Coronavirus (COVID-19) updates for Contra Costa residents

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Elaine Park

From broad international initiatives to local high school-run efforts, people around the world have joined the fight against COVID-19.

Daniel Shen, Editor-in-Chief

In this situation, information could change rapidly. Please refer to the San Ramon Valley Unified School District (SRVUSD), Contra Costa Health Services (CCHS), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), World Health Organization (WHO) or other similarly reputable sources for the latest updates.

Quick links:

April 8, 9:13 p.m. PST update:

  • According to a 11:30 a.m. CCHS update today, Contra Costa County now has 462 confirmed COVID-19 cases, up 20 from yesterday’s count of 442. After evaluating 192 new patients today, Contra Costa has now tested 6,023 for COVID-19. 30 are currently hospitalized.
  • According to the New York Times, COVID-19 has now totaled 429,060 confirmed cases and 14,809 deaths in the U.S., up 31,306 cases and 1,853 deaths from yesterday. California has confirmed 19,054 of these cases and 504 deaths, while New York has reported an overwhelming 149,401 cases and 6,268 deaths. Many states, however, have finally started to see slower “case growth rates.” Worldwide, there have been 1,484,811 cases, 88,538 deaths and 329,876 recoveries, according to the Johns Hopkins University Centers for Systems Science and Engineering.

April 7, 11:24 p.m. PST update:

  • Wuhan, China, the origin of the COVID-19 outbreak, ended its lockdown today, finally allowing residents to leave their homes without special permission. Despite reopening, Wuhan’s and China’s economies will face a difficult recovery for weeks, months and years ahead.
  • In a joint decision today with school superintendents, including Rick Schmitt of SRVUSD, the public health officers of Contra Costa County and five other Bay Area counties announced that in-class instruction would be suspended through the remainder of the 2019-2020 school year. An SRVUSD press release clarified, “In addition, all special events, field trips and school related activities including Graduation, Senior Balls, 8th Grade Promotions and other end-of-year activities have been cancelled … Over the coming weeks, we will share information about plans to honor our students and their end-of-year commemorations and activities.”
  • According to a 11:30 a.m. CCHS update today, Contra Costa County now has 442 confirmed COVID-19 cases, up 25 from yesterday’s count of 417. After evaluating 233 new patients today, Contra Costa has now tested 5,831 for COVID-19. 29 are currently hospitalized.
  • According to the New York Times, COVID-19 has now totaled 397,754 confirmed cases and 12,956 deaths in the U.S., up 32,229 cases and 2,031 deaths from yesterday. California has confirmed 17,540 of these cases and 447 deaths, while New York has reported an overwhelming 140,081 cases and 5,563 deaths. Worldwide, there have been 1,431,375 cases, 82,145 deaths and 301,417 recoveries, according to the Johns Hopkins University Centers for Systems Science and Engineering.

April 6, 8:54 p.m. PST update:

  • According to a 11:30 a.m. CCHS update today, Contra Costa County now has 417 confirmed COVID-19 cases, up 31 from yesterday’s count of 386. Another county resident has also died, leaving the death toll at seven. 358 new patients have been tested for COVID-19 — the total is now 5,598 — and 30 are currently hospitalized.
  • According to the New York Times, COVID-19 has now totaled 365,525 confirmed cases and 10,925 deaths in the U.S., up 28,749 cases and 1,270 deaths from yesterday. California has confirmed 15,999 of these cases and 379 deaths, while New York has reported an overwhelming 130,689 cases and 4,758 deaths. Worldwide, there have been 1,347,803 cases, 74,807 deaths and 277,402 recoveries, according to the Johns Hopkins University Centers for Systems Science and Engineering.

April 5, 11:31 p.m. PST update:

  • According to a 11:30 a.m. CCHS update today, Contra Costa County now has 386 confirmed COVID-19 cases, up 33 from yesterday’s count of 353. Another county resident has also died, leaving the death toll at six. 5,240 patients have been tested for COVID-19, and 31 are currently hospitalized.
  • According to the New York Times, COVID-19 has now totaled 336,776 confirmed cases and 9,655 deaths in the U.S., up 25,140 cases and 1,156 deaths from yesterday. California has confirmed 15,076 of these cases and 349 deaths, while New York has reported an overwhelming 122,911 cases and 4,161 deaths. Worldwide, there have been 1,275,542 cases, 69,498 deaths and 262,985 recoveries, according to the Johns Hopkins University Centers for Systems Science and Engineering.

