January 22, 2021
Eden Health District COVID-19 Bulletin
"The Biden administration is putting science and public health first from day one. An encouraging step forward in our effort to get the virus under control. We are nowhere near out of the woods, but we have taken the first step toward getting there."
Dr. Tom Frieden, former CDC Director, 1/21/21
Artist honors frontline workers with free portraits
For artists like John Deckert, working from home is nothing new.

The Covid-19 pandemic didn't change how Deckert painted. It did, however, change what, or who, he paints. As shelter-at-home orders dragged on in his North Bay community, Deckert couldn't help but notice all the people who didn't have the option of staying at home.

So, he started painting them. "I started doing the delivery guy, mailman, somebody working at the cash register," Deckert said. "Occupations where they had to keep working."

It was the start of a series of portraits of people who risk their health to keep our world working. Once finished, Deckert gives the painting to the subject for free.
Lately, Deckert has been focusing on painting those who are on the very front lines of the pandemic: nurses at Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital.
"It's one of my most prized possessions now," Sheila Smith, an emergency room nurse at the hospital, said. She got a message from Deckert a few months ago asking her to take pictures of herself and her coworkers, which he then spent hours upon hours turning into paintings.

"I felt honored to be included in one of his portraits," said Laurie North, another nurse at SRMH. The two nurses say over the past year they have received gifts of gratitude for their work, such as food or masks, but nothing like the portrait.

"It's acknowledging what they have done and to say, 'Thank you,'" Deckert said. "You shared what skill you have and I shared mine."

Source: KRON TV News
By the Numbers
Bay Area: 352,011

California: 3,099,473

U.S.: 24,737,567
Alameda County

Cases: 69,314

Deaths: 842

Test Positivity: 10.4%

Hospitalized Patients: 451

ICU Beds Available: 66
Bay Area: 3,655

California: 35,835

U.S.: 412,239
Contra Costa County

Cases: 53,844

Deaths: 478

Test Positivity: 12.8%

Hospitalized Patients: 280

ICU Beds Available: 26
Bay Area ICU Capacity: 6.6%

Sources: Johns Hopkins UniversitySF Chronicle, and dashboards for California and Alameda and Contra Costa Counties
Test positivity is based on a 14-day average. Hospitalized patients refers to patients with confirmed and suspected Covid-19.
Bay Area Vaccine Distribution Focus
SF Chronicle, January 21, 2021

• Alameda County is currently vaccinating health care workers and residents of long-term care facilities, and will move on to individuals 65 and older and frontline essential workers soon. People can fill out this form to be notified when it’s their turn. The county’s latest update on vaccine eligibility says: “For those who are age 65 and older and are interested in getting vaccinated, we encourage you to please reach out to your health care provider to see if they have vaccine available at this time. Otherwise, we anticipate being able to start vaccinating this group in the coming weeks.”

• Contra Costa County: This online form currently allows health care workers and individuals 65 and older to request vaccination appointments.

• San Francisco: The public health department and private providers — including UCSF, Kaiser and Sutter — will help open the city’s first mass vaccination site at City College on Ocean Avenue near Interstate 280 today. Those eligible for a vaccine, such as health care workers and those 75 and older, will be contacted by their provider and invited to the site, which is appointment-only. San Francisco residents can go to www.sf.gov/vaccinenotify and submit contact and eligibility information, and then be notified via email when it’s their turn to get vaccinated.
East Bay Times, January 22, 2021

• Kaiser Permanente: After earlier saying it would schedule appointments for those 65 and up and providing a phone number, the HMO has scaled back. According to the vaccine page on its website, Kaiser now is saying it will mail a letter or send an email to patients 75 and older to schedule an appointment. It no longer provides a phone number for people to proactively make an appointment. Kaiser is allowing health care workers, long-term care patients and staff and emergency medical services workers to set up an e-visit to book a vaccine.

• Sutter Health's vaccine website says it is scheduling appointments for health care workers and those age 75 and up, prioritizing patients at the highest risk. Sutter patients can call 844-987-6115 to schedule an appointment or sign into their My Health Online portal to reserve a time online.

