Coronavirus Bay Area live updates: California’s positivity rate rises

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) — A surge in coronavirus cases has been reported in the Bay Area and across California as well as the country due in part to the emergence of the highly-contagious omicron variant.

The latest number of confirmed cases in the U.S. can be found at the CDC’s 2019 Novel Coronavirus in the U.S. page. (The CDC updates the webpage on Monday, Wednesday and Friday.)

Join anchor Kristen Sze for ABC7’s daily, interactive newscast about the coronavirus outbreak in the Bay Area and around the world. You can check here to stream the show Monday-Friday at 3 p.m.

Dec. 31, 2021


8:15 a.m.
California’s positivity rate rises

California’s 7-day test positivity rate is now up to 12.9 percent. It was in the single digits only on Tuesday.

Dec. 30, 2021


2p.m.
SF Sketchfest postponed due to rise in omicron cases, organizers say

The 2022 SF Sketchfest has been postponed due to the rise in omicron cases, organizers said on Thursday.

The event was originally slated for Jan. 7 to Jan. 23. Organizers said in a statement online, in part:

“The safety of our artists, staff and audiences is our number our priority. Over the past week, we have had many artists reach out to us to express concern about traveling and performing at a time when the COVID omicron variant is causing increased positive cases and breakthrough infections around the country. We have also had some artists and staff members test positive for COVID.”

The site says a new date will be announced in the coming weeks.

To read the full statement, you can visit this page.

12p.m.
California’s positivity rate is 12.9%, new data shows

The state positivity rate is now at 12.9%, according to the California Department of Public Health which just released new data today.

There are a reportedly 37,673 new cases with a total of 5,135,071 COVID-19 cases.

Here are the latest numbers:
109 new deaths
75,738 total in deaths
5,516 hospitalized patients which has increased by 318
1,194 ICU patients, up 115
64,562,129 individuals have been vaccinated in California

6:30 a.m.
California’s COVID positivity rate now 11.2%

6:30 a.m.
California’s COVID positivity rate now 11.2%

Here in California, the test positivity rate is now in the double digits, at 11.2%. Remember, before Christmas it was around 5%. The week of Thanksgiving, it hovered around 2%.

Dec. 29, 2021


2 p.m.
Sonoma County to reinstate indoor mask mandates

Sonoma County joined other Bay Area counties Wednesday in rescinding exemptions that allowed stable groups of fully vaccinated people to remove their masks indoors in some workplaces, gyms, churches and other public settings. Everyone, regardless of vaccination status, must wear a mask in all indoor public settings according to the updated guideline, set to begin at 12:01 a.m. Thursday, Dec. 30, 2021.

11:45 a.m.
San Francisco temporarily tightens vaccine, indoor masking requirements

San Francisco Mayor London Breed announced Wednesday a updated vaccine and indoor masking requirements due to the surge of the omicron variant, effective February 1, 2022.

The changes include:
1) Requiring boosters among workers in healthcare and high-risk settings as well as some additional higher-risk settings not covered by the State requirements
2) A temporary suspension of the indoor universal mask exemption that allowed removal of masks for stable groups of 100% fully vaccinated individuals in certain settings
3) Attendees and staff of indoor megaevents are up-to-date on vaccinations, including boosters if eligible

In addition, San Francisco Department of Public Health plans to align its guidance on the quarantine with the recently announced modifications recommended by the CDC and California Department of Public Health.

10 a.m.
Alameda and Marin counties update indoor masking mandate

Marin County, Alameda County and the city of Berkeley announced that their health officers are rescinding the facemask amendments allowing fully vaccinated people to go unmasked in some limited settings, effective 12:01 am on December 30, 2021. Everyone, regardless of their vaccination status, must mask in all indoor public settings. This change does not impact face masking requirements for school and youth settings.

