Tag Archives: San Francisco Bay Area

Coronavirus CA: Bay Area hospitals to delay elective surgeries, limit visitors ahead of COVID-19 crisis

ABC7 News, by Laura Anthony, March 16, 2020

WALNUT CREEK, Calif. (KGO) — Bay Area hospitals have been on the front lines of the coronavirus crisis from the early stages and are still holding on, at least for now.

While it’s not business as usual at any Bay Area Hospital, the head of emergency services at Walnut Creek’s John Muir Medical Center says his team is keeping up with it’s patient load, coronavirus related or otherwise.

“We’re actually doing well,” said Dr. Russell Rodriguez M.D. “We have everything we need in terms of equipment for our staff and we have enough beds for the patients coming in, so we’re actually in a pretty good spot.”

Like most hospitals in the area though, John Muir is cancelling most elective surgeries. So are Sutter Hospitals and Kaiser Permanente facilities in Northern California.

RELATED: Coronavirus: Everything you need to know about the San Francisco Bay Area’s shelter-in-place order

“We’ve been monitoring the situation since January,” explained Michelle Gaskill-Hames, Kaiser Permanente’s Senior Vice-President for Hospital and Health Plan Operations, Northern California.

Kaiser has 21 medical centers in the Bay Area, each with it’s own command center.

The group’s big objective is to keep patients who don’t need emergency or hospital care away from the medical centers.
“Our message to our members is to ensure that they call before they come in,” said Gaskill-Hames, “and we really want to leverage tele-visits and video visits if we don’t really need to have a physical appointment.”

RELATED: Coronavirus Outbreak: Nurses, healthcare workers concerned about their safety as COVID-19 cases rise

Some nurses in the the Bay Area have told ABC7News they don’t have enough masks, a vital part of the personal protection equipment. But most hospital officials we talked with told us they’re well-supplied, at least for now.

“We have been careful in our use,” said John Muir’s Rodriguez, “But we are providing our staff with all the equipment that they need and we have enough to maintain the current functioning of the system without a problem.”


    Bay Area events you can stream during ‘shelter in place’ order

    San Francisco Chronicle DATEBOOK, March 16, 2020

    All public events, including theater productions, concerts and even movie screenings, have been canceled through at least the end of the March in an effort to stop the spread of the new coronavirus. Six Bay Area counties announced a “shelter-in-place” order for all residents starting Tuesday, March 17, that emphasizes the importance of self-distancing and staying home. The directive begins at 12:01 a.m. Tuesday, March 17, and will be enforced until April 7. It affects a combined population of more than 6.7 million.

    Still, while patrons may not be stepping in a movie theater or a concert hall any time soon, arts organizations are starting to share their work through technology. Check out our running list of live-streamed Bay Area events here.

    Editor’s note: Venues and organizations hoping to add their streamed events to this guide should email details to datebook@sfchronicle.com.


    Culann’s Hounds: The band is offering a free live-stream of its annual St. Patrick’s Day concert from San Francisco. 7:30 p.m. March 17. www.sfhounds.com

    Stephen Steinbrink: The Oakland-based musician and producer will be doing a lockdown live-stream set on his Instagram. He’ll be playing new songs, old songs, covers, and will be taking requests in the comments. 9 p.m. March 17. www.instagram.com/stephensteinbrink

    Thao Nguyen: The San Francisco based singer-songwriter will try to entertain your children on a live-stream Q&A, answering only questions submitted by your children or someone else’s. 12:30 p.m. March 18. www.instagram.com/thaogetstaydown

    Del Sol String Quartet: In lieu of the Pacific Pythagorean Music Festival originally scheduled for March 21, at Old First Church in San Francisco, the quartet will livestream a performance of music by Ben Johnston, Michael Harrison and Jung Yoon Wie. 7 p.m. March 21. bit.ly/delsolquartetlivestream