• Stanford Health Care's coronavirus site says it is vaccinating its primary care patients, but eligibility varies by county. Residents of Santa Clara and San Mateo counties who are at least 75 years old can be vaccinated at 2585 Samaritan Drive, San Jose. Beginning Friday, Jan. 22, it will also offer vaccinations at the Arrillaga Center at 341 Galvez Street on the Stanford campus. As of Thursday, Stanford patients 65 and up in Alameda and Contra Costa counties can schedule an appointment to get vaccinated at 6121 Hollis Street in Emeryville. Eligible patients can make an appointment via the MyHealth portal or by calling 650-498-9000.
Bay Area News
SF Chronicle, January 21, 2020
Residents of San FranciscoSanta Clara, and Contra Costa counties have launched online dashboards to help track distribution of the vaccines. Like other counties throughout the state, they have reported continued challenges with insufficient and unpredictable supplies from the state and federal government — leading to widespread confusion and frustration among eligible residents anxious to receive the shots. Users cannot sign up for appointments on the dashboards.

East Bay Times, January 22, 2021
When Gov. Gavin Newsom announced last week that the state would allow vaccinations for those 65 and older, Kaiser followed suit. But opening the floodgates from health care workers to hundreds of thousands of other people proved chaotic. Phone lines jammed and online appointment systems quickly overloaded with requests for appointments.

On Tuesday — just a week after opening up appointments for those 65 and older — Kaiser announced it was now limiting vaccinations to people 75 and older. Today, though, even those who qualify under the new parameters can no longer call, email or use the health care provider’s online system to make an appointment. Kaiser in essence has told them don’t call us, we’ll call you.
Coronavirus Surge in Alameda County: Example of San Leandro
Based on data from the Alameda County Public Health Department, 4,235 San Leandro residents have been infected with Covid-19 since the pandemic began. However, the increase in cases has not been uniform. 64% of all confirmed Covid-19 cases among San Leandro residents have been reported since Thanksgiving 2020.
Vaccine & Health News
CBS News, January 21, 2021
Dr. Anthony Fauci returned to the White House briefing room Thursday to give an update on the coronavirus pandemic. Fauci, the nation's leading infectious disease official, had often been sidelined in recent months by former President Trump.

Tara Parker-Pope, editor, NY Times, January 21, 2021
We should all be thinking about the quality of our masks right now. Double-masking is a sensible and easy way to lower your risk when you have to spend more time around others — in a taxi, or on a train or plane.

BBC News, January 22, 2021
Early evidence suggests the variant of coronavirus that emerged in the UK may be more deadly, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said. However, there is still huge uncertainty around the numbers - and vaccines are expected to work. The data come from mathematicians comparing death rates in people infected with either the new or the old versions of the virus.

Beth Skwarecki, health reporter, LifeHacker, January 21, 2021
One of the big reasons we’re seeing new variants now, a year into the pandemic, is that there’s just so much more virus out there than there was 12 months ago. The more virus there is in the world, the more chances it has to mutate. And the more variants there are, the greater the chances that some of them will be bad news. B.1.1.7 was found in November 2020 in the UK, where it had probably been circulating since September or earlier. It seems to be 50% more transmissible than a typical Covid virus. 
US and California Data: Last 90 Days
Covid Tracking Project, 1/21/21 (bold lines are 7-day averages)
United States
California News
LA Times, January 22, 2021
California is continuing to see record-breaking deaths from Covid-19, a lagging indicator of the winter surge that is coming even as overall coronavirus cases and hospitalizations have flattened and started to slightly decline.

The state broke the record Thursday for most Covid-19 deaths in a single day: 736, surpassing the mark set on Jan. 15, when 700 deaths were reported. California is still averaging about 500 deaths a day over the past week, one of the worst such figures of the pandemic, but slightly lower than a week ago, when the state was averaging 534 deaths a day.

KQED, January 21, 2021
At least seven California children have died from Covid-19 since the pandemic began, more than 350,000 have tested positive for the virus and the number of kids diagnosed with a new, rare inflammatory syndrome continues to grow.

All of these stats are on the rise just as a new, highly contagious strain of the virus is worrying parents and experts alike, and as the state tries to move toward reopening schools next month.

