Coronavirus live updates: Self-quarantine upending lives in California, Facebook donates $25,000 to help SF Chinatown – San Francisco Chronicle


Breaking news developments on Feb. 28, 2020:

2:28 p.m. New case reported in Santa Clara County: Officials confirmed the South Bay county’s third case of COVID-19.

2:18 p.m. Self-quarantine upends lives in California: Some 8,700 people in the state are in home quarantine after traveling abroad. A warehouse worker who returned from China shares her story — which includes tuning into Dodgers spring training out of sheer boredom.

2:09 p.m. People canceling reservations at Bay Area restaurants: Bay Area restaurants are losing business because of the lack of tourism from China as well as mounting domestic fears about the coronavirus.

1:50 p.m. Facebook pledges $25,000 to help SF Chinatown’s small businesses: Facebook announced it is donating $20,000 to the Chinese Newcomers Services Center to promote businesses in San Francisco’s Chinatown. The tech giant will also give the non-profit $5,000 worth of Facebook credit ads to help drive business back to the historic neighborhood. Customers have vanished from local businesses in Chinatown following the outbreak of the coronavirus in Wuhan, China. There have been no reported cases in San Francisco. Mayor London Breed, Supervisor Aaron Peskin and California State Senator Scott Wiener joined Facebook officials to announce the donation during a press conference Friday afternoon. “San Francisco is open for business,” Breed said. “We are prepared to receive people and we want them to support Chinatown.”

1:41 p.m. Markets down for week: Coronavirus fears continued to weigh heavily on stocks. Despite a late rally that erased some of Friday’s losses, the Dow Jones industrial average ended the week down 12.4%, its worst one-week performance since 2008.

12:55 p.m. Healthcare workers union urges preparedness: The National Union of Healthcare Workers urged the operators of facilities where its members work to offer training on detecting and avoiding infection with the new coronavirus. “We can’t assume that every clinic, nursing home and hospital is prepared,” Sal Rosselli, union president, said in a statement. The union represents more than 15,000 health workers in California.

12:14 p.m. Google employee in Zurich office tests positive: Google confirmed Friday that an employee in its Zurich office was diagnosed with the coronavirus. “They were in the Zurich office for a limited time, before they had any symptoms,” a Google representative said by email. “We have taken – and will continue to take – all necessary precautionary measures, following the advice of public health officials, as we prioritize everyone’s health and safety,” the company added.

12:08 p.m. Conference cancellation in Santa Clara: The research and analysis firm IDC has canceled its conference, called Directions, that had been scheduled to take place in Santa Clara on March 4. “We have made this choice out of an abundance of caution and believe it is the correct decision given the evolving public health concerns in the Bay Area,” the company wrote on the conference website.

11:20 a.m. More Californians self-quarantine over risk of coronavirus: 8,700 people in California are now in self-quarantine after returning from travel in China, the California Department of Public Health said Friday. That number is up from 8,400 from earlier this week.

10:48 a.m. Amazon Web Service’s Game Tech team pulls out of next month’s Game Developer Conference in San Francisco over coronavirus concerns: Amazon Web Service “has made the difficult decision to withdraw from the 2020 Game Developers Conference in San Francisco due to continued concerns over COVID-19,” the company wrote in a blog post. Microsoft pulled out of the conference on Thursday. Amazon Web Service said it would host an online event to showcase what it has been working on in the run up to conference.

10:23 a.m. CDC says it didn’t know of Solano case until Saturday: CDC officials disputed UC Davis Medical Center’s contention that they declined for four days to test the Solano County patient who may be the first case with an unknown source in the U.S. UC Davis officials said they asked for a test on Feb. 19 and that CDC officials said the patient did not meet testing criteria. Four days later, the patient was given a test. Dr. Nancy Messonnier of the CDC said the agency’s records all indicate the agency was first notified of the case on Feb. 23. Test results came back positive two days later and were confirmed on Wednesday, she said in a news briefing Friday.