    Del Sol String QuartetPhoto: Lenny Gonzalez


    American Conservatory Theater: Ticket holders to “Gloria” and “Toni Stone” can now stream those productions, and as a bonus they get one week of access to the catalogue of BroadwayHD, ACT’s streaming partner. New patrons may also purchase streaming capability for a limited time; they’ll get a link to a password-protected site (though they do not get access to BroadwayHD’s catalogue). Both streaming options are available through March 29. $15-$100 sliding scale for new buyers, with ACT’s website instructing: “Pay the price that works for you, and when you choose your price think about the number of people you will watch it with.” 415-749-2228. www.act-sf.org

    Mummenschanz: Hammer Theatre Center will livestream “you & me” by Swiss mime troupe Mummenschanz. 7:30 p.m. March 16-17. $10. 408-924-8501. www.hammertheatre.com


    San Francisco Ballet: A taped performance of the Ballet’s production of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” will be available to ticket-holders only. The company will share an access link via email. sfballet.org

    Smuin Gala 2020: The live-streamed performance for Smuin Contemporary Ballet’s annual gala, which was scheduled for March 15, is available to ticket holders only. The company will share an access link via email. The recorded performance will be available for ticket holders to view indefinitely. There is also an online auction open until noon March 20.  smuinballetjoinme.org


    The Quarantine: Virtual Open Mic: This two-hour live stream event will feature poets, emcees, actors, visual artists and other artists showing off their best work. Interested performers can sign up through the event’s Facebook page. 6-8 p.m. March 18. Participants can access this event on Zoom.us/join with meeting ID: 415-402-7164. bit.ly/virtualopenmic


    Blow the Man Down: A film about two young women from a Maine fishing village, who cover up a murder, was originally intended as a simultaneous Amazon Prime and theatrical release. The theatrical release has been dropped, but the film debuts on Amazon Prime on March 20. www.amazon.com

    Trolls World Tour: Universal Studios will be releasing this animated film to both live stream and into theaters on April 10. (It was originally planned to open in theaters only.) The price for a 48-hour rental is $19.99.

    Arts and Exhibits

    Monterey Bay Aquarium: The aquarium has 11 live-cam streams available to the public through their website. These include Aviary Cam, Monterey Bay Cam, Jelly Cam, and others from the aquarium’s popular attractions. 831-648-4800. www.montereybayaquarium.org/animals/live-cams

    Anna Wiener writes about her life working in San Francisco’s tech startup scene in her book “Uncanny Valley: A Memoir.”


    Anna Wiener: The San Francisco author of “Uncanny Valley” had a conversation with writer Robin Sloan over a City Arts and Lectures livestream on Thursday, March 12. The conversation is available to watch on YouTube for anyone who missed it. bit.ly/annawienertalk

    Lunch Doodles with Mo Willems: The  Caldecott Medal-winning children’s author (Knuffle Bunny, Elephant and Pig series) is offering up daily doses of school-time structured fun for the next few weeks. Episodes air at 10 a.m. on YouTube daily. bit.ly/lunchdoodlesmo


    Thao Nguyen: The San Francisco based singer-songwriter will try to entertain your children on a live-stream Q&A, answering only questions submitted by your children or someone else’s. 12:30 p.m. March 18. www.instagram.com/thaogetstaydown

    Lunch Doodles with Mo Willems: The  Caldecott Medal-winning children’s author (Knuffle Bunny, Elephant and Pig series) is offering up daily doses of school-time structured fun for the next few weeks. Episodes air at 10 a.m. on YouTube daily. bit.ly/lunchdoodlesmo

    Storytime From Space and Science Time: The Global Space Education Foundation is offering children’s stories read from space as well as educational demonstrations with Canadian astronaut Bjarni Tryggvason on their website.  storytimefromspace.com/library/


      Bay Area shutdown: 7 million people ordered to shelter-in-place to stop spread of coronavirus

      KRON4 News, arch 17, 2020

      SAN FRANCISCO (KRON) – A shelter-in-place mandate is now in effect for nearly 7 million living in 6 Bay Area counties.

