January 4, 2021
Eden Health District COVID-19 Bulletin
“We’ve got to get through this very dark month of January to get to feeling a lot better about where we’re going with the pandemic."
Dr. John Swartzberg, UCSF, January 3, 2021

"But some little glimmer of hope is that in the last 72 hours they've gotten 1.5 million doses [of the Covid-19 vaccines] into people's arms, which is an average of about 500,000 a day, which is much better than the beginning when it was much, much less than that."
Dr. Anthony Fauci, January 3, 2021
SF-based organization creates fashion industry jobs during pandemic
Rebecca Cahua is giving back while keeping the Bay Area fashion and manufacturing industry alive during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The company she founded, Designing a Difference, created The DaD Sewing House, an operating contract manufacturer that provides cut and sew services for fashion designer, apparel brands, and interior soft goods. Located in San Francisco, the DaD Sewing House helps generate stable jobs for those with employment barriers, as well as supports the fashion industry in the city.

"Designing a Difference is helping this community in so many ways. She's employing a lot of people right now. And she has been employing a lot of people throughout this whole pandemic, when most people were laying people off," Nate Liggins, a holistic health coach.
The organization also distributes lunches to Bay Area homeless communities with the support of volunteers and funders. Designing a Difference hosts various community give back events, and recently completed their "Holiday Give Back" virtual event.

"Being able to get up and do something like this. And then seeing people that come together to support is just always really empowering," said Cahua.

Source: ABC 7 News
By the Numbers
Bay Area: 274,069

California: 2,381,983

U.S.: 20,748,806
Alameda County

Cases: 55,073

Deaths: 656

Adjusted Cases per Day: 22.5

Test Positivity: 9.1%

Hospitalized Patients: 466

ICU Beds Available: 62
Bay Area: 2,635

California: 26,637

U.S.: 352,645
Contra Costa County

Cases: 42,628

Deaths: 347

Adjusted Cases per Day: 29

Test Positivity: 10.5%

Hospitalized Patients: 272

ICU Beds Available: 34
Sources: Johns Hopkins UniversitySF Chronicle, and dashboards for California and Alameda and Contra Costa Counties
Adjusted cases per day is per 100,000 residents. Test positivity is based on a 14-day average. Hospitalized patients refers to patients with confirmed and suspected Covid-19.
Bay Area News
Mercury News, January 4, 2021
A well-intentioned holiday pick-me-up has turned fatal after an employee at Kaiser Permanente’s San Jose hospital died from a case of Covid-19 traced back to a visitor in a blow-up Christmas tree costume.

Hospital officials confirmed the death in a statement. “Our thoughts and prayers are with those affected by this terrible loss,” a Kaiser spokesman said in the statement. “We are providing support to our employees during this difficult time.”

Hospital officials initially reported an outbreak of 44 infections traced back to the Christmas gathering, but this would be the first fatality associated with the informal Dec. 25 visit. All 44, including the employee who died, had been working in the emergency department that day, according to NBC Bay Area, which also described the outbreak’s first victim as a woman who worked as a registration clerk in the department.

No patients are believed to have been infected but officials said this weekend that they were conducting additional tests for anybody who had been exposed. Employees confirmed or suspected to have the virus are asked to stay home, and the medical center’s emergency ward has undergone a deep cleaning, officials said. The costumed spreader of the virus was not identified beyond a being a fellow employee of the hospital. However, their visit was not sanctioned by the hospital, officials said.

SF Chronicle, January 3, 2021
January will be a grim month, health experts said. On the bright side: Two promising vaccines are now available to deliver relief from the relentless pandemic. On the other hand, the pace of vaccination nationally has been slower than expected, and the potentially rapid spread of a mutant strain could threaten another wave of infections beyond the holiday surge.

“It feels like we’re in the abyss right now, sinking toward the bottom,” said Dr. John Swartzberg, clinical professor emeritus in the division of infectious diseases and vaccinology at the UC Berkeley School of Public Health. “We’re not going to sort of get some balance in our lives again until probably sometime in February.”