5:10 a.m.
Children’s Discovery Museum of San Jose offers free passes to vaccinated guests

Children’s Discovery Museum of San Jose is offering to help families get vaccinated and visit the museum for free. It’s happening this Sunday, January 2, and on the 23. All you have to do is show up on one of those dates, get vaccinated, and the museum will give you a free museum pass. You can use it the day you’re vaccinated or anytime within 6-months.

Dec. 28, 2021


2:45 p.m.
Contra Costa Co. updates indoor masking mandate

Contra Costa County health officials announced a new order requiring masks in all public indoor places without exceptions for certain indoor settings. The order, which goes into effect on Dec. 29, 2021, now requires all people in Contra Costa, regardless of vaccination status, to mask in public indoor settings.

Previously, fully vaccinated public speakers and performers, and fully vaccinated groups of 100 or fewer people were allowed to remove their face coverings under controlled conditions.

10:30 a.m.
Santa Clara Co. updates vaccination requirement for high-risk work settings

Santa Clara Co. health officials issued a health order requiring up-to-date COVID-19 vaccination for workers in certain higher-risk settings in light of the rapid surge in cases due to the omicron variant.

Under the new order, by Jan. 24, 2022, workers must be up-to-date on their vaccination (both fully vaccinated and boosted against COVID-19 if eligible for a booster) in these higher-risk settings:

  • Skilled nursing facilities, long-term care facilities, adult day care facilities, and memory care facilities

  • Healthcare delivery facilities (such as hospitals, clinics, medical offices, dialysis centers) where patient care is provided, as well as medical first responders

  • Jails and other correctional facilities

5:30 a.m.
Contra Costa Co. mandates booster shots for first responders

Contra Costa County has mandated booster shots for first responders and other at-risk workers. The order will take effect on January 10. Workers who don’t get the booster shot will have to test weekly for COVID. The mandate covers law enforcement officers, firefighters, and emergency medical personnel as well as workers in homeless shelters.

Dec. 27, 2021

6:30 a.m.
Surge in omicron cases will ‘get worse,’ Fauci says

The surge in COVID-19 cases is “going to get worse before it gets better, that’s for sure,” Dr. Anthony Fauci said Monday on “Good Morning America.” And it could take weeks for the number of daily cases to start declining, he noted.

“It’s very difficult to predict, because we have so many unvaccinated people in this country who are really quite vulnerable,” Fauci said. “Even with the vaccinated people, you’re going to see breakthrough infections.”

Fauci also sought to ease concerns about the availability of at-home tests. Demand for those tests spiked during the holiday season, as worries about omicron grew and families took precautions before gathering.

“Well certainly omicron is a very, very unusual variant in its incredible degree of spreading,” Fauci said. “As we enter January, there will be many, many more tests that we have.”

Dec. 24, 2021

5 a.m.
Lawmakers call for vaccine proof or negative test for domestic flights

A group of Democratic lawmakers — including Senator Dianne Feinstein and East Bay Congressman Eric Swalwell — is calling to require domestic airline passengers show proof of COVID-19 vaccination status or a recent negative test before flying. This week they sent a letter to CDC Director Doctor Rochelle Walensky and FAA Administrator Steve Dickson.

The lawmakers pointed out that both proof of COVID-19 vaccination and a negative test is already required for people coming to the U.S. from another country.

Dec. 23, 2021

11:45 a.m.
Appointments now required at Contra Costa Health Services COVID-19 testing sites.
Due to an increase in demand, appointments are now required at Contra Costa Health Services’ community COVID-19 testing locations in Richmond and San Ramon, health officials announced Thursday. For more information on testing, visit this page.

11 a.m.
CA’s new COVID-19 data shows sharp spike in cases
Thursday’s California coronavirus data shows the test positivity rate jumped to 4.2%, hospitalizations are back over 4,000 and there were 15,485 new cases reported. A breakdown of the numbers is below:

15,485 new cases
4,969,615 total cases

102 new deaths
75,383 total deaths

7 day test positivity rate = 4.2%

4,005 hospitalized patients
995 ICU patients

5 a.m.
Ten million treatment courses of Pfizer’s newly FDA-authorized COVID-19 pill have been purchased by the federal government, the White House announced. The White House said 265,000 doses will be available in January and all 10 million will be delivered by late summer. The White House said it also bought 3 million courses of Merck’s treatment, though that pill is not yet authorized.

