California health officials lifted the regional stay at home order statewide after projections showed each region would have ICU capacities above 15% in the next four weeks. Rather than give the current availability rate, the state is now releasing it's four-week projection.
Updated 01/26/21, 5:30 am: The state projects the ICU capacity rate for the San Joaquin Valley will be 22.3% by February 21.
The San Joaquin Valley is still under a Hospital Surge Order which requires hospitals across the state to accept patients from regions faced with surging hospital and ICU capacities. That includes: Fresno, Kern, Kings, Madera, Merced and Tulare counties.
RELATED: Map shows which counties can, can't reopen under stay-at-home order, reopening tiers
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February 3, 2021
More Fresno County elementary students to return to campus
Class will be back in session in person next week for thousands of Fresno County elementary school students after health officials determined county COVID case rates and healthcare system capacity are improving. The announcement impacts schools which were already in the process of phasing students back to in-person learning prior to winter break.
Study finds COVID-19 vaccine may reduce virus transmission
AstraZeneca's COVID-19 vaccine does more than prevent people from falling seriously ill - it appears to reduce transmission of the virus and offers strong protection for three months on just a single dose, researchers said Wednesday in an encouraging turn in the campaign to suppress the outbreak. The preliminary findings from Oxford University, a co-developer of the vaccine, could vindicate the British government's controversial strategy of delaying the second shot for up to 12 weeks so that more people can be quickly given a first dose. Up to now, the recommended time between doses has been four weeks.
CDC: Schools can safely reopen even if teachers aren't vaccinated for COVID-19
The Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says schools can safely reopen even if teachers are not vaccinated for the coronavirus. As some teachers' unions balk at resuming in-person instruction before teachers are inoculated, Dr. Rochelle Walensky says, "Vaccination of teachers is not a prerequisite for safe reopening of schools." Walensky cited CDC data showing that social distancing and wearing a mask significantly reduce the spread of the virus in school settings.
'Just lay low and cool it': Fauci warns against Super Bowl parties to avoid COVID spread
The nation's top infectious disease expert doesn't want the Super Bowl to turn into a super spreader. Dr. Anthony Fauci, says when it comes to Super Bowl parties during the pandemic, people should "just lay low and cool it."
February 2, 2021
Some CVS Pharmacies across CA, including Clovis, to offer COVID-19 vaccines
100 of the company's pharmacies, including locations in Clovis, will administer approximately 81,900 doses. You must be eligible to receive the vaccine under the state's current vaccine rollout plan, that includes people 65 and older. And you must have an appointment before receiving your dose.
Tulare County hits pause button on first dose vaccination clinics
Around 20,000 Tulare County residents have received their first doses of the Moderna or Pfizer vaccine, and local health officials say the time for their second shot is now, or is coming up soon. At a board of supervisors meeting on Tuesday, Tulare County's top health official made it clear that there is still not enough vaccine supply to guarantee second doses and administer first doses at the same time. So for this week and next, the county is only holding second dose clinics at sites such as the International Agri-Center.
February 1, 2021
Merced County pauses vaccinations this week due to dose shortage
Due to a national shortage of COVID-19 vaccine doses, the Merced County Department of Public Health is putting a pause on vaccination clinics this week. All available doses will go toward providing the second shot required to complete the vaccination series for those who have already received their initial dose. While the current vaccine shortage is a nationwide issue, Merced County officials say it continues to receive the second-lowest per capita vaccine allocation in the State.
January 28, 2021
COVID-19 variant from South Africa detected in US for 1st time
A new coronavirus variant identified in South Africa has been found in the United States for the first time, with two cases diagnosed in South Carolina, state health officials said Thursday. The two cases don't appear to be connected, nor do the people have a history of recent travel, the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control said
How experts will hunt for COVID origins in in Wuhan, China
After a two-week quarantine, the real work can begin. Maybe. A World Health Organization team of researchers emerged from their hotel Thursday for the first time since their arrival in the central Chinese city of Wuhan to start searching for clues into the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic.
January 27, 2021
Blue Shield of California tapped to run state COVID-19 vaccine system
Health insurance giant Blue Shield of California will be the outside administrator tasked with ramping up the state's coronavirus vaccine delivery system, which to date has been slow, stilted and plagued by confusion, the state health agency said in a statement Wednesday.
January becomes deadliest month for COVID-19 in US with nearly 80,000 lives lost
January has already become the worst month for US COVID-19 deaths since the start of the pandemic. As of Tuesday, there have been more than 79,000 coronavirus fatalities, topping the previous record set in December by more than a thousand, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.
January 26, 2021
Merced Union High School will start in-person learning on March 15
The Merced Union High School District has announced in-person learning will resume on March 15. Students will return to campuses on a hybrid model, alternating which days they'll be in classrooms. Families will continue to have the option to keep their children on distance learning for the remainder of the school year. All students in the district have been on distance learning since returning from winter break earlier this month.
January 25, 2021
'Stay home' orders lifted, Republicans accuse governor of acting on whims and political pressure
Fresno Assemblyman Jim Patterson accused Gov. Gavin Newsom of giving and lifting orders on a whim. "What is this governor doing?" asked Assm. Patterson, (R) Fresno. "One day he closes us down. The next he opens us up." Patterson says analysts don't expect all the lost jobs to return for a few years. He says the governor only allowed businesses to reopen because of political pressure -- from a recall campaign and lawsuits.
California Nurses Association condemns move out of regional stay at home order
The California Nurses Association is condemning the move out of the regional stay at home order. The group released a statement on Monday saying, "Nurses call on state leaders to prioritize people over profits, and we urge the public to listen to nurses and continue following the stay at home orders. Let's be clear that even if numbers are 'trending downward,' we are still in the midst of the most deadly surge of COVID-19." The statement went on to encourage people to follow the guidance of healthcare workers and continue to follow stay home orders.
California to switch to age-based COVID-19 vaccine eligibility
California's governor is pledging a more seamless coronavirus vaccination system that should make it easier for nearly 40 million residents to know when it's their turn to get vaccinated and where to sign up, easing some of the confusion and angst as 58 counties try to roll out the scarce shots themselves. The state would move to an age-based eligibility system after vaccinating those now at the front of the line, including health care workers, food and agriculture workers, teachers, emergency personnel and seniors 65 and older, Gov. Gavin Newsom said at a news briefing Monday.
CA lifts regional stay at home order, will announce change in vaccine eligibility stages soon
California health officials have lifted the regional stay-at-home order for all areas statewide on Monday morning, including the San Joaquin Valley, Southern California and the Bay Area, where ICU capacities still remain under 15%. A majority of the state's counties to the purple tier in California's color-coded tier system, which, while less restrictive than the stay-at-home order, still requires non-essential businesses to close and restaurants to serve outdoors only. Read more here.
Only 10 out of 4M vaccinated with Moderna vaccine had severe allergic reaction, CDC reports
Ten out of the more than 4 million people who got the first doses of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine had a severe allergic reaction, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, or CDC. "In all the cases no one has died and it's been all treatable. Most of them occurred within the first 10 minutes," said Peter Chin-Hong, a UCSF Infectious Disease specialist.