ABC 7 News, January 3, 2021
The coronavirus pandemic is causing massive wait-times at Santa Clara County hospitals. The Santa Clara Public Health department says "on several occasions over the past week," ambulances have waited up to seven hours to get a patient into the emergency department. The extended wait times are "largely due to the significant volume of patients at hospitals, which have been heavily affected by the increase in Covid-19 cases and hospitalizations." While ambulances wait, EMTs are unable to respond to other emergencies. The fire department has served as a backup six times because so many ambulances "were tied up at hospital emergency departments."

SF Chronicle, January 4, 2021
After a brutal year that left many gyms breathless, California’s fitness industry is pedaling frantically to stay in place.
Indoor gyms were closed in the Bay Area and most of California last month, but the state decided that outdoor fitness was an essential business. That’s different from March’s shelter-in-place orders, which closed all fitness operations and even some parks, and a contrast to outdoor dining, which is now banned as coronavirus cases spike — perhaps a reflection of the fact that people must remove masks to eat.

Some fitness operators have been able to maintain a smattering of business through outdoor gyms, though executives say it’s far more challenging financially compared with the old days of densely packed indoor workouts.
San Ramon’s 24 Hour Fitness exited bankruptcy last week after closing around 130 gyms in the past year. It has outdoor gyms open in Alameda, Contra Costa, Santa Clara and Sonoma counties.
Vaccine News
NY Times, January 4, 2021
As governments around the world rush to vaccinate their citizens, scientists and policymakers are locked in a heated debate over a surprising question: Is it wisest to hold back the second doses everyone will need, or to give as many people as possible an inoculation now — and push back the second doses?

Since even the first shot appears to provide some protection, some experts believe that the shortest route to containing the virus is to disseminate the initial injections as widely as possible now. Officials in Britain have already decided to delay second doses of vaccines made by the pharmaceutical companies AstraZeneca and Pfizer as a way of more widely distributing the partial protection afforded by a single shot.

Health officials in the United States have been adamantly opposed to the idea. “I would not be in favor of that,” Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, told CNN on Friday. “We’re going to keep doing what we’re doing.”

Bloomberg, January 4, 2021
An easier-to-spread variant of Covid-19 detected in the U.S. for the first time last week could intensify the virus’s surge, if it hasn’t already, boosting the urgency for a speedier, more effective vaccine push. Only three states -- Colorado, California and Florida -- have identified cases of the mutated strain that’s been raging in the U.K. for months. But U.S. health officials say they don’t yet know how far the variant may already have traveled in the U.S., or what it could mean for the future.

The discovery of the mutant strain in the U.S. comes as the drive to vaccinate most Americans has been hampered by ineffective coordination and a lack of federal support for states and health-care systems. While more than 4.28 million Americans had been vaccinated as of Saturday evening, according to Bloomberg’s vaccine tracker, that’s far fewer than the 20 million doses U.S. health officials predicted for the end of 2020.

Science, December 30, 2020
Beijing Biological Products Institute announced that its vaccine had 79.34% efficacy in a phase III study and was safe. The company, part of state-owned Sinopharm—one of the world’s largest vaccine manufacturers—said it is seeking approval from China’s regulatory agency. Although apparently good news, the statement left vaccine scientists clamoring for details. It said nothing about the number of trial participants, the rates of Covid-19 in the vaccinated and placebo groups, or even the locations of the trials.

Then, the United Kingdom authorized emergency use of a vaccine made by AstraZeneca and the University of Oxford that had earlier caused perplexity after researchers reported efficacy results that combined trials with different populations, dosing of shots, and intervals between the prime and booster injections. Still more surprising, the U.K. Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) said the booster shot could be delayed for up to 12 weeks after the primary shot.

But some scientists questioned MHRA’s decision, wondering how much protection a single shot offers. Biostatistician Natalie Dean of the University of Florida thinks MHRA moved too quickly and without enough explanation of its decision. “Clearly there were deliberations that the U.K. had about this, but we don’t have access to those discussions,” Dean says. “I think there’s something lost in the process when we don’t have a really transparent approach.”

