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California coronavirus updates: Inflation is surging with no end in sight during the pandemic

Find an updated count of COVID-19 cases in California and by county on our tracker here.

Latest Updates

Inflation is surging with no end in sight during the pandemic 

Nursing homes are to allow visits at all times for all residents

Holiday shopping may be affected by supply chain problems

Sacramento housing prices continue to increase


COVID-19 By The Numbers

Sunday, November 14

12:18 p.m.: Inflation is surging with no end in sight during the pandemic 

Prices of everyday items have surged during the pandemic, thanks to a combination of staffing shortages and supply chain woes.

Grocery prices in October were 5.4% higher than a year ago, according to the latest consumer price index. Overall inflation was 6.2%—the highest annual figure in more than three decades.

Both the White House and the Federal Reserve have described this inflationary spike as a temporary byproduct of the pandemic. And like the pandemic, price hikes don’t appear to be going away any time soon.

Read more here.

Saturday, November 13

11:26 a.m.: Nursing homes are to allow visits at all times for all residents

The government on Friday directed nursing homes to ease on many remaining pandemic restrictions and be open to visitors—while urging residents, families and staff to keep their guard up against outbreaks.

The new guidance from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services instructs nursing homes to allow visits at all times for all residents.

Nationally, vaccination rates average 86% for nursing home residents and 74% for staff, although that can vary a lot from state to state and facility to facility.

Read more here.

Friday, November 12

10:26 a.m.: Holiday shopping may be affected by supply chain problems

Experts say products are starting to move at the ports in Southern California, where they’ve been held up on container ships this fall. But the hope that everything will be resolved in time for the holidays looks rather unlikely.

Nick Vyas, executive director and co-founder of the Kendrick Global Supply Chain Institute at USC,, said people may want to adjust their expectations in the weeks to come.

“What we’re looking at is a system that is feeling a tremendous distress, so if you are thinking about the holiday season and buying things, you may be disappointed, or if you do get it, you’re going to be paying a much higher price than you would have if the system was working perfect,” Vyas said.

He also said that part of the problem is the lowest inventory of goods in four years, coupled with shortages of drivers, trucks and trailers.

9:51 a.m.: Sacramento housing prices continue to increase

Sacramento home prices have soared during the pandemic, while the number of new and existing homes for sale is meager.

According to the realty website, Sacramento and Miami are tied for having the highest percentage of people who are unable to purchase a newly constructed home.

“We have underperformed as far as new units relative to housing demand in our state for a decade,” said Kellie Swayne, president of the Sacramento Association of Realtors.

Swain said there’s been a reluctance to build since the big housing crash in 2008.

“People weren’t willing to take on the risk, the expense of building a home in California or Sacramento for the kind of return they were or were not going to get for that product,” Swayne said.

She said that California is millions of housing units behind in terms of new construction, while demand remains very high.

9:45 a.m.: Nevada parents get their children vaccinated despite protesters

Despite the shouts of protesters at a Las Vegas protest on Wednesday, many parents of children between the ages of 5 and 11 have begun getting their kids COVID-19 vaccines in Nevada.

According to the Associated Press, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration granted emergency use authorization of the Pfizer vaccine for kids in the 5-11 age group late last month. In Las Vegas, some pharmacies started giving shots out last weekend.

Southern Nevada Health District spokeswoman JoAnn Rupiper told the Las Vegas Sun that the district received 21,000 of the lower children’s doses this week and will be able to order more as needed.

Health district officials have also said that more than 37,000 children age 17 and under in Clark County have contracted COVID-19, and 269 have been hospitalized.

Thursday, November 11

10:10 a.m.: California is readying itself for another possible winter surge

California has begun prepositioning equipment and locking in contracts with temporary health care workers in preparation for another possible coronavirus winter surge.

While the state is still doing comparatively well, Gov. Gavin Newsom yesterday warned that Californians should prepare for another harsh pandemic winter, according to the Associated Press.