January 24, 2021
California Governor Gavin Newsom expected to lift strict stay-at-home orders, sources say
Gov. Gavin Newsom is expected to lift California's strict stay-at-home orders he imposed on much of the state in December. In a letter to restaurant owners, the California Restaurant Association says sources tell them that officials with Gov. Newsom's office plan to lift the stay-at-home orders in all regions of the state on Monday. Read more here.
Outdoor dining ban may be driving increase in COVID cases, some scientists say
California's ban on outdoor dining to cut down on COVID may be having the opposite of its intended effect. Some scientists believe it's driving an increase of new cases. Some studies, including one from Stanford University published in November, have shown the coronavirus will spread when restaurants open for indoor dining. Infectious disease specialist Monica Gandhi, M.D., compares the ban to abstinence-only campaigns. She says human nature takes over and instead of directing people towards safer behavior and harm reduction, the ban will push them towards riskier activity.
January 22, 2021
Fresno Co. health officials to pause mass vaccinations due to low supply of vaccines
Action News has learned Fresno County health officials will pause appointments at mass vaccination sites for next week due to the county's low supply of COVID-19 vaccines. There are currently no appointments scheduled for next week at the Fresno fairgrounds, Sierra Pacific or through United Health Centers. Officials say they have enough supply to ensure people who have received their first dose will get their second.
PAUSE: Fresno County is pausing mass vaccination sites next week.— Corin Hoggard (@corinhoggard) January 22, 2021
The county is running low on COVID vaccine supply with no guarantee of new shipments.
If you've noticed no appointments available on the county website, this is why.@ABC30 pic.twitter.com/eKnTFfQJ0R
California health officials discuss moving away from vaccine tier system
California is having preliminary discussions about making changes to the vaccine tier system. It comes amid shortages, delays, and confusion. During Wednesday night's California Department of Public Health Community Vaccine Advisory Committee meeting, California Surgeon General, Dr. Nadine Burke Harris said, "one of things we're hearing loud and clear with challenges in vaccine rollout is that there's a great need for simplicity and clarity."
January 21, 2021
ABC data shows California lagging behind most states in administering COVID vaccines
Patients are waiting in long lines to get a dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, but as supply dwindles, it may take longer before every Californian gets a shot. Carrie Monteiro with the Tulare County Public Health department says they're working to vaccinate as many people over the age of 65 as they can, but there's simply not enough vaccines.
Kids aged 4 and older can now get tested for COVID-19 at Rite Aid
Free COVID-19 testing is now available for children as young as four years old at Rite Aid. The pharmacy chain announced on Thursday afternoon that it is expanding its drive-thru testing to younger children, while also adding 60 new testing site locations across the country.
Vaccine distribution underway among Valley's American Indians
The distribution of the COVID-19 vaccination is well underway among the Central Valley's American Indian population. Many tribal members have received their first shot, and some have already gotten their booster.
January 20, 2021
COVID-19 vaccine appointments canceled in Madera County due to shortage in doses
First-time vaccine appointments have suddenly come to a halt at the Madera County Social Services Building. Due to a shortage in supply, health officials say 824 people in Madera County are finding out their turn at receiving the COVID-19 vaccine has been postponed indefinitely. Read more here.
California says it's safe to resume Moderna COVID-19 vaccine distribution
California says it's safe to resume using a batch of coronavirus vaccine from Moderna after some people fell ill and a halt to injections was recommended. The decision frees up more than 300,000 doses to counties, cities and hospitals struggling to obtain supplies. Starting Thursday, Clinica Sierra Vista in Fresno will resume COVID-19 vaccinations to those eligible. Read more here.
CA hits 3M COVID-19 cases
California is now the first state in the country to have three million coronavirus cases. In comparison, Texas has more than two million cases, and only Florida, Illinois and New York have more than one million cases. There were 694 deaths reported in the state Wednesday.
January 19, 2021
Fresno County officials say COVID vaccine doses aren't coming fast enough
Health officials say the escalating loss of life is adding more urgency to get people vaccinated for COVID-19. Fresno County health officials say they are asking the state for more doses as they work to meet intense demand. They say the doses aren't coming in as fast as they'd like. "We are going to be running out of vaccine if our allocation doesn't increase," says interim health officer Dr. Rais Vohra. Read more here.
January 18, 2021
Some doses of Moderna vaccine Lot 041L20A administered in the Central Valley
Officials with the California Department of Public Health have said more than 330,000 doses of Moderna lot number 041L20A were sent to nearly 300 healthcare providers earlier this month. On Sunday night, state officials said those doses should be put in storage after a high number of possible severe allergic reactions were reported at one community vaccination event in San Diego. Read more here.
Clinica Sierra Vista pauses COVID vaccinations in Fresno out of an abundance of caution
Clinica Sierra Vista announced it is pausing all COVID vaccinations, including at its Fresno location, after as many as 10 people in California had allergic reactions to one particular lot of the Moderna vaccine.
January 17, 2021
California health officials identify COVID-19 variant linked to several large outbreaks in Northern California
A COVID-19 variant first found in other countries and states has been showing up in increasing numbers throughout California, health officials with the California Department of Public Health, Santa Clara County and UCSF announced on Sunday. Authorities say the L452R variant of COVID-19 was first identified in Denmark in March of 2020, but more frequently since November of last year. The variant is different from the B.1.1.7 variant first detected in the United Kingdom, officials say. Read more here.
State health officials call for pause of distributing Moderna vaccine due to allergic reactions
Late Sunday night, California State Epidemiologist Dr. Erica S. Pan called for the pause of distributing the Moderna COVID-19 vaccines. At one vaccination clinic, Dr. Pan said there were multiple allergic reactions that occurred during the observation period. She added that fewer than 10 people required medical attention from it over the span of 24 hours. Sierra Pacific Orthopedics in Fresno released a statement and said the issues did not occur at their two sites. Read more here.
Madera Community College nursing students assisting with COVID-19 vaccination process
The Madera County Department of Public Health Department is in need of reinforcements. A few days ago they started allowing residents 75 and older to get vaccinated, but they ran into some issues. A cohort of licensed vocational nurses from Madera Community College has now stepped in to help fill that gap.
January 14, 2021
Merced County struggling with low supply, high demand for COVID-19 vaccine
High demand with low supply. That's what Dr. Rebecca Nanyonjo-Kemp says Merced County's health department is up against in the first phase of COVID-19 vaccines. The department has received 6,025 vaccines for a county population of about 278,000.
While 85% of the vaccines have been administered, all vaccines have been already been accounted for in phase 1 - limited to healthcare workers and residents of skilled nursing facilities.
Fresno healthcare CEO working to speed up vaccine rollout after being hospitalized with COVID-19
A Fresno man is making it his mission to get COVID-19 vaccines into the arms of patients after he himself was hospitalized with the virus. Sante represents 1,200 physicians, and Scott Wells says many of them are wanting to administer the vaccines themselves to their patients.