Still, Covid-19 vaccines are in short supply the world over, and both the Sinopharm report and the MHRA decision are likely to speed up immunizations. The AstraZeneca-Oxford collaboration hopes to make 3 billion doses next year; Sinopharm has 100 million doses on hand and projects it will produce 1 billion next year.
US and California Data: Last 90 Days
Covid Tracking Project, 1/3/21 (bold lines are 7-day averages)
United States
California News
East Bay Times, January 4, 2021
California’s coronavirus cases have slowed since Christmas, but testing delays coupled with the average timeline of infection mean the impact of holiday gatherings likely may not be fully realized until next week.

For over a week now, though, California’s average daily case count has plateaued below its pre-Christmas peak. On Sunday, counties combined to report 22,141 new cases of Covid-19 and 93 deaths from the virus. But while new cases have remained about flat, the rate of tests to come back positive in the state has spiked near a new high, and its daily death toll continues to swell.

Sacramento Bee, January 4, 2021
Californians hunkered down, and just as many had hoped, the state began to bend the curve of coronavirus transmission. In April, when New York City was experiencing 1,200 coronavirus deaths a day, California, with four times the population, recorded about 70. Throughout the spring and into early summer, while death rates shot up in states like Florida and Texas, California’s stayed relatively low.

The reprieve was short-lived. Now, even though 98.3% of the state’s population is under stay-at-home orders, more than 250 Californians are dying daily, with hospital staff and resources stretched thin. In Southern California, some Los Angeles County mortuaries are running out of room to store the dead. Yet, the toll in California isn’t as severe as some states.

San Diego Union Tribune, January 3, 2021
A growing archive of comments and letters captures the urgency, and anxiety, at this fraught period of a pandemic that has killed 25,000 people in the state, sickened another 2.2 million and brought the state health care system to its knees.

State leaders previously determined who gets first priority for the vaccine — frontline healthcare workers in hospitals, and residents and workers at long term care facilities, where the virus poses a huge risk to the vulnerable elderly population. Also included are paramedics and emergency responders, workers in dialysis centers, and depending on their risk levels, some home health care workers, laboratory employees and community health care workers.
Few quarrel with that initial grouping, known as Phase 1A.

It is priority in the subsequent groups, or Phase 1B, that has attracted the most attention. That phase would include people ages 16 to 64 with high-risk medical conditions, as well as essential workers in designated fields such as education and child care, food and agriculture and emergency services. But that’s only a proposal at this point. The state has not determined yet who would be in Phase 1B, and the vaccine advisory committee is not scheduled to meet until Jan. 6 when a recommendation for that grouping could be made.

LA Times, January 4, 2021
One thing about the pandemic has not changed during the darkest phase: those who suffer most. For those with the means to stay home and the strength to avoid gatherings, Covid-19 has remained a relatively low risk. For people living in crowded conditions and who must work, it’s become an even more mortal threat. Workplaces remain an area of growing concern, amid new outbreaks at retail establishments as well as other businesses deemed essential. The massive increase in cases makes the chances of workplace transmission higher.

There are seven Costco warehouses with clusters of confirmed cases of at least 15 infected staffers, with a Culver City location reporting 71 staffers testing positive for the virus, one in Van Nuys with 50, and another in Woodland Hills with 42. Other affected stores include Lancaster, Monterey Park, Santa Clarita and the business warehouse in Burbank, according to data released by the L.A. County Department of Public Health.

LA Times, January 4, 2021
Arrowhead Regional Medical Center in Colton is one of the largest hospitals in San Bernardino County, the 456-bed facility ran out of intensive care unit space two weeks ago amid an onslaught of Covid cases across Southern California.

Hospitals across Southern California have been hit hard by the recent Covid-19 surge. Many of them are operating at peak capacity and are concerned about an even larger surge after Christmas and New Year’s gatherings. The feeling that the other shoe — a larger and heavier one — has yet to fall is pervasive among healthcare workers.