9:56 a.m. Additional test kits on the way: Dr. Nancy Messonnier of the CDC said that additional coronavirus test kits are on the way to California. Gov. Gavin Newsom said Thursday that the state has a few hundred kits and the number was “inadequate.”

9:50 a.m. CDC officials say U.S. efforts have kept numbers low: Dr. Nancy Messonnier, of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said U.S. cases remain low because of early preventative efforts. “We have to remember that the case count in the U.S. is very low due to the efforts of the U.S. government. It could spread. But the hope is that if is spread, the spread will be limited,” she said.

9:46 a.m. Conronavirus patient in SF released: Rick Wright, the last confirmed coronavirus patient in San Francisco, was released Wednesday to home quarantine in Redwood City. He was quarantined after being aboard the Diamond Princess cruise ship, but is now in “in good health,” the city’s public health department said. San Mateo County officials did not confirm whether he was the same patient transferred by CDC who had come from another country.

9:29 a.m. More positive tests linked to Diamond Princess cruise ship: CDC officials said during a morning briefing that the total number of U.S. citizens who were infected on the Diamond Princess off of Japan is now 44 after two recent positive tests.

8:43 a.m. San Mateo patient came from outside U.S.: San Mateo County health officials said the patient the CDC transferred to an undisclosed location in the county had traveled outside of the country, returned to the U.S. and tested positive. No further information was released.

6:35 a.m. Markets plunge again: On the final day of one of the worst weeks for stocks in recent history, both the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the S&P 500 were down 2.5% in early trading, as the dramatic impacts of the virus — and the efforts to contain it — became clearer. The drop comes a day after the Dow recorded its worst single-day point loss in history.

6:15 a.m. Listen to Chronicle reporters discuss the latest: The case of a Solano County woman who faced a significant delay before being tested for coronavirus — and ultimately tested positive — highlighted the need for more tests in California. On Thursday, Gov. Gavin Newsom described the number of test kits in the state as “remarkably inadequate,” even as federal officials broadened their criteria for who was eligible to be tested. Chronicle reporters Erin Allday and Catherine Ho discuss the latest on this Fifth & Mission podcast.

6:10 a.m. United Airlines cuts back on flights through April: United Airlines is reducing flights to Tokyo-Narita, Osaka, Singapore and Seoul and extending the suspension of flights between U.S. hubs including SFO and Beijing, Chengdu, Shanghai and Hong Kong through April 30

6:05 a.m. Patient who tested positive taken to San Mateo county: CDC officials transferred a person who tested positive for the virus to San Mateo County, health officials said, adding they did not plan to release any more information. It remained unclear where the person was transported from or how they got the virus.

Updates from Feb. 27:

4:38 p.m. Health workers to be quarantined in Solano County: Solano county public health officer Bela Matyas said at a news conference that the patient with no known source of infection visited a health center before being diagnosed with coronavirus and health workers were exposed. Some of the workers are under isolation and some will be quarantined. Officials said the number is in the dozens — but under 100 people.

3:41 p.m. UC Davis dormitory student being tested for coronavirus: UC Davis announced that a student who lives at Kearney Hall is being tested after she was potentially exposed to a known coronavirus patient and developed mild symptoms. The student is in isolation off campus and two roommates, who are showing no symptoms, are also in isolation, the university said.

3:21 p.m. Dow posts biggest one-day point drop: Widening virus fears sent the Dow Jones industrial average plummeting 1,191 points, or 4.4%, on Thursday. That was its biggest one-day point decline ever, surpassing Monday’s 1,031-point drop. The Dow, S&P 500 and Nasdaq are all are down more than 10% from their previous peak. For the S&P 500, which peaked Feb. 19, it was the fastest correction in history.