Hundreds line up for drive-through mass COVID vaccination site at Sierra Pacific
Traffic was backed up in northeast Fresno, and hundreds of people waited on foot on Thursday for COVID vaccines at a couple of mass distribution sites, as Fresno County shifts its vaccination effort into a new gear. The line of cars wrapped around northeast Fresno for more than two miles Thursday morning, blocking the right lane of traffic on Millbrook, Alluvial, Cedar, and Spruce. Read more here.
Tulare County now under California's hospital surge order
Tulare County has been added to the list of Central Valley counties affected by the state health officer's hospital surge order. The order was issued earlier this month to decrease pressure on hospitals dealing with a surge of COVID patients. It requires them to delay some surgeries that are considered non-essential. The order affects counties that have less than 10% of ICU space available in regions with zero percent capacity remaining. In the San Joaquin Valley region, several other counties are currently under this order, including Fresno, Kings, Madera, and Merced.
Save Mart Center could be used as another COVID-19 vaccination site
Action News has learned Fresno State is in talks with Fresno County to use the Save Mart Center as a potential vaccination site. The Save Mart Center is being used every few days as a COVID-19 testing center for Fresno State athletes.
WHO team arrives in Wuhan to investigate COVID pandemic origins
A global team of researchers arrived Thursday in the Chinese city where the coronavirus pandemic was first detected to conduct a politically sensitive investigation into its origins amid uncertainty about whether Beijing might try to prevent embarrassing discoveries. The 10-member team sent to Wuhan by the World Health Organization was approved by President Xi Jinping's government after months of diplomatic wrangling that prompted an unusual public complaint by the head of WHO.
January 13, 2021
Valley's largest physician group preparing to vaccinate senior citizens
Sante physicians see over 17,000 seniors in the Valley. They'll soon receive letters informing them the vaccine is available. The federal government initially planned to hold vaccines until people could get their second dose, but Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said states shouldn't wait until all health care workers and long-term care residents are vaccinated before taking care of other groups. Fresno County is home to over 140,000 senior citizens over the age of 65.
California is allowing residents 65 and older to get scarce coronavirus vaccines
California is allowing residents 65 and older to get scarce coronavirus vaccines, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced Wednesday. The move puts seniors in line before emergency workers, teachers, childcare providers and food and agriculture workers even as counties complain they already don't have enough doses to go around.
COVID-19 vaccine available for free to Fresno Co. residents 75 and older at Fresno Fairgrounds
The COVID-19 vaccine is now available for Fresno County residents over the age of 75 for free, health officials announced on Wednesday. Residents who are 75 years old or older can make an appointment to be vaccinated at the Fresno Fairgrounds between 8:00 am at 4:45 pm starting January 13.
January 12, 2021
Madera County needs volunteers to help with COVID-19 vaccine distribution
With ICU beds stretched thin because of the COVID-19 surge, Valley Children's Hospital is hoping to get help in preparing for adult patients. In a statement, the hospital's vice president of medical affairs said, "Given the current widespread transmission of COVID-19 and the stress on adult facilities throughout the State and our region, our current surge planning accepts patients ages 25 and younger."
Tulare County health officials to fix loophole that led to ineligible vaccine registrations
Tulare County's COVID-19 Phase 1A vaccination webpage has a disclaimer that the site is only intended for groups currently eligible for a shot, and a note that those groups will need to show proof once they show up for their appointment. But county officials say the state's CalVax registration system that they use can't filter out people who fall in different phases of the vaccination schedule.
California lifting stay-home order for Sacramento region
California lifted a stay-at-home order in the 13-county Sacramento region on Tuesday as hospital conditions improved, a rare turn of good news as the state pushes through what Gov. Gavin Newsom called its most intense surge'' in the coronavirus. The Bay Area, Central Valley and Southern California all continue to have more pronounced shortages of ICU space in hospitals and remain under the order.
California's equity focus causing some vaccine delays, health secretary says
California Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly was peppered with questions about the state's COVID-19 vaccine rollout Tuesday, as many wondered why the state has only administered about a quarter of available doses.
COVID-19 vaccination 'mega site' to open at Fresno Fairgrounds, health officials say
Action News has learned that Fresno County health officials will soon announce that a large vaccination center will be set up at the Fresno Fairgrounds to help speed up administering COVID-19 shots. Health professionals could be able to give up to 2,000 vaccines each day at the site.
The US has averaged more than 3,000 COVID-19 deaths a day over the past week
The magnitude of loss from COVID-19 is now on par with suffering the 9/11 attacks every day. The US averaged more than 3,223 COVID-19 deaths a day over the past week, according to Johns Hopkins University. That's a few hundred more daily than the 2001 strikes.
US asking states to vaccinate everyone older than 65; not hold back 2nd dose
The Trump administration is asking states to speed delivery of COVID-19 vaccines to people 65 and older and to others at high risk by no longer holding back the second dose of the two-dose shots, officials said Tuesday. Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said that "the administration in the states has been too narrowly focused."
January 11, 2021
University of California system plans to offer mostly in-person classes for fall 2021
The University of California said it plans to offer mostly in-person courses for its students during the fall 2021 semester. UC officials made the announcement on Monday. The plan would include all ten of the system's universities, including UC Merced.
California trying to speed up COVID-19 vaccine rollout, Gov. Gavin Newsom says
As another California region reaches near-zero remaining ICU capacity, Gov. Gavin Newsom said the state is taking an "all hands on deck" approach to administering the COVID-19 vaccine. Many have expressed frustration at the state's slow rollout of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines. While 2,466,125 doses have been shipped to California, only 783,476 have been administered (as of Sunday).
Joe Biden receives second dose of COVID-19 vaccine on camera
Joe Biden on Monday received the second dose of the Pfizer/BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine on camera, as part of an effort by the President-elect's incoming administration to reassure the country of the safety of the vaccines.
How much protection does the COVID-19 vaccine offer? How vaccinated people should approach seeing others
It takes time for vaccines to build up immunity, and the two authorized coronavirus vaccines both require two doses, given several weeks apart, to train the body's immune system. People can be exposed to coronavirus right before being vaccinated, or right after, and there won't be time for the body to develop its defenses. Read more here.
January 9, 2021
Local health officials setting aside COVID vaccines for agriculture and food industry employees
Fresno County Health officials say they're setting aside 3,000 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine for agriculture and food industry employees -- who are apart of tier 1B. At the moment, Fresno County Health Division Manager Joe Prado says they're taking input from several local agencies to determine the best method of distribution.
January 8, 2021
Central CA Women's Facility in Chowchilla has COVID-19 outbreak
The Central California Women's Facility in Chowchilla is trying to contain a major COVID-19 outbreak. There are currently more than 469 active COVID-19 cases there. The Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation is reporting 460 new cases there in the last 14 days. Other prisons in the Central Valley are also seeing a high number of active cases. California State Prison in Corcoran has 139. Kern Valley State Prison has 116. Pleasant Valley in Coalinga has 35 cases, and Avenal State Prison has 13.
