COVID: Five Things You Need to Know 03/02/21

It’s Tuesday, March 2nd and here are the top five things you need to know this week: 

First, a status update of our local counties since the last installment: 

  • Santa Clara County just announced its move from the Purple Tier to the Red Tier under the State’s Blueprint for a Safer Economy. This designation allows for restaurants, movie theaters, and places of worship to open indoors at 25% capacity, retail and shopping centers to open at 50% capacity, personal care services to reopen with modifications, and gyms and fitness centers to reopen at 10% capacity. Last week the County announced changes to its health order, including relaxed orders around outdoor gatherings, and announced that it is expanding vaccine eligibility to those who are currently jailed or unhoused. VTA is following suit with other transit operators in the Bay Area and offering free bus rides to those looking to receive their COVID-19 vaccine.
  • San Mateo County moved from the Purple Tier to the Red Tier under the State’s Blueprint for a Safer Economy last week. Additionally, SamTrans has begun providing free bus rides to those looking to receive a vaccine for anyone living or working in the County. According to the County’s press release, “passengers going to a vaccination site must let the bus operator know when they board the bus and show proof of the vaccine appointment or a vaccination card.”
  • Alameda County announced last week it will also follow the State’s new guidance for indoor and outdoor sports. The County is currently taking vaccination appointments for those 65+ and has not yet announced formal plans to vaccinate essential workers in food/agriculture, education, or emergency services. AC Transit, the regional transit operator for Alameda and Contra Costa counties, has announced free bus rides to the Oakland Coliseum for those receiving a vaccination. 

Second, Governor Newsom announced Monday, March 1st his Safe School For All Plan, outlining school reopenings with financial incentives in the State. The plan would give schools that reopen by certain dates a financial incentive, with a focus on the youngest students. However, the plan does not require schools to reopen or require that educators and school staff receive the COVID-19 vaccine to return to campuses. Decisions on the timeline for school reopening still lie with individual districts and labor unions. 

Third, member company Johnson & Johnson has received Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) for its one-shot COVID-19 vaccine. The EUA was granted over the weekend and as of Monday, March 1st the company has begun shipping the vaccine. This comes as a welcome reprieve to low vaccine supply and has the ability to help those living and working in the hardest to reach areas most.

Fourth, Blue Shield’s vaccination system for the State debuts March 1st. The system will start in ten California counties, 8 of which are in the Central Valley and will manage how many doses of COVID-19 vaccines are to be delivered in each county. The system will roll out in waves over the following weeks, with most Southern California counties in the second wave and most Bay Area counties in the third wave. 

And fifth, the $1.9 trillion stimulus package has moved to the Senate. The stimulus package includes $1,400 checks to low and middle income households along with monies to cities and states to fight low reserves due to limited tax revenue in 2020. Notably excluded from the package at this time is the $15 federal minimum wage raise. This is an ongoing battle for the progressive wing of the Democratic party. 

The next installment of 5 Things You Need To Know About COVID-19 will come out in two weeks on Tuesday, March 16, 2021. In the meantime if you have questions or comments regarding SVLG’s COVID-19 work please reach out to me at [email protected]. Thank you and stay safe.

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