo County have tested positive for the coronavirus, increasing the number of cases to 1,177, health officials said.
8:32 a.m. County trails, US Forest campgrounds to open slowly through summer: Closed since late March, parks in Sonoma and San Mateo counties will start reopening trails this week, with a caution to the public to avoid clustering amid fear of spreading the coronavirus. Meanwhile, on the eve of the summer recreation season, the U.S. Forest Service said it could begin reopening California campgrounds starting in May. The trail openings in Sonoma and San Mateo counties are the first break from complete shutdowns in both areas. Read more from Tom Stienstra here.
8:24 a.m. San Francisco announces two more deaths: Two more people in San Francisco have died of COVID-19 and nine more people have tested positive for the coronavirus, bringing the number of known cases to 1,499, according to the Department of Public Health. Officials have recorded 25 deaths.
8:19 a.m. Macy’s to open 68 stores on Monday: Macy’s plans to reopen 68 stores in states that have reduced stay-at-home orders, the Wall Street Journal reports. The company’s chief executive, Jeff Gennette, told the newspaper that he hopes to open all of the company’s roughly 775 stores in six weeks.
8:03 a.m. Why not close JFK Drive to cars forever? On the Fifth & Mission podcast, Marta Lindsey of the pedestrian advocacy group Walk SF talks about why she’s hopeful that the streets in Golden Gate and McLaren parks that have been closed to cars during shelter-in-place will stay closed when the crisis ends. Click here to listen.
7:39 a.m. Federal recreation sites in California to remain closed through mid-May: Most developed recreation sites will remain closed through May 15, federal forest officials said Thursday. Trails, trailheads and general forest areas remain open for use but people are encouraged to check with local National Forests for updates and more information, officials said.
7:23 a.m. Amazon worker in Tracy dies from coronavirus: An Amazon employee in Tracy died of COVID-19, a company spokeswoman said. The man, whose identity was not immediately released, last worked April 1 and did not have symptoms. It was not clear when the man died but company officials said they learned of his death earlier this week. “We are saddened by the loss of an associate at our site in Tracy, California. His family and loved ones are in our thoughts, and we are supporting his fellow colleagues in the days ahead,” spokeswoman Kristen Kish said.
7:22 a.m. LA to offer free coronavirus testing for all: Anyone who lives in Los Angeles will be given access to free coronavirus testing, the city’s mayor said Wednesday. It is the first U.S. city to do so. Read more from the Washington Post here.
7:11 a.m. US intel agencies conclude coronavirus not man-made or altered: U.S. intelligence agencies have concluded that the new coronavirus was “not man-made or genetically modified” but say they are still examining whether the origins of the pandemic trace to contact with infected animals or an accident at a Chinese lab. The statement from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, the clearinghouse for the web of U.S. spy agencies, comes as President Trump and his allies have touted the as-yet-unproven theory that an infectious disease lab in Wuhan, the epicenter of the Chinese outbreak, was the source of the global pandemic that has killed more than 220,000 worldwide. Read more from the Associated Press here.
6:43 a.m. UCSF study finds potential drugs for treating the coronavirus: A global team of scientists led by UCSF has discovered a range of existing drugs and experimental compounds that block the new coronavirus in lab tests, revealing some of the virus’ key weaknesses for the first time. Their findings point to possible treatments for COVID-19, according to a paper released Thursday in the journal Nature. Read the full story here.
6:39 a.m. Man dumps medical masks onto Highway 880: An unknown man dumped boxes full of blue medical masks onto Highway 880 south of Whipple Road near Union City on Wednesday, according to the California Highway Patrol. In social media posts, authorities asked people to never get out of their cars on a highway. Caltrans cleared the debris and masks. It remained unclear who dumped the masks.
6:35 a.m. Stocks drop: The Dow Jones industrial average fell 1% following the release of the latest unemployment report, which showed greater job loss than expected. In another indicator of the economic toll of the pandemic, consumer spending in the first quarter shrank by 7.6%, the most in 40 years.
6:13 a.m. Bay Area group aims to outdo Washington in coronavirus help for small businesses: A group of top Bay Area attorneys, Silicon Valley philanthropists, community lenders and UC Berkeley law students is trying a new way to help small-business owners frustrated by the federal government’s struggles in distributing coronavirus relief efficiently. Members of the California Small Enterprise Task Force are volunteering their time to help small businesses navigate the bureaucracy and to create a $1 billion investment fund that would direct money to mom-and-pop businesses more equitably than the federal government’s Paycheck Protection Program, perhaps as soon as mid-May. Read the full story here.