January 7, 2021
California sees 2-day record of coronavirus deaths
California health authorities reported Thursday a record two-day total of 1,042 coronavirus deaths as many hospitals strain under unprecedented caseloads
California reports 2nd highest number of daily COVID deaths on Wednesday
California reported its second-highest number of daily coronavirus deaths Wednesday with 459 lives lost, bringing the death toll to 2,504 in the last week as more than a quarter-million new weekly cases portended a continued overwhelming crush on hospitals and intensive care units strained to the breaking point.
January 6, 2021
Gov. Newsom announces new $600 'Golden State Stimulus' for low-income Californians
The Golden State Stimulus is a $600 rapid cash payment that would first be distributed to around 4 million Californians. Some could receive at least $1,200 of direct relief.
California orders surgery delays as virus swamps hospitals
Hospitals in California are so swamped by the coronavirus that the state has ordered hospitals with available space to accept patients from others that have run out of intensive care beds. Southern California and the agricultural San Joaquin Valley were immediately ordered to delay nonessential "and non-life threatening" surgeries in order to provide beds.
Nearly 900,000 COVID-19 vaccines stuck in transit across California
Nearly 900,000 COVID vaccines are waiting in warehouses or stuck in transit across the state, according to state data. More than 1.7 million COVID-19 vaccine doses have been allocated in California, according to the California Department of Public Health. But the state confirmed on Tuesday that only 1.2 million of those have been shipped. Even worse, only around 35% or 454,306 doses have been used.
January 5, 2021
Madera Community Hospital coping with a 117% surge in ER admittance
Health officials tell Action News the rate of patients being admitted into their facility from their emergency rooms is up more than 117% from last month. That's why the hospital is getting help from the state to increase their staffing for yet another surge looming and to maintain their hospital capacity. Madera Community Hospital's Chief Nursing Officer Mark Brown says they have to have a crisis plan in place in case just in case the situation worsens.
Senior citizens receive first COVID-19 vaccinations at Westgate Gardens Care Center
About 130 people at Westgate Gardens Care Center in Visalia received the Pfizer COVID-19 on Tuesday. The team hopes that Tuesday's dose of the vaccine is the first step towards getting that back. It was the first of three opportunities provided by the facility; you only need two doses of the vaccine, but the facility wanted to give anyone who decided not to get the vaccine on Tuesday the chance to get the two doses at later dates.
January 4, 2021
Your dentist may be able to give you a COVID-19 vaccine shot soon
California Governor Gavin Newsom announced on Monday that the state is working aggressively to accelerate the pace of the vaccine shots in California. To help speed up the pace, the governor will not only increase the number of distribution sites, but also expand the list of those who can distribute the vaccine. Health workers like pharmacy techs, clinicians, and even dentists will start administering the vaccine, a move some say is necessar
Hundreds of Fresno firefighters get COVID-19 vaccine
COVID-19 case rates are climbing quickly, and now those usually running to help people in the community are getting another line of defense. Nearly 600 EMTs, paramedics, and now firefighters have been vaccinated in Fresno County.
Gov. Gavin Newsom explains why COVID-19 vaccine rollout is slow going
Gov. Newsom gave an update on the rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine in California. He said the state has received 1.29 million doses of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines. More than 450,000 doses have already been administered, though Newsom acknowledged that's not nearly enough. Newsom said the state has been having more issues distributing the Moderna vaccine due to complications with an intermediary. The Pfizer vaccine has been easier to distribute, in some regards, because the state deals with the company directly.
December 31, 2020
California deploys 1,280 medical personnel to help hospitals across the state
Hundreds of medical personnel have been deployed by the state to help relieve healthcare workers across California. State officials say 127 of that 1,280 healthcare personnel are headed to the Central Valley. Thirty-nine are going to Fresno County, three are going to Madera County, six are going to Kings County, and 79 are headed for Tulare County. The state said they've also distributed more PPE to hospitals and alternate care sites currently responding to a surge in COVID-19 cases.
Fired employee deliberately spoiled COVID-19 vaccine, Wisconsin health system says
A Wisconsin health system official said Wednesday that 500 doses of coronavirus vaccine that had to be discarded after they were left unrefrigerated now appear to have been deliberately spoiled by an employee.
December 30, 2020
New COVID-19 variant found in Southern California, Newsom says
The new, more contagious variant of COVID-19 that was first observed in the United Kingdom has now made its way to Southern California, Gov. Gavin Newsom said Wednesday. The variant is described as far more contagious than earlier variants of the coronavirus, but not necessarily more deadly or likely to make an infected person more sick. It has also been confirmed in Colorado. Newsom said he learned the new variant was in California Wednesday morning. He did not specify what part of Southern California or how many patients have been infected. Read more here.
US hits record for daily COVID-19 deaths -- again
The US set two more devastating COVID-19 records as it counted down the hours to the end of what has been a calamitous year for the nation. On Tuesday, it recorded more than 3,700 new deaths linked to the virus, a chilling new high. The US also reported the most COVID-19 hospitalizations, with more than 124,600 patients nationwide, according to the COVID Tracking Project.
UK approves use of COVID-19 vaccine developed by Oxford University and AstraZeneca
Britain on Wednesday became the first country to authorize an easy-to-handle COVID-19 vaccine whose developers hope it will become the "vaccine for the world." The approval and a shift in policy that will speed up rollout of the vaccine in the U.K. comes as a surge in infections threatens to swamp British hospitals
December 29, 2020
1st known case of U.K. COVID-19 variant found in Colorado, officials say
Colorado Gov. Jared Polis and state health officials announced they have discovered a case of COVID-19 variant B.1.1.7, the same variant discovered in the UK. This is the first person in the US known to have tested positive for the case. Officials say the individual is a man in his 20s who is currently in isolation and has no travel history. Public health officials are investigating.
Stay home order in San Joaquin Valley region extended
As ICU availability in the San Joaquin Valley remained at 0%, the stay home order was extended for another three weeks. The new order applies to the following counties: Calaveras, Fresno, Kern, Kings, Madera, Mariposa, Merced, San Benito, San Joaquin, Stanislaus, Tulare, Tuolumne. Bars, wineries, nail salons, hair salons and barbershops, and other personal care services need to close. Private gatherings of any size will not be allowed. Schools that were given a waiver to reopen will be allowed to stay open.
Restaurants will have to remove both indoor and outdoor dining and move back to take-out and delivery only.
December 24, 2020
California becomes first state to surpass 2 million confirmed COVID-19 cases
California has surpassed the grim milestone of 2 million confirmed cases of the coronavirus, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. As of early Thursday morning, the state was reporting at least 2,002,494 diagnosed cases of the virus. It is the first state to top 2 million. Just six weeks ago, the state was reporting 1 million cases.
December 23, 2020
Fresno council member to 'refine' language for proposed order that would close retail stores
Days after Fresno City Councilmember Luis Chavez proposed a five-day closure of all retail businesses within the city, the councilman said Wednesday he will now work with the council to "refine the language" in the draft of the proposed emergency bill. Read more here.