LA Times, January 3, 2021
Los Angeles County has become the latest county in California to impose a mandatory quarantine on long-distance travelers.

Who it affects: Anyone traveling for leisure or recreation, or to visit a family member for a nonessential reason, who enters L.A. County from anywhere outside the Southern California region.

What they need to do: Quarantine themselves for 10 days. That means they need to stay at home or find other lodging and avoid contact with others, meaning they should not go out to grocery stores or restaurants but instead have food delivered to them.

Associated Press, January 3, 2021
The pandemic is getting worse in Los Angeles as the coronavirus spreads rapidly within households and Californians let their guard down, according to Mayor Eric Garcetti, who said Sunday that the nation’s most populous county is recording a new Covid-19 case every 6 seconds.
Garcetti said that he’s concerned news of a vaccine rollout “has made everybody so hopeful” that they feel they can relax their behavior. “We cannot. We cannot let up. This is a virus that preys off of our weakness, preys off of our exhaustion.”

Sacramento Bee, December 31, 2020
In the spring, California set a bold goal: Have 10,000 ventilators ready to farm out to overwhelmed hospitals treating sick patients struggling to breathe. Officials put their faith in a small Bakersfield medical supply company, Ashli Health Care. This fall the company delivered the final shipments of ventilators — 4,138 in total, state records show. The state paid out $77.7 million to the company, among the largest contracts entered during the Covid-19 response and by far the single largest purveyor of ventilators. Now, as California enters the darkest days of the pandemic, most if not all of those machines are sitting in warehouses around the state. It’s unclear if they’ll even be needed at all.
US News
Wall Street Journal, January 4, 2021
Across the nation, the surge of coronavirus cases is crowding large metro hospitals with Covid-19 patients, pushing occupancy against the limits of space and overwhelming nurses and doctors. More than 40% to 60% of ICU patients in some metro areas are critically ill from Covid-19, according to an analysis of federal data by the University of Minnesota Hospitalization Tracking Project.

The crisis is a public-health threat that reaches far beyond major cities, say doctors, nurses, public officials and experts in health-care policy. The biggest hospitals in major metro areas often have specialists and lifesaving equipment lacking at smaller regional hospitals. They serve as a release valve when smaller facilities are overrun. As large hospitals fill, they close to local ambulances as well as most patient transfers, creating a far-reaching strain on regional health-care networks.

Coming weeks are expected to further stress hospitals already in crisis, said doctors and public-health officials, with infections spread during holiday gatherings leading to more waves of patients in emergency rooms. “Many hospitals have reached a crisis point and are having to make many tough decisions about patient care,” said Christina Ghaly, director of the Department of Health Services in Los Angeles County, where Covid-19 deaths recently surpassed 10,000.

Associated Press, January 4, 2021
The U.S. ramped up COVID-19 vaccinations in the past few days after a slower-than-expected start, bringing the number of shots dispensed to about 4 million, government health officials said Sunday. Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious-disease expert, also said on ABC’s “This Week” that President-elect Joe Biden’s pledge to administer 100 million shots of the vaccine within his first 100 days in office is achievable.

Fauci said he has seen “some little glimmer of hope” after 1.5 million doses were administered in the previous 72 hours, or an average of about 500,000 per day, a marked increase in vaccinations. He said that brings the total to about 4 million. He acknowledged the U.S. fell short of its goal of having 20 million doses shipped and distributed by the end of December.

STAT, January 4, 2021
Primary care doctors are included with tier 1a, the first group designated to receive vaccines as laid out by federal guidance. These physicians have been severely affected by the pandemic; one study of more than 1,000 health care deaths in May found that primary care doctors made up the highest percentage of physician deaths within that group.

Community doctors also play a crucial role in supporting the health care system overall: Patients who are tested at their family doctor don’t need to burden an already-overwhelmed emergency care system. And while those patients may be in less acute need than ER patients, these visits still create significant contagion risks.