5:44 a.m. Nearly 4 million in US filed for unemployment last week: Another 3.83 million people in the United States filed for unemployment last week, according to the Labor Department. A total of 30.3 million have filed for unemployment in the past six weeks. Read more here.
Updates from Wednesday, April 29:
11:40 p.m. Chino prison surpasses 100 inmate cases: The California Institution for Men in Chino (San Bernardino County) has now had 110 inmates test positive for the coronavirus, per the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation website. That accounts for more than half of 214 confirmed cases among inmates in the state’s prison system and is out of 273 inmates who have been tested at the Chino prison. Los Angeles County (91) and the California Men’s Colony in San Luis Obispo (8) are the only other state prison facilities where more than two inmates have tested positive, according to the CDCR tracker.
9:09 p.m. California will close all beaches, state parks starting Friday, report says: Gov. Gavin Newsom intends to announce Thursday that all beaches and state parks in California will be closed effective Friday, FOX 11 in Los Angeles reported, citing a bulletin that says it will be sent to police chiefs throughout the state. According to a copy of the bulletin published by FOX 11, the decision was made after “well-publicized media coverage of overcrowded beaches this past weekend” that violated state shelter-in-place guidelines. Newsom on Monday cited crowds at some southern California beaches as an example of “what not to do” if the state is to continue combating spread of the coronavirus and eventually ease stay-at-home measures.
8:35 p.m. Santa Clara OKs additional funds for small business grants: Santa Clara’s city council has allocated an additional $300,000 to a city program providing grants to small businesses and nonprofits during the coronavirus pandemic, according to a city news release. The program started with $500,000 in available funding, of which $460,000 has been awarded through 65 grants, the city said. Grants of up to $5,000 or $10,000 are available to qualified businesses in Santa Clara with no more than 25 full-time employees to be used for payroll expenses or lease payments.
7:15 p.m. Baseball Hall of Fame delays Class of 2020 induction: The Baseball Hall of Fame has postponed its 2020 induction ceremony until July 2021 amid the coronavirus pandemic. Derek Jeter, Larry Walker, Ted Simmons and Marvin Miller will be inducted July 25, 2021, along with anyone elected to the Class of 2021, marking the first induction since 1949 to combine multiple classes, according to a Hall of Fame statement.
6:52 p.m. More than 5,000 cases among California health care workers: As of Tuesday, there had been 5,015 confirmed cases of the coronavirus reported in state health care workers, according to the California Department of Public Health. This refers to on-the-job exposures and other exposures, such as travel and close family contact. It marked a one-week increase of 29.4% from 3,877 cases on April 21. There have been 28 deaths confirmed among health care workers, state public health officials said.
6:34 p.m. Bay Area counties release new case counts: Marin County reported nine new coronavirus cases on Wednesday, increasing its total to 235 confirmed cases, and one additional death, marking the county’s 13th from COVID-19. Contra Costa County confirmed 23 new coronavirus cases, increasing its total to 862 cases. Napa County confirmed one new coronavirus case to bring its total to 67.
6:24 p.m. Nearly 2 in 5 deaths in Santa Clara County linked to long-term care facilities: Santa Clara County reported one new death related to the coronavirus, increasing its total to 107. Of those deaths, 41 have been linked to long-term care facilities, including 39 reported at skilled nursing facilities and two at independent living facilities, according to the county’s website. There have been 416 cases of the virus in the county’s long-term facilities, accounting for 19.5% of its total confirmed cases, according to county data.
5:58 p.m. Shelter in place reduced Sonoma County virus transmission by 75%, one model says: Modeling by Imperial College London suggests that Sonoma County has reduced transmission of the coronavirus by 75% through sheltering in place and other mitigation efforts including social distancing and contact tracing, according to results shared by the county. The modeling initially projected mitigation would reduce transmission in the county by half. Susan Gorin, chair of the county’s Board of Supervisors, said in a video update the results indicate “we have greatly reduced the projected surge and have successfully flattened the curve.”
5:50 p.m. Rural Modoc County plans to set aside state shelter-in-place orders Friday: The county’s Board of Supervisors approved the move this week, putting it in line to be the first county in California to allow nonessential shops and services to operate since stay-at-home directives emerged after the coronavirus outbreak. Other counties in the north state, weary of Gov. Gavin Newsom’s restrictions, are expected to follow suit. Read Kurtis Alexander’s report here.
5:45 p.m. Los Angeles will offer free coronavirus testing to all residents: Mayor Eric Garcetti said at a news conference the city of Los Angeles is now offering free coronavirus testing to all residents regardless of whether or not they show symptoms. Los Angeles is the first major U.S. city to offer free testing to all symptomatic and asymptomatic residents, Garcetti said. People showing symptoms and frontline workers will still receive priority, according to the city’s testing website.