Central Valley Meat Co. in Hanford cited, facing fines for lack of COVID-19 safety measures
The Central Valley Meat Company in Hanford was cited and could face up to $50,000 in fines for not protecting their workers from COVID-19, the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health (CalOSHA) said on Wednesday. Read more here.
Pfizer-BioNTech to supply 100 million more COVID-19 vaccine doses to the US
The U.S. government has struck a deal to acquire tens of millions of additional doses of Pfizer's vaccine in exchange for helping the pharmaceutical giant gain better access to manufacturing supplies, according to a statement from the drug maker.
December 22, 2020
Fresno County might have to throw out 14,000 doses of Moderna vaccine
Doses of the Moderna vaccine that arrived in Fresno County might have to be thrown out. Health officials announced on Tuesday they received 14,000 doses, but there was an issue with the 'data logger' that shows if the vials were kept cold enough in transport.
"The data logger, when we receive it, we don't have an actual number on it. We have a red or green light. 'Red' meaning it's not meeting a particular threshold. The state has access to the Moderna system that tells them how long it was out of cold range control. They're reviewing that to see if it's still a viable vaccine that we have. There is some of the shipment we are going to have to return and get replaced," said division manager of community health Joe Prado.
The health department hopes to have a replacement by the end of the week.
Target, Walmart in Fresno to be shut down under proposed emergency order
As Fresno hospitals struggle with patient surges and ICU bed capacity drops dangerously low, Fresno City Councilman Luis Chavez is proposing a five-day closure of all retail businesses within city limits. The order would include big-box stores such as Target and Walmart, but would allow curbside pickup and delivery to continue.
VA Fresno begins administering COVID-19 vaccines
The Veterans Affairs medical center in Fresno is one of more than 100 VA medical centers across the country receiving the first limited supply of the Moderna vaccine.
Medical staff at the V-A hospital began administering the vaccine on Tuesday to healthcare workers and residents.
'We can't afford another surge': South Valley doctors, nurses urge against holiday gatherings
Healthcare workers in the South Valley made a public plea on Tuesday, urging against holiday gatherings this year as hospitals across Central California see a surge in COVID-19 cases. Four healthcare workers shared their experience on the frontline of the pandemic with the hopes of encouraging residents to stay home and mitigate the spread of the virus. They said a spike in coronavirus cases and hospitalizations could get worse if the public doesn't take precautions.
California DMV extends behind-the-wheel driving test suspension through Jan. 4 due to COVID-19 surge
The California Department of Motor Vehicles will continue its temporary suspension of behind-the-wheel testing until at least January 4. The department said it's taking this step for customers' and employees' health and safety during the current surge in COVID-19 cases.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, HHS Sec. Alex Azar receive COVID-19 vaccine at NIH event
The nation's top infectious disease expert has received the initial dose of the newest COVID-19 vaccine alongside other federal health leaders who helped oversee its development. Dr. Anthony Fauci received his first shot of the two-dose regimen alongside National Institutes of Health Director Dr. Francis Collins and Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar.
December 21, 2020
Fresno retail stores to be shut down under new 5-day emergency order being drafted
Fresno City Council members are drafting an emergency proposal that would close down retail businesses because of surging COVID-19 cases. In a draft of the ordinance obtained by Action News, Fresno would be under an emergency shutdown order for five days once the number of available ICU beds in the county is down to zero. Read more here.
Adventist Health Hanford begins vaccinating employees against COVID-19
Kings County Public Health delivered hundreds of doses of the Pfizer vaccine to Adventist Health Hanford on Friday. The vials were stored in an ultra-low temperature freezer over the weekend, and on Monday, vaccinations began in the hospital's cafeteria.
San Joaquin Valley regional stay home orders likely to be extended, Newsom says
As ICUs across California continue to see an influx of coronavirus patients, Gov. Gavin Newsom said Monday that health officials would likely extend the stay home order for the San Joaquin Valley and Southern California. Read more here.
Joe Biden gets first dose of COVID-19 vaccine, says it's 'nothing to worry about'
President-elect Joe Biden on Monday received his first dose of the coronavirus vaccine on live television as part of a growing effort to convince the American public the inoculations are safe. The president-elect took a dose of Pfizer vaccine at a hospital not far from his Delaware home, hours after his wife, Jill Biden, did the same. Watch here.
Tulare County health officials warn against holiday gatherings
The Tulare County Department of Public Health is urging residents to avoid gatherings with people outside their immediate household for the upcoming holidays. Health officials say due to the rising COVID-19 hospitalizations and ICU patients, people should stay home. "To protect those most vulnerable and slow the surge occurring in our local hospitals, we must refrain from participating in gatherings with people whom we do not live with," the department said on Monday. The San Joaquin Valley is still under a regional stay at home order.
Alternate care site will open at Community Regional Medical Center, officials say
An alternate care site is opening at Community Regional Medical Center's North Medical Plaza in downtown Fresno, where healthcare workers will be able to treat up to 50 patients who do not have COVID-19. Next week military medical workers will arrive to assist the hospital for 30 days. Health officials say the care site at the Fresno Convention Center could open if CRMC reaches capacity.
Ambulances implement Assess and Refer policy as hospitals face rush of patients
Ambulances are altering how they respond to emergency calls in Fresno County to reduce overcrowding in area hospitals. The next time someone calls an ambulance, a hospital visit isn't guaranteed. A new Assess and Refer Policy was implemented Friday as emergency rooms across the county face a rush in patients. "They'll arrive on scene, and if the patient is not in need of going to an emergency room, then they will refer them to an urgent care or somewhere else," said Emergency Services director Dan Lynch.
December 20, 2020
Governor Gavin Newsom to quarantine again after staffer tests positive for COVID-19
Governor Gavin Newsom is in quarantine again after one of his staff members tested positive for COVID-19, his office says. The California governor came into contact with the staffer and a few other members.The governor's office says Gov. Newsom tested negative on Sunday and will quarantine for 10 days, in accordance with state guidelines and out of "an abundance of caution."
Distribution of Moderna's vaccine begins
Distribution of Moderna's COVID-19 vaccine began early Sunday morning just two days after receiving emergency use authorization from the FDA.
Pharmaceutical Distributor McKesson prepared the vaccine for shipment, packing it in freezers and loading it up on to trucks under the eyes of law enforcement.
Moderna's rollout means the country now has two vaccines in its arsenal to fight the pandemic.
It comes as 32 percent of the nation's ICUs are at least 80percent full -- with more than 114,000 Americans fighting the virus in the hospital.
Gov. Newsom said California is expecting to receive 672,000 doses of the Moderna vaccine this week.
December 18, 2020
GB3 will reopen all Fresno, Clovis gyms in defiance of regional stay at home order
Managers at George Brown Sports Club (GB3) said Friday they would be reopening their gyms in Fresno and Clovis on Saturday in defiance of the Central Valley regional stay at home order issued as COVID-19 cases surge and ICU beds availability drops to near zero. In an email sent to gym members, officials said masks would be required at all times while inside the building, and gym staff members would continue to increase equipment cleanings. "Excercise is an essential part of staying healthy, strengthens our immune system and for our mental health," the email read. They added that with the wet winter weather, it's not practical or safe to workout outside.