Yet primary care physicians, many of whom are not affiliated with hospitals and so have no direct link to vaccine distribution at this stage, are being left out of the vaccination process.

Wall Street Journal, January 4, 2021
Prison guards, criminologists and public-health advocates across the U.S. are pushing for prisons to receive Covid-19 vaccines early, arguing that a national surge of the disease among inmates and staff puts them at particularly high risk of infection and death. Health officials say inoculating guards without giving the shot to prisoners wouldn’t help stop the spread, spurring a debate over whether people convicted of crimes should be vaccinated ahead of the general population.

USA Today, January 4, 2021
More than 1.3 million travelers passed through the nation's airports on Sunday, a new pandemic travel record as passengers headed from the holidays.

The Transportation Security Administration said it screened 1,327,289 people, besting the previous high of 1,284,599, set a week earlier on the Sunday after Christmas. Those numbers are still down significantly from a year ago, but the holiday travel season has been stronger than expected given the CDC advice to stay home during the year-end holidays, a repeat of advice during Thanksgiving.
Passenger counts topped 1 million on 11 days beginning the Saturday before Christmas. During one stretch, there were five consecutive days of 1 million+ screened travelers.

Kaiser Health News, January 4, 2021
As Covid-19 has spread from big cities to rural communities, it has stressed not only hospitals, but also what some euphemistically call “last responders.” The crush has overwhelmed morgues, funeral homes and religious leaders, required ingenuity and even changed the rituals of honoring the dead.

Officials in many smaller cities and towns learned from seeing the overflow of bodies during last spring’s first wave of Covid deaths in places such as Detroit, where nurses at Detroit Medical Center Sinai-Grace Hospital alerted the media to bodies accumulating in hospital storage rooms. They watched as New York hospitals and funeral homes marshaled refrigerated trucks to store bodies. More than 600 bodies of people who died in the spring Covid surge remain in freezer trucks on the Brooklyn waterfront because officials can’t find next of kin, or relatives are also sick or unable to pay for burial.

Native communities have not only been among the hardest hit with Covid illnesses and deaths, but their grieving rituals have been among the most seriously disrupted. “Normally a funeral is a two- or three-day process with hundreds of people,” said Josiah Hugs, a Crow tribal member who is the outreach coordinator for Billings Urban Indian Health and Wellness Center. “Now there is no time to tell stories about the person, not a lot of singing and praying. I’ve been to three recent Covid funerals, and everything was at the burial site, with maybe 30 people sitting in their cars and not getting out.”
CA Education News
Politico, December 31, 2020
Gov. Gavin Newsom announced a $2 billion push Wednesday to reopen California elementary schools for the youngest students in February, offering incentives and testing to school districts that resume classroom instruction.

Newsom's plan relies on carrots rather than sticks in trying to reopen elementary schools across California. The centerpiece is a $2 billion mid-year budget request that would channel money toward getting kids back in classrooms, with an emphasis on younger children who are in transitional kindergarten through second grade. Priority will be given to districts with large numbers of low-income students, foster youth or English learners — groups whose disadvantages have been exacerbated during distance learning.

Sacramento Bee, January 4, 2021
For parents, the pandemic has upended access to early developmental screenings. Many parents fear exposure to Covid-19 at clinics, so they avoid taking their children to the pediatrician’s office. Calls to community programs that provide screenings have dropped. Well-child checkups – which include developmental screenings – have plummeted.

At Capital Pediatrics, which operates five clinics in the Sacramento area, visits are down about 50% compared to pre-pandemic levels, said clinical director Dr. Ravinder Khaira. Well-child checkups are an opportunity to look for “orange flags,” he said – signs that a child’s development is threatened or not quite on track. It could be a toddler still drinking from a baby bottle. Or a 15-month-old who isn’t walking yet.