5:27 p.m. US death toll surpasses 60,000: The number of deaths related to the coronavirus in the U.S. passed 60,000 on Wednesday, according to data from Johns Hopkins University, which lists the total at 60,853. The U.S. reached 50,000 deaths from the virus five days ago.
5:08 p.m. Sausalito to restrict parking in downtown lots: Sausalito will close downtown parking lots on weekends and holidays after seeing an influx of visitors last weekend in spite of shelter-in-place orders amid the coronavirus pandemic, according to a Sausalito police statement. Sausalito residents, downtown merchants and their employees who display parking permits will be allowed to park in metered street spaces without charge. Sausalito police will regularly enforce illegal parking in restricted residential areas and will also start issuing citations for non-essential travel and safe-distancing violations that carry a fine of $500, per the statement.
4:51 p.m. Solano County records fifth death: Officials in Solano County reported the county’s fifth death related to the coronavirus Wednesday. The county also confirmed five new coronavirus cases, bringing its total to 254. Of those, 55 cases are active and 12 patients are hospitalized, according to the county’s online case tracker.
4:36 p.m. Santa Cruz County blocks beach activity during peak hours: After people crowded onto Santa Cruz beaches last weekend, the county health officer is expected to issue new restrictions banning activity at beaches between 11 a.m. and 5 p.m. starting this weekend. The Sheriff’s Office dealt with “numerous issues” this weekend, according to a county press release. Water-based activities like swimming and surfing are still allowed, and people doing so can cross the beach to get to the water.
4:30 p.m. State chief justice gives local courts extension to hold criminal trials: California’s chief justice on Wednesday gave local courts another 30-day extension of their legal deadline to hold criminal trials, bringing the total extension to 90 days. Criminal defendants normally have the right to go to trial within 60 days of the date they are arraigned and plead not guilty. On March 23, Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye, who also chairs the state Judicial Council, issued an order lengthening that deadline by 60 days, during the coronavirus pandemic, for trials that had not yet begun.
4:06 p.m. Salesforce’s Dreamforce conference cancels in-person event in favor of virtual event: Dreamforce, the biggest annual tech event in San Francisco and the world’s biggest software conference, has been canceled in favor of a virtual gathering, Salesforce said. The company is similarly canceling the rest of its in-person events for 2020.
3:45 p.m. Amtrak donates extra food to shelters, food banks nationwide: Amtrak cut train service in response to reduced demand during the coronavirus pandemic, which resulted in surplus food from shuttered dining cars. The rail system is now donating that food to shelters and pantries throughout the nation, including Operation Dignity in Oakland.
3:40 p.m. Coronavirus and courts: A state appeals court ruled Wednesday that an order for California courts to eliminate bail for all but the most serious charges was not binding on a county’s judges, who can still require defendants to post bail or hold them without bail. Read the story here.
3:38 p.m. Alameda County records two additional deaths: Alameda County officials reported two new deaths related to the coronavirus Wednesday, bringing the county’s total to 57. The county reported 26 new cases to bring its total to 1,568 confirmed cases. Cities with the highest rate of cases per 100,000 population include Hayward (193.8), Newark (111.8), Oakland (103.6) and San Leandro (101.4), according to the county’s online tracker.
3:30 p.m. Bay Area ICU cases down nearly 30% from April peak: There were a reported 149 confirmed COVID-19 patients in intensive care units in the nine Bay Area counties on Tuesday, a 29.7% drop from three weeks earlier, when the area reached its peak with 212 ICU cases on April 7, according to state data reviewed by The Chronicle. The number of confirmed hospitalized Bay Area patients was reported at 367 for a second consecutive day, matching the area’s lowest April total. Statewide, confirmed hospitalized cases rose by 1.2% to 3,495, while confirmed ICU patients increased by five cases to 1,186.
2:05 p.m. Giants offer ticket refunds, credit: Fans with Giants tickets for April and May will be refunded or credited, the team announced Wednesday. Holders of season, suite, group and premium tickets can choose an account credit and a 5% bonus based on the face value for any impacted games for 2020 or 2021 purchases. Or they can choose a refund for the impacted games. Single game holders can receive a full refund or a credit that could be used for 2021 tickets at exclusive preferred pricing levels. Read the story here.
2:01 p.m. Coronavirus in prisons: California state prison officials reported 194 COVID-19 cases among inmates Wednesday and said they have a plan to house bunked prisoners in groups of eight, separated by at least 6 feet from other groups. Read the story here.
