tv ABC7 News Getting Answers ABC December 15, 2021 3:00pm-3:30pm PST
announcer: onions sick of it here. the folks at the california policy level join us. as we work with the california standard to build a better bay area, an in-depth look at the budget meeting last night, with the district decided to cut to avoid a state takeover. first, a day of confusion as the state indoor mask mandate takes effect. this is the rule california public health officials just put lacked -- put back to
rising cases and uncertainties about the omicron variant and the holidays. driving the confusion, a patchwork of policies across the state with some bay area counties asking for exemptions. here san francisco's health director talking with abc 7 news reporter stephanie sierra this morning. >> there was confusion about that. the bottom line is, the maskin mandate in san francisco will remain intact. under certain circumstances, if people are fully vaccinated and are around stable core hurts -- cohorts, and in jim's and offices where they are not fully vaccinated office workers, there are other details on our website.
basically there is not is not is in our indoor masking. >> basically unchanged. marin county is in a similar situation. joining us now is laney hendrix, the public health information officer. the word health just keeps popping up these days. thanks for your time. >> absolutely, thank you for inviting me. >> we do need clarification. marin county dropped its indoor mask mandate early november. fast forward to this week, the state issues that indoor mask mandate, beginning today. we understand marin county also got an exemption. explain what that means and what people are allowed to do and not allowed to do now. >> i'm so glad you let me let clarify this. i think a lot of people are confused over the word exemption and they think it is something other than what it actually is. the take away their people need to have is that, moving forward,
and most public spaces, all people, including those vaccinated, need to wear a mask. as that earlier soundbite from dr. colfax mentioned, there are limited exemptions that applies in marin county. it is really a select study to where there are stable cohorts. what we mean by that is this same group of people day in and day out. such as your coworkers you work without day. if they are fully vaccinated in that setting and it can meet other criteria, there may be areas you can go without a mask. when you get to the heart of it, many marin counties will not interact in the settings, therefore they won't experience the exemption. the take-home message is, at least through january 15, and we are in public settings, take the mask with you and be prepared to where it.
>> you are going back back backb you had before november 2. it really hasn't been that different in the past month without the mask mandate because most people in marin county just wear that mask in public settings, indoors anyway. >> is not going to be a radical change. we have been really pleased to see that the majority of our community continues to wear a mask when they go into the grocery store or their local restaurant. for some, it will be an adjustment, but i think our community understands the value of a mask that's a tool to help prevent spread. so it should not be a big adjustment for most to implement this new mask mandate. >> did you technically even have to apply for an exemption, or was it not that formal? where the state says, your old policy looks good to us, just do that. is that how it played out? >> there was no petitioning or
invitation. the state of california clarifies its guidance that was initially issued on the 13th, on monday. basically saying to any county in california that has an existing or you could say recent in the case of marin county, indoor mask mandate criteria, then that county basically has a choice. they can default to the states prescribed guidelines. or in the case of marin, san francisco, contra costa and others, default to what they have. it was a qualification, we just did not find out until then. >> this is what's interesting to me, your policy seems less strict and that offers a few places and before we were told the stricter rule applies when looking up the state and county in any discrepancies. >> i can't speak for the state, but recognizing the immense
progress,,,,,, rates and hospitalization rates lower in hospitals in california, but we have the highest taxation rates in california and across the united states. they chose to to to to to because they recognize the great work that not only these local jurisdictions but also the residence in the area have important work done there. >> increasing cases right now. cases here in marin county, as we look to the cdc community transmission tracker, which is a metric that many people use these days.
that is to be expected this time of year as the weather was colder, it's the holidays, so people are staying indoors more. we did anticipate them taking cases. the good news is you're not seeing a considerable increase in hospitalizations. that's a metric we are keeping our eye on. we recognize we are in a different place than we were last year mainly because we have access to a virus preventing vaccine. that has been hugely effective for the bay area. there is a possibility of getting covid-19 if you are fully vaccinated, but your symptoms are dramatically less. you see a decrease in hospitalizations and adverse outcomes. what this means is while there is an uptick in cases, unless we see a surge in hospitalization locally, we know the vaccine is doing what it's supposed to do.