When caught early, simple parenting strategies or exercises are often enough to get the child’s development up to speed, he said. For developmental disabilities that can’t be cured, such as autism, experts say programs such as applied behavior analysis are most effective when started early, preferably when a child is still a toddler.
US & International Education News
USA Today, January 4, 2021
Since summer, experts have warned that the mental health of the nation’s teachers – a category dominated 3-1 by women – could suffer when school resumed. That prediction appears to be bearing out. Many say their psychological well-being is suffering in ways they’ve hardly ever experienced.

CNN, January 4, 2021
Students in the UK were due to return from the Christmas break on Monday. But less than a week ago, the government announced the return to school would be delayed by 2 weeks for almost all high schoolers and some primary (elementary) school children. Learning will move online. On Sunday, Prime Minister Boris Johnson conceded schools may need to close indefinitely.

In Germany, schools switched back to remote learning in mid-December as infection numbers soared, with a decision on the way forward due on Monday. And in Ireland and Spain, teachers' unions and some local leaders are calling on federal governments to delay the return to school too.

Elliot Haspel, The Atlantic, January 4, 2021
Except in the few remaining regions with modest rates of viral spread, the transmission risk from and within schools is now beside the point. So many teachers and staff members are sick, quarantining, or have stepped down that many schools trying to remain open or to reopen just do not have the personnel available to do so well.

The reason for the shortages isn’t intransigent teachers’ unions or unreasonable fear; it’s simply that the virus is too widely spread. Upwards of 200,000 new Covid-19 cases are reported most days, and Anthony Fauci recently warned that January numbers will likely look even bleaker. The new viral variant, if it takes hold in the U.S., may worsen matters further.
Community serenades Covid survivor
A New York state man returned home after a nearly two month hospital stay to a parade of cars welcoming him back.

The family of Rich Mustee, 41, of New Hartford, NY, organized the parade as a surprise after a long bout with Covid-19 nearly took his life. Drivers honked their horns and passengers held up signs to serenade Mustee, as he sat on his porch with his wife Pam and five-year-old daughter.

"We have had an outpouring of community support, unlike anything I've ever seen," said his wife, Pam Mustee. "From Christmas gifts delivered from the ICU staff at MVHS, all the way through anonymous gifts in our mailbox to people just coming and literally moving my garbage cans up the driveway for me so that I wouldn't have to do it. We've just been beyond blessed, and we are so thankful for everything that everyone has done for us."
Mustee was admitted to the ICU on November 11 after experiencing low oxygen levels. He tested positive for Covid-19, and spent the next three weeks on a ventilator. He was in the hospital for both Thanksgiving and Christmas.

"We live in an awesome community," Pam Mustee said. “It's important that we lift each other up right now, and stay positive and stay strong."

Source: WKTV TV
International News
Associated Press, January 4, 2021
Prime Minister Boris Johnson plans to outline tougher restrictions to slow the spread of COVID-19 on Monday, even as Britain ramped up its vaccination program by becoming the first nation to start using the shot developed by Oxford University and drugmaker AstraZeneca.

Before Johnson could make his announcement, Scottish leader Nicola Sturgeon imposed a lockdown in her nation until the end of January. Beginning Tuesday, people in Scotland will be required to stay at home except for essential reasons, to help ease the pressure on hospitals and intensive care units, Sturgeon said. Under the new rules, people can go out for exercise but can only meet one person from another household. Schools will remain closed until February, except for children of key workers and those in social care.

Business Insider, January 3, 2021
During the Covid-19 pandemic, Americans have flocked to Mexico to vacation or to settle, according to multiple reports. In November, more than half a million Americans traveled to Mexico, The New York Times reported.

The influx of Americans has been partly due to relaxed restrictions at the Mexican border: While many countries require proof of a negative coronavirus test or a quarantine upon arrival, Mexico does not ask for either. But the influx has contributed to a surge in Covid-19 cases in the country. Mexico has recently reported new highs in daily cases.

NPR, January 4, 2021
Beijing says it has inoculated more than 73,000 people in the first 2 days after China's first domestic coronavirus vaccine was approved for commercial use. China's capital has set up 220 vaccination centers around the city to dole out the two-step vaccine. The elderly and front-line medical workers will receive the first doses. The shots are made by a subsidiary of Chinese state vaccine maker Sinopharm, which said on Thursday that its vaccine is 79% effective overall.