April 4, 11:59 p.m. PST update:

April 3, 11:59 p.m. PST update:

  • The CDC recommended today that all Americans now wear non-medical “cloth face coverings in public settings … especially in areas of significant community-based transmission,” despite continued debate over their effectiveness.
  • In a press release today, SRVUSD informed community members that after spring break, student learning would shift from “review and reinforcement of previously taught material to the teaching of new material.” Moreover, middle and high school students will receive Pass/No Mark scores, rather than traditional letter grades, for their fourth quarter and second semester. “Moving to Pass/No Mark reporting will benefit our middle and high school students without negative consequences for students with collegiate aspirations because the Pass and No Mark scores do not affect students’ grade point averages (GPAs),” the District wrote.
  • CCHS issued a mass “isolation and quarantine” order today for all county residents with COVID-19 and their close contacts. “The county’s public health staff no longer have the capacity to individually notify and track everyone with COVID-19 and their close contacts who may have been exposed to the virus,” a CCHS press release reads. The official text of the mass isolation order can be found here.
  • In a press release today, CCHS confirmed an outbreak in an Orinda senior facility, stating, “At least 27 people who live or work at a skilled nursing facility in Orinda have tested positive for COVID-19.” Among the infected, 24 are residents and three are staff members.
  • According to a 2 p.m. CCHS update today, Contra Costa County now has 307 confirmed COVID-19 cases, up 31 from yesterday’s count of 276. Two more county residents have also died, leaving the death toll at five. 4,493 patients in the county have been tested for COVID-19, and 32 are currently hospitalized. Watch CCHS’s press conference from today below:
  • According to the New York Times, the U.S. has now confirmed 276,382 cases of, and 7,122 deaths from, COVID-19, up 32,653 cases and 958 deaths from yesterday. Michigan also now bears more cases than California, which is fourth-highest in cases (10,730) and sixth-highest in deaths (282) among U.S. states. Simultaneously, New York’s overwhelming outbreak continues to grow, with 102,870 cases and 2,935 deaths as of today. Worldwide, there have been 1,118,921 cases, 58,937 deaths and 226,769 recoveries, according to the Johns Hopkins University Centers for Systems Science and Engineering.

April 2, 11:07 p.m. PST update:

April 1, 9:55 p.m. PST update:

  • In a press release today, the Office of Gov. Gavin Newsom of California “announced a major agreement between teachers, classified employees, school boards, superintendents, and principals to work together to provide distance learning to California’s students as a result of school closures due to mitigation efforts against the COVID-19 outbreak.” The initiative will provide students with school resources that primarily include “distance learning, special education, and meals through the end of the school year.”
  • According to a 1:37 p.m. CCHS update today, Contra Costa County now has 250 confirmed COVID-19 cases, up 28 from yesterday’s count of 222.
  • According to the New York Times, COVID-19 has now totaled 211,368 confirmed cases and 4,838 deaths in the U.S., up 24,192 cases and 791 deaths from yesterday. California has confirmed 9,816 of these cases and 212 deaths, while New York has reported an overwhelming 83,899 cases and 1,941 deaths. Worldwide, there have been 937,170 cases, 47,235 deaths and 193,770 recoveries, according to the Johns Hopkins University Centers for Systems Science and Engineering.

March 31, 9:58 p.m. PST update:

  • In a press conference today, top White House officials Dr. Anthony S. Fauci and Dr. Deborah L. Birx stated that despite social distancing measures, COVID-19 is projected to kill between 100,000 and 240,000 U.S. residents over following months. According to the New York Times, “more than 2.2 million people could have died in the United States” without strict guidelines like the ones currently in place. Watch the full White House media briefing below:
  • In a joint press release today, Contra Costa County, along with the five counties of Alameda, Marin, San Francisco, San Mateo and Santa Clara, as well as the city of Berkeley, extended its stay-at-home order through May 3. “Extending the stay-at-home order should reduce the number of sick patients seeking care at one time, giving us time to acquire more medical supplies for providers who will be providing care to people sick with COVID-19,” Contra Costa County health officer Dr. Chris Farnitano said. “The extension will allow doctors and nurses to better treat those who do get sick, and save countless lives.”
  • In a letter to school districts across California, State Superintendent of Public Instruction of California Tony Thurmond stated that students would likely not return to school campuses for the rest of the school year. “The need for safety through social distancing warrants that we continue to keep our school campuses closed to students during this pandemic,” Mr. Thurmond wrote.
  • According to a 2:12 p.m. CCHS update today, Contra Costa County now has 222 confirmed COVID-19 cases, up 35 from yesterday’s count of 187.
  • According to the New York Times, COVID-19 has now totaled 187,176 confirmed cases and 4,047 deaths in the U.S. California has confirmed 8,350 of these cases and 176 deaths, while New York has reported an overwhelming 75,832 cases and 1,714 deaths. Worldwide, there have been 859,796 cases, 42,341 deaths and 178,301 recoveries, according to the Johns Hopkins University Centers for Systems Science and Engineering.