First COVID-19 vaccine administered at Kaweah Delta Medical Center in Visalia
Kaweah Delta Medical Center began administering its first doses of the COVID-19 vaccine to its most at-risk healthcare workers on Friday morning. The hospital received nearly 2,000 doses of the Pfizer vaccine earlier this week. Hospital officials say they plan to vaccinate 1,950 employees over the next five days. Kaweah Delta said they expect a shipment of Moderna vaccines in about a week or so, once it is authorized by the FDA.
VP Mike Pence receives COVID-19 vaccine on-camera
Vice President Mike Pence was vaccinated for COVID-19 on Friday in a live-television event aimed at reassuring Americans the vaccine is safe. Pence, along with his wife, Karen, and Surgeon General Jerome Adams, received their shots Friday morning in an office suite in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building from three medical technicians from Walter Reed National Military Medical Center. Watch here.
HHS Secretary: FDA expected to greenlight Moderna's COVID-19 vaccine
The Food and Drug Administration is expected to greenlight the Moderna vaccine for use in the U.S, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said on "Good Morning America" Friday. The FDA's emergency use authorization could come as early as Friday, he said.
December 17, 2020
Kings County receives first COVID-19 vaccine shipment, will be delivered to Adventist hospital on Friday
Kings County received its first shipment of the COVID-19 vaccine on Thursday, one day after Tulare County received its supply. On Friday, the full amount of the county's first vaccine allocation - 975 doses of the Pfizer vaccine - will be delivered to its only hospital, Adventist Health Hanford.
California's next COVID-19 vaccine shipment will be smaller than expected, Newsom says
As California continues to break daily COVID-19 records, Governor Gavin Newsom's office announced Thursday that the next shipment of Pfizer's vaccine will be smaller than expected. Earlier this week, Newsom projected that the state would receive 393,000 doses, which was based on what the federal government had communicated. However, the governor's office says the state will now only receive 233,000 doses.
Advisory panel recommends authorizing emergency use of Moderna COVID-19 vaccine
An FDA advisory panel has voted 20-0 to recommend an emergency use authorization for the COVID-19 vaccine developed by drugmaker Moderna and the National Institutes of Health. The committee's recommendation now goes back to FDA, which will discuss any issues raised in the meeting and finalize a decision about emergency authorization.
California shatters record with 379 COVID-19 deaths in 24 hours
A total of 379 Californians died of COVID-19 on Wednesday, marking the highest number of fatalities in one day since the pandemic began and surpassing the previous record set on Tuesday. Wednesday's number of deaths is equivalent to a life lost every four minutes in a 24-hour span. Details here.
900 Pfizer vaccines to arrive in Kings County this week
More than 900 initial doses of the Pfizer vaccine are expected to arrive in Kings County this week. The health department is working with Adventist Health and local medical officials to allocate and administer the first shots. An additional 100 Moderna vaccines are expected to arrive in the county by the middle of next week if they become authorized by the FDA.
US set records for COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and deaths Wednesday
Wednesday saw grim numbers all across -- the highest COVID-19 infections and deaths ever reported in a single day, and the most COVID-19 hospitalizations the country has seen since the start of the pandemic.More than 247,000 new cases were reported. More than 113,000 Americans are hospitalized with the virus, according to the COVID Tracking Project. And more than 3,600 deaths were added to the nation's death toll.
FDA panel meets to discuss greenlighting Moderna's COVID-19 vaccine
Vaccine advisers to the US Food and Drug Administration are scheduled to meet Thursday to discuss the second coronavirus vaccine aimed at the US market, this one made by biotechnology company Moderna.The FDA has already telegraphed that a quick emergency use authorization can be expected and this one could go through even faster than the EUA for Pfizer last week -- itself a speedy process.
December 16, 2020
'We are at a point of crisis': Health officials add more COVID-19 testing sites to fight rapidly worsening virus situation
Medical officials are seeing yet another surge of COVID-19 cases, leaving them with fewer beds, and even fewer staff. Both health and city officials are hoping to slow the spread as a new testing site comes to downtown Fresno. "We're going to add a test site at the Grizzlies stadium by MLB. It will be a saliva swab and results in 24 hours," says Fresno City Council president Miguel Arias.
First COVID-19 patient moved to Porterville alternate care site
Healthcare workers transported the first COVID-19 patient to the reopened alternate care site in Porterville on Wednesday afternoon. The patient came from Sierra View Medical Center. Health officials say those who are moved to the alternate care site have less severe symptoms.
Half of the Valley's farmworkers say they're willing to get COVID-19 vaccine
Fresno area agriculture officials said about half of the farmworker population is willing to get the COVID-19 vaccine. Nearly 35% said they wouldn't, while 15% said they aren't sure. New safety guidelines were released on Wednesday by ag officials to help protect the 70,000 farmworkers in Central California, including requiring face masks, more testing and increasing PPE.
Tulare County receives first doses of COVID-19 vaccine
Three cases of Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine arrived at a Tulare County facility on Wednesday morning. Kaweah Delta Medical Center received two of the county's three cases, or about 2,000 doses of the vaccine. The remaining case, or about 1,000 doses, will be divided between Sierra View Medical Center (440 doses), Adventist Health Tulare, and some of the county's skilled nursing and assisted living facilities.
Shipment of COVID-19 vaccines to arrive at Mariposa hospital on Thursday
A shipment of COVID-19 vaccines will be delivered to John C. Fremont Hospital in Mariposa on Thursday, hospital officials said. It wasn't clear how many doses the hospital would receive, but health officials say they are for healthcare workers at the hospital.
California breaks records with more than 53,000 new COVID-19 cases, 293 deaths on Tuesday
California reported a record-breaking 53,711 new cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday, the highest number of cases the state has seen in a single day since the pandemic began. The alarming number of new cases surpasses a record set just three days ago when California record 35,729 new cases on Dec. 12.
Group of CA senators ask Gov. Newsom to reclassify restaurants as essential businesses
A bipartisan group of eleven state senators, including Sen. Andreas Borgeas of Fresno and Sen. Melissa Hurtado of Hanford, are urging Gov. Gavin Newsom to classify restaurants as an essential business and allow them to reopen.
Valley Children's administers COVID-19 vaccine to hospital healthcare workers
As more COVID-19 vaccines continue to arrive in Central California, Valley Children's Hospital started administering doses to their healthcare workers on Wednesday morning. Video posted to Instagram shows Dr. Peter Witt, Valley Children's Medical Director of Plastic Surgery, cheering as he receives his vaccination. Watch the video here.
December 15, 2020
Extra body bags, refrigeration trucks: Valley agencies are preparing for the rising COVID-19 death toll
The state has activated the Mass Fatality Program for the first time. At the Fresno County Coroner's Office, empty body bags are lined up and a refrigeration truck sits empty for now. Seeing how other parts of the country have been forced to deal with an influx of fatalities, the Fresno County Sheriff's Office has been preparing for the worst.
