Coronavirus

Coronavirus LIVE BLOG: SJSU student fights for on-campus COVID-19 testing

As of Dec. 23, Santa Clara County reported 59,923 confirmed coronavirus cases and 632 deaths. The county saw another massive spike — 1,311 new cases recorded in one day. California had 1,964,076 positive cases and 23,284 deaths as of Dec. 22. However, health officials have warned recent figures have been underreported due to issues with...

Santa Clara County to stop administering Moderna vaccine lot

After struggling for weeks to expand the South Bay’s COVID-19 vaccine rollout, Santa Clara County officials are now warning that a specific batch of doses shouldn’t be administered because of an increased risk of allergic reactions. Santa Clara County received about 21,800 doses of the Moderna Lot 41L20A distributed Jan. 5 and Jan. 12. More...

Your COVID-19 vaccine questions, answered

Vaccines for COVID-19 have been slowly rolling out for more than a month now, but questions linger about its availability, who is eligible to receive the vaccine and how much it protects you. Many residents faced confusion, long wait times and inaccurate information about how to get an appointment a day after vaccine eligibility opened...

New COVID-19 variant found in Santa Clara County, linked to large outbreaks

A new variant of COVID-19 has been discovered in Santa Clara County, health officials confirmed Sunday, and it’s linked to several large outbreaks. The new strain was rare until recently. The variant known as L452R was first discovered last year and is increasingly appearing in California counties since November, officials said. In addition to Santa...

The plight of San Jose food trucks during COVID-19 pandemic

When the pandemic first hit, San Jose’s food truck businesses took off. After all, they offered an outdoor dining experience and allowed diners to socially distance. Now, nearly a year after the county first issued stay-at-home orders in March, food trucks are joining the long list of businesses struggling to stay afloat. “It’s been a...

‘It’s kind of nuts’: Hours of waiting, inaccurate information about COVID-19 vaccines in Santa Clara County

A day after local health officials expanded COVID-19 vaccine access to elderly people, Santa Clara County residents faced hours of delays, long waits and inaccurate information about getting vaccinated. It took three separate phone calls and more than five hours of waiting for Alyssa Galvan to schedule a COVID-19 vaccination for her 66-year-old dad. “I was...

Santa Clara County COVID-19 deaths surpass 1,000

More than 1,000 people have now died in Santa Clara County from COVID-19. The grim statistic was reported by county health officials Jan. 14, as hospitals struggle to keep up with the relentless surge in cases and morgues run out of space.  “One thousand deaths is a devastating and tragic milestone for our community,” said...

Santa Clara County warns about vaccine sign-up misinformation sent via texts

Residents of Santa Clara County on Tuesday might have received a text message that said local medical providers had “extra” COVID-19 vaccines and to register for an appointment. According to the county, these texts originated from “unofficial sources” and health providers are still only vaccinating residents in the state’s vaccination Phase 1A, which includes health care...

Santa Clara County has given less than half its vaccines, blames skeptical health care workers

Santa Clara County has used less than half of the COVID-19 vaccines it’s received. The county has vaccinated more than 47,000 people after receiving 110,000 vaccines so far, said County COVID-19 Testing Officer Marty Fenstersheib. At least 122,950 Pfizer and Moderna vaccines have been allotted for the county, according to its website. The 47,000 people...

As COVID-19 cases surge, San Jose extends paid sick leave protections

As COVID-19 cases shatter records in Silicon Valley and hospital capacity dwindles, San Jose lawmakers took steps to ensure essential workers receive paid sick leave until June. In the absence of federal COVID-19 paid sick leave protections, the San Jose City Council unanimously voted Jan. 5 to is extend local sick leave benefits until mid 2021. Under...

Santa Clara County considers penalties for inequitable COVID-19 vaccine distribution

Santa Clara County officials are publicly worrying whether area health care providers will stick to the guidelines when it comes to distributing COVID-19 vaccines, and deliberating what the county could and should do if they don’t. Already, in at least two cases so far, private health care providers in California — including one in the...

New COVID-19 relief fund dedicated to East San Jose businesses

East San Jose businesses and nonprofits struggling to survive may have gained a new lease on life through a new community COVID-19 relief fund. San Jose Planning Commissioner Rolando Bonilla said the East San Jose business community, which has experienced difficulty accessing government aid, was left out of conversations about solutions to help them weather...

Study: Silicon Valley is mostly working from home — and service industry is paying the price

In non-pandemic times, Voyager Cafe in downtown San Jose would be teeming with customers, often workers lined up looking to get their morning coffee or something to go with their lunch. Not anymore. Revenue is down 40% to 50%, according to co-owner Sameer Shah. Voyager’s location inside the San Pedro Square Market means it’s walking...

Businesses must close employee break areas in Santa Clara County under COVID-19 restrictions

Santa Clara County health officials kicked off 2021 by adding new restrictions on businesses — they must now close their employee breakrooms. While officials told San José Spotlight they had issued previous “guidance” on breakrooms, an earlier version of the county’s directive did not include any language about closing indoor employee breakrooms. There are new...

Which Santa Clara County COVID-19 vaccine tier are you in?

The approval of COVID-19 vaccines in the United States is no immediate cure for the pandemic. With Moderna and Pfizer vaccines in short supply, only a select group of people can receive the immunization — at least for now. In Santa Clara County, that means health officials must administer vaccines to people in distinct tier groups...

Faith in COVID-19 vaccine facing uphill battle in Black community

At the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, something about the crisis felt familiar to André Chapman. Chapman, the CEO and founder of the San Jose nonprofit Unity Care, saw widespread misunderstanding of the disease, similar to that of the HIV/AIDS pandemic in the 1980s. While AIDS fell out of mainstream news, it continued to wreak...

South Bay nursing students create COVID-19 book for kids

After COVID-19 scrapped their clinical rotations in 2020, five South Bay nursing students turned their focus to educating children about the virus. Elaine Pham, Liz Nguyen, Elaine Fu, Vivian Doan and Tina Tran created the 15-page book “Let’s Learn About COVID-19” containing coloring diagrams, crossword puzzles and other activities that explain the virus. Nguyen, Fu,...

Researchers turn to human waste to sniff out clues about COVID-19 in Santa Clara County

Seeking to better understand the spread of COVID-19, researchers from San Jose, Santa Clara County and Stanford University are looking at an unusual source for answers: Human waste. It turns out excrement can carry the coronavirus, which is why researchers and health officials are examining it to compile more accurate data on the virus in...

Trump signs COVID-19 stimulus package; South Bay nonprofits weigh-in

WASHINGTON, D.C. — After threatening to blow up a deal to provide relief to struggling Americans, President Donald Trump on Sunday signed a major coronavirus stimulus package along with an annual spending bill. The move avoids a government shutdown before a Monday night deadline. “I applaud President Trump’s decision to get hundreds of billions of...

San Jose business owners hit hard by COVID-19 now have another worry — the end of an eviction moratorium

Businesses that barely survived 2020 have another tough blow ahead — the end of the county’s moratorium on evictions. The measure bars landlords from evicting commercial tenants who haven’t been paying their rent. It expires on March 31 and, when it does, businesses that haven’t paid rent are on the hook for paying all of...

