REOPENING CONGREGATIONS: State guidelines for reopening houses of worship will be released on Monday, May 25, Gov. Gavin Newsom said at a May 22 press briefing.
NEW COVID-19 CASES, DEATHS: Santa Clara County reported 26 new cases of the coronavirus on Friday, bringing its total to 2,546, an increase by 33 from Thursday. The number of deaths remains at 138 deaths. Ninety-six people were hospitalized as of Friday, a decrease by four from Thursday. San Mateo County on Thursday reported 1,783 cases of COVID-19 and 76 deaths, up from 1,738 cases and 75 deaths on Wednesday. Seventy-four people are hospitalized as of Wednesday, an increase by three from Tuesday.
SANTA CLARA COUNTY SEEKS CONTACT TRACERS: Santa Clara County called on residents Thursday to volunteer for its COVID-19 coronavirus contact tracing team with a goal of getting at least 1,000 tracers.
NEW EAST PALO ALTO TEST SITE OPENS: Hundreds of people have registered to receive a free coronavirus test at a new site at the Lewis and Joan Platt East Palo Alto Family YMCA, which is fully booked for May 22-23. Tests will also be available on May 29-30. Appointments can be booked here.
PALO ALTO TO OPEN PARKING LOTS AT PRESERVES: The city of Palo Alto, which closed parking lots at open space preserves in late March due to crowding, plans to open them later this month. Vehicles will be able to park at Arastradero Preserve as of May 23. Parking at the Baylands and Foothills Park is currently allowed only during the weekdays and will be permitted on weekends starting on May 30.
Below is comprehensive coverage of the Midpeninsula's response to the new coronavirus by Palo Alto Online, the Mountain View Voice and Almanac in chronological order. For coverage by subject — how the virus is affecting public health, residents, schools, cities, businesses, nonprofits, arts groups, etc. — please go to our Wakelet page.
Latest COVID-19 statistics
Santa Clara County reported 26 new cases of the coronavirus on Friday, bringing its total to 2,546, an increase by 33 from Thursday. The number of deaths remains at 138 deaths. Ninety-six people were hospitalized as of Friday, a decrease by four from Thursday.
Palo Alto has 78 cases, a rate of 116 cases per 100,000 residents. Its total makes up 0.2% of the city population. Mountain View has 56 cases, which reveals a rate of 69 cases per 100,000 residents. Its total makes up 0.07% of the city population.
State guidelines for reopening houses of worship will be released on Monday, according to Gov. Gavin Newsom.
At the Veterans Home of California in Yountville, Newsom said on Friday that a guideline for congregations of all sizes will be released. The governor's announcement comes as President Donald Trump deemed religious institutions "essential" hours before Newsom's press briefing, calling on governors to open them "right now."
Newsom said that he expects the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to also issue guidelines on congregations later in the day on Friday.
As counties move forward with the phased reopening of businesses, Newsom also briefly noted that he expects hair salons and barber shops to welcome customers again in the coming days. So far, 43 out of the 50 state's counties have filed attestation forms, which outline COVID-19 containment and protection plans, and have been approved to move further into Phase 2 of the stay-at-home order modifications, Newsom said.
No Bay Area counties except for Napa County have received the state's clearance to move deeper into Phase 2, according to the state Department of Public Health's website.
Testing continues to ramp up across California. The state now averages around 45,000 tests a day, while the positivity rate holds steady at 4.1% over the last seven days, Newsom said.
The number of hospitalizations and intensive care unit patients have remained stable. Over the past two weeks, hospitalizations were down 7.5% and ICU numbers were down 6.1%, according to Newsom.
New COVID-19 test site opens
Hundreds of people have registered to receive a free coronavirus test at a new site at the Lewis and Joan Platt East Palo Alto Family YMCA. The Bell Street location began operating on May 22 and will continue to provide tests on Saturday, May 23.
All appointments have been booked for both days. More than 250 people signed up for a test on Friday and over 300 people have registered for Saturday, according to a city press release.
The site, operated by Verily, will be available to the public on May 29 and 30. Appointments can be made here.
More information on the test site can be found here.