March 30, 11:59 p.m. PST update:

March 29, 10:45 p.m. PST update:

  • In a White House media briefing today, President Donald Trump extended the federal government’s social distancing measures “to avoid nonessential travel, going to work, eating at bars and restaurants, or gathering in groups of more than 10 for at least another month and perhaps until June,” reported the New York Times.
  • According to a 1 p.m. CCHS update today, Contra Costa County now has 175 confirmed COVID-19 cases, up seven from yesterday’s count of 168.
  • According to the New York Times, COVID-19 has now totaled 141,995 confirmed cases and 2,486 deaths in the U.S. California has confirmed 6,266 of these cases and 130 of these deaths, while New York has reported an overwhelming 59,568 cases and 965 deaths. Worldwide, there have been 723,328 cases, 34,005 deaths and 151,991 recoveries, according to the Johns Hopkins University Centers for Systems Science and Engineering.

March 28, 11:47 p.m. PST update:

  • According to three SRVUSD press releases from today and yesterday, one individual at each of Coyote Creek Elementary, Hidden Hills Elementary and Windemere Ranch Middle tested positive for COVID-19. The three individuals were last on campus on March 4, March 12 and March 13, respectively. “We understand that news such as this can be unsettling and that our parents and families may want more detail. While these feelings are understood, we are compelled to respect individual rights to confidentiality,” the District wrote.
  • According to a 1 p.m. CCHS update today, Contra Costa County now has 168 confirmed COVID-19 cases, up 17 from yesterday’s count of 151. For the second consecutive day, a county resident has died from the virus, raising the death toll to three.
  • According to the New York Times, COVID-19 has now totaled 123,617 confirmed cases and 2,133 deaths in the U.S. California has confirmed 5,565 of these cases and 121 of these deaths, while New York has reported an overwhelming 53,363 cases and 782 deaths. Worldwide, there have been 665,164 cases, 30,852 deaths and 140,225 recoveries, according to the Johns Hopkins University Centers for Systems Science and Engineering.

March 27, 11:58 p.m. PST update:

  • The $2 trillion economic stimulus plan that the Senate passed on March 25 became law today after approval by voice vote in the House of Representatives and signature by President Donald Trump. The package includes $1,200 in direct payments to millions of Americans, billions in jobless aid and benefits, $100 billion for hospitals and $877 billion in loans to small businesses and larger companies. Gov. Gavin Newsom of California commented, “The stimulus bill passed today … means an additional $600 a week in Unemployment Insurance for the many Californians who have already lost jobs and the many more who will during this crisis, provides emergency loans and grants to help small businesses and non-profits keep people employed, and it provides direct aid to state and local governments so that we can respond to this emergency and aid communities and families during this time.”
  • According to a 5:08 p.m. CCHS update today, Contra Costa County now has 151 confirmed COVID-19 cases, up 20 from yesterday’s count of 131. Another county resident has also died from the virus, raising the death toll to two.
  • According to the New York Times, COVID-19 has now totaled 102,636 confirmed cases and 1,646 deaths in the U.S. California has confirmed 4,914 of these cases and 102 of these deaths, while New York has reported an overwhelming 44,635 cases and 535 deaths. Worldwide, there have been 598,070 cases, 27,761 deaths and 131,772 recoveries, according to the Johns Hopkins University Centers for Systems Science and Engineering.