1:19 p.m. Solano County declares emergency: Officials in Solano County declared a local emergency after a resident tested positive for the new coronavirus without any clues as to how she could have been infected. The declaration will help the county rally resources to start identifying and screening individuals who may have come into contact with the patient, officials said. “We are taking this situation seriously and are taking steps necessary to protect the health and safety of Solano County residents,” Dr. Bela Matyas, Solano County’s health officer, said in a statement. The county will be holding a press conference at 4:30 p.m. in Fairfield.

12:48 p.m. United extends travel waivers to northern Italy: The airline made it easier for customers to cancel or change and get refunded for flights, as more than 400 coronavirus cases have locked down swathes of that country. According to United’s website, the airline flies from its hub at San Francisco International Airport to two affected cities: Milan and Venice.

12:37 p.m. Are you concerned about the state’s response to the coronavirus outbreak? A lot of new information was released during Gov. Gavin Newsom’s press conference with health officials Thursday. The Chronicle wants to hear from readers on how they feel about the outbreak.

12:30 p.m. Travis AFB patient transferred to Marin County hospital: A passenger from the Diamond Princess cruise ship who had been quarantined at Travis Air Force Base was transferred to a Marin County hospital Wednesday night after testing positive for coronavirus, officials said. The person has no symptoms of illness at this time.

11:49 a.m. Solano County coronavirus patient treated at VacaValley Hospital: A woman who tested positive for coronavirus on Wednesday — the source of infection is not known — was treated at NorthBay VacaValley Hospital in Vacaville for several days before being transferred to Sacramento, officials said. The patient represents the first case of possible community transmission of the virus.

The patient was at the Vacaville hospital for three days before being moved to UC Davis Medical Center, when her condition worsened. VacaValley Hospital staff members who interacted with the patient and may have been exposed to the virus have been told to stay home and monitor themselves for symptoms.

11:26 a.m. No connection between Solano County patient and Travis Air Force Base: Dr. Sonia Y. Angell, director of California Department of Public Health, said there is no evidence between the Travis Air Force Base quarantine and the patient from Solano County.

11:16 a.m. Governor calls initial testing of coronavirus “inadequate”: Gov. Gavin Newsom said the “testing protocol have been a point of frustration,” and the state only had a few hundred kits. “That is simply inadequate to do justice to the kind of testing we need,” he said. He later said, “I am not going to politicize this moment and I am not going to point fingers.” The governor added that state and federal officials have had a “strong” partnership.

11:11 a.m. New details released on Solano County patient: Mark Ghaly, secretary of the California Health and Human Services, said the woman who mysteriously contracted coronavirus in Solano County was in her community for “a number of days” before accessing care. “Her condition evolved and she was then tested,” he said. Officials are now trying to determine the community’s exposure. The CDC is sending 10 officials to assist in helping to track down people who came in contact with the patient. Dr. Sonia Y. Angell, director of the California Department of Public Health, said officials begin a search by speaking with affected individuals and then interviewing each person around them, tracing who that person may have communicated with and where they might have been, including everyone at the hospital where the patient was treated.

11:02 a.m. Risk to general public remains low, officials say: Health officials are still investigating how a Solano County woman contracted the coronavirus, said Dr. Sonia Y. Angell, director of the California Department of Public Health. “This is a fluid situation,” she said. “The risk to gen public remains low.” However, the Solano County case “marks a turning point,” she said. Officials are increasing lab capacity and planning for increased demand in medical care. The public is advised to take simple steps: wash hands with soap and water, avoid touching the face and mouth with unwashed hands, and stay at home if symptoms develop. “It’s natural to be concerned in times like these,” Angell said.

10:58 a.m. Health officials offer breakdown on total CA cases: In total, 33 people in the state have tested positive for the coronavirus, said Dr. Sonia Y. Angell, director of the California Department of Public Health. Of this total, five have been moved out of state; twenty-four were on flights from affected regions; another seven were travel-related; one person came into contact with someone who was infected; and one case in Solano County, a woman, came from an unknown origin.