At the same time, he’s also bragging that the state is among the nation’s leaders in vaccinations that should blunt hospitalizations and deaths. The state’s models predict an overall continuing decline in both hospitalizations and intensive care cases over the next month.

News and health officials have said that the upward tick in certain areas as winter approaches is worrisome.

9:40 a.m.: Nevada health officials feel hopeful with state vaccination rates

Nevada health officials are encouraged by initial demand for COVID-19 vaccinations for children aged 5-11 and local pediatricians are reporting strong interest, according to the Associated Press.

But, they said that some logistical issues and technical glitches in the state’s scheduling platform have slowed the rollout of doses at county and community health clinics.

Experts also expressed concerns that a recent uptick in new coronavirus cases statewide could signal a similar trend as last November when the pandemic began a climb to its most serious level.

Experts are hopeful that the addition of 277,000 Nevadans aged 5-11 to those now eligible for vaccination will put the state in a better position than last year.

Wednesday, November 10

9:43 a.m.: Pfizer asks FDA to OK COVID-19 booster shot for adults of all ages

Pfizer is asking U.S. regulators to allow boosters of its COVID-19 vaccine for anyone 18 or older, as reported by the Associated Press.

Older Americans and other groups, like those particularly vulnerable to the virus, have had access to a third dose of the Pfizer and BioNTech vaccine since September.

However, the Food and Drug Administration has said it would move quickly to expand boosters to younger ages if warranted. The filing was announced yesterday.

Pfizer is submitting early results of a booster study in 10,000 people to make its case that it’s time to further expand the booster campaign.

9:38 a.m.: Food banks facing pandemic-related surge now have to face supply chain shortages

U.S. food banks dealing with increased demand from families economically hurt by the pandemic are now facing some new challenges — surging food prices and supply chain issues.

According to the Associated Press, the higher costs and limited availability means that some families may get smaller servings or substitutions for staples like peanut butter, which costs nearly double what it did a year ago.

As the holiday season approaches, some food banks worry they won’t have enough turkeys, stuffing and cranberry sauce for Thanksgiving and Christmas.

9:28 a.m.: Casinos in Nevada and across the country are hitting record high revenues

America’s commercial casinos are marketing the industry’s best quarter ever and pushing U.S. casino revenue past what it was for all of 2020, according to the Associated Press.

Figures released yesterday by the American Gaming Association show that U.S. casinos are poised to have their best year ever in 2021 as more consumers feel comfortable visiting casinos amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Plus, the figures noted that online and sports betting revenues continue to grow as well.

Just over the third quarter of this year, casinos across the country made nearly $14 billion and are on pace to break the annual record of over $43 billion set in 2019.

Tuesday, November 9

9:47 a.m.: Court rules United Airlines can put unvaccinated workers on unpaid leave

A group of United Airlines employees recently sued the airline over its policy of putting unvaccinated workers on unpaid leave, even if they’ve been granted religious or medical exemptions to its vaccine mandate.

The employees said this would cause them irreparable harm. However, for now, the federal court in Texas has handed the company a win, according to NPR.

Yesterday, U.S. District Judge Mark T. Pittman expressed sympathy towards the plaintiffs but denied their motion for a preliminary injunction.

“The Court appreciates the difficulty conscientious employees face when asserting their religious rights,” he wrote. “But that difficulty does not demonstrate irreparable harm.”

The decision covers roughly 2,000 United employees. The company said it will work to identify roles for these workers that won’t put them in close contact with customers, and workers can also apply for and work in these roles until they can safely return to their original positions.

Employees who choose not to take on a different role will be put on leave.

United has touted the success of its mandate, noting that aside from those granted exemptions, more than 99% of employees had gotten the shots.

9:44 a.m.: Despite reopening borders, travelers in and out of the US will still be limited by mandates

The U.S. said it’s inviting the global community to visit now that the government has ended the ban on travelers from 33 countries.

In reality, however, it will still be difficult for much of the globe to enter the country, according to the Associated Press.

Experts say it’ll take years for travel to fully recover. For starters, half of the world isn’t yet fully vaccinated, which is a requirement for travelers to enter the U.S.