March 26, 11:32 p.m. PST update:

  • According to a 1 p.m. CCHS update today, Contra Costa County now has 131 total confirmed COVID-19 cases, up 23 from yesterday’s count of 108.
  • According to the New York Times, the U.S. has now totaled 85,284 COVID-19 cases, surpassing China’s plateaued count of 81,782. Though the latter’s 3,291 deaths still supersede the former’s 1,270 (Johns Hopkins University Centers for Systems Science and Engineering), the U.S.’s death toll continues to rise rapidly. California has confirmed 3,963 cases and 81 deaths, while New York has reported a staggering 38,987 cases and 432 deaths. Worldwide, COVID-19 has totaled 532,788 cases, 24,077 deaths and 122,672 recoveries.

March 25, 10:15 p.m. PST update:

  • Early this morning, the Senate approved a $2 trillion economic stabilization package that would provide direct $1,200 payments to millions of U.S. citizens, expand jobless aid and benefits, send $100 billion to hospitals and free $877 billion in loans to small businesses and larger companies. “Its cost is hundreds of billions of dollars more than Congress provides for the entire United States federal budget for a single year,” the New York Times reported.
  • In a press release today, the Contra Costa County Office of Education announced its decision to extend school closures through May 1, made in conjunction with Alameda, Marin, San Mateo and Santa Clara Counties’ Offices of Education, as well as the San Francisco Unified School District. In a follow-up, SRVUSD clarified, “Beginning the week of April 13th, we will be changing the focus of our Remote Learning Plan from review to the teaching of new material while progressing on standards not previously covered.”
  • According to a 12:47 p.m. CCHS update today, Contra Costa County now has 108 total confirmed COVID-19 cases, up 37 from yesterday’s count of 71. Today marked, by far, the largest jump in number of cases, with the greatest previous one-day increase having been 10.
  • According to the New York Times, COVID-19 has now totaled 68,508 confirmed cases and 990 deaths in the U.S. California has confirmed 3,183 of these cases and 67 of these deaths, while New York has reported an overwhelming 33,066 cases and 325 deaths. Worldwide, there have been 471,783 cases, 21,306 deaths and 114,858 recoveries, according to the Johns Hopkins University Centers for Systems Science and Engineering.

March 24, 10:07 p.m. PST update:

March 23, 10:25 p.m. PST update:

  • In an update today, SRVUSD reminded students that their voluntary Remote Learning Plan would begin by the latest tomorrow at 9 a.m., with teachers setting out their own curriculum for each of their classes. “All coursework through April 3 will focus on review and/or reinforcement of previous material in order to acclimate students to a remote learning environment,” the District wrote.
  • According to a 12:23 p.m. CCHS update today, Contra Costa County now has 71 total confirmed COVID-19 cases, up 10 again from yesterday’s count of 61. CCHS also asked community members today to donate personal protective equipment supplies, providing guidelines in the media briefing below:

March 22, 10:08 p.m. PST update:

  • President Donald Trump mobilized National Guard units today in New York, Washington and California to help health care providers fight COVID-19. “Through FEMA, the federal government will be funding 100 percent of the cost of deploying National Guard units to carry out approved missions to stop the virus, while those governors remain in command,” Mr. Trump said. Through the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), Mr. Trump also directed “four large medical stations with 1,000 beds for New York, eight large federal medical stations with 2,000 beds for California, and three large federal medical stations and four small federal medical stations with 1,000 beds for the State of Washington,” according to the New York Times. Watch the full White House press conference here:
  • Senate Democrats blocked today the $1.8 trillion stimulus plan that the Trump administration had formulated over the past three days, deeming protections for workers too weak and Federal Reserve leverage over business bailouts too lax. The New York Times reported that the package would have given “the Federal Reserve access to $425 billion … for loans to broad groups of flailing companies” and sent “$1,200 direct payments to millions of Americans and additional jobless benefits and aid to states,” but that Democrats “said the measure provided insufficient unemployment aid — offering only three months while they have insisted on at least four — and lacked adequate funding for state and local governments, emergency food assistance and relief from student loans.”
  • According to a 12:15 p.m. CCHS update today, Contra Costa County now has a 61 total confirmed COVID-19 cases, up 10 from yesterday’s count of 51. The jump in the number of cases likely reflected CCHS’s “aggressive” efforts to ramp up testing in county hospitals, as it had stated in its March 20 media briefing.
  • According to the New York Times, COVID-19 has now totaled 32,722 confirmed cases and 416 deaths in the U.S. California has confirmed 1,639 of these cases and 32 of these deaths, while New York has reported an overwhelming 15,168 total cases and 114 deaths, accounting for 5% of the world’s COVID-19 cases. Worldwide, there have been 339,035 cases, 14,705 deaths and 98,799 recoveries, according to the Johns Hopkins University Centers for Systems Science and Engineering.