1:58 p.m. SF police issue 19 citations, 86 warnings: Police Chief Bill Scott said the majority of San Franciscans have complied with shelter-in-place orders, but police have issued several citations and warnings in the past few days. In total since the shelter-in place order began, police have issued 19 citations to 10 businesses and nine individuals, and 86 formal warnings to 52 businesses and 34 people.
1:55 p.m. Demonstrators clamor for democracy: As the coronavirus slows in Hong Kong, pro-democracy protesters are back despite social distancing rules that limit public gatherings to four people. They chanted at a luxury mall, the latest in a string of small but determined protests, as the city’s daily virus cases have dwindled to single digits for over two weeks.
1:47 p.m. Britain’s death toll jumps when nursing homes added in: Britain’s official death toll from the coronavirus has jumped to more than 26,000, after deaths in nursing homes were added to the daily total for the first time. The government says 3,811 more people died after testing positive for the coronavirus than had been previously reported. The death toll now stands at 26,097, up from the 21,678 announced Tuesday.
1:41 p.m. Coronavirus and the elderly: For Bay Area seniors, and others susceptible to coronavirus, the common view is that for the next year or two, life will become about the fundamentals: shelter, food and only necessary outings. Read the whole story here.
1:36 p.m. Breed tells non-San Franciscans — city hotel rooms are not for you: Mayor London Breed said Wednesday that people who do not live in San Francisco are showing up seeking housing in hotel rooms and RVs secured by the city for vulnerable residents and front-line workers. “No one from other cities should be coming to San Francisco expecting they’re going to get prioritized over the people who are here — we have enough challenges with trying to provide services and support to our existing residents,” she said at a news conference.
1:26 p.m. Government temporarily shuts big banks out of PPP lending: The government temporarily prevented big banks from accepting applications for the Paycheck Protection Program so small lenders and their small business customers would have a chance to get PPP loans. Between 1 and 11:59 p.m. Pacific time Wednesday, the Small Business Administration was only accepting loans from lenders “with asset sizes less than $1 billion … to ensure that all eligible small businesses have access to this funding to sustain their businesses and keep their employees on payroll” the SBA and Treasury Department said.
1:18 p.m. Facebook’s advertising demand fell in March: The Menlo Park tech giant reports it “experienced a significant reduction in the demand for advertising, as well as a related decline in the pricing of our ads, over the last three weeks” of March. In April, advertising revenue was “approximately flat” compared to the previous year. That’s down from 17% year-over-year growth in the first quarter between 2019 and 2018. Facebook said capital expenditures this year would total $14 billion to $16 billion, down from a prior estimate of up to $19 billion.
1:10 p.m. Dow rises more than 500 points: The Dow Jones industrial average rose 2.2% to close at 24,633.86. The Federal Reserve is continuing to hold interest rates near 0% in a bid to lift the economy.
1:02 p.m. Trump effort aims to drastically cut vaccine development time: The Trump administration is organizing a massive effort to cut the time needed to develop a coronavirus vaccine by as much as eight months, aiming to make enough doses for most Americans by year’s end, Bloomberg reports. “Operation Warp Speed” will pull together drug companies, government agencies and the military, and shift financial risk from drug companies to taxpayers, two sources told Bloomberg.
12:54 p.m. California records another 78 coronavirus deaths: Seventy-eight more Californians died of COVID-19 Tuesday, Gov. Newsom said. He said the number of people infected with the coronavirus who are hospitalized or in intensive care units increased modestly.
12:47 p.m. CalFresh can now be used to shop online: People across the state can use the CalFresh food benefits program to shop online starting with Amazon and Wal-Mart, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced on Wednesday at his daily briefing. He said state officials hope to expand the list of websites where people can shop.
12:43 p.m. Heirs should return dead people’s stimulus payments: Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said that stimulus payments to dead people should be returned, but experts say the language of the Cares Act isn’t clear and they may be able to keep the money. Read The Chronicle’s story by Kathleen Pender.
12:39 p.m. How the coronavirus crisis will affect presidential transition: On the It’s All Political podcast, David Marchick, director of the Center for Presidential Transition, tells Chronicle political reporter Joe Garofoli that the pandemic presents unprecendented challenges for a presidential transition — even from a first Trump administration to a second — and we may not be prepared to meet them. Click here to listen.
12:35 p.m. Children and families who receive food aid at school can get up to $365: Children and families who are eligible to receive free or reduced price meals in school can now receive up to $365 through a pandemic program, Gov. Newsom an
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