Reuters, January 4, 2021
France is accelerating its COVID-19 vaccination of medical staff in hospitals after a slow initial roll-out in one of the most vaccine-sceptical countries in the world that has drawn an angry rebuke from President Emmanuel Macron. France was slow off the mark, delivering just 516 Covid-19 inoculations during the first week of a campaign that focused on nursing home residents.

The coronavirus has killed more than 65,000 people in France, the seventh-highest national toll globally. Even so, a survey over the weekend showed six in every 10 French citizens intend to refuse vaccination.
CalMatters, January 4, 2021
The coronavirus pandemic touched the lives of every Californian, killing and sickening thousands, destroying livelihoods, isolating the young and old and devastating those already in need. CalMatters provide some of their stories.

Terry Nguyen, Vox, December 29, 2020
In June, findings published by the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health determined that city density was not directly linked to higher infection rates. Rather, researchers attributed the propensity of spread and Covid-19 mortality rates to factors like metropolitan size, education, race, age, and implementation of social distancing policies.

Still, as the coronavirus accelerates across Southern California, officials say density and other geographic specificities play a not-so-insignificant role in daily pandemic life — impacting how residents react to the crisis surrounding them. “Los Angeles has the combination of poverty and density that leads to a virus like this being able to spread much more quickly and be much more devastating,” Mayor Eric Garcetti told the Los Angeles Times.
In such a sprawling city, the everyday incidences of crowding at grocery stores or restaurants — combined with residents’ perceived physical and emotional isolation — are frustrating for the public, which is grappling with changing guidelines. When as many as 1 in 80 people is infected, unwitting contamination is likelier than ever.

Greg Gonsalves, The Nation, January 4, 2021
A group of Democratic members of Congress has called for a new health corps, and Joe Biden’s Covid-19 plan has a health force as part of its response to the pandemic. However, the people behind some of these plans seem to think that what we need now is just to focus on the virus and mobilize people to test and trace. But as contact tracers head out into the field, they are running into communities in crisis, which need more than a diagnosis and a warning to stay home. Contact tracers are becoming “part disease detective, part social work[er], part therapist,” as Dr. Emily Gurley told ProPublica; some, wrote John A. Schneider and Harold A. Pollack in the JAMA Health Forum, are serving communities “as a gateway to meet their basic needs.”

Such efforts could be the start of something remarkable: a real focus on this country’s community health, a collective realization that the pandemic is a symptom of what has ailed us as a nation. For too long, we have thought our health begins and ends with the sophisticated procedures on offer at our nation’s teaching hospitals and other major medical centers.

Dror Poleg, NY Times, January 4, 2021
Even before the pandemic, there were signs of trouble with the office market in the handful of cities where the “creative class” had been flocking. In 2018, net migration to New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco was negative, while the U.S. economy grew at a healthy 2.9 percent.

Creative magnets like London and Paris were experiencing similar declines. The defining characteristic of this new version of the creative class may not be where it lives, but its ability to live anywhere it wants.
We are proud to partner with the East Bay Community Foundation in publishing this bulletin. Through donations to its Covid-19 Response Fund, the EBCF provides grants to East Bay nonprofit organizations delivering essential services to those most impacted by the economic fallout from the pandemic.
East Bay Focus
by day as of 1/3/21
by day as of 1/1/21
Over the last seven days, Alameda County officials have reported 7,720 new coronavirus cases, which amounts to 287 cases per 100,000 residents.
Over the last seven days, Contra Costa County officials have reported 4,070 new coronavirus cases, which amounts to 359 cases per 100,000 residents.
Top 10 Locations of Cases in Alameda County, as of 1/3/21.
Oakland: 17,034