March 21, 11:46 p.m. PST update:

March 20, 10:57 p.m. PST update:

  • Governors of multiple states, including New York, Connecticut, New Jersey and Illinois, as well as localities such as New Orleans, announced shelter-in-place limitations similar to the one Gov. Gavin Newsom of California implemented yesterday. These regulations, which will be effective shortly, will apply to over 20% of the U.S. population, reported the New York Times.
  • CCHS reported Contra Costa County’s first COVID-19 death today, writing in a public statement, “The person was a county resident in their 70s who had a condition that placed them at risk of serious illness and had recently traveled outside the country.”
  • According to a 1:07 p.m. CCHS update today, Contra Costa County now has a total of 46 COVID-19 cases, up four from yesterday’s count of 42. In a press conference, CCHS stated, “The situation is very serious in Contra Costa. We expect more cases as our testing expands … We believe that aggressive testing can help, and we are ramping up our testing efforts on a daily basis. More confirmed cases does not mean we are losing ground, it means we are sharpening our focus and gathering data that will help us through this emergency.” Watch the full briefing below:

March 19, 11:59 p.m. PST update:

  • In a press release today, SRVUSD announced that its Remote Learning Plan that would begin Tuesday, March 24. The District described, “SRVUSD’s Remote Learning Plan is voluntary for students and is intended to support students by engaging in independent and flexible learning in an online setting. All coursework through April 3 will focus on review and/or reinforcement of previous material in order to acclimate students to a remote learning environment.” Read more in SRVUSD’s full press release.
  • Expanding the shelter-in-place regulation that multiple Bay Area counties had implemented on March 16, today Gov. Gavin Newsom of California indefinitely ordered all residents of the state to “stay at home” save essential operations. California currently has the third-highest number of cases (1,044) and deaths (19) among all U.S. states, behind only New York (4,152 cases and 29 deaths) and Washington (1,228 cases and 75 deaths).
  • According to a 12:37 p.m. CCHS update today, Contra Costa County now has a total of 42 COVID-19 cases, up one from yesterday’s count of 41.
  • According to the New York Times, COVID-19 has now totaled 12,392 confirmed cases and 195 deaths in the U.S., with 1,044 cases and 19 deaths in California. Worldwide, there have been 244,523 cases, 10,030 deaths and 86,031 recoveries, according to the Johns Hopkins University Centers for Systems Science and Engineering.

March 18, 10:44 p.m. PST update:

March 17, 9:11 p.m. PST update:

  • Office of Governor Gavin Newsom
    Gov. Gavin Newsom of California signed on Tuesday emergency legislation providing up to $1.1 billion “to increase hospital capacity, clean schools and protect those most vulnerable to the diseas[e].”

    In a press release today, Gov. Gavin Newsom of California announced signature of emergency legislation providing $500 million to help the state fight COVID-19, with authorization of possible increases up to $1 billion. Gov. Newsom said that the legislation, which was passed unanimously in one day by the California Legislature, “will provide more hospital beds and medical equipment to help hospitals deal with the coming surge and it will help protect those who are most at risk.”
  • In a press conference today, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said the White House supported sending two weeks’ wages to most Americans earning less than $1 million. The proposal, which would cost an estimated $250 billion, was part of a broader $850 billion stimulus plan that might also provide the airline industry $50 billion in economic relief.
  • In a press release today, SRVUSD provided an update on its coordination of a new student learning plan. “We acknowledge that many of you have questions … We have not yet released a plan because our situation is changing daily, and in some cases hourly,” SRVUSD wrote. “[W]e have been waiting for guidelines from the California Department of Education on the requirements for going forward, which were released at 6:30 p.m. tonight … We want to make sure that we are in compliance with them.”
  • According to a 1 p.m. CCHS update today, Contra Costa County now has a total of 39 COVID-19 cases, up five from yesterday’s count of 34.
  • According to the New York Times, COVID-19 has now totaled 5,726 confirmed cases and 107 deaths across every U.S. state, Washington, D.C. and three U.S. territories. Worldwide, there have been 198,004 cases, 7,948 deaths and 81,947 recoveries, according to the Johns Hopkins University Centers for Systems Science and Engineering.