      The measure was ordered Monday to help reduce the spread of the coronavirus.

      The order went into effect at midnight and will last for the next three weeks.

      It requires people living in San Francisco, Marin, Santa Clara, San Mateo, Alameda, and Contra Costa Counties to stay at home unless absolutely necessary.

      This new health order only limits activity and travel.

      Necessary government functions and essential stores will remain open.

      You will still be allowed to buy groceries, pick up prescriptions, get gas for your car, and go to the bank.

      City and county government services such as police, fire departments and hospitals will also be open.

      Your trash will still be picked up.

      Public transportation will still run, some with modified service.

      Your mail will still be delivered.

      Also, plumbers, electricians, hardware stores, and laundromats will still be available.

      It’s also important to check on your elderly neighbors, friends and loved ones. Offer to pick up their prescriptions or groceries if you can.

      Non-essential functions refer to places like bars, gyms, movie theaters, and dine-in restaurants.

      This doesn’t mean restaurants will be closed at this time.

      Many are still offering take-out and delivery. Uber Eats announced Monday it was waiving all delivery fees for independent restaurants.

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        San Luis Obispo Phillips 66 oil-by-rail hearing packed, continues next month

        Repost from the San Luis Obispo Tribune

        Phillips 66 oil-by-rail hearing continues next month

        By Cynthia Lambert, February 25, 2016 11:11am

        • After a third all-day hearing, the county Planning Commission will revisit the issue March 11
        • Hundreds of speakers have praised or panned the plan to bring crude oil by rail to the Nipomo Mesa refinery
        • Supporters stress the refinery’s safety record and jobs; opponents cite environmental worries

        A packed room listens to comments on the Phillips 66 oil-by-rail plan Thursday before the San Luis Obispo County Planning Commission.
        A packed room listens to comments on the Phillips 66 oil-by-rail plan Thursday before the San Luis Obispo County Planning Commission. David Middlecamp

        After a third all-day hearing with more than 100 speakers decrying or praising a plan by Phillips 66 Co. to upgrade its Nipomo refinery to receive crude oil by train, the San Luis Obispo County Planning Commission said Thursday that no decision will be made on the project until March 11 — or even later.

        The dozens of speakers Thursday were fairly evenly split on either side of the debate, with supporters stressing the need to maintain about 200 “head-of-household” jobs at the refinery, as well as its long track record of safety and that it’s been a good neighbor in the community.

        “The actual crude production in California is going down, not going up,” said Richard Black, a training administrator at Phillips 66’s Rodeo refinery in the east San Francisco Bay Area. “We have to make up the difference from somewhere.”

        Opponents, meanwhile, said commissioners should not take into account the company’s safety record or personal relationships. Residents and elected officials from communities along the main rail line from San Francisco to Los Angeles have told commissioners they fear a catastrophic train derailment.

        “Their plan is an irreversible disaster,” Nipomo resident Nora Lee said. “The effects will be felt instantly with poisonous air pollution.”

        The company has applied to San Luis Obispo County to build a 1.3-mile spur with five parallel tracks from the main rail line to the Nipomo Mesa refinery, an unloading facility at the refinery and on-site pipelines.

        The public has another chance to speak March 11 — county planning staff believe they’re nearing the end of public comments — and then the commissioners can ask questions, deliberate and even make a decision, or continue the process once again to a future date.

        Whatever decision they make is expected to be appealed to the county Board of Supervisors, and a new round of hearings would be held.

        The first two days of the Planning Commission hearing, held Feb. 4 and 5, drew hundreds of people to San Luis Obispo from around the state, with many urging the commissioners to reject the project. Planning staff has recommended denial of the project, which as proposed would allow five trains a week, for a maximum of 250 trains per year to deliver crude oil to the refinery.

        Each train would have three locomotives, two buffer cars and 80 railcars carrying a total of about 2.2 million gallons of crude oil, according to county planners.

        During a previous hearing day, representatives from Phillips 66 urged the commissioners to approve an alternate plan to allow three trains a week instead of five, or a maximum of 150 trains a year.

