Newsom Recall Gaining Momentum; Beloved Campo Di Bocce Restaurant Closing; Researchers ‘Racing Against Mutations’

CBS San Francisco Staff Report

SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — With the surge in new coronavirus cases beginning to ease and demand for vaccination growing, the information you need to know is coming fast and furious. Here’s a roundup of the COVID stories we’ve published over the last 24 hours.

Gov. Gavin Newsom Approval Rating Drops Below 50% In New Poll As Recall Effort Grows

SAN FRANCISCO — As supporters of a recall campaign against Gov. Gavin Newsom get closer to their signature goal, a new poll finds the governor’s approval rating has dropped below 50%. The poll from the UC Berkeley Institute of Governmental Studies found Newsom’s approval rating is at 46%, which is down from the 60% approval he had four months ago. Recall organizers say the effort by Californians is growing, as they seek to collect 1.5 million valid signatures. “Every year our hills are on fire, our power goes out, we have homeless tents,” said Mike Netter of Former San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer, a Republican, announced this week he would be running for governor. Faulconer indicated that he would run either this year if the recall effort qualifies, or in 2022, when Newsom would be up for re-election if the effort fails. Read More

Beloved Campo Di Bocce Restaurant In Livermore Closes Its Doors After 15 Years Due To COVID Shutdown

LIVERMORE — The pandemic economy has claimed another beloved business forced to close its doors. Campo Di Bocce Restaurant and Bar was the anchor at the Livermore Shopping Plaza in the Ruby Hill neighborhood and a staple in the community for 15 years, according to several longtime customers. When the pandemic canceled Madelyne Gold’s senior ball last year, she and her friends came to Campo Di Bocce for a scaled down dinner. “Campo Di Bocce covered our tab for us and gave us free desserts, you know, and just really made us feel welcome. They took pictures for us and just really gave us the experience that we never got, which was really special,” said Gold. “It was always just such a friendly atmosphere there and it feels kind of like home.” The beloved Italian restaurant posted on its website, “It is with a heavy heart to announce that Campo Di Bocce of Livermore has made the extremely difficult decision…” Read More

San Mateo Extends Outdoor Dining Through September, Considers Keeping Parklets Permanently

SAN MATEO — San Mateo’s City Council voted Monday to extend street closures through September, giving restaurants the means to continue outdoor dining during the COVID-19 pandemic. Street closures will continue on B Street between Baldwin and 3rd Avenue, either through September or until the end of the COVID-19 state of emergency, whichever is sooner. Before Monday’s renewal, the closures were set to expire March 1. The council also voted to continue suspending enforcement of minimum parking requirements and zoning regulations, meaning businesses in the city can continue outdoor operations once they comply with state and local regulations. That extension lasts 90 days until May 2, and businesses will still have to work with landlords or property managers to get permission to operate outdoors. Read More

‘Racing Against Mutations’ Researchers Find 2 New Virus Strains In California

SAN FRANCISCO — As the world waits for vaccines, the coronavirus is changing. “We’re kind of racing against mutations,” said UCSF epidemiologist Dr. George Rutherford. In addition to the United Kingdom virus strain that has forced stringent lockdowns, there are now two new strains on the West Coast, one in Southern California, and another in Northern California. “We’re watching the West Coast variants, over a thousand total variants between these two slightly different mutations. We reported both in Southern California, parts of the Bay Area, Santa Clara in particular,” said Dr. Mark Ghaly in a news conference Tuesday afternoon. Dr. Rutherford says these mutations can be expected every three to five reproductive cycles for the virus. Each variant behaves differently. The UK variant is 40 percent more transmissible. He calls the Northern California strain “stickier,” still treatable, but it bonds more tightly to your lungs. Read More

Oakland Passes $5 Raise, SJ City Council Weighs ‘Hero Pay’ For Grocery Workers

OAKLAND — Oakland city council members voted unanimously Tuesday night to force large grocery stores to pay its employees hazard pay until the end of the pandemic. “We are putting our health at risk,” said Tamara Perine. She has worked for Safeway in Oakland for 29 years, and was excited to hear that she and 2,000 other eligible grocery workers in Oakland will now get an extra $5 per hour effective immediately. “People are coming in, stealing and robbing, we have folks who don’t want to wear a mask, they want to swear at us, curse at us,” Perine said.bThe emergency ordinance in Oakland impacts establishments with at least 500 workers nationwide. San Jose city council members also discussed a similar proposal during Tuesday evening that, if passed, would be an extra $3 an hour for grocery workers. Under the proposal, it would expire 120 days after it’s adopted. Read More

German 1918 Pandemic Survivor Sees Frightening Parallels With Politics In Era Of COVID-19

FREMONT — The last time a deadly pandemic ravaged the world was one hundred years ago and a woman in Fremont has survived both of them. It is the social aftermath of the calamity that has her most worried. Ursula Haeussler is 105-years-old. Born in Germany in 1915, Haeussler said her earliest memory came at age 3 when a young maid walked into the room. “I remember she came in and fell unconscious on the floor,” she said. “And, of course, I thought she was dead. She died on the same day in the hospital.” The 1918 Spanish Flu had arrived. It killed 50 million people worldwide, including Haeussler’s uncle and godparents. So, one hundred years later, when the next pandemic hit, she had one thought: “I thought, oh my god, I hope they get a vaccine soon and I’m really impressed that they got it when they got it.” Read More