Santa Clara County called on residents Thursday to volunteer for its COVID-19 coronavirus contact tracing team with a goal of getting at least 1,000 tracers.
About 50 county employees are already working to trace the contacts of coronavirus patients to stop the virus' spread as early as possible. A contact tracing force of more than 1,000 people would allow the county to reach its tracing goal of 21,000 contacts per week, according to county public health officials.
"It's not just enough to have your county employees doing this work," county Assistant Health Officer Dr. Sarah Rudman said. "We need members of the community, especially those of you who speak other languages like Spanish and Vietnamese, to come work with us and help with this case investigation and contact tracing."
Volunteers can complete contact tracing and case investigation work from home, according to the county, as long as they have a stable internet connection, access to a computer and private area to make phone calls to patients and their potential contacts.
The county is seeking volunteers who can investigate cases between 24 and 40 hours per week for at least three months. Volunteers should also have strong writing, communication and data entry skills.
"The county must build a strong and robust contact tracing team to prepare for an expected increase in COVID-19 cases as some of our shelter-in-place orders are loosened," county Supervisor Dave Cortese said in a statement. "Thank you in advance to those who will give the time and effort to help fill this critical role."
Residents can apply to be contact tracing volunteers at sccgov.org/icanhelp.
Latest COVID-19 statistics
Santa Clara County reported 100 people hospitalized with the coronavirus as of Thursday, an increase by 21 from Wednesday and the highest number of patients hospitalized so far this week.
Santa Clara County did not release an update on the total of coronavirus cases and deaths in the county on Thursday due to technical issues.
San Mateo County recorded a total of 1,783 COVID-19 cases and 76 total deaths on Thursday, up from 1,738 cases and 75 deaths on Wednesday. Seventy-four people are hospitalized as of Wednesday, an increase by three from Tuesday.
The county has updated its dashboard displaying case totals by city through May 21. Here's a list of those totals for communities on the Midpeninsula:
• Atherton: 11 (decrease by one from May 14).
• East Palo Alto: 62 (increase by six from May 14).
• Menlo Park: 59 (increase by four from May 14).
• North Fair Oaks: Less than 10 (no change from May 14).
• Portola Valley: 10 (no change from May 14).
• West Menlo Park: Less than 10 (no change from May 14).
• Woodside: 10 (no change from May 14).
Latest COVID-19 statistics
Santa Clara County's total of coronavirus cases is inching closer to the 2,500 mark. Out of its 2,492 cases reported on Wednesday, 79 people are hospitalized. One more person has died of the disease, raising its total number of deaths to 138.
Hispanic residents account for the most COVID-19 cases in the county, according to the data, which breaks down cases by race/ethnicity. This group, which represents 26% of the county's population, makes up about 970 (or 39%) of the county's 2,492 cases.
Forty-eight new cases were reported Wednesday in San Mateo County, where the total rose from 1,690 to 1,738. The jump is the highest recorded in the county since April 3, when 78 new cases were recorded, according to county data.
Of the total 1,738 cases, 71 are hospitalized, an increase by 11 from Tuesday. The county's number of deaths remains at 75.
Santa Clara County opens new COVID-19 test sites
COVID-19 tests are now available to all Santa Clara County residents at two new locations in San Jose, county and city officials said Wednesday.
Verily Life Sciences, the life science research arm of Alphabet Inc., will offer free testing to all county residents, even if they don't have symptoms or health insurance, at Police Athletic League Stadium at 680 S. 34th St. and the Santa Clara County Fairgrounds at 344 Tully Road.
Santa Clara County Supervisor Cindy Chavez implored residents to get tested as soon as they can as the county seeks to reach an average of 4,000 tests per day. Chavez also said that local officials can and will help residents who struggle to sign up for testing due to obstacles like language barriers.
Patients can self-administer the test in their vehicle by using a smaller swab similar to a Q-tip to swipe the inside of each nostril for 10 seconds. The entire testing process can be completed in as little as three minutes, according to Verily.
Read more here.
Read our previous updates dating back to late February here.
This story will be updated as more information becomes available.
Find comprehensive coverage on the Midpeninsula's response to the new coronavirus by Palo Alto Online, the Mountain View Voice and the Almanac here.