        The county staff report states that three trains a week — or 150 a year — would reduce the significant toxic air emissions to no longer be considered a “Class 1 significant impact” at the refinery, which refers to the highest level of negative impacts referenced in the project’s final environmental impact report.

        But emissions of diesel particulate matter would still remain a “Class 1” impact on-site, according to the staff report, and there would still be 10 “Class 1” impacts along the main rail line, such as impacts to air quality, water resources, potential demands on emergency response services and an increased risk to the public in the event of a derailment.

        A few residents brought some audio-visuals along: One person showed a news clip of coverage of a massive train derailment in West Virginia last year; another played an audio recording of what he said a “typical crude oil terminal” sounds like, with train wheels squealing along tracks.

        And the commission also watched a video comment from Marilaine Savard, a witness of the 2013 Lac-Mégantic, Québec, oil train disaster.

        “Once an oil train derails and catches fire, you and your town will never fully recover,” she said. “Lac-Mégantic was a peaceful and beautiful community, just like San Luis Obispo.”

        In response, supporters of the Phillips 66 project said that heavier crude oil — not lighter crude oil from the Bakken field in North Dakota or Canada that was linked to the Lac-Mégantic disaster and was being carried by a CSX train when it derailed in West Virginia — would be type of crude oil that would be transported and can be processed at the refinery.

        The commission heard from more than a dozen Phillips 66 employees who work at the Nipomo Mesa refinery or at the company’s other facilities in California, as well as union representatives and other businesses owners and individuals in support of the project.

        Rachel Penny, a safety and health professional at the Nipomo Mesa refinery, said she chose to work in the oil and gas industry because “it’s vital to the economy.”

        “In order for us to continue providing energy and improving lives, we need crude oil,” she said, noting that the refinery would not be increasing the amount of crude oil processed at the refinery with the project.

        “It is the safest company that I’ve ever worked for,” said Jerry Harshbarger, who works in purchasing. “We still have a strong demand for fossil fuels and stopping this project will not stop that demand.”

        Another San Luis Obispo resident said the products of gas and oil could be seen throughout the room, and he urged: “We as a community should work toward how to do this.”

        “You drive a car and go up to the pump,” Laura Mordaunt said. “A truck is there filled with gas that is way more volatile. Your vehicle parked in your garage is far more dangerous than this process and yet you continue to drive.”

        But another local resident, Gary Lester of the opponent organization Mesa Refinery Watch Group, said Nipomo residents moved there knowing the refinery existed and are not calling for it to be closed.

        “We respect you as individuals and the work you do,” he said. “We are objecting to the construction of a loud, dangerous, invasive rail terminal just 3,000 feet from our homes.”

        Phillips 66 officials have said that California crude oil production is declining and the company is looking for alternate sources outside the state. According to the company’s website, “The proposed change will help the refinery, and the approximately 200 permanent jobs it provides, remain viable under increasingly challenging business conditions.”

        An attorney for Phillips 66 said during a previous hearing that crude oil would still come into California by rail should the project be denied — a point that is included in the “no project” alternative as laid out in the project’s environmental impact report, Phillips 66 officials said.

        An average of about 6,800 barrels a day of crude oil is already being delivered by truck from the Paloma rail unloading facility near Bakersfield to a pump station east of Santa Maria, where it is moved by pipeline to the Nipomo Mesa refinery. That could increase to 26,000 barrels a day, according to the environmental document, adding about 100 truck trips a day traveling to the pump station for unloading.

        If the rail project does not move forward, it’s likely that additional out-of-state crude oil would be brought to various rail unloading terminals in California and transferred to trucks to deliver to the Santa Maria pump station, according to the environmental report.

        If this happened, some impacts would be shifted to the area in and around Santa Maria: trucking would generate higher levels of air emissions, resulting in significant cancer risk to the residences in close proximity to the roads; traffic congestion impacts; and potentially significant impacts to biological and water resources from an oil spill because of a truck accident.