And even if a traveler is vaccinated, there are months-long delays in getting the visas needed to enter the U.S., plus other countries have their own strict rules which complicate foreign travel.

9:24 a.m.: San Francisco police officer dies from COVID-19 after refusing vaccination

The San Francisco Chronicle reports that a police officer who was placed on leave for missing the city of San Francisco’s deadline to be inoculated has died after contracting COVID-19, according to the Associated Press.

The wife of Officer Jack Nyce tells the newspaper he tested positive on Nov. 2 and died Saturday at a hospital in Manteca. The vice president of the San Francisco Police Officers Association, Lt. Tracy McCray, said Nyce was on a 30-day stint of paid administrative leave because he had not received the vaccination required by the city.

Nyce was a 17-year employee of the department.

Monday, November 8

10:14 a.m.: Sacramento City school district to hold vaccine clinics for people ages 5 and older

Sacramento City Unified School District announced today that all upcoming COVID-19 vaccination clinics hosted by the district will now be able to serve all community members ages 5 and up.

Children ages 5 to 11 are now eligible to receive the Pfizer-BioNTech pediatric vaccine through the emergency use authorization from both the Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“We have seen the social-emotional benefits the COVID vaccine has brought to our students and staff, such as returning to school and extracurricular activities that our students, families and staff enjoy,” said Victoria Flores, the district’s Student Support & Health Services Director. “We are looking forward to providing this additional layer for our students age 5 and up.”

SCUSD vaccine clinics are held together with the Del Paso Heights Vaccine Clinic, Sacramento County Public Health, Dignity Health, University of California, Davis, and other health partners.

Here’s a list of upcoming SCUSD COVID-19 vaccination clinics for people ages 5 and up:

SCUSD Serna Center

5735 47th Avenue, Sacramento, CA 95824

  • Wednesday, November 10, 2021, from 4:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.
  • Wednesday, November 17, 2021 from 4:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.

Elder Creek Elementary

934 Lemon Hill Ave, Sacramento, CA 95824

  • November 17, 2021 from 3:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.
  • December 8, 2021 from 3:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.

Holiday Health Fair & Food Drive

New Joseph Bonnheim Community Charter

7300 Marin Drive, Sacramento, CA 95824

  • November 20, 2021 from 1:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.

For more information on SCUSD vaccination clinics, visit

9:45 a.m.: Los Angeles joins other US cities with strict vaccine mandates

Starting today, anyone going to a shopping mall, theater, gym or nail salon in the city of Los Angeles must verify they are vaccinated, according to the Associated Press.

The mandate — one of the strictest in the country — requires proof of shots for everyone entering a wide variety of businesses.

Mayor Eric Garcetti, who tested positive for the virus last week, said the rules will encourage people to get vaccinated and make businesses safer for employees and customers.

Business trade groups say this could present safety concerns for employees tasked with checking customers’ vaccination statuses. City officials say they won’t start enforcing the rules until Nov. 29.

Fines up to $5,000 could be imposed for those skirting the rules.

9:42 a.m.: US reopens borders with Mexico and Canada, lifting pandemic-related travel restrictions

The U.S. has fully reopened its borders with Mexico and Canada and lifted restrictions on travel that covered most of Europe.

According to the Associated Press, the new rules set the stage for emotional reunions nearly two years in the making and provided a boost for the travel industry decimated by the pandemic.

Lines moved quickly Monday morning at San Diego’s border with Mexico, the busiest crossing in the United States, despite the added checks for vaccinations required to enter the country.

The new rules also allow air travel from a number of countries from which it has been restricted since the early days of the pandemic. Air travelers do, however, need proof of vaccination and a negative COVID-19 test.

Friday, November 5

10:10 a.m.: Sacramento doctors are preparing to start vaccinating young children

Federal health officials have approved the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine for children ages 5 to 11. Doctors’ offices and other sites are preparing to give injections as early as this weekend.

Local South Sacramento Doctor, Dr. Beatrice Tetteh, said that her pediatric office is already getting multiple calls about vaccine appointments.