March 16, 11:47 p.m. PST update:

  • In a press conference today, President Donald Trump released new guidelines to help contain COVID-19, “including closing schools and avoiding groups of more than 10 people, discretionary travel, bars, restaurants and food courts,” reported the New York Times.
  • In a sweeping public order today, CCHS mandated that all Contra Costa County residents follow a shelter-in-place regulation starting tomorrow, March 17, at 12:01 a.m., effective through April 7. Only government services and private businesses that provide “essential needs,” including “health care … food, shelter, and social services,” are allowed to remain open in this time period (a full list of operating businesses and services can be found in Section 10 of the order). Also enacting shelter-in-place orders are six other Bay Area counties — Alameda, Marin, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara and Santa Cruz — as well as the City of Berkeley. Marin County Public Health Officer Dr. Matt Willis clarified, “While the goal is to limit groups congregating together in a way that could further spread the virus, it is not complete social shutdown. You can still complete your most essential outings or even engage in outdoor activity, so long as you avoid close contact.”
  • According to a 12:30 p.m. CCHS update today, Contra Costa County now has a total of 34 COVID-19 cases, up five from yesterday’s count of 29.
  • According to the New York Times, COVID-19 has now totaled 4,482 confirmed cases and 86 deaths across 49 U.S. states, Washington, D.C. and Puerto Rico. Worldwide, there have been 182,407 cases, 7,154 deaths and 79,433 recoveries, according to the Johns Hopkins University Centers for Systems Science and Engineering.

March 15, 10:10 p.m. PST update:

  • In an update today, the CDC recommended that mass gatherings of 50 or more be postponed for at least the next eight weeks. “Events of any size should only be continued if they can be carried out with adherence to guidelines for protecting vulnerable populations, hand hygiene, and social distancing. When feasible, organizers could modify events to be virtual,” the CDC wrote.
  • The Federal Reserve cut its interest rates by a full percentage point to a range of 0% to 0.25%. It also said it would “inject huge sums into the economy by snapping up at least $500 billion of Treasury securities and at least $200 billion of mortgage-backed debt ‘over coming months,'” according to the New York Times.
  • According to a 12:30 p.m. CCHS update today, the number of Contra Costa County COVID-19 cases has not increased since yesterday, when the total at 12:30 p.m. was 29. Meanwhile, starting tomorrow, all Contra Costa County libraries will be closed indefinitely.
  • According to the New York Times, COVID-19 has now totaled 3,486 confirmed cases and 66 deaths across 49 U.S. states, Washington, D.C. and Puerto Rico. Worldwide, there have been 169,387 cases, 6,513 deaths and 77,257 recoveries, according to the Johns Hopkins University Centers for Systems Science and Engineering. Notably, today marks the first day in which cases outside mainland China (88,367) have exceeded those within (81,020).

March 14, 2020, 11:21 p.m. PST update:

  • In a public order today, CCHS prohibited mass gatherings of 100 people or more in Contra Costa County, effective through March 31. “Violation of or failure to comply with this Order is a misdemeanor punishable by fine or imprisonment in the County jail, or both,” the statement read. According to CCHS, there are now 29 total cases of COVID-19 in Contra Costa County. Watch the full press conference below:

March 13, 2020, 10:12 p.m. PST update:

  • In a press release today, SRVUSD declared that starting next Monday, March 16, all schools would close through at least Friday, April 10. “Over the next few days, district administration will evaluate future plans and potential flexible learning opportunities,” the statement read.
  • In a Facebook Live update today, CCHS stated that “COVID-19 is now transmitting in our community” and confirmed a total of 25 Contra Costa County coronavirus cases. “Our strong urging is to cancel and postpone gatherings of more than 50 people,” CCHS said. Watch the full video below:
  • The House of Representatives passed an economic relief package today with “two weeks of paid sick leave and up to three months of paid family and medical leave, enhanced unemployment benefits, free virus testing including for those who lack insurance, additional food aid and federal funds for Medicaid,” according to the New York Times. The Senate is set to cancel its hiatus next week so that it can vote on the measure.
  • President Donald Trump declared a national emergency today, opening $50 billion in federal aid to funding state and local governments, as well as deploying support teams, in fighting the outbreak.
  • Gov. Gavin Newsom of California banned gatherings of 250 or more people through at least the end of March on Wednesday, advising also that smaller events only continue if organizers reinforce social distancing of at least six feet per person.
  • According to the New York Times, COVID-19 has now totaled 2,170 confirmed cases and 48 deaths across 49 U.S. states and Washington, D.C. Worldwide, there have been 145,369 cases, 5,429 deaths and 71,694 recoveries, according to the Johns Hopkins University Centers for Systems Science and Engineering.