COVID-19 tries to cancel Christmas dinner for San Jose homeless — but fails

With a COVID-19 positive case forcing a quarantine and temporary closure of CityTeam’s kitchen, the San Jose nonprofit is scrambling to make sure its annual Christmas Day feast doesn’t sour. “We normally feed the homeless every day,” said CityTeam spokesperson Darlene Tenes. “But Christmas Day is a particularly special day because we invite them all...

With Santa Clara County hospitals overwhelmed with COVID-19, health officials urge residents to cancel holiday plans

With local COVID-19 cases and deaths soaring and area hospitals at risk of being overwhelmed, local officials are urging residents to cancel their holiday plans. The novel coronavirus is on the verge of becoming the third-leading cause of death this year in Santa Clara County, the officials said Dec. 23. Already, the county has recorded...

COVID-19 has led to widespread food insecurity in Silicon Valley. Thousands of volunteers are helping fight it.

The South Bay’s staggering increase in demand for food assistance during the coronavirus pandemic is being met with help from a newly raised army of volunteers. Second Harvest of Silicon Valley, which has been coordinating much of the local effort to distribute food to needy residents, has faced the dual challenge of feeding more people than ever...

Congress reaches deal on new COVID-19 relief bill as cases soar

WASHINGTON, D.C. — After months of failed negotiations, Congress reached a deal Sunday on a $900 billion coronavirus relief package. Congressional leaders announced agreement on a bill as the coronavirus pandemic accelerated and Congress came under fire for failing to pass a relief measure. The relief and funding bill is expected to pass Monday. “At...

Food delivery fees capped at 15% throughout Santa Clara County

Santa Clara County and San Jose officials voted separately but unanimously Dec. 15 to cap food delivery fees to help businesses retain income during the pandemic. Delivery service fees charged by third-party delivery companies such as Uber Eats, DoorDash, GrubHub, Postmates and others will be capped at 15% of the value of an order. San...

UPDATE: San Jose extends paid sick leave as COVID-19 spreads

Fearing the federal government won’t help residents, San Jose leaders voted unanimously to extend local paid sick leave protections through an emergency measure. Councilmembers Magdalena Carrasco, Sylvia Arenas and Maya Esparza spearheaded the measure because they worried the federal government wouldn’t extend its Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA), which has provided paid sick leave...

COVID-19 vaccines are coming to Santa Clara County. Here’s how they’ll be distributed and tracked

With the FDA’s approval of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccination on Dec. 11, thousands of health care workers may soon receive immunization shots in Santa Clara County within the next week. Health officials expect 17,550 doses of the Pfizer vaccine and 39,300 doses of the Moderna vaccine to be available in the county over the next few...

Santa Clara County starts free COVID-19 workplace testing for transit employees

About 175 bus drivers, train operators, mechanics and administrators lined up to take COVID-19 tests at the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority’s Guadalupe rail yard on Dec. 10. “Some of our folks weren’t getting tested for whatever reason,” said John Courtney, president of the Amalgamated Transit Union Local 265. “But when we bring it to...

Silicon Valley will recover faster from COVID-19, report says; local economists unsure

A Bloomberg report found that according to economic infrastructure and demographic metrics, Silicon Valley ranks first among the top 100 U.S. metropolitan areas most likely to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic the quickest. “Known for their information technology, electronics manufacturing, venture-capital funding and research universities, the economies in the Bay Area boast industries that have...

Santa Clara County health officials fear immigrants may not take COVID-19 vaccine over privacy concerns

Santa Clara County officials worry a federal data sharing plan may spark distrust among immigrants and discourage undocumented people from taking the COVID-19 vaccine. “We’re very concerned about the fact that any information transfer may discourage people from participating in the vaccine program,” said County Executive Jeff Smith. Assistant County Counsel Douglas Press said his...

Silicon Valley leaders ask for help solving the ‘poverty pandemic’

Santa Clara County elected officials, business and faith leaders are asking the community to help low-income people hit hardest by the pandemic. Through the new United Against the Poverty Pandemic coalition, formed during the pandemic by Brett Bymaster, executive director of Healing Grove Health Center, the group is working to find solutions for low-income families...

‘We don’t know what to do’: San Jose restaurants prepare to close in-person dining

Surrounded by patio heaters and tables filled with patrons dining on Mexican food, a three-person mariachi band played under the tent canopy outside Mendoza’s Taqueria in San Jose on Sunday – the last day of the year restaurants could seat people under Santa Clara County’s most recent health order. “I’m going to miss watching them...

Santa Clara County fines hospitals for failing to comply with COVID-19 testing order

Santa Clara County has issued more than $40,000 in fines to private health systems for failing to comply with its coronavirus testing order. HCA Healthcare’s Regional Medical Center in San Jose was fined $22,750 for failing to adequately notify patients of their right to a COVID-19 test. An enforcement officer inspected the center Oct. 20,...

Santa Clara County issues COVID-19 stay-at-home order

Health officials around the Bay Area accelerated a stay-at-home order that starts this weekend for most of the region, including Santa Clara County. The order goes into effect at 10 p.m. Dec. 6 and lasts until Jan. 4. It enacts the same restrictions as the state order, requiring all nonessential operations to shut down with...

San Jose clears homeless camp despite concerns over COVID-19

San Jose started dismantling a homeless encampment this week to make way for an upcoming trail renovation, flouting health recommendations and stoking fears the action will lead to the spread of COVID-19. While placing people in housing is the best option, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends allowing people in encampments to stay...

California to face another lockdown if ICU units fill up

Gov. Gavin Newsom announced the state will go under a mandatory stay-at-home order for regions where available intensive care unit capacity falls below 15%. “The bottom line is if we don’t act now our hospital system will be overwhelmed,” Newsom said. “If we don’t act now we’ll continue to see more lives lost.” State health...

Free parking and to-go alcohol among ideas to keep business alive in downtown San Jose

A coalition of more than 55 San Jose businesses is pushing local and state policy recommendations to help the once-thriving downtown core survive the pandemic. Lawmakers at the city’s Rules and Open Government Committee voted unanimously Dec. 2 to bring 15 new policy recommendations to the San Jose City Council for discussion and approval. “As...

Santa Clara County unveils COVID-19 vaccine plan as hospitalizations hit records

With COVID-19 vaccines potentially arriving in Santa Clara County within weeks, health officials released their plans for distribution amid a backdrop of record-setting hospitalizations. The plans submitted to California detail how the county has assembled a task force composed of Santa Clara County health system hospitals, Stanford University, Kaiser Permanente, Palo Alto Medical Foundation and...

San Jose mayor apologizes for violating COVID-19 guidelines at Thanksgiving dinner

San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo violated state public health regulations by attending a Thanksgiving dinner at his parents’ house alongside four other households. An updated state requirement issued Nov. 13 prohibits Californians from hosting private gatherings with more than three households, although it does not limit the number of people at a private gathering. The...

Businesses to face immediate fines for violating COVID-19 rules in Santa Clara County

Santa Clara County businesses that violate COVID-19 safety protocols over Thanksgiving weekend will face immediate fines as health officials struggle to control the spread of COVID-19. Unlike before, businesses will have no grace period to fix the violation if they are cited Nov. 26 to Nov. 29. Individual fines range from $250 to more than...