Dec. 22, 2021

5:45 p.m.
Final performances of ‘A Christmas Carol’ at Golden Gate Theater canceled

The remaining performances of “A Christmas Carol” at Golden Gate Theater have been canceled due to breakthrough cases within the cast. Ticket holders will be contacted by their original point of purchase. For questions, please email feedback@broadwaysf.com.

11:30 a.m.
Gov. Newsom lays out new actions to slow spread of COVID

Governor Newsom is laying out new actions to slow the spread of COVID in California that includes a booster mandate for health care workers, increased testing access for students, and expanded hours at testing sites.

9:45 a.m.
Pfizer pill becomes 1st US-authorized home COVID treatment

U.S. health regulators on Wednesday authorized the first pill against COVID-19, a Pfizer drug that Americans will be able to take at home to head off the worst effects of the virus.

7 a.m.
Booster shots ‘will really help us’ with omicron, CDC director says

About 73% of U.S. COVID-19 cases are now the omicron variant, but that number rises to 90% in areas like New York, CDC director Dr. Rochelle Walensky told “Good Morning America” Wednesday.

“Things are moving quickly,” she said. “The doubling times of this virus are very fast, around two days.”

But Walensky said the booster shot “will really help” with this variant.

“What we know about omicron is that it has a lot of mutations, and with more mutations we need more immune protection. And that’s really why this booster shot will really help us,” Walensky said.

Dec. 21, 2021

4:45 p.m.
Rep. Barbara Lee tests positive for COVID

Rep. Barbara Lee (CA-13) announced Tuesday that she has a breakthrough case of COVID. Rep. Lee says she is experiencing “mild cold-like symptoms” and following health guidelines which includes quarantining.

4:45 p.m.
Oakland requiring proof of vaccination for restaurants, bars, gyms and more

People visiting several types of facilities in Oakland as well as City Hall must now provide proof of vaccination to get inside. The City Council voted unanimously Tuesday afternoon to approve the requirement in an effort to boost the vaccination rate in the city. Places that will now require proof of vaccination include where food or drinks are served, entertainment venues, theaters, concert venues, museums, recreational facilities, yoga studios, gyms, fitness centers, senior adult care centers, large indoor events at facilities owned by the city or privately, City Hall and programs at city senior centers.

4:15 p.m.
California to require healthcare workers to take COVID-19 booster

The office of California Governor Gavin Newsom announced all state healthcare workers will be required to get a COVID-19 booster. The memo posted to Twitter did not say when, but that more details will be coming Wednesday.

3 p.m.
UC Santa Cruz to hold classes online for 2 weeks of winter quarter

University of California, Santa Cruz announced Tuesday that classes will be held online for the first two weeks of the winter quarter in January out of concern about the recent rise in COVID-19 infections and the likelihood that they will continue to increase because of holiday gatherings.

The school’s winter quarter starts Jan. 3, but instruction will take place remotely instead of in-person until Jan. 18, although students are encouraged to return to campus on schedule and other campus operations will continue, UC Santa Cruz officials said.

2 p.m.
Santa Cruz Co. reports 2 cases of omicron variant

Santa Cruz County officials announced Tuesday that they have identified two cases of the omicron variant of COVID-19 in the county. Samples collected last Thursday and Friday from two people in their 20s living in the north part of the county tested positive for the omicron variant of COVID-19 that experts say is more transmissible than previous variants.

9:10 a.m.
SJ mayor proposes booster shot mandate for city employees
San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo announced a proposal to require all San Jose city employees to have a booster shot or third round of vaccinations. The proposal would be a condition of employment for city workers, and would also apply to residents or visitors that enter city-owned facilities. If the proposal passes the city council vote, San Jose could become the first city in California with such a mandate. Currently, San Jose requires proof of full vaccination to all city-owned facilities.