10:45 a.m. Patient in Solano County activated state protocols: Gov. Gavin Newsom said news of the nation’s first person to contract coronavirus from an unknown origin prompted state health officials to start tracing down who had been in contact with this individual and begin working with front-line hospital workers. These officials are “deep” in a partnership with CDC in testing, Newsom said, and state officials were assured hours ago that CDC testing protocols will be “urgently” advanced. Newsom said there is “no better resourced state in America to address this issue head-on.”

10:42 a.m. Gov. Gavin Newsom updates on status of coronavirus outbreak: California’s governor said in a news conference that 28 people in the state of California have tested positive for the virus, and five were moved out of the state.

10:18 a.m. Facebook cancels F8 developer conference in May in San Jose: “Given the growing concerns around COVID-19, we’ve made the difficult decision to cancel the in-person component of F8 2020,” Konstantinos Papamiltiadis, Facebook’s director of platform partnerships, wrote in a blog post. Papamiltiadis said it “didn’t feel right” to have the conference without international developers in attendance, a nod to travel restrictions and concerns worldwide as the coronavirus inches toward pandemic status.

9:46 a.m. Dozen hospital workers in Solano County monitored for exposure, report says: The Washington Post reported that the person who had tested positive for coronavirus despite no recent travel history is a Solano County woman. The newspaper also reported that a dozen hospital workers who treated the woman are being monitored for exposure to the virus. CDC officials could not immediately confirm the report.

9:35 a.m. Congress gets closer to funding coronavirus response: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-San Francisco, said Thursday that Congress is close to a bipartisan agreement on funding to combat the coronavirus. She said Democratic leaders agree the funds must be restricted to response efforts, so President Trump cannot divert them. Pelosi said she spoke Thursday morning with Vice President Mike Pence, who’s leading the federal coronavirus response, about the escalating crisis. She said she “expressed to him the concern that I had” with the vice president overseeing such efforts given he slashed public health funding as the governor of Indiana, which coincided with an HIV outbreak, the worst in the state’s history. “In any event, we look forward to working together in a bipartisan way,” Pelosi said, adding that the response must show “respect for science and evidence-based decision making.”

9:30 a.m. Solano County virus case spreads concern to local schools: Following the announcement of the first case in Solano County, school officials at the Fairfield-Suisun Unified School District said school staff plans to wipe down commonly shared surfaces every day with disinfectants as fears and concerns mount.

9:05 a.m. Unity Technologies, Microsoft pull out of SF gaming conference: The CEO of San Francisco-based software and gaming company Unity Technologies said in a blog post the company is discouraging employees from traveling to San Francisco for the Game Developers Conference in mid-March and will not have a booth at the event, instead showcasing its content online. Microsoft also announced it would have a “digital” presence for the event.

8:30 a.m. Gov. Newsom, health officials to discuss coronavirus at news conference: Gov. Gavin Newsom and health officials announced at 10:30 am. public briefing on the state’s response to the coronavirus in the wake of the first case of unknown origin in California. The press conference can be live-streamed on the governor’s official Twitter page.

7:10 a.m. Bay Area colleges curb study abroad programs, report says: Stanford University suspended its program in Italy and San Jose State University will not be sending a group of students to South Korea, according to NBC Bay Area. Saint Mary’s College reportedly altered some programs as well.

6:40 a.m. Markets fall again over coronavirus fears: The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 1.6% in early trading Thursday and the S&P was down 1.8%, suggesting the spreading virus continues to worry investors and could have a huge impact on the economy.

6:20 a.m. Solano County health officials issue statement on coronavirus patient: “At this time, there is one confirmed case of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) in a Solano County resident. This may be the first possible community transmission of the virus. Solano Public Health is working with local, state and federal partners to identify, notify and monitor individuals who may have been exposed to the virus. While this is considered a serious public health threat, the risk to Solano County residents and the general public is low at this time.”