March 11, 2020, 9:45 p.m. PST update:

March 10, 2020, 9:40 p.m. PST update:

  • CCHS updated their novel coronavirus page today, adding one new confirmed case to the local count: “There are a total of ten Contra Costa County residents who have tested positive for novel coronavirus. Of those, four were known to have had contact with people who previously tested positive. Six had no recent history of travel outside the U.S. or known contact with a confirmed case.”
  • In a media briefing today, CCHS declared a state of emergency in Contra Costa County, stating that they believe “COVID-19 is circulating in our community” and recommending that large gatherings of 50 or more people in the following two weeks be canceled. Watch the full press conference below:

March 9, 2020, 11:30 p.m. PST update:

March 8, 2020, 11:30 p.m. PST update:

  • Five new cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed in Contra Costa County by CCHS, bringing the county total to nine. Four of these five new cases had no international travel history nor known contact with a confirmed case, and they are being treated at Contra Costa hospitals. The fifth patient had close contact with a person who had previously tested positive for COVID-19 and, under CCHS’s guidance, is self-isolating at home.
  • In a press release today, SRVUSD listed more than a dozen steps they are taking to help protect students and staff from COVID-19. “We remain in close contact with the county, state and federal agencies governing protocols around this public health issue and we remain in compliance with all recommendations,” SRVUSD stated.
  • Over 5,500 people have signed a petition to cancel school in SRVUSD to reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19.
  • COVID-19 has now totaled 545 confirmed cases and 22 deaths in the U.S., according to the New York Times. Worldwide, there have been 110,041 cases, 3,825 deaths and 62,000 recoveries, according to the Johns Hopkins University Centers for Systems Science and Engineering.

March 6, 2020, 10:55 p.m. PST update:

  • The East Coast sees its first COVID-19 deaths as Florida officials report two in their state tonight.
  • Two Grand Princess cruise passengers and one patient who had close contact with a coronavirus patient are confirmed to have COVID-19, bringing the Contra Costa County total to four. Watch the full update from today’s Contra Costa Health Services press conference:

March 4, 2020, 11:50 p.m. PST update:

  • A Grand Princess cruise ship passenger dies of COVID-19 in Placer County, CA, as the first U.S. coronavirus death outside the state of Washington. The ship, which has 21 confirmed cases on board, “will not come on shore until we appropriately assess the passengers,” Gov. Gavin Newsom of California said, adding that the state will declare of a state of emergency to mobilize its response to the outbreak.
  • COVID-19 has now totaled 95,425 confirmed cases, 3,286 deaths and 53,396 recoveries worldwide, with 159 cases, 11 deaths and eight recoveries across 15 states in the U.S., according to the Johns Hopkins University Centers for Systems Science and Engineering.

March 3, 2020, 11 p.m. PST update:

  • After weeks of limited and inaccurate coronavirus diagnostic tests, the CDC is to lift all restrictions and release new guidelines on testing possible carriers.
  • Two deaths in the Seattle area from last week were found today to have been linked to COVID-19, further suggesting that the coronavirus may have been spreading for weeks unnoticed in the region. The COVID-19 death toll in the Seattle area, as well as the U.S. overall, is now nine.
  • The Contra Costa County confirmed its first case of community-transmitted COVID-19. The patient is in critical condition, possibly due to underlying health conditions, and is being treated at a local hospital.
  • With 119 new cases and 38 deaths today, China’s lowest figures since Jan. 20, deaths outside the country exceeded those within for the first time since the beginning of the outbreak.
  • COVID-19 has now totaled 93,160 confirmed cases, 3,198 deaths and 50,690 recoveries worldwide, with 127 cases, nine deaths and eight recoveries across 15 states in the U.S., according to the Johns Hopkins University Centers for Systems Science and Engineering.