7:15 a.m.
Fauci predicts omicron will peak soon

Dr. Anthony Fauci said omicron’s peak will be soon: “It’s going to be a matter of a couple of weeks that we then start to see just as dramatic a decline,” he said. “That’s what we’re hoping for.”

“When you have something that goes up this quickly, often you see it come right back down. Because what will happen is that either almost everyone is either going to get infected, particularly the unvaccinated, or be vaccinated,” he said. “And the vaccinated people will either be — particularly the boosted people, and it’s very important to underscore right now the importance of getting boosted — that those people will either be protected from infection, or if they do get infected, they’ll have a relatively mild course of infection.”

Dec. 20, 2021

5 a.m.
Oakland may require vaccine proof for indoor businesses

People in Oakland would need to show proof of COVID vaccination at restaurants, bars, gyms, and other indoor public places under a proposed new ordinance. The city council is expected to vote on the measure Tuesday.

If passed, it would go into effect Feb. 1. The ordinance would apply to anyone 12 and older.

San Francisco, Contra Costa County, and the city of Berkeley recently approved similar measures.

4 a.m.
Moderna says COVID-19 vaccine booster increases omicron neutralizing antibodies

Moderna on Monday said its current vaccine booster increased neutralizing antibodies against omicron within a month of getting the shot. Here’s the full story.

12 a.m.
Sens. Elizabeth Warren, Cory Booker test positive for COVID breakthrough

U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Sen. Cory Booker said Sunday they both tested positive for COVID-19 as the country deals with another surge in cases and the emergence of the omicron variant. Here’s the full story.

Dec. 19, 2021

11 p.m.
3 omicron variant cases detected in the San Francisco’s Mission District with no travel history

Nearly three weeks after the first omicron case in the U.S was detected in San Francisco, researchers at the Chan Zuckerberg BioHub detected three new cases in the Mission District. Here’s the full story.

Dec. 17, 2021

10 a.m.
1st case of omicron variant confirmed in Marin Co.

Marin County health officials confirmed their first case of the omicron variant. The individual had recently traveled from the Eastern U.S. and was fully vaccinated but had not yet received a booster shot. The person is now in isolation with mild symptoms.

9 a.m.
COVID-19 positivity rate in New York City nearly doubles in 3 days

Alarmed by a rapid rise in COVID-19 cases and the increasing prevalence of the omicron variant, New York City officials were working to distribute one million masks and 500,000 home tests, Mayor Bill de Blasio said. Here’s more on the increase in cases.

Dec. 16, 2021

6 p.m.
Santa Clara Co. health leaders fear surge of new COVID variant cases
Nearly a week after the first case of omicron was detected in the South Bay, Santa Clara County’s top health officials are starting to express concern. Ten confirmed cases include four unvaccinated individuals, five vaccinated and one person who recently got a booster. Here’s more from Santa Clara Co. Health Director Dr. Sara Cody.

1 p.m.
CDC committee recommends opting for Pfizer or Moderna over J&J, if given the choice

Most Americans should be given the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines instead of the Johnson & Johnson shot that can cause rare but serious blood clots, U.S. health advisers recommended Thursday. Here’s the full story.

Dec. 10, 2021


11 a.m.
Health officials give update on 1st omicron case in Santa Clara Co.

Santa Clara County health officials say the person who contracted the omicron variant was exposed in Florida. The person noticed symptoms on Nov. 30 and was tested on Dec. 1. The person was vaccinated but not boosted and had “very mild” illness, according to Santa Clara Co. Health Director Dr. Sara Cody.

Health officials say they are doing waste water surveillance where they found the omicron variant in a sewer shed that serves 200,0000 people in the north part of the county.

8:40 a.m.
Santa Clara Co. reports 1st omicron case

Santa Clara County is reporting its first case of omicron. The person is in isolation and was fully vaccinated but had not received a booster; they had recently returned from domestic travel out of state.