Associated Press, January 22, 2021
Gov. Newsom has from the start said his coronavirus policy decisions would be driven by data shared with the public to provide maximum transparency. But with the state starting to emerge from its worst surge, his administration won’t disclose key information that will help determine when his latest stay-at-home order is lifted. State officials said they rely on a very complex set of measurements that would confuse and potentially mislead the public if they were released.

At the start of last week, the four regions under restrictions appeared unlikely to see the stay-at-home order lifted soon because capacity was well below 15%. But within a day the state announced it was lifting the order for the 13-county Greater Sacramento region.

Suddenly, outdoor dining and worship services were OK again, hair and nail salons and other businesses could reopen, and retailers could allow more shoppers inside. Local officials and businesses were caught off guard. It’s a mystery how the state made the decision or how and when it will lift the most serious restrictions on the bulk of the population because the data is not being shared.

KQED, January 21, 2021
A week after Gov. Newsom expanded vaccine eligibility to residents 65 and older, state officials are now proposing a plan to complete vaccinations for all seniors before anyone else. The shift is causing frustration among health advocates who have spent the last two months hashing out a plan that prioritized essential workers and gave more weight to racial and socioeconomic factors. With a scarce vaccine supply and a mounting death toll, the tension between equity and efficiency is increasing.
US News
NY Times, January 21, 2021
President Biden on Thursday revealed a slate of new executive orders and presidential directives intended to speed up production of Covid-19 supplies, increase testing capacity and require mask wearing during interstate travel — part of a sprawling 200-page national pandemic strategy he announced at a White House event.

Here’s what the orders aim to do.
  • Ramp up the pace of manufacturing and testing. One order calls on agency leaders to check for shortages in areas like personal protective gear and vaccine supplies, and identify where the administration could invoke the Defense Production Act to increase manufacturing. 
  • Require mask wearing during interstate travel. An order issued Thursday requires mask wearing in airports and on many airplanes, intercity buses and trains.
  • Form better data collection systems. One order calls on the health and human services secretary and the White House’s Covid-19 response coordinator to re-evaluate the federal government’s Covid-19 data-gathering systems and issue a report on their findings. 
  • Establish a health equity task force. Another order creates a Covid-19 “health equity task force,” which will recommend how to carve out more funding for parts of the population particularly hard hit by the virus, analyzing needs by race, ethnicity, geography and disability, among other factors. Biden said on Thursday that the task force would address hesitancy toward taking the vaccines.
  • Publish guidance for schools and workers. Biden issued an order meant to protect the health of workers during the pandemic, telling the Occupational Safety and Health Administration to release new guidance for employers. The order also asks the agency to step up enforcement of existing rules to help stop the spread of Covid-19 in the workplace
  • Find more treatments for Covid-19 and future pandemics. The Biden administration is calling on the health and human services secretary and the director of the National Institutes of Health to draft a plan to support the study of new drugs for Covid-19 and future public health crises through large, randomized trials.

Axios, January 22, 2021
Communities of color tend to have fewer pharmacies per capita, putting them at a disadvantage in the coronavirus vaccination effort. If racial disparities aren't addressed in the vaccination effort, including by setting up alternative vaccine sites, communities of color will fall even further behind in a pandemic that has already highlighted deep structural racism within the health care system.
Black Americans are already trailing white Americans in the states that track the race of vaccinated residents, KHN recently reported.
CA Education News
EdSource, January 22, 2021
An unpredictable vaccine supply and lack of statewide coordination has school districts across California struggling to figure out how to vaccinate their teachers and other school staff — and equally importantly, when.

Interviews with county schools chiefs and district leaders indicate wide disparities in how far along school districts in different parts of the state are in vaccinating school staff.

EdSource, January 22, 2021
It remains unclear when California’s K-12 campuses will reopen for in-person instruction, but one Bay Area school district has committed to continuing distance learning in the fall and beyond — at least as an option. West Contra Costa Unified officials last week presented their early plans for a permanent district-wide, K-12 “virtual learning academy” for the 2021-2022 school year and beyond. They also introduced two additional virtual programs for high school students to enhance the distance learning experience: a visual and performing arts academy and a career technical academy.
NY Times, January 21, 2021
None of Elissa Elder-Aga’s kindergarten students have spent a day inside a classroom this school year, like a vast majority of the roughly 600,000 students in the Los Angeles Unified School District, the nation’s second-largest after New York City.