Court employees say COVID-19 exposure and lax rules put them at risk in Santa Clara County

Santa Clara County Superior Court employees say they’re not being protected from COVID-19, and they fear for their health and safety every day they go to work. Court employees are exposed to COVID-19 on an almost weekly basis. Safety concerns voiced by workers are routinely ignored. Mask wearing is not rigorously enforced. Those are some...

What you need to know about COVID-19 this week in the South Bay

COVID-19 cases are surging dramatically in Santa Clara County and as the holiday season rapidly approaches, the county is ramping up testing and urging residents to avoid large gatherings outside their households. According to county officials, the number of hospitalized COVID-19 patients increased by more than 50 percent in one week. There were 110 hospitalizations...

San Jose hospitals face pressure as COVID-19 cases surge

As Santa Clara County sees a surge in new COVID-19 cases, hospitals across San Jose are being stretched thin. Many hospital officials say they’re rising to the occasion. According to county data, 102 people are hospitalized with COVID-19 as of Nov. 12 with about 17 new cases in the last day. There are 909 beds...

Coronavirus LIVE BLOG: October 13 to November 12

Catch up on our current Coronavirus LIVE BLOG here. 11 a.m. Nov. 11: How to know if businesses are following county health order Beatrice Santiago, Santa Clara County’s Business Compliance Unit lead, said both business owners and customers have a role to ensure health order compliance during a news briefing on Nov. 11. “When a business...

Gardner Health Services and Stanford expand COVID-19 research to East San Jose

After fighting to get testing sites in hard-hit communities, South Bay health nonprofits are now turning their attention to ensure equity in vaccine trials. In East San Jose, Gardner Health Services, a community clinic that serves disenfranchised and vulnerable communities, and Stanford Medicine are collaborating to enroll Latinx people in vaccine trials and research. “We...

Coronavirus hotspots: East San Jose ranks No. 1 in number of cases per capita in the county

Coronavirus hotspots: Top 3 areas hardest hit in Santa Clara County, Part 1 Albert Camarena sat in a chair on the front lawn of his home in East San Jose, facing eastward toward a vacant elementary school. “Everybody’s scared,” Camarena said. “They don’t want to be sick.” Camarena’s neighborhood and its corresponding ZIP code —...

Santa Clara County sees surge in COVID-19 cases

Santa Clara County health officials made an urgent plea for people to continue to take precautions after seeing an alarming uptick in COVID-19 cases and an increase in hospitalizations. “What’s significant about the increase in case counts that we’re seeing now is that it’s different than the slow rise that we’ve seen over the month...

Your COVID-19 questions answered: Part Two

San José Spotlight last month hosted an exclusive Q&A webinar with Santa Clara County Public Health Officer Dr. Sara Cody, one of the nation’s leading health experts and the driving force behind the country’s first shelter-in-place order in March. Eight months later, as COVID-19 cases continue to rise across the country, Cody sat down with...

Fauci tells Silicon Valley leaders: ‘We’re getting close to 100,000 COVID-19 cases per day’

As COVID-19 deaths in the United States bypass 229,000 and positive cases across the country rise above 9 million, Dr. Anthony Fauci has grim news for Americans: “Unless we do something to turn this around, we’re going to have a very difficult, very painful winter.” The head of the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious...

San Jose partners with food truck company to provide free groceries, meals to those at risk of COVID-19

As the coronavirus pandemic has exacerbated food insecurity in Santa Clara County and across the Bay Area, nonprofit organizations, food banks and government officials are working to provide food assistance for residents, ranging from workers and business owners to older adults and people with underlying medical conditions. Off the Grid, the Bay Area’s food truck...

East Side school district easing back with on-campus learning next week

East Side Union High School District (ESUHSD) students are returning to in-person learning next week. Onsite learning will occur during tutorials, advisory periods, after school and on Saturdays as East Side students continue in their block schedules with distance learning. ESUHSD will continue distance learning for the remainder of the school year or until there...

Indoor dining, church services can resume in Santa Clara County

As COVID-19 numbers in the county slowly improve, officials gave Santa Clara County businesses the green light to begin operating indoors — but with caution. Starting Oct. 14, restaurants, churches, movie theaters and other businesses can open at 25% capacity or 100 people, whichever is fewer. They also can host outdoor gatherings of up to...

Coronavirus LIVE BLOG: September 13 to October 12

Catch up on our current Coronavirus LIVE BLOG here. 11 a.m. Oct 12: Gardner Health Center and county increase testing at Mexican Heritage Plaza COVID-19 Testing Coordinators at the School of Arts and Culture at the Mexican Heritage Plaza in East San Jose say they aim to increase testing as they have exceeded their initial capacity....

Exclusive Q&A: Santa Clara County health chief answers San José Spotlight readers

Santa Clara County Health Officer Dr. Sara Cody sat down Oct. 8 to answer San José Spotlight readers’ questions about the COVID-19 pandemic. Understanding of the virus has evolved considerably since Cody last answered reader questions in April. The advice, however, has been consistent: People should maintain physical distance from those outside their household, avoid...

Religious leaders plead to increase indoor services in Santa Clara County

Church members from across Santa Clara County are asking supervisors to reconsider restrictions that will limit services to 25 percent of capacity, even as the county moves into a less restrictive tier of pandemic restrictions imposed by the state. For nearly two hours Oct. 6, church members, pastors and representatives asked the Board of Supervisors...

Santa Clara County allows facial services to reopen

Santa Clara County is lifting restrictions on licensed estheticians and other skin care professionals who were previously prohibited from operating due to the coronavirus. County public health officials on Sunday afternoon made the change that will now allow facial services to resume. Previously, the county allowed hair and nails salons to reopen for both indoor...

COVID-19 infections among Latinx seeing sharp decline in Santa Clara County

After data busted the myth that COVID-19 was “the great equalizer” and made it clear the disease has had disproportionate affects on Santa Clara County’s Latinx population, public health officials say rates finally are starting to decrease in the hardest hit communities. “The rates among the Latinx community were really soaring in July. They were...

Catholic schools gradually reopening in Santa Clara County

While most San Jose public school campuses will remain closed at least until January, Catholic schools are starting to welcome back students with sanitizing stations and wellness checks in place. “It’s been a real boost for faculty to see kids on campus,” said Principal Kristina Luscher of Bellarmine College Preparatory, which opened Sept. 23. “Overall,...

Top Santa Clara County executive leading COVID-19 response leaving

One of Santa Clara County’s top leaders and the face of its coronavirus response is leaving for a neighboring city. Deputy Executive David Campos, who also led the county’s social justice and equity programs, is joining the San Francisco District Attorney’s Office as Chief of Staff. Campos, a Guatemalan immigrant, sought to bring equity to underserved communities...

Santa Clara County supervisors pump $13 million to help people quarantine

Santa Clara County residents who are exposed or have contracted COVID-19 are getting more financial help to cover the cost of isolating and quarantining. Supervisors on Sept. 22 approved a $13 million infusion to the county’s cities to pay for motel costs, at-home support and financial assistance related to mandatory quarantine if residents get the...