Dec. 8, 2021


2:45 p.m.
Free COVID-19 testing, vaccination clinic in Oakland closes due to staffing, vaccine shortages
A free COVID-19 testing and vaccination clinic in downtown Oakland has abruptly closed its doors, city officials announced Wednesday. The clinic at 250 Frank Ogawa Plaza, near City Hall, was scheduled to stay open until at least the end of December. But a shortage of vaccine and of staff forced it to close, according to city officials. City officials said a clinic in the Fruitvale area is open and supplying boosters, vaccinations, and testing for free. The clinic is located at 3411 E. 12th St., Suite 130. It is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. seven days a week.

8:40 a.m.
Fauci: Omicron ‘almost certainly’ not more severe than delta
Dr. Anthony Fauci said that the omicron variant is “almost certainly” not more severe than delta. He stressed, however, that it is important to not overinterpret early data, as the patients being followed skew younger and are less likely to become hospitalized. Severe illness can take weeks to develop.

Dec. 7, 2021


12 pm.
Chase Center updates COVID policy for kids

Children ages 5 to 11 now have to provide proof of vaccination or a negative COVID test prior to entry at the Chase Center in San Francisco. The test must be taken no more than 72 hours before the start of the event.

Dec. 6, 2021

12 pm.
SAP Center updates COVID policy

The SAP Center in San Jose will now require proof of vaccination or a negative COVID test (within 72 hours of the event) for any guests ages 3-11 starting Thur. Dec. 9.

6:15 a.m.
NYC mandating vaccines for all private sector employees

Mayor Bill de Blasio announced a COVID vaccine mandate for all private-sector employers in New York City. The mandate is set to begin on December 27. The mayor called it a proactive, “First in the nation measure.” In addition, de Blasio said there will also be required vaccine proof for indoor dining, fitness, and entertainment for children 5 to 11.

5 a.m.
17 people test positive for COVID-19 on cruise ship in New Orleans

At least 17 people aboard a Norwegian Cruise Lines ship docked in New Orleans have tested positive for COVID-19, officials said. The cases were found among both passengers and crew members on the Norwegian Breakaway cruise ship. A probable case of the omicron variant was also identified among a member of the crew, who is not a Louisiana resident and did not leave the ship, according to the Louisiana Department of Health.

Dec. 3, 2021


6:00 p.m.
5 cases of omicron variant identified in Alameda Co.

Alameda County health officials announced Friday evening that they have identified five cases of the omicron variant, all individuals are vaccinated, and most had received boosters. Officials say the cases are linked to a Nov. 27 wedding in Wisconsin which one of these individuals attended upon return from international travel.

5:20 a.m.
Hawaii latest state to confirm omicron case

Hawaii became the fifth state to detect the omicron variant, after confirming a case through expedited genomic sequencing, health officials said. The individual is an unvaccinated resident of Oahu who had a previous COVID-19 infection, the state health department said. The person is experiencing “moderate symptoms,” the department said. The resident has no recent travel history, indicating that this is a case of community transmission, health officials said.

Dec. 2, 2021


7 a.m.
Mask mandate on public transportation extended through March 18
Required masks on public transportation, including airplanes, rails and buses, will be extended through March 18, according to a new plan from the Biden administration.

Dec. 1, 2021

11a.m.
1st US case of Omicron variant reported in San Francisco
The first case of the Omicron variant in the United States is reported in San Francisco, city health officials said on Wednesday.
The city’s health department confirmed that the infected person returned from South Africa on November 22, and is a San Francisco resident.
The patient had mild symptoms.
This is the first known case detected nationwide.
Omicron has been named a “variant of concern” and the CDC has been monitoring for it since before Thanksgiving.

6:05 a.m.
Pfizer requests FDA authorization to expand booster eligibility
Pfizer has officially requested Food and Drug Administration authorization of its COVID-19 booster for 16- and 17-year-olds, the company’s CEO said.

VACCINE TRACKER: How California is doing, when you can get a coronavirus vaccine

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