“Parents are very interested and are asking when can I come in?’” Tetteh said.

She hopes to start scheduling patients this weekend, but that depends on when the doses arrive. Some parents have also been coming to Tetteh with concerns about the vaccine.

“I don’t see any specific concerns regarding safety other than, okay, their arms are going to be a little sore,” she said. “At this time, I think a big part of it is helping parents understand the correct information.”

County health departments said they’re working with the state to immunize children at schools and other community sites. Many pharmacies are also opening up appointments for younger children.

9:33 a.m.: Trucking may be the next bottleneck in the supply chain, international trade research says

As efforts are made to resolve the backlog of container ships at the Los Angeles and Long Beach ports, there’s increased attention on where some goods will go next — on to the back of a truck.

Dr. Thomas O’Brien, executive director of the Cal State Long Beach Center for International Trade and Transportation, said there are some problems with the trucking industry as well.

“If you get goods off of the vessel, is there a place to store them at the docks? If there’s a place to store them at the docks, is there a truck driver to move them off the docks?” O’Brien asked. “If there’s a truck driver, is there a chassis to move them? If there’s a chassis, is there a place to take it, a warehousing and distribution center?”

O’Brien also said that from a port’s perspective, there needs to be a holistic approach to the supply chain to solve the problem.

9:23 a.m.: US hiring is up, possibly moving away from the pandemic-induced recession

In October, America’s employers boosted their hiring, adding a solid 531,000 jobs — the most since July. This could be a sign that the recovery from the pandemic recession is overcoming a virus-induced slowdown.

According to the Associated Press, the unemployment rate fell to 4.6% last month from 4.8% in September.

The jobs report also showed that the gains in August and September weren’t as weak as initially reported. The government revised its estimate of hiring for those two months by a combined 235,000 jobs.

All told, the figures point to an economy that is steadily recovering from the pandemic recession, with health consumer spending prompting companies in nearly every industry to add workers.

Thursday, November 4

10:49 a.m.: California farmers say supply chain issues hurting exports

California farmers say they’re having trouble exporting their crops because of delays in the global supply chain. 

Intense demand for products has led to a backlog of container ships outside the nation’s two largest ports along the Southern California coast. The shipping crisis backlog in California was the focus of a hearing at the state Capitol Wednesday. 

“More than 80% of our bookings, or scheduled exports, are being rolled, in other words canceled,” said Roger Isom, who represents California’s cotton and nut tree industries. “As an example, this last month of October one of my walnut processors had all 27 bookings rolled. None of those have been rescheduled to go out.”

Some processors have resorted to paying much more to ship their products to ports in Texas and Maryland. California accounts for 16% of the nation’s agricultural exports.

Dee Dee Myers, head of the Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development, told the Assembly Select Committee on Ports and Goods Movement that the Newsom administration’s main focus now is getting cargo containers off the ports.

“Finding excess space either in the port complexes or outside where you could temporarily store or transfer containers so that you could create more velocity in the system at the ports,” Myers said.

Myers told lawmakers the state is also working on transitioning the ports to 24/7 operations and growing the supply chain workforce now and in the future.

9:57 a.m.: Port of Los Angeles forecasts major increase in cruise ship sailings in 2022

The Port of Los Angeles expects a major return of cruise ship operations next year. 

According to the Associated Press, the port is forecasting more than 200 sailings for the 2022 calendar year, the most since 2008. The first cruise ship departure from Los Angeles since the coronavirus pandemic shut down the industry occurred when the Grand Princess sailed on Sept. 25. 

A busy weekend, with three or four cruise ships in port, may bring as many as 20,000 people to the LA Waterfront district. The port says each ship call generates more than $1 million in economic activity.

9:23 a.m.: Biden administration will require employees at large companies be vaccinated or tested weekly by Jan. 4

Companies with more than 100 employees must ensure workers are fully vaccinated or tested weekly by Jan. 4, according to new rules announced by the Biden administration Thursday.

According to NPR, the new rules — issued by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration — will cover around 84 million workers. 