Latest eviction moratoriums a double-edged sword for South Bay tenants, landlords

New state and federal laws approved this month would punish landlords with steep fines and even jail time if they try to evict someone behind on rent. But that’s not necessarily reassuring news for tenants. While housing attorneys and tenants’ rights activists say the laws will shield more renters from property owners who want to force...

Why San Jose schools aren’t opening for the rest of the year

Saying they are ill equipped to take on the burden of testing students for COVID-19, San Jose officials extended distance learning through the end of December — and may not reopen classes until 2021. San Jose Unified School District Superintendent Nancy Albarrán said there are now more COVID-19 cases than in March when schools first closed, especially...

Private hospitals in Santa Clara County to be slapped with fines if they don’t ramp up COVID-19 testing

Private hospitals in Santa Clara County that fail to provide COVID-19 testing could face a fine of up to $5,000 under a new order. The order, which goes into effect Sept. 25, requires hospitals to test all patients who report COVID-19 symptoms, asymptomatic patients who have been exposed to coronavirus and patients referred by the...

Santa Clara County business owners push to open indoors

With smoke and ash making outdoor operations difficult, a coalition of business and community leaders are demanding Santa Clara County set guidelines to reopen indoors. Last week the county moved into the lower-risk red tier of state reopening guidelines, which paved the way for more businesses to start serving customers indoors. But in Santa Clara...

Coronavirus LIVE BLOG: August 13 to September 12

Catch up on our current Coronavirus LIVE BLOG here. 3:30 p.m. Sept. 11: Santa Clara mayor recaps COVID-19 relief measures Santa Clara Mayor Lisa Gillmor on Friday recapped how the Mission City is helping residents survive COVID-19, from small business grants to food distribution programs and rental assistance. The city has also implemented a 6-month relief...

Too little, too late for some as Santa Clara County allows more businesses to reopen

California health officials announced Santa Clara County is now in the red tier reopening phase, which allows more businesses to operate indoors. The county is still under a substantial risk for COVID-19 spread, according to state guidelines, and local health officials urge people to wear masks and take social distancing precautions. Here’s a quick look...

San Jose leaders approve recommendations to address COVID-19 health disparities

San Jose leaders unanimously accepted 30 recommendations Sept. 1 from Santa Clara County’s Health and Equity Task Force to tackle growing health disparities in the time of COVID-19. The recommendations include translating emergency information, contact-tracing, extending rent relief, distributing food and adding additional COVID-19 testing sites. Councilmember Magdalena Carrasco said as of Aug. 31, more...

South Bay lawyers predict surge in bankruptcies as stimulus money dries up

South Bay attorneys are bracing for a wave of new bankruptcies from individuals and small businesses that have exhausted their unemployment benefits and federal stimulus money. The number of cases filed in the United States Bankruptcy Court’s San Jose division has declined precipitously over the past five years — plummeting more than 35% to 2,718...

San Jose merchants in fight of their lives with COVID-19’s second wave

Less than two months ago, consumer experts predicted shoppers, diners and patrons of bars and nightclubs would return to their favorite brick-and-mortar shops by the end of this summer in numbers that matched 2019. Zenreach — a San Francisco tech firm that sells marketing software to traditional retail outlets, hospitality and entertainment venues that allows...

Silicon Valley donors open wallets in response to COVID-19

The ultra-rich are a dime a dozen in Silicon Valley. A recent tally counted 76,000 millionaires and billionaires living here, and nearly a third of adults are considered “upper income,” according to recent data from the Pew Research Center. Although many of those are generous to charity, it has been difficult to channel that largesse...

Outdoor services offer lifeline to South Bay salons struggling to survive

Denise Russell hasn’t paid rent at her 3,600 square-foot San Jose beauty salon in six months. Dustin David Salon’s landlord is sending rent collectors to his home in Los Gatos. He’s several months behind. Although they’re now able to provide services outdoors, South Bay salons are reeling over the state’s months-long flip-flops on whether they...

Khanna pushes $5 billion bill to provide free masks as Biden seeks mandate

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Presumptive Democrat presidential nominee Joe Biden is urging governors to implement mask mandates to stop the spread of the coronavirus. “Every single American should be wearing a mask when they’re outside for the next three months at a minimum,” he said during a Thursday news conference in Delaware. Biden said wearing masks...

Coronavirus LIVE BLOG: July 30 to August 12

Catch up on our current Coronavirus LIVE BLOG here. 2 p.m. Aug 12: Governor announces slew of business relief plans Despite the promise of financial relief for small businesses from the Paycheck Protection Program, many people still found their hands empty after applying for the money. Gov. Gavin Newsom said he’s moving forward a plan to...

UPDATE: Santa Clara County approves fines for not wearing masks, flouting health order

Santa Clara County will begin issuing fines of up to $500 for not wearing face masks or social distancing in public, the Board of Supervisors decided unanimously Tuesday. In an attempt to control the spread of COVID-19 and mitigate its impact, the board adopted an urgency ordinance issuing citations against residents and businesses for violating...

COVID-19 workplace complaints pile up in South Bay but lack follow-up

Editor’s Note: This story has been updated. Workers showed up to work sick with COVID-19 symptoms. Management hid positive test results from employees. Supervisors banned phones to prevent documenting unsafe facilities. These are some of the allegations many South Bay workers have made since Santa Clara County began to ease shelter-in-place restrictions to allow some businesses to...

San Jose nonprofits receive millions in PPP loans, saving jobs and preventing cuts

Dozens of nonprofits in Silicon Valley received millions of dollars from the $660 billion federal Paycheck Protection Program, a data analysis by San José Spotlight found. As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, nonprofits leaders said these dollars have been vital for their survival, especially as the demand to maintain – or increase – services continues. According to data...

Coronavirus LIVE BLOG: July 16 to July 29

Catch up on our current Coronavirus LIVE BLOG here. 3:15 p.m. July 29: With San Mateo, entire Bay Area now on state watchlist With Wednesday’s addition of San Mateo, all Bay Area counties are on the state’s watchlist, affecting more than 7 million people in the Northern California region. Collectively, nine counties — Alameda, Contra Costa,...

Santa Clara County restaurant CEO sued by landlord for late rent — despite moratorium

Despite Santa Clara County’s ban on evictions amid the pandemic, Flights Restaurant founder and CEO Alexander Hult is being sued by his landlord in Mountain View for back-rent payments. The county ordinance allows tenants impacted by COVID-19 to pay back rent payments within a year with no late fees and prevents landlords from evicting residential and...

Silicon Valley educators worry about data privacy as classes remain online

Local educators say students could be at risk of data breaches as schools continue online classes amid the pandemic. “We need to protect our communities,” said Roxana Marachi, a San Jose State University professor of education. “Especially communities of color, who are the most vulnerable to data exploitations,” Big tech companies in Silicon Valley have eyed the...

California, Santa Clara County unemployment rates improve, but uncertainty looms

California’s June unemployment rate improved from previous months amid the COVID-19 pandemic, but it remains to be seen how recent statewide closures due to spiking cases and hospitalizations affect jobs across the state. In June, the state’s unemployment rate improved to 14.9%, with the state adding a record 558,200 jobs, according to figures released Friday...