And her struggles echo those voiced by teachers nationwide: Will all-remote instruction cause lower-income students and students of color to fall further behind their more affluent peers?

The data is sparse, but early surveys are worrisome. In November, Austin Beutner, the Los Angeles superintendent, said the district had seen a 15% increase in D’s and F’s among high school students this school year compared with the last, and a 10% drop in reading proficiency among elementary school students.

Experts have found that remote instruction falls far short of classroom learning. But surveys have shown that a majority of Black and Latino parents in Los Angeles are still hesitant about sending their children back into schools. The district is roughly 74% Latino, 10% white, 8% African-American and 4% Asian-American. Roughly 80% of students live in poverty, according to the district.

School bus parade welcomes home Covid-19 survivor
Shortly after 9 a.m. on a gray, sunless Wednesday with the wind blowing more than 20 mph, roughly 70 members of Wyoming’s Campbell County School District transportation department spread across more than 40 buses and district vehicles paraded past Vicki Wood’s house to tell her they love her.

Wood, 71, a longtime district transportation employee who retired in 2018, had gotten home the day before after 54 days in the hospital with Covid-19. She was bundled in a coat, stocking hat, gloves and a face mask and sat on her porch in a wheelchair covered by lap blankets to receive the long line of buses. It was a secret up until the moment her family decked Wood out in her winter gear and insisted on some fresh air.

When the first buses rolled into view and made the sweeping left turn onto her street, Wood was overwhelmed. “Oh my God,” she cried, burying her face in her gloved hands.
Then she waved like a reigning queen as her subjects came to pay their respects. There were signs pinned to the buses and their horns blared. Some drivers opened their doors to shout their well wishes, and others had people hanging from windows to wave and shout.

“The Covid thing has changed everyone’s job,” Janice Hauber, who has more than 40 years in the transportation department said. “Our jobs have been a lot harder. This was a great morale booster for our department to have everyone pull together and do something fun. “She was very appreciative and loved it and her family loved it. And it made an impact. We needed something like that in our department right now.”

Source: KEVN TV News
International News
NY Times, January 21, 2021
For weeks, Britain has reported eye-watering coronavirus death numbers, hospitals have continued to fill up, and fears are high that it will take months to control the spread of a highly transmissible variant first detected in the Kent region of England last year.

Yet vaccination figures have offered a glimmer of hope: Nearly five million people had received a first vaccine dose in Britain as of Friday, according to government data. That amounts to about 8 percent of the population.

Washington Post, January 22, 2021
In Wuhan, where life appears to have returned to normal with schools, businesses, restaurants and bars reopened, residents say a full recovery is not possible until the outbreak can be openly discussed and key questions answered. “We aren’t able to talk about what it was that this city went through,” said Guo Jing, a social worker in Wuhan and author of “Wuhan Lockdown Diary,” an account of the 76-day citywide quarantine. “When people cannot talk about these things, they won’t go away. The trauma is definitely there.”

Associated Press, January 22, 2021
The death toll from the coronavirus in Germany has passed 50,000, a number that has risen swiftly over recent weeks even as infection figures are finally declining.

Germany had a comparatively small number of deaths in the pandemic’s first phase and was able to lift many restrictions quickly. But it has seen much higher levels of infections in the fall and winter. Hundreds of deaths, sometimes more than 1,000, have been reported daily in the country of 83 million people over recent weeks. Germany hit the 40,000 mark on Jan. 10.

Associated Press, January 22, 2021
Japan is publicly adamant that it will stage its postponed Olympics this summer. But to pull it off, many believe the vaccination of its 127 million citizens for the coronavirus is key.
It’s an immense undertaking in the best of circumstances and complicated now by an overly cautious decision-making process, bureaucratic roadblocks and a public that has long been deeply wary of vaccines.

Japan hopes to start Covid-19 vaccinations in late February, but uncertainty is growing that a nation ranked among the world’s lowest in vaccine confidence can pull off the massive, $14 billion project in time for the games in July, casting doubt on whether the Tokyo Olympics can happen.
Covid Tracking Project, The Atlantic, January 21, 2021
In last week’s update, we wrote that the United States had reported the worst weekly case, hospitalization, and death numbers of the pandemic. At the time, it wasn’t clear what proportion of the case and death increases were related to post holiday reporting backlogs.