Hayward: 8,350

Fremont: 4,673

Eden MAC: 3,636

San Leandro: 3,331

Livermore: 2,770

Union City: 2,433

Berkeley: 1,940

Newark: 1,645

Castro Valley: 1,569
Top 10 Locations of Cases in Contra Costa County, as of 1/4/21
Richmond: 6,984

Antioch: 5,586

Concord: 5,144

Pittsburgh: 4,132

San Pablo: 3,433

Brentwood: 2,153

Bay Point: 1,742

Oakley: 1,729

Walnut Creek: 1,719

San Ramon: 1,312
East Bay Resources

Where to get a Covid-19 Test

Vaccine Distribution Process

Reopening: List of Businesses and Activities

Food Pantries
Alameda County Vaccine Distribution Plan
Alameda County is at the beginning of its distribution of the Pfizer and Moderna Covid19 vaccines in accordance with California and U.S. recommendations, which are evolving. The vaccines will be administered to the community in four phases.
As explained in an Alameda County Public Health Department slide presentation dated December 28, 2020, the timing through each phase depends on vaccine supply and demand. The county has some discretion within phases, but cannot skip phases or go out of order.
The county is at the currently in Phase 1a, distribution to health care workers and long term care facility residents. Phase 1a, in turn, contains three tiers:

  • Tier 1: Acute care, psychiatric and correctional facility hospital staff • Staff and residents of skilled nursing facilities, assisted living facilities, and similar settings for older or medically vulnerable individuals • Paramedics, EMTs and others providing emergency medical services • Dialysis centers

  • Tier 2: Intermediate Care Facility staff & residents • Home Health Care/In-Home Supportive Services • Community Health Workers/Promotoras • Public Health Field Staff (including Testing Site Staff) • Primary Care Clinics, including Federally Qualified Health Centers, Rural Health Centers, Correctional Facility Clinics & Urgent Care Clinics

  • Tier 3: Specialty Clinics • Laboratory Workers • Dental/Oral Health Clinics • Pharmacy Staff (non-Hospital)

Vaccination of individuals in Tiers 1 and 2 has commenced. Vaccination of Tier 3 individuals has not yet started. As the county completes Phase 1, it plans to broadly distribute the vaccines through all venues and partners, including hospitals, health care clinics, private practice medical providers, pharmacies and community based points of distribution.

The answers to the following questions are provided on page 5 of the county slide presentation:

Whom qualifies as an essential worker to receive a vaccine in Phase 1b?
The state Drafting Guidelines Workgroup is developing California-specific guidance for the allocation of vaccines to an estimated 6 million essential workers. Workers will be prioritized by occupational exposure, equity, societal impact, and economic impact. Currently discussed, but not finalized priorities, include workers in the fields of education, emergency services and food and agriculture. Note that Phase 1b also includes people age 75 and over.

What are the high-risk conditions that qualify persons to receive a vaccine in Phase 1c?
• Cancer • Chronic kidney disease • COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) • Heart conditions • Solid organ transplant • Obesity (BMI>40 kg/m2) • Pregnancy • Sickle cell disease • Smoking • Type 2 diabetes mellitus • Adults >50 yo, congregate/overcrowded settings

For the Contra Costa County vaccine distribution plan (updated December 30, 2020) click here.
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.

“Wearing masks in public or any gatherings, including events with friends and extended families, is essential for slowing the spread of the virus,” stated Eden Health District Director Pam Russo. “While we are seeing signs of progress in California, Alameda County remains a Covid-19 'hot spot' in the Bay Area. Please wear a mask to protect yourself while protecting others.”
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.

Posters may also be retrieved during business hours from the lobby of the Eden Health District office building located at 20400 Lake Chabot Road, Castro Valley. Posters for the City of Hayward are also available from the Hayward Chamber of Commerce located at 22561 Main Street, Hayward.
Eden Area Food Pantries
We have posted information on food pantries and food services in the cities of Hayward and San Leandro and unincorporated Alameda County including Castro Valley and San Lorenzo. You can access the information here on our website. Alameda County has also released an interactive map listing food distributions and other social services. 
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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 editor Stephen Cassidy.