San Jose nonprofits say city hasn’t coughed up money for free meals

As the COVID-19 pandemic exacerbated hunger in San Jose, nonprofit food distributors say city leaders have stalled on reimbursing their costs to supply food to the South Bay’s most vulnerable residents. Nonprofit executives say demand for food has tripled since the pandemic shuttered businesses and slashed jobs in mid-March following Santa Clara County’s shelter-in-place order....

Coronavirus LIVE BLOG: July 2 to July 15

Catch up on our current Coronavirus LIVE BLOG here. 1:35 p.m. July 15: Most California schools not likely to reopen in-person, state educational official says California’s top public school official said Wednesday most schools likely would not reopen for in-person learning due to the spread of the novel coronavirus across the state. After the state Department...

Hours after reopening, Santa Clara County businesses will have to close again

Just hours after reopening Monday under Santa Clara County’s new health order, hair and nail salons, gyms, tattoo parlors and other personal care services have to close yet again. During his noon briefing, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced immediate closures for indoor operations of restaurants, wineries, tasting rooms, movie theaters, card rooms, family entertainment centers, zoos and...

Silicon Valley leaders want employees to mostly work from home

Notably grueling Silicon Valley commutes have been slashed dramatically as the COVID-19 pandemic rages on. While working from home presents its own unique challenges, Santa Clara County Supervisor Cindy Chavez wants to transition this aspect of social distancing into the post-COVID-19 life, a move she says will maintain productivity while decreasing climate impacts. Chavez announced a...

San Jose’s general plan review hindered by online meetings

As online meetings become the new norm under shelter-in-place orders, some community leaders and advocates say meeting remotely has hampered plans to revise one of San Jose’s most critical documents: its General Plan for 2040. “(The online format) puts a lot of pressure to keep the meetings at a reasonable time,” said Jason Su, executive...

Californians worry that shelter-in-place is relaxing too quickly: poll

As the number of hospitalizations from the novel coronavirus continues to soar, Californians are increasingly worried that the state is reopening too quickly, according to a new survey. The poll, conducted between June 26 and June 30 by California Health Care Foundation (CHCF), surveyed 1,156 residents in the state who are at least 18 years old. The interviews,...

California approves Santa Clara County for further reopening, but who takes responsibility?

After an initial denial over the Independence Day weekend, state officials approved Santa Clara County’s request to reopen more businesses under a new health order set to take effect next Monday. As of Tuesday morning, the county’s 35-page application to verify it met certain criteria was added onto the California Department of Public Health’s list...

July 4th in Silicon Valley takes on different meaning with COVID-19 pandemic

Patriotism has taken on a different meaning amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Ahead of Independence Day weekend, officials have made more forceful steps to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus as confirmed cases, hospitalizations and intensive care numbers have jumped in recent weeks in Santa Clara County. The Association of Bay Area Health Officials issued a...

Silicon Valley transit agency reveals new plan for safety, renewed ridership

As people slowly venture out after months of sheltering-in-place, Silicon Valley’s largest transit agency is taking new steps to bolster public trust and safety on buses and trains. The Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority this week unveiled a 10-point plan that includes enhanced cleaning and disinfecting of vehicles, required face coverings and social distancing on vehicles, stations and stops....

Poll: Californians trust public health officials, fear economic impact

A new poll shows that Californians support public health officials’ efforts to prevent the spread of COVID-19, but believe that the virus disproportionately affects people of color and that the worst is still ahead. Released on Thursday and sponsored by The California Endowment, a nonprofit health organization, the poll surveyed 1,240 California voters to gauge...

Coronavirus LIVE BLOG: June 18 to July 1

Catch up on our current Coronavirus LIVE BLOG here. 4:26 p.m. July 1: California reaches goal of amassing 10,000 contact tracers, Newsom says Gov. Gavin Newsom said Wednesday the state met its goal to amass 10,000 contact tracers to identify cases and reduce the spread of COVID-19. In doing so, the universities of California of San...

Dine-in restaurants, bars will again close in 19 California counties, Newsom orders

As cases and hospitalizations from COVID-19 have increased in recent days, Gov. Gavin Newsom on Wednesday is again closing businesses in California counties that have seen the worst spikes. For the next three weeks, Newsom ordered indoor operations for restaurants, wineries, movie theaters, family entertainment, zoos, museums and card rooms to close in 19 counties...

Will Santa Clara County schools reopen in the fall? The answer is unclear, but county issues guidance

Santa Clara County officials Tuesday painted a picture of what returning to school might look like for kids this fall: desks six feet apart, face coverings for everyone and canceling some activities such as choir. Officials released guidance for local K-12 public and private schools for reopening for the 2020-21 school year. The biggest question...

Santa Clara County not ready for next stage of reopening, Cody says

Santa Clara County isn’t ready to seek state approval to open more businesses due to an uptick in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations that has attracted the state’s attention, Dr. Sara Cody, the county’s top health official, said Tuesday. “At the moment, we don’t meet all the criteria on the variance application,” Cody told the Santa Clara...

Despite outbreaks, officials say Silicon Valley construction sites are safe

Across Santa Clara County, restrictions on a wide-reaching shelter-in-place order are loosening, employees are getting back to work, residents are dining out again and new buildings are rising. But the slow reopening of the region — a constant balancing act between mitigating the damage of keeping the economy shuttered versus reducing the spread of the...

Coronavirus LIVE BLOG: June 4 to June 17

Catch up on our current Coronavirus LIVE BLOG here. 5:35 p.m. June 17: Most San Jose park restrooms open, Communications Hill staircase still closed Most San Jose park restrooms reopened Monday, according to a city news release. While the news release said park restrooms will be cleaned according to their use, the most frequented restrooms will...

‘It feels like Christmas’: Santa Clara County malls finally reopen

After three months of closure during the coronavirus pandemic, Westfield shopping centers in Santa Clara County, including Oakridge and Valley Fair, reopened for business Monday. “Westfield is excited to open our doors again … as we begin our initial recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Leah Heil, vice president of shopping center management. Anticipation ran...

Liccardo focuses on police, inequality in San Jose’s $4.1B budget

San Jose’s $4.1 billion budget will be finalized this week, a major annual decision that comes this year in the midst of a pandemic that’s caused enormous projected deficits. But Mayor Sam Liccardo’s focus in a recently-released proposed budget was first on police reforms and inequality. Liccardo’s annual June budget proposal addresses head-on community calls...

Team San Jose pivots from conferences to coronavirus aid

Team San Jose – once the marketing giant for the city and the managing force behind its conventions – has pivoted its in-house catering to provide meals to shelters housing people impacted by COVID-19. The city of San Jose converted Parkside Hall and South Hall, both part of the McEnery Convention Center which is operated by...

South Bay faith leaders frustrated that churches and synagogues remain closed

Despite a new county order Friday allowing outdoor religious gatherings of 25 people, many South Bay faith leaders are growing frustrated as local churches and synogogues remain closed. In addition to the limitations of the county policy, places of worship are required to follow California’s latest guidelines, which include screening congregants for temperature and symptoms, not...