Available hospital beds, staff dangerously low in Central Valley
While cases trend upward, bed space is dangerously low. As of Tuesday, Fresno County health officials said just 16 ICU beds are available. County health officials are working with a contracted medical team to establish a 50-bed alternative care site at the North Plaza of Community Regional Medical Center to create more bed space.
California has refrigerators, body bags on standby as vaccine finally arrives
California has placed an order for 5,000 additional body bags and has 60 53-foot refrigerators on standby at hospitals around the state. This comes as daily coronavirus deaths are four times higher than they were one month ago.
1st shipment of COVID-19 vaccines arrive at Valley Children's Hospital
A spokesperson for the children's hospital said 975 doses of the Pfizer vaccine were delivered on Tuesday. Around 535 of those vaccines will be distributed to healthcare workers within the hospital on Wednesday. Details here.
FDA posts positive review of Moderna COVID-19 vaccine
Hundreds more U.S. hospitals geared up to vaccinate their workers Tuesday as federal regulators issued a positive review of a second COVID-19 vaccine needed to boost the nation's largest vaccination campaign. The Food and Drug Administration said its preliminary analysis confirmed the effectiveness and safety of the vaccine developed by Moderna and the National Institutes of Health, bringing it to the cusp of U.S. authorization.
December 14, 2020
Fresno County to get vaccine in next 24 hours
Fresno County officials say they are expecting the COVID-19 vaccine to arrive within the next 24 hours. Medical staff around the Valley and into the foothills are expected to have the vaccine available by the end of the week.
Porterville alternative care site reopens, starts accepting COVID-19 patients
The state's surge facility for COVID-19 patients has reopened at the Porterville Developmental Center. A spokesperson for Tulare County Health and Human Services confirms the Porterville Alternative Care Site (PACS) is now open and accepting COVID-19 patients who aren't in need of critical care.
Community Medical Centers receives loaner ultra-low temperature freezer from Fresno State that'll hold 95k COVID-19 vaccines
As the Valley prepares to receive its first doses of the newly authorized COVID-19 vaccine, Fresno State has loaned a ultra-low temperature freezer to Community Medical Centers which can hold up to 95,000 doses of the vaccine. The freezer was recently purchased by the university's Jordan Agricultural Research Center for students in the department of Chemistry and Biochemistry. It was taken to Community Regional Medical Center in downtown Fresno on Dec. 7.
Confirmed U.S. COVID-19 death toll surpasses 300k as vaccine rollout begins
The U.S. crossed the 300,000 threshold on the same it day it launched the biggest vaccination campaign in American history, with health care workers rolling up their sleeves for COVID-19 shots Monday.
Gov. Newsom visits Southern California hospital administering COVID-19 vaccines
As California begins receiving the first shipments of Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccines, Gov. Gavin Newsom on Monday is visiting a hospital in Los Angeles County that will administer some of the first doses to health care workers. Five people were inoculated at Kaiser Permanente in East Hollywood -- some of the first in the state to receive the vaccine.
US administers first COVID-19 vaccine shots as shipments begin arriving
The biggest vaccination campaign in U.S. history kicked off Monday as health workers rolled up their sleeves for shots to protect them from COVID-19 and start beating back the pandemic - a day of optimism even as the nation's death toll closed in on 300,000.
NY nurse Sandra Lindsay is first in US to get COVID-19 vaccine after FDA authorization
The largest vaccination campaign in U.S. history got underway Monday as health workers in select hospitals rolled up their sleeves for shots to protect them from COVID-19 and start beating back the pandemic "I feel hopeful today. Relieved," said critical case nurse Sandra Lindsay after getting a shot in the arm at Long Island Jewish Medical Center in New York. Watch her receive the vaccine here.
1st COVID-19 vaccine doses arrive in Southern California Sunday night
A FedEx plane carrying the region's first shipments landed at Los Angeles International Airport Sunday night, according to the airport. Health-care workers are expected to be the first to receive the vaccine, which is administered in two doses three weeks apart.
December 13, 2020
Health officials dispel misinformation as they prep for COVID-19 vaccine distribution
As the first doses of the vaccine get prepped for distribution across California, local health officials are trying to dispel any misinformation. "We have a lot of good information about its safety and its efficacy," said Dr. Rais Vohra, interim health officer for the Fresno County Department of Public Health.
Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine set to arrive in the Central Valley this week
Nearly 10 months into the pandemic and finally, there's a light at the end of the tunnel. The first coronavirus vaccine authorized for use by the FDA is on the way to front line workers. In Fresno County will be among the first 145 sites to receive the vaccine on Monday.
December 12, 2020
San Joaquin Valley's ICU capacity drops to 0%, CA Department of Public Health says
Central California's ICU availability dropped on Saturday to 0%, a dramatic drop from Friday's 4.5%. The region still has the lowest ICU capacity in the entire state. Southern California is at 5.3%, the Bay Area is at 17.6%, Northern California is at 27.4% and the Greater Sacramento Region is at 12.7%.
Dec. 11, 2020
COVID-19 vaccine on its way to CA, could reach by this weekend
California Governor Gavin Newsom said 327,000 doses of Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine are on their way to the state and could arrive as early as this weekend. His announcement came minutes after the FDA authorized emergency use of the vaccine for the country. Fresno County is set to receive 7,800 Pfizer vaccines in the first shipment and thousands more in late December from other manufacturers.
California breaks 3 coronavirus records in 1 day as crisis reaches new peak
California has broken a single-day record for new coronavirus cases Friday, as an additional 35,648 people are reported positive. That brings the state's seven-day average of new cases to 22,456 people per day. That's a new COVID-19 infection more than every four seconds. Read more here.
San Joaquin Valley's ICU capacity increases to 4.5%, CA Department of Public Health says
Central California's ICU availability increased on Friday to 4.5%, up from Thursday's shocking 1.9% report. The region still has the lowest ICU capacity in the entire state. Southern California is at 6.2%, the Bay Area is at 16.7%, Northern California is at 26.6% and the Greater Sacramento Region is at 14.8%.
White House says FDA chief's job on the line if vaccine isn't authorized by end of day
White House chief of staff Mark Meadows on Friday pressed Food and Drug Administration chief Stephen Hahn to grant an emergency use authorization for Pfizer's coronavirus vaccine by the end of the day. Sources tell ABC News that Meadows suggested his job could be on the line if his agency doesn't authorize the emergency use for the vaccine. Latest here.
California DMV suspends behind-the-wheel driving tests for second time this year
The California Department of Motor Vehicles is putting a hold on behind-the-wheel driving tests as the state grapples with another spike in COVID-19 cases. The temporary suspension of the tests will last at least two weeks and begins on December 14, according to the department.
HHS secretary: FDA intends to grant emergency use authorization for Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine
U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar told "Good Morning America" that the FDA informed Pfizer that it intends to grant emergency use to its COVID-19 vaccine. Click here for the latest.