This week brings some clarity: The backlogs appear to be largely behind us, and the underlying trends are moving in the right direction for most of the country. Even for the states experiencing the worst outbreaks, we are seeing early indications that the rates of cases, hospitalizations, and deaths are easing, though some areas are still reporting dangerously high case and hospitalization levels and wrenching death rates.

Andrea Diaz, CNN. January 22, 2021
About 6 in 10 Americans don't know when or where to get a coronavirus vaccine, according a survey released Friday from the Kaiser Family Foundation.

This comes after reports that President Biden's administration must start from scratch with federal plans for distribution, having been left little to no framework from former President Trump and his team. The report, based on surveys conducted from January 11-18 with 1,563 adults, suggests Americans are experiencing a range of emotions from the vaccine rollout. Half of the people surveyed said they are "frustrated," a third said they felt

Associated Press, January 22, 2021
Public health experts Thursday blamed COVID-19 vaccine shortages around the U.S. in part on the Trump administration’s push to get states to vastly expand their vaccination drives to reach the nation’s estimated 54 million people age 65 and over.
The push that began over a week ago has not been accompanied by enough doses to meet demand, according to state and local officials, leading to frustration and confusion and limiting states’ ability to attack the outbreak that has killed over 400,000 Americans.

The vaccine rollout so far has been “a major disappointment,” said Dr. Eric Topol, head of the Scripps Research Translational Institute. Problems started with the Trump administration’s “fatal mistake” of not ordering enough vaccine, which was then snapped up by other countries, Topol said. Then, opening the line to senior citizens set people up for disappointment because there wasn’t enough vaccine, he said. The Trump administration also left crucial planning to the states and didn’t provide the necessary funding. “It doesn’t happen by fairy dust,” Topol said. “You need to put funds into that.”
East Bay Focus
by day as of 1/21/21
by day as of 1/21/21
Over the last seven days, Alameda County officials have reported 5,242 new coronavirus cases, which amounts to 319 cases per 100,000 residents.
Over the last seven days, Contra Costa County officials have reported 4,085 new coronavirus cases, which amounts to 360 cases per 100,000 residents.
Top 10 Locations of Cases in Alameda County, as of 1/20/21
Oakland: 21,463

Hayward: 10,938

Fremont: 6,066

Eden MAC: 4,798

San Leandro: 4,235

Livermore: 3,544

Union City: 3,210

Berkeley: 2,437

Newark: 2,256

Castro Valley: 2,030
Top 10 Locations of Cases in Contra Costa County, as of 1/22/21
Richmond: 8,409

Antioch: 7,237

Concord: 6,490

Pittsburgh: 5,351

San Pablo: 4,270

Brentwood: 2,803

Oakley: 2,328

Walnut Creek: 2,235

Bay Point: 2,191

San Ramon: 1,645
East Bay Resources

Where to get a Covid-19 Test

Vaccine Distribution Plan

Reopening: List of Businesses and Activities

Food Pantries
Mask On Eden Area
Working in collaboration with the Alameda County Public Health Department, the Cities of Hayward and San Leandro, and the Castro Valley and Eden Area Municipal Advisory Councils, the District has printed “Mask On” posters for each city and community in the Eden Health District area. The posters are free and intended for businesses, health clinics, schools, churches, public agencies and nonprofit organizations to display in their entrances.

The public is welcome to download and print or share “Mask On” posters from the District’s website. Posters are available in English, Spanish and Chinese languages.

Your feedback is welcome. Please share the Bulletin.
The Eden Health District Board of Directors are Mariellen Faria, Chair, Pam Russo, Vice Chair, Roxann Lewis, Treasurer, Gordon Galvan and Varsha Chauhan. The Chief Executive Officer is Mark Friedman.

The Eden Health District is committed to ensuring that policy makers and community members receive accurate and timely information to help make the best policy and personal choices to meet and overcome the challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic. We publish the Bulletin on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, unless the day falls on a public holiday.

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We welcome your feedback on our bulletin. Please contact Bulletin editor Stephen Cassidy.