Santa Clara County health officials criticized for rollout of latest shelter-in-place order

Santa Clara County and San Jose elected leaders this month criticized local public health officials over a lack of clarity and adequate notice in their plans to ease shelter-in-place restrictions due to COVID-19. The criticism, which follows relative strong support for local measures taken to stop the coronavirus spread by health officials, began at the...

Santa Clara County tattoo artists itching to get back to work

Before tattoo machines begin to buzz at State of Grace tattoo shop in San Jose’s Japantown, artists’ stations are wiped down, sanitized and wrapped in plastic, while single-use gloves, needles and ink are laid out with freshly washed hands. None of that is new protocol for battling COVID-19, according to shop owner and renowned tattooer...

Coronavirus LIVE BLOG: May 21 to June 3

Catch up on our current Coronavirus LIVE BLOG here. 10 p.m. June 3: Santa Clara County supervisors approve child care, financial assistance On Tuesday, the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors unanimously passed a proposal to devote more than $2.5 million for child care programs in the county, drawing from the federal government’s $2.2 trillion coronavirus...

In-store retail, outdoor dining, religious services to resume in Santa Clara County

Santa Clara County health officials announced Monday they will amend the shelter-in-place order to allow in-store retail, outdoor dining, childcare for all families as well as religious, cultural and civic activities previously prohibited to reduce the spread of COVID-19. With the revised order effective Friday, Public Health Officer Dr. Sara Cody said progress with testing,...

Surviving earthquakes, recessions and Amazon, San Jose bookstore asks for community’s help

After surviving the Loma Prieta Earthquake, Great Recession and advent of Amazon, Hicklebee’s bookstore in Willow Glen is facing its next great challenge with the global COVID-19 pandemic.  The 41-year-old San Jose literary institution is calling for the community’s help with a GoFundMe page that has already received more than 1,000 donors in just more...

Goodwill opens two San Jose stores to walk-in customers

With added safety measures in place such as required face coverings and daily employee temperature checks, Goodwill of Silicon Valley is now letting customers inside two of its San Jose stores. The nonprofit thrift store chain, which includes 18 stores in the Silicon Valley region, opened its Willow Glen and Alum Rock locations earlier this...

San Jose leader unveils task force to tackle COVID-19 racial disparities

San Jose City Councilmember Magdalena Carrasco alongside regional leaders at a virtual meeting Thursday announced the creation of a new task force aimed at tackling the disproportionate number of growing coronavirus cases among the region’s minorities. Carrasco was joined by Assemblymember Kansen Chu of Milpitas, Stephanie Kleinheinz, a nurse practitioner and CEO of School Health Clinics...

COVID-19 pushes tele-health forward in Silicon Valley as virus holds patients back

Even in tech-heavy Silicon Valley, COVID-19 has pushed people and companies to embrace technology in new ways, a trend also true in health care as tele-health visits soar, making medical care more accessible for some. At Stanford Children’s Health, hospital administrators have been working on developing and increasing the use of its digital health program....

San Jose leaders propose sweeping cuts to public safety to close gaping budget hole

With San Jose’s income streams being ravaged by the coronavirus pandemic, city leaders are considering shaving more than $10 million off public safety in next year’s budget. The cuts would affect the hiring of police officers and firefighters, reduce access to community services, and delay the expansion of a long-awaited fire station in the city’s...

Santa Clara County extends eviction moratorium, approves COVID-19 cost tracker and outreach

The Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors unanimously voted Tuesday to extend a temporary moratorium on evictions for people who can’t pay rent due to the pandemic. The county’s moratorium, which was set to expire Sunday, will now be extended until Aug. 31 under a proposal authored by Supervisors Cindy Chavez and Joe Simitian. “The Santa...

Coronavirus fears grow for vulnerable Santa Clara County residents as economy reopens

As businesses across Santa Clara County begin to reopen, some officials worry poor communities of color hardest hit by the coronavirus pandemic will experience a surge in new cases. To prevent a spike among some of the county’s most vulnerable residents, Board of Supervisors President Cindy Chavez penned a proposal to create an outreach team that...

South Bay nurses unions file complaint, allege unsafe conditions at nursing homes

Two local unions are accusing Santa Clara County of endangering nurses by failing to inform them of coronavirus-infected patients or provide them with the required protective equipment. The Santa Clara Registered Nurses Professional Association (RNPA) and the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) have joined forces in leveling a slew of charges against the county. The...

From tears to tests: Finding out if I have the coronavirus

Anxious tears accompanied my calls to clinics across Minneapolis on March 13. I sat alone in a friend’s apartment, where I spent the morning on hold trying to find a test for the coronavirus before going home to see my family. Did you recently travel overseas? No. Do you know anyone who’s tested positive? No....

Amid ‘unprecedented’ unemployment numbers, Silicon Valley feels blow slightly softer

California is seeing record unemployment numbers, with the largest single month of job losses ever recorded and a 15.5 percent unemployment rate in mid-April, about a month after the state began sheltering-in-place due to the novel coronavirus pandemic. But the blow has been a little softer overall in Silicon Valley, local experts say. The unemployment...

Surviving the pandemic: How you can donate to help those in need

The need for assistance – financial and otherwise – is growing in Silicon Valley, more than two months after the COVID-19 pandemic shut down businesses, workplaces and livelihoods in Santa Clara County. With a multitude of different ways to help, finding the right organizations and funds to donate to can be overwhelming, even for those...

Santa Clara County’s newest health order took effect. Here’s what’s new.

Santa Clara County’s latest shelter-in-place order took effect Friday, moving the South Bay into California’s second of four stages for allowing businesses and activities to reopen during the COVID-19 pandemic. Here’s a quick look at the major changes that went into effect. What’s open? All retail stores can now reopen for curbside or outdoor pickup...

Advocates urge Santa Clara County to forgive rent as end of eviction moratorium looms

South Bay resident Chris Rios worries he’ll soon become homeless. His tutoring income dropped by half because of the novel coronavirus. His parents’ pay plummeted, too. They’re still waiting for federal checks intended to support those impacted by the virus. While waiting, they’ve fallen nearly $4,000 behind on rent for their three-bedroom Milpitas apartment. Santa...

‘A race against time:’ Silicon Valley nonprofits face uncertain future as deficits loom

Like everyone, nonprofits are hurting during the coronavirus pandemic, but local leaders are trying to find ways keep those organizations alive until the economy starts to rebound. Nonprofits offer some of the most critical services in communities, often on the frontlines of helping homeless, hungry and mentally ill residents. But as enormous city, state and...

Coronavirus LIVE BLOG: May 7 to May 20

Catch up on our current Coronavirus LIVE BLOG here. 4:40 p.m. May 20: University of California schools will be open in the fall, president says The University of California system — with 10 schools serving more than 285,000 students — is set to open this fall using a mix of in-person and online classes, according to President Janet...

San Jose produces less waste under COVID-19. But it’s not all good news.

COVID-19 has produced more complications for professionals in local waste and recycling collection. While the job has become all the more important with greater waste generation in residential areas of San Jose, waste hauling companies have felt the financial squeeze of suspended and terminated pickups by businesses plus a lapse in recycling etiquette from locals....