March 2, 2020, 10:30 p.m. PST update:

  • In a March 2, 2020, 12:59 p.m. communications email, SRVUSD stated that it “is preparing for the potential impact that this virus may have on our school communities, and are planning for steps which will limit and slow the spread of disease in our schools. Additionally, we are in discussions about the long-term plans that may need to be in place if the situation escalates further in the coming days and weeks. We will be communicating with you very soon as these plans materialize.”
  • Three more residents of the Life Care Center nursing home near Seattle die from COVID-19, raising the death toll in the area, as well as the U.S. overall, to six.
  • COVID-19 has now totaled 90,936 confirmed cases, 3,117 deaths and 48,017 recoveries worldwide, with 105 cases, six deaths and seven recoveries in the U.S., according to the Johns Hopkins University Centers for Systems Science and Engineering.

Feb. 29, 2020, 3 p.m. PST update:

Feb. 26, 2020, 4 p.m. PST update:

  • In a Feb. 26, 2020, 3:39 p.m. communications email, the San Ramon Valley Unified School District (SRVUSD) stated that “[a]s of February 25, 2020, there is still no evidence that COVID-19 is circulating in Contra Costa County or any of its schools,” and that “[t]he health risk to the general public in California remains low.”

Feb. 25, 2020, 9 p.m. PST original article:

In an update to its previous assessment of county residents to be at low risk, Contra Costa Health Services (CCHS) has begun tracking the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak locally, stating that it has “has sent information about coronavirus to local medical providers, emergency medical services providers, and schools.” Three confirmed cases from outside Contra Costa have been treated or are being treated at hospitals within the county.

Since its original identification on Jan. 8, COVID-19 has spread from Wuhan, China, to 38 countries, yielding 81,002 confirmed cases and 2,762 deaths as of Feb. 25 at 9 p.m. PST (Johns Hopkins University Centers for Systems Science and Engineering). While these cases have been overwhelmingly concentrated in mainland China, there has also been growth beyond East Asia. Specifically in the United States, 57 cases have been confirmed, including six in Northern California (one in Humboldt County, one in Sacramento County, two in Santa Clara and two in San Benito).

Travel between the U.S. and China was limited by a Jan. 31 proclamation from President Donald Trump that suspended entry of foreign nationals who have visited China within the past 14 days. Effective since Feb. 2, it also required that before entering the States, U.S. citizens, residents and immediate family who have recently visited China undergo measures to detect COVID-19. These include extensive screening at port of entry, health monitoring and possible quarantine for up to 14 days after entry.

Other efforts to limit the outbreak include those of the World Health Organization and the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, which respectively declared the outbreak an international and national public health emergency on Jan. 30 and 31. These decisions have aided the healthcare community by unlocking critical funds and pathways for research and collaboration.

“They’re doing a good job of isolating them, and they’re being very careful about the incubation period,” AP Biology teacher Ms. Pam Sheppel commented. “We have a very good public health system in terms of how to handle communicable diseases.”

Various research efforts have helped uncover much critical information about the virus. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), signs of illness primarily include fever, cough and shortness of breath. These symptoms are currently believed to appear between 2 and 14 days after initial exposure. Health organizations around the world have also confirmed person-to-person transmission of COVID-19, while multiple institutions are scrutinizing its genome to find out how it spreads and might be treated.

Local initiatives to help limit its spread have also been undertaken, with Dougherty Valley High School student clubs Amnesty International, MedShare and Red Cross all contributing to the effort.

“We had a donation drive that ran on from the end of last semester, and it just so happened that it was during the time of the coronavirus outbreak,” senior and MedShare secretary Kelsey Ley described. “We collected 81 pounds of supplies — masks, sterile gloves, underpads, gauze pads, hand sanitizer, alcohol prep pads, sterile plastic bags — and a lot of the stuff went to China.”

While partaking in such endeavors, many students and their families have been personally affected by COVID-19. Because of San Ramon’s significant East Asian population, the outbreak’s psychological impact has been particularly pronounced in the local area.

“We have been a little bit concerned over relatives in China, because I know that some of my relatives have come back from China recently, and they’ve had to quarantine themselves,” Ley shared. “It’s been [a] firsthand experience with that and our connections to those people.”

Ultimately, the World Health Organization recommends that everyone wash their hands frequently, practice respiratory hygiene, maintain social distancing and avoid touching the eyes, nose and mouth. These basic measures can help protect Contra Costa residents and their loved ones from getting sick.

“While the immediate risk of this new virus to the American public is believed to be low at this time, everyone can do their part to help us respond to this emerging public health threat,” the CDC writes.