10:53 p.m.: UC Davis releases statement on patient and CDC delay in testing: “Sunday (Feb. 23), the CDC ordered COVID-19 testing of the patient, and the patient was put on airborne precautions and strict contact precautions, because of our concerns about the patient’s condition. Today the CDC confirmed the patient’s test was positive,” officials said.

5:50 p.m. State officials say patient is from Solano County: The first case in the U.S. of unknown origin is a patient from Solano County who is being treated at a Sacramento County hospital, officials said.

5:15 p.m. CDC confirms first case of unknown origin: The CDC said a person with a confirmed case of coronavirus is in Northern California — and that the person did not recently travel to a foreign country or have contact with a person known to have the virus. Officials are not saying where in Northern California the person is.

3:56 p.m. Washington Post reports first U.S. coronavirus case of unknown origin: The Post said that “a person briefed on the case” said the CDC has been informed that a patient in Northern California is infected with the coronavirus and the source of the infection is unknown. The patient did not travel to a foreign country or have contact with a confirmed case.

3:55 p.m. President Trump addresses coronavirus in White House news conference: Trump announced Vice President Mike Pence will be spearheading the White House’s coronavirus task force, which is comprised of officials with the CDC and various federal health and security organizations. Pence, who said he was the governor of Indiana when the first case of MERS in the United States was discovered in 2014, credited Trump for taking “aggressive” and “unprecedented steps” to control spread of the coronavirus in the United States. Alex Azar, the secretary for the Health and Human Services said the United States’ “containment strategy has been working,” but said the “degree of risk has the potential to change quickly,” warning that the country can expect to see more cases of the coronavirus.

12:20 p.m. San Francisco’s only coronavirus patient speaks: Rick Wright, a Redwood City resident who tested positive for coronavirus following his cruise ship vacation, is now being treated at a UCSF hospital. He spoke with The Chronicle about his experience.

11:16 a.m. Two more cruise ship passengers test positive: The CDC said Wednesday that two more passengers from the Diamond Princess cruise ship who were under quarantine at Travis Air Force Base have tested positive for the coronavirus. Both people have been moved to hospitals in the area. In all, 42 cruise ship passengers have been infected; 17 are being monitored in Northern California hospitals.

11:10 a.m. Air travelers rethink plans, even outside virus hot spots: The coronavirus, with its ever-changing patchwork of travel restrictions, is causing people to cancel flights. That spells trouble for SFO and United, its biggest carrier.

8:44 a.m. Fifth & Mission podcast on San Francisco’s “State of Emergency: With the city declaring a state of emergency over the coronavirus and federal officials warning the U.S. to prepare for an outbreak, the epidemic suddenly seems much closer to home. Chronicle health reporters Erin Allday and Catherine Ho join editor in chief Audrey Cooper to discuss the latest events on the Fifth & Mission podcast.

6:20 a.m. President to address coronavirus with health officials: President Trump will hold a press conference at 3 p.m. with federal health officials to discuss the coronavirus in the U.S.

6:15 a.m. First clinical trial in the U.S. for a coronavirus treatment drug starts: The trial for antiviral drug remdesivir, which was made by Foster City’s Gilead Sciences, has begun at the University of Nebraska Medical Center, according to the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. The first trial participant is an American volunteer who was aboard the Diamond Princess cruise ship.

6:00 a.m. One case in Sonoma County: A person with the coronavirus is being treated in Sonoma County, health officials said. The individual was transported to a hospital Monday night from the Travis Air Force Base in Fairfield, where passengers from the disease-stricken cruise ship Diamond Princess in Japan have been staying. Although the person tested positive, they have not shown any symptoms.

6:00 a.m. Third case in Contra Costa: A third patient from from Travis Air Force Base in a Contra Costa County hospital tested positive for the virus, health officials said. The person was transferred to the local hospital last week.

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