San Jose moves forward with mandatory face coverings

San Jose leaders on Tuesday unanimously approved moving forward with a mandatory face covering requirement, despite concerns from San Jose law enforcement that it would criminalize residents. The proposal, authored by Vice Mayor Chappie Jones and Councilmember Sergio Jimenez, would require most people to wear a mask every time they step outside. The new directive...

Santa Clara County retailers to reopen for curbside pickup, but there’s a catch

After growing pressure from Silicon Valley businesses desperate to get back to work, Santa Clara County health officials on Monday made the highly-anticipated decision to allow certain retailers to open for curbside pick-up. The announcement Monday aligns Santa Clara County — along with four Bay Area counties and Berkeley — with the state’s revised shelter-in-place...

Santa Clara County jails face challenges curbing spread of coronavirus

With physical contact often inevitable inside their walls, county jails have become battlegrounds against the coronavirus pandemic. As the public health crisis continues, Santa Clara County has implemented various measures to prevent local jails from becoming the epicenters of the coronavirus. Nonetheless, infections are bound to occur, according to Roberto Potter, a professor of criminal...

Vietnamese restaurants donate thousands of meals to Silicon Valley hospitals

Most days, Tiêủ-Vân Phan’s car carries the tantalizing scents of Vietnamese shaking beef or Hainanese chicken rice, lingering from her meal deliveries to hospitals across the county. Vietnamese-owned restaurants in Silicon Valley have mobilized together to donate thousands of meals to frontline workers over the last two months during the region’s shelter-in-place orders. Phan, a San...

From Sacramento to Silicon Valley, ‘unprecedented’ deficits caused by COVID-19 pandemic

Governments from Sacramento to San Jose City Hall are facing historic budget deficits caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, often having to solve these crises in virtual meetings as the region nears its eighth week in quarantine. “We are at a time that’s simply unprecedented,” Gov. Gavin Newsom said Thursday in announcing his revised budget proposal...

Major layoffs in Silicon Valley hit Team San Jose, Goodwill and car dealers

Coronavirus-linked layoffs have soared in Silicon Valley in recent months, affecting more than 21,000 employees across 26 companies in March alone, according to a San José Spotlight analysis of data from the state’s Employment Development Department. Industries with the most layoffs were retailers, restaurants, hotels, the arts and entertainment sector, personal care services and gyms....

San Jose approves a new coronavirus relief fund

With public dollars stretched thin and the need for food and shelter growing, San Jose leaders on Tuesday unanimously approved a plan to create a coronavirus relief fund that will help the city receive federal resources for those affected by the pandemic. The fund will allow the city to continue operating its temporary emergency shelters,...

New California rules for restaurants cause confusion in Santa Clara County

Gov. Gavin Newsom threw struggling restaurateurs a lifeline on Tuesday when he announced restaurants can open for dine-in in certain counties. But the news won’t make a difference for Bay Area restaurant leader Angelo Heropoulos, who owns the farm-to-table Hero Ranch Kitchen in Saratoga and San Jose. After selling off the popular Greek chain Opa! three...

California has done more than 1 million COVID-19 tests, county ramps up capacity

California has now conducted more than 1 million tests for COVID-19, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced Tuesday, just as Santa Clara County leaders encouraged workers with frequent public contact to get tested. “Ramping up our testing capacity is critical as we begin modifying our stay at home order,” Newsom said during his daily briefing. “In addition...

Coronavirus: Need help paying a bill or buying groceries? There’s a donor for that.

For many of San Jose’s low-income families, paying a utility bill, filling the gas tank or buying groceries is becoming increasingly difficult as stay-at-home orders stretch out. Pandemic of Love, a San Jose-based chapter of a larger organization, aims to streamline the giving process, making it easier for immigrant and undocumented communities to seek help....

‘Forgotten heroes’: The plight of Silicon Valley homeless shelter workers

Employees who work at Silicon Valley’s homeless shelters are putting themselves on the frontlines of the pandemic to protect the county’s most vulnerable residents, even as many live on the margins themselves. Two homeless service providers in Santa Clara County told San José Spotlight that, between them, six of their hundreds of shelter workers have...

Poll: Most Californians support shelter-in-place orders

A majority of Californians support continuing to shelter in place to curb the spread of the coronavirus, according to a new poll, despite protests by some residents ready to get back to work and restart the state’s previously booming economy. About 71 percent of Californians polled by the California Health Care Foundation and survey firm...

COVID-19 testing sites open in East San Jose

After months of calls for more COVID-19 testing, a vulnerable San Jose area that is home to a large immigrant population now has two free testing sites. “This has been a population that has been vulnerable for so many reasons pre-COVID — due to rent, due to food insecurities, lack of job opportunities and educational...

Your COVID-19 questions answered: Part One

San José Spotlight two weeks ago hosted an exclusive Q&A webinar with Santa Clara County Public Health Officer Dr. Sara Cody, the driving force behind the nation’s first shelter-in-place order credited with flattening the curve on coronavirus infections and saving lives. We received nearly one hundred questions from Silicon Valley residents before and during the...

Surviving the pandemic: How can South Bay small businesses get help?

Businesses are struggling as the statewide and regional stay-home orders drag into the seventh week, and while there are many resources available, those programs are ever-changing and sometimes difficult to untangle. Health officials and elected leaders have also demurred on providing a timeline to reopen the economy. Though many retailers will be allowed to reopen for...

Coronavirus LIVE BLOG: April 23 to May 6

Catch up on our current Coronavirus LIVE BLOG here. 7 p.m. May 6: How is San Jose doing with COVID-19 outreach? The city of San Jose is asking for feedback on its public outreach amid the COVID-19 pandemic. “We are committed to providing you with timely, accurate information as we seek to save lives and livelihoods...

Animal shelters scramble to meet adoption demand absent volunteers, in-person visits

Adapting to the coronavirus pandemic has required staff members at Silicon Valley’s animal shelters to do work usually performed by volunteers as they rush to keep up with the heightened demand for animal adoptions amid shelter-in-place restrictions. While shelters struggle to retain volunteers, like many nonprofits, there is a silver lining. Sheltering-in-place has resulted in...

Coronavirus LIVE BLOG: April 23 to May 6

Catch up on our current Coronavirus LIVE BLOG here. 7 p.m. May 6: How is San Jose doing with COVID-19 outreach? The city of San Jose is asking for feedback on its public outreach amid the COVID-19 pandemic. “We are committed to providing you with timely, accurate information as we seek to save lives and livelihoods...

Newsom eases restrictions on retail, but Santa Clara County order remains

Gov. Gavin Newsom unveiled steps Monday to modify California’s stay-at-home order allowing some retailers to reopen under certain restrictions, but Santa Clara County businesses will likely stay shuttered until the county’s public health officer revises her order to match the state’s direction. During his briefing, Newsom announced retail clothing, florists, bookstores, sporting goods and music stores...

Are South Bay hospitals ready to perform elective surgeries amid COVID-19?

South Bay medical centers are prepared to resume knee replacements, gall stone removals, heart catheterizations and other so-called elective surgeries after Gov. Gavin Newsom lifted the ban on these types of procedures late last month, hospital officials say. Doctors were previously barred from performing non-emergency operations amid an expected surge of COVID-19 patients. Now that...