Companies will have to provide paid time off for people to get vaccinated, but won’t have to cover the costs of the weekly tests if an employee chooses not to get vaccinated. Unvaccinated employees would also be required to wear masks at work.

Wednesday, November 3

12:35 p.m.: Western States group gives final approval for vaccines in younger kids in California

A group of health experts from California, Nevada, Oregon and Washington gave final approval for a COVID-19 vaccine for children ages 5-11 on Wednesday, following federal approval on Tuesday.

The Western States Scientific Safety Review Workgroup says the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is safe and effective for youth 5 to 11 years of age. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention approved the vaccine yesterday, and the Food and Drug Administration did the same last week.

“This expanded eligibility for lifesaving vaccines moves us closer to ending the pandemic, which has taken a heavy toll on the well-being of our kids,” California Gov. Gavin Newsom said.

Last week state health officials said they have 1.2 million doses of the vaccine for children ready, which come in smaller amounts than adult vaccines. There are nearly 3.5 million children ages 5-11 in California.

10:22 a.m.: COVID-19 cases in Sacramento County jails continue to rise

COVID-19 cases in the Sacramento County jail continue to rise, with the sheriff’s office reporting 75 positive cases in their incarcerated population since last week.

Sacramento County resident Jael Barnes said her husband has been held at the county jail for two years awaiting trial. In that time, she said he’s fallen ill.

“My husband went into that facility with nothing but severe anxiety, but now he has asthma, he has contracted COVID twice, he has COVID as we speak, and is vaccinated, but is still sick due to his breathing problems,” Barnes said.

She explained that her husband was moved to solitary confinement after testing positive for COVID-19 and without any adequate protection, such as a mask.

Advocates say they’ve heard from people inside the jail that conditions are not sanitary and are exacerbating the spread of COVID-19.

Sacramento County health officials say one man died of COVID-19-related complications.

Corinne McIntosh Sako works with the Mobilize for Mental Health Coalition and said the handling of the virus in jails is inhumane.

“Not receiving medical care, being deprived of testing, deprived of access to soap and toilet paper, and other basic cleaning supplies,” Sako said. “Not only is this a public health crisis, this is psychological harm being done.”

County supervisors are asking the inspector general to look into procedures for intake, quarantine and coronavirus tracing at the jails.

10:17 a.m.: Some California families missing out on pandemic food assistance money

California has struggled with making sure families with students receive their pandemic food assistance dollars, according to a recent report by the state auditor.

The state issues Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer cards to eligible families to assist them with paying for school lunches, but approximately 500,000 of these cards went unused during the 2019-2020 school year.

For many families, the benefits have already expired, meaning they may never see that extra money. While the benefit cards are issued to families whose school-aged children qualify for free or reduced-price meals, many haven’t been able to get them because of remote learning or other reasons.

Tuesday, November 2

10:08 a.m.: CDC discussing whether to recommend COVID-19 vaccines for younger children

A government advisory panel is discussing which schoolchildren should get Pfizer’s pediatric COVID-19 vaccine, according to the Associated Press.

Last week, the Food and Drug Administration OK’d the emergency use of kid-size doses for children ages 5 to 11. But the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also must sign off before widespread vaccinations begin in that age group.

CDC’s advisers on Tuesday are weighing who will get the most benefit from the vaccine. Their recommendation goes to the CDC director for the final say. In the meantime, Pfizer is shopping millions of doses to states and pharmacies to be ready.

10 a.m.: Culinary workers on the Las Vegas Strip rally for a return to more jobs

Hundreds of hotel, casino and restaurant workers rallied on the Las Vegas Strip as the culinary union made a second monthly call to return more people to jobs idled last year due to the coronavirus pandemic.

As reported by the Associated Press, the Culinary union said that more than one-third of its 60,000 members haven’t been rehired, despite a recovery by casinos and hotels from closures imposed in March 2020.

Union President Ted Pappageorge said companies charging full rates should provide full service. The message echoed calls made during a Sept. 24 march on the Strip.