Los Gatos Yoga Studio Under Fire For Planned Retreat In Mexico

LOS GATOS — The operators of a South Bay yoga studio who have been critical of other studios holding retreats abroad during the pandemic are now planning a Mexican retreat of their own, sparking a backlash. Los Gatos studio Yoga Source advertised the retreat to Tulum, Mexico, on the company’s Instagram page, promising enchanting waves, dreamy beaches, delicious food and three yoga or Pilates classes a day. A number of people in the Bay Area yoga community have been critical of the retreat, describing it as reckless, irresponsible and ill-timed as the pandemic rages in both countries. “We can do yoga at home,” said Eleni Ramphos, a yoga instructor who works in public health and plans to attend medical school next year. Ramphos told KPIX 5 the retreat violates a fundamental tenet of the practice of yoga in which practitioners pledge to do no harm and to think of the health and wellbeing of others and the community. Read More

Benicia Moves Fast On Distributing 1,400 Shots To Most Vulnerable – ‘A Remarkable Accomplishment’

BENICIA — In Benicia and the immediate surrounding area there are thought to be about 1,600 people 75 years of age or older. It was monumental news when this community suddenly received 1,400 doses of vaccine. “I didn’t even know they were doing it,” said Carrie Burns. “I turned the TV on and they said they were having it. So I said I better go down and try to get a shot.” Burns was done, just like that. Even with non-stop traffic, Tuesday’s vaccination effort moved with machine-like precision. “Twenty minutes,” guessed Ken Butler on his way out. “They’re really moving people well.” To make it happen, Benicia had to get moving. Like many of the larger clinics now popping up around the Bay Area, this one materialized in a hurry. Read More

Kaiser Cancels More Than 5,000 Vaccination Appointments In Santa Clara County Because Of Low Supplies

SAN JOSE — More than 5,000 COVID vaccine appointment were canceled last week at Kaiser Permanente facilities in Santa Clara County after the provider said it didn’t receive the expected doses of the vaccine. Kaiser said about 4,500 appointments scheduled Jan. 29 to Feb. 5 were canceled for people 65-74, and another 750 appointments scheduled from Jan. 29 to 31 for people 75 and older were also canceled. In a statement emailed to KPIX 5, Kaiser Permanente said it did not receive the vaccine supplies anticipated when the appointments were made, estimated on previous vaccine deliveries and guidance from the state and county. “We understand the frustration this causes, and we are continuing to do all we can to increase the supply of vaccines, working in partnership with county, state and federal governments,” said the statement. Read More

Vaccinations Begin For 1,000 Foster Farms Poultry Workers In Fresno

FRESNO — COVID-19 vaccinations are underway for about 1,000 employees at a Foster Farms poultry plant in Fresno. According to a company statement, first doses of the Moderna vaccine are being offered workers at the Cherry Avenue processing facility this week. Foster Farms said it expects most employees would participate in the vaccination program. “This vaccination program marks the first large scale effort to vaccinate a workforce at a major food processing facility in Fresno County,” a Foster Farms spokesperson said Tuesday. Vaccines are being distributed in partnership with the Fresno Department of Public Health and Vons Pharmacy. The company said they hope the partnership would be a model on distributing vaccines in the state’s food processing industry. Read More

Spring Surge Still Possible As Metrics Trend Down, Vaccine Rollout Improves

SACRAMENTO — California is beginning to emerge from its troubles administering the COVID vaccine as the state continues to show case numbers falling across different metrics, according to the state’s top health official, who warned a spring surge is still possible. At the same time, most of the state remained in the most restrictive Purple Tier Tuesday with only two – Trinity and Alpine counties – improving their position on the state’s colored tier system as of Tuesday. Counties must remain in their tier for at least three weeks, and have two consecutive weeks of meeting benchmarks for new cases, positive tests and health equity before moving to a new tier. On Tuesday, State Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly reported 12,064 postive cases Tuesday, well below the current 7-day average of 16,798. “We haven’t seen a number like this in quite some time,” said Ghaly. Read More

Sonoma County Supervisors Address Confusion Over COVID-19 Vaccine Rollout

SANTA ROSA — The Sonoma County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday discussed the county’s COVID-19 vaccine rollout after recent confusion over vaccination appointments made online. Urmila Shende, Sonoma County’s COVID-19 vaccine chief, fielded questions from the supervisors about the vaccine rollout and how the county can best reduce the spread of the virus and follow public health directives. The supervisors also aired their frustrations with the vaccine distribution, and floated ideas about what they could potentially do to mitigate the effects of COVID-19 on Sonoma County. Last week, a vaccination clinic in Rohnert Park meant for people 75 and older had thousands of people younger than that sign up online for appointments after a link for the OptumServe scheduling website was shared on social media. The county canceled the appointments for those under 75 and has since announced several additional clinics for people 75 and older. Read More

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