Coronavirus: How Silicon Valley candidates are campaigning while social distancing

Door-knocking, shaking hands and kissing babies is off the table for Silicon Valley political candidates during the coronavirus crisis. And with stay-at-home orders extending through May, candidates are now devising new strategies to reach voters in a digital campaigning landscape as the November election draws near. A side effect of shelter-in-place, according to San Jose City Council candidate...

Surviving the pandemic: Resources for seniors in the South Bay

As one of the demographics most at risk of developing life-threatening complications from COVID-19, seniors face new challenges navigating daily activities. In an effort to provide services to seniors who are sheltering at home, state and local officials are offering help through several programs that include meal programs, financial assistance, telehealth services and other community resources....

South Bay community health centers struggle through COVID-19

Community health centers across Santa Clara County have served some of the poorest neighborhoods for decades, often as an entryway into health care for those who lack access, money or are undocumented and hesitate to visit larger clinics and hospitals. But many are now experiencing the same financial struggles businesses across Silicon Valley are facing...

Coronavirus: What will it take to open more Silicon Valley businesses?

As Santa Clara County officials prepare to lift restrictions for certain businesses in the Bay Area, local health leaders say they’re basing those decisions — and future business openings — on five key “indicators” aimed at ensuring the region doesn’t see a resurgence of the virus as the economy reopens. The primary industries affected by...

Bay Area may lag behind state’s plan to lift stay-home restrictions

Californians are “weeks, not months” away from seeing some loosening of the state’s stay at home order and schools could bring kids back later this summer, Gov. Gavin Newsom and California health officials said Tuesday. Certain retailers, including those that can offer curbside pickup, manufacturers, offices where working from home isn’t possible and some public...

Unsung heroes of Silicon Valley: Moses Arroyo

Underneath the city of San Jose runs 2,000 miles of sanitary pipe that serve more than 1 million people. Each year, those in the city’s Department of Transportation’s Sanitary Sewer division clean more than 900 miles of pipe and complete more than 500 repairs. The dangerous work is done underground with sharp tools at depths of 40...

COVID-19 is intensifying longstanding racial disparities in Silicon Valley

COVID-19 is hitting black and Latinx people hardest, preliminary Santa Clara County data show. Meanwhile, those same groups are the ones most in need of financial relief in the region, community groups say. The pandemic’s racial disparities show officials must center race in discussions to address the public health crisis and Silicon Valley’s economic recovery,...

Construction unions lobby Santa Clara County leaders to loosen restrictions

Statewide and regional stay-home orders have passed the one-month mark, and nearly all businesses are hurting as many employees remain unable to work, upending their finances despite a $2 trillion government stimulus package. Now, a local construction and trades union is asking the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors to recommend the county to relax...

San Jose Police Chief talks crime trends during COVID-19 shutdown

Serious crime rates in San Jose have dropped while the city’s nearly 1.1 million residents shelter in place, but concerns still linger, particularly for business owners and domestic violence victims, according to Police Chief Eddie Garcia. Garcia addressed some of those concerns Thursday in an hour-long webinar, moderated by the Silicon Valley Organization’s President and CEO Matt Mahood and incoming...

Unsung heroes of Silicon Valley: Michael Catalana

From coaching high school sports to serving as a community service officer in the San Jose Police Department, Michael Catalana is a team player through and through. Since the coronavirus hit the South Bay, Catalana and his fellow CSOs have been out in the neighborhoods handling non-emergency calls, collecting crime scene evidence and interviewing witnesses....

Surviving the pandemic: How to get into a homeless shelter in Silicon Valley

With nearly 10,000 homeless residents sleeping on Santa Clara County’s streets every night, regional leaders say they’re concerned the novel coronavirus could rapidly spread among one of the county’s most vulnerable populations. County leaders have ramped up their efforts to protect the homeless community from a massive outbreak in the South Bay, which quickly emerged as a...

Santa Clara County had the first U.S. coronavirus deaths, officials say

Santa Clara County may have had the earliest coronavirus-related deaths in the nation, pointing to weeks of the virus circulating in the county before anyone realized, according to new autopsy information revealed this week. The county’s medical examiner-coroner released data on three newly identified coronavirus cases that resulted in death dating back to February 6....

Newsom loosens stay-home order restrictions as hospitalizations stabilize

California Gov. Gavin Newsom has announced the state’s first step in loosening the restrictive stay-at-home order that has shut down businesses, schools and kept residents inside except for specific tasks. Hospitals that were once barred from pushing forward so-called elective surgeries, or procedures that could wait, can begin doing those operations again, Newsom said Wednesday...

Coronavirus LIVE BLOG: April 9 to April 22

Catch up on our current Coronavirus LIVE BLOG here. 6:45 p.m. April 22: Santa Clara sees rise in illegal dumping  Santa Clara officials said Wednesday that the city is getting “increased reports” of residents leaving things like mattresses and other bulky household wares on public streets. The dumping comes at about the time that the city...

San Jose eviction bans leave renters more confused than confident

Renters affected by the novel coronavirus in San Jose are triple-protected from evictions through May 31, following city, county and state-passed laws stopping landlords from removing residents for not paying rent. But rather than feel protected, the separate laws have created confusion for many residents and small businesses untangling the details as record numbers of Californians...

Santa Clara County’s unemployment rate rose to 3.3 percent in March

Unemployment rates across California spiked last month following record lows across the state and Silicon Valley, according to data released Friday. Santa Clara County’s unemployment rate rose to 3.3 percent last month, according to the California Employment Development Department, which handles workforce services including Unemployment Insurance. While these preliminary labor market numbers lag several weeks, that’s...

Unsung heroes of Silicon Valley: Dominique Pacolba

In the midst of a global pandemic, it’s a nerve-wracking time to be over 60. But Dominique Pacolba, recreational supervisor at Seven Trees Community Center in San Jose, is determined to bring a little positivity to seniors’ lives through her nutrition program. With a nifty drive-thru system, Seven Trees serves up to 60 meals for...

Santa Clara County schools leader talks transition, barriers to online learning

California’s nearly 6.3 million students and 300,000 teachers officially learned April 1 they wouldn’t return to physical classrooms this year, due to shelter in place orders mitigating the spread of the contagious coronavirus. “The decision to close schools is a painful one,” said Dr. Mary Ann Dewan, Santa Clara County’s Office of Education Superintendent, who...

Major San Jose State University employer furloughs hundreds of students

Hundreds of San Jose State University students lost their on-campus jobs amid the deadly coronavirus pandemic that’s shuttered schools, businesses and forced Silicon Valley residents to stay indoors since mid-March. San Jose State became one of countless campuses across the nation to shut down following government directives to shelter-in-place. Then one of the largest private...

Unsung heroes of Silicon Valley: Olympia Williams

Olympia Williams is proud to call San Jose home. As program manager of Beautify SJ in the city’s Department of Parks, Recreation and Neighborhood Services (PRNS), she channels her pride and passion into keeping the city clean and beautiful through trash pickups, graffiti abatement, and the like — all services that continue during the coronavirus...