Casinos statewide have been setting monthly winnings records, hotel room rates have rebounded and tourism officials report the number of visitors is approaching pre-pandemic levels.

9:55 a.m.: Big trade show resumes in Las Vegas after last year’s COVID-19-related cancellation

Tourism officials say the return this week of a big automotive products trade show could draw as many as 100,000 people to the Las Vegas Convention Center, according to the Associated Press.

The Specialty Equipment Market Association show, commonly known as SEMA, opens Tuesday after being canceled last year due to the coronavirus pandemic.

It runs through Thursday, followed by a public event on Friday dubbed “SEMA Ignited” in the convention center parking area. A companion event, the Automotive Aftermarket Products Expo, will be held at the Sands Expo and Convention Center.

Electric vehicles are featured this year, and convention attendees will be able to ride Teslas in the underground people mover built between convention center stops by The Boring Co.

Monday, November 1

5:55 p.m.: Federal judge strikes down part of California law that limits protests at vaccination sites

A federal judge has struck down part of a California law that limits protests at vaccination sites. 

Earlier this year, protesters attempted to shut down some COVID-19 vaccination sites, so California lawmakers passed legislation that establishes a buffer zone around vaccine locations and people entering them.

The law applies to all vaccination sites. An anti-abortion group filed a lawsuit, since abortion clincs provide certain STD vaccines.

The judge took issue with the law’s definition of “harassment” which includes activities like passing out leaflets and displaying signs.

A temporary restraining order allows protesters to carry out those activities, but still prevents them from obstructing and intimidating people entering vaccination sites.

11:18 a.m.: Shopping for health insurance during the open enrollment period? Here’s some tips to help you out.

It’s important to have health insurance, especially during a pandemic. KPCC’s Jackie Fortier reports that there’s a big change to most health care coverage you now should be on the lookout for when shopping for a new plan during open enrollment.

At the beginning of the pandemic, some insurers chose not to charge COVID-19 patients for expensive hospital stays and therapies, and a few have continued that policy as long as the public health emergency is in place.

However, most are quietly going back to business as usual. Because the insurance companies voluntarily waived those costs, they can decide when to reinstate them.

You’ll need to check the policy of each plan you’re considering to see how treatment for COVID-19 is covered. You can also get free COVID-19 shots or boosters if you’re eligible.

Vaccinated people are five times less likely to get infected and ten times less likely to get sick enough to end up in the hospital.

9:55 a.m.: US prisons are facing a staffing shortage due to COVID-19

The coronavirus pandemic and its impact on the labor market have pushed many prison staffing systems into crisis, according to the Associated Press.

Correction officers are retiring and quitting in droves, while states struggle to recruit new employees. Unions representing prison officers in states including California and at the federal level claim vaccine mandates will drive out unvaccinated employees and exacerbate understaffing, though it’s unclear how big of an impact those rules will have.

Staff shortages have long been a challenge for prison agencies for a while.

“There are dozens of reasons to leave and very few to stay,” said Brian Dawe, national director of One Voice United, a nonprofit supporting corrections officers. “Understaffing, poor pay, poor benefits, horrendous working conditions. … Officers and their families in many jurisdictions have had enough.”

And some prisons whose populations dropped during the pandemic have seen their numbers rise again, exacerbating the problem.

Meanwhile, incarcerated people don’t have the opportunities to see family members or shower due to a lack of correctional officers. Counseling and other programs have also fallen away.

9:52 a.m.: COVID-19 global death totals surpass 5 million

The global death toll from COVID-19 has topped 5 million, nearly two years into a crisis that has devastated not only developing countries but also humbled wealthy ones with first-rate health care systems.

According to the Associated Press, the combined totals from the United States, the European Union, Britain and Brazil account for one-eighth of the world’s population, but nearly half of all reported deaths.

The U.S. alone has recorded over 745,000 lives lost, more than any other nation. The staggering figure is almost certainly an undercount because of limited testing and people dying at home without medical attention, especially in poorer parts of the world.

Find older coronavirus updates on our previous blog page here.

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