Dec. 10, 2020
Fresno City Council declares state of emergency
The Fresno City Council has declared a state of emergency due to insufficient ICU beds and medical personnel in the county. The council said on Thursday evening that all 247 ICU beds in the county are currently full and the city will now have to use its 'overflow bed capacity' at the Fresno Convention Center - which are not ICU beds. The council is asking California Gov. Gavin Newsom for "immediate relief" to help increase ICU capacity, medical staffing and COVID-19 vaccine allocation to the region.
The council also says in its declaration that if coronavirus cases continue to surge, the city reserves the right to enforce local and state emergency orders, especially against mass gatherings and illegal concerts and events.
RELATED: Fresno City Council votes to crack down on those violating COVID-19 gathering restrictions
Fresno Superior Court suspends civil, criminal jury trials till January
The Fresno Superior Court announced it will suspend civil and criminal jury trials until January 11, 2021, and will limit some other operations, in response to surging coronavirus rates in the region.
28 Visalia Unified students in quarantine
28 students in two Visalia Unified elementary school classes have been placed in quarantine after the school district was notified that someone who tested positive for COVID-19 was on campus. The students at the two sites, Mineral King and Denton Elementary, will continue to attend classes via distance learning during the quarantine. School officials have also decided to delay the return of students from third to sixth grade in the district.
San Joaquin Valley's ICU capacity drops to 1.9%
The San Joaquin Valley's ICU capacity has fallen once again. The California Department of Public Health reported the region had dropped from 4.2% capacity to 1.9% on Thursday. Southern California is at 7.7%, the Bay Area is at 17.8%, Northern California is at 30.8% and the Greater Sacramento Region is at 13.3%.
FDA authorizes first over-the-counter, non-prescription COVID-19 test kit for home use
The US Food and Drug Administration has granted an emergency use authorization for the first non-prescription, over-the-counter COVID-19 test kit for at-home use. Click here to read more.
FDA authorizes first over-the-counter, non-prescription COVID-19 test kit for home use
Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine faces one final hurdle as it races to become the first shot greenlighted in the U.S.: a panel of experts who will scrutinize the company's data for any red flags. Thursday's meeting of the Food and Drug Administration's vaccine advisory panel is likely the last step before a U.S. decision to begin shipping millions of doses of the shot. Latest on the meeting here.
Dec. 9, 2020
Fresno's Catholic bishop now backs use of COVID-19 vaccines
As access to COVID-19 vaccinations comes closer to reality, the Diocese of Fresno is clarifying where it stands on Central California's Catholics getting the shot. Click here to read more.
Fresno County health officials worry nursing homes will be hit by staffing shortages soon
Health officials in Fresno County are predicting nursing facilities will be next to feel the impact of a healthcare worker shortage. "Another wild card, which I keep reminding my team will no doubt play its hand probably at the most inopportune moment, is that skilled nursing facilities or long-term care facilities will have a staffing crisis," said Fresno County's interim health officer.
Greater Sacramento area joins regional stay at home order
ICU capacity in the Greater Sacramento region has dropped below 15% as of Wednesday, and the area will go into a stay at home order on Thursday.
Downtown Fresno Christmas Parade canceled due to stay-home order
The Downtown Fresno Partnership has canceled this year's drive-thru Christmas parade scheduled for December 12 due to the new regional stay-home order.
CA updates stay-home order guidelines, allows playgrounds to reopen
California updated it's stay-home order guidelines, and now allows for playgrounds to remain open. "Playgrounds may remain open to facilitate physically distanced personal health and wellness through outdoor exercise," the state said. Playgrounds located at schools must follow COVID-19 guidelines for schools. See the latest rules for the stay-home order here.
Fresno City Council tables discussion on proposed law that would prohibit large gatherings
Fresno residents won't know until later this week how city council members will vote on a proposal to limit household gatherings. The discussion was tabled at Tuesday's meeting. The next city council meeting is Thursday.
Dec. 8, 2020
Health officials concerned about Fresno County's shrinking number of ICU beds
With coronavirus cases on the rise across the nation, Fresno County is running out of beds to treat the sickest COVID patients. Health officials say medical centers are so overwhelmed with critically ill coronavirus patients they're forced to make room in other hospital areas.
Alternative COVID-19 care site in Porterville could reactivate soon
Tulare County health officials revealed Tuesday that the California Department of Public Health is considering moving the site from a 'warm' to 'active' status as soon as next week if it can be appropriately staffed. Click here for more details.
AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine around 70% effective, studies suggest
New results on a possible COVID-19 vaccine from Oxford University and AstraZeneca suggest it is safe and about 70% effective, but questions remain about how well it may help protect those over 55 - a key concern for a vaccine that health officials hope to rely on around the world because of its low cost, availability and ease of use.
US sees deadliest COVID-19 week since April
The US is nearing 15 million total reported COVID-19 infections, and daily deaths are near a record levels. The country averaged about 2,237 daily coronavirus deaths across a week -- just below its highest-ever average of 2,241, set on April 24, Johns Hopkins University data show.
Kaweah Delta modifies visiting policy amid rising COVID-19 hospitalizations
Kaweah Delta also modified its visiting guidelines. Only one visitor is allowed during a patient's stay. Visiting hours have also been reduced to 11 am to 1 pm and 5 pm to 7 pm.
US regulators post positive review of Pfizer vaccine data
Documents released by U.S. regulators Tuesday confirmed that Pfizer and BioNTech's COVID-19 vaccine was strongly protective against COVID-19 -- offering the world's first detailed look at the evidence behind the shots.
Dec. 7, 2020
Multiple Central CA counties reach 0% ICU capacity, CA Department of Public Health says
The California Department of Public Health announced Fresno, Madera, and Kings Counties have reached 0% ICU Capacity as the COVID-19 outbreak continues.
Fresno City Council considers law against large gatherings
The Fresno City Council prepares to discuss an ordinance that would prohibit gatherings of 15 people or more. Meanwhile, the Fresno Police Department said it won't enforce it.
Yosemite National Park reduces hours in response to state lockdown
Yosemite National Park is adjusting its hours in response to California's latest stay-home order. Beginning Monday, the park is open from 8 am to 5 pm for day-use activities only. The park will be closed and locked after 5 pm. Some services and facilities are limited and lodging and campgrounds are closed.
California to expand smartphone COVID-19 alert tool statewide
California is rolling out a voluntary smartphone tool to alert people if they spent time near someone who tests positive for the coronavirus as cases and hospitalizations soar throughout the state. Click here for more details.
'Vast majority' of California under stay-at-home order, Newsom says
Gov. Gavin Newsom announced in a press conference Monday morning that intensive care capacity reached critical levels in the San Joaquin Valley and Southern California. Click here for more details.
Fresno church says it'll stay open despite new stay-home order
Senior Pastor Jim Franklin said Cornerstone Church in downtown Fresno would continue to meet indoors as they provided essential services, despite the new stay-home order.
San Joaquin Valley stay-home order goes in effect for 3 weeks
As California hospitals struggle with an influx of mounting COVID-19 cases, the state imposed a stay-home order for the San Joaquin Valley region after the area's ICU capacity fell below 15%, affecting 12 counties. Click here for more details.
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