we are going to keep a very close eye on those case rates and those hospitalization rates as we still learn more about omicron and the majority of our cases are still driven by the delta variant. so while we are not necessarily out of the woods, i am pleased with where we are now. >> how many are hospitalized now? the last time i talked to dr. willis, he said if you got to 13 hospitalized he would bring back the indoor mask mandate. >> i don't have a date in front of me, but i recall from yesterday's report we had six total in the hospital in marin county. that's halfway to the mark. we are hoping we can stay below that. >> i want to ask how it's going with your request to have folks who take at-home tests up load the results and reported to the county? >> we are pleased with the response so far. it is a voluntary action, but people are going to their
website. that is a wonderf a w for people to simply tell us the result, whether it's negative, positive or inconclusive of the recent tests, and most importantly, why they are testing. if they are asymptomatic or if they are traveling. if anybody watched this earlier conversation, the real reason we want to do this is test results are our eyes on the virus. when you get your pcr tests from your medical provider, laboratories report these results to us and it helps us understand where these are. with the home tests, we simply don't have those eyes. so this reporting form is an opportunity for us to begin to see what is happening in our community, if there are areas of concerns and outbreaks. and if somebody needs help with isolation or quarantine, we can provide those healthy services. >>
i think we have time for one more question, how are you trying to ensure safety and prevent outbreaks when students come back to school after the holiday break? >> i'm so excited you asked this question because we have this new partnership in a new program with marin county office of avenue ticket -- office of education. we just distributed or in the process of distributing close to 40,000 test kits. so every single student will have access to a test kit. the purpose of this at-home test kit is for wind families are preparing to come back to school after the holidays, every student can be tested and report those results through that self-test reporting mechanism so that we understand, from the get-go, where we may find some positive cases, and help ensure safety. it's a holiday season, a lot of people are mingling and traveling and that's why testing remains crucial this time of
>> abc 7 is partnering with a brand-new san francisco standard to showcase the deep and insightful reporting on the city. our news organization ensures the mission of building a better bay area and one important piece of that is to tell the stories, successes and struggles of all of our diverse communities. that includes education. joining us to talk about a
controversial school ward budget vote last night is sarah wright. good to see you. >> good to see you, thank you for having me. >> that was a high-profile meeting, the school board had to vote on a budget for the coming year, looking at a 120 $5 million projected deficit. we knew it was going to be painful, it's just how you distribute that pain. so what did they decide? >> last night, as you said, they had this consequential decision, facing $125 million budget deficit, this state was actually threatening to come in and take over if they weren't able to pass a plan and able to prove that they are willing to make cuts to plug their budget hole. so, last night and a 6-1 vote, the board of education decided that they are willing to take the staff recommendations and make $9 million of cuts. most of those cuts will come from staffing. >> most, or did i read 50
million from schools, the sites, and then 40 million from headquarters staff? >> precisely. >> that's 35 million? >> that 35 million dollars actually comes from a combination of grants and some other money that comes from the rainy day fund. school districts do have a rainy day fund, and that's what they are intended for, to make up these types of gaps, but that money is one time money and is not sustainable. >> of the 50 million that will come from the school sites, what does that mean? does it mean fewer teachers, doesn't mean closing some programs or maybe even schools? what are the options on the table? >> the options on the table are really focusing in on staff. the majority of districts budget comes from paying for teachers
for staff, for all of those costs. so, on this budget, what do schools need on a very basic level? they need nurses, librarians, principles. any staff that is not in that core group of service members is up for cuts now. in many of those positions, i was told by the budget staff, remain unfilled. so, it's not necessarily going to mean teachers losing their jobs at this point, but it means the classrooms and school sites that are understaffed need to stay that way. >> i think it's important to explain to our viewers how they got into this deep hole in the first place. this 125 million dollars short. >> absolutely. this is a thing happening all across california and it comes from declining enrollment. since 2019, the san francisco
unified school district has seen a 6.5% loss of students. so when the state is deciding who to give money to, which schools need more money, they use a formula that's based on student enrollment. when you have that steep of a decline, you are going to lose money. san francisco unified, like many other districts, still needs to spend money and they still need to keep the lights on, so they are really struggling to balance their books this year and in the coming years. >> why do we think enrollment has dropped so much in san francisco? i get that a lot of people moved out of the big cities, but san francisco, a higher percentage, i wish they would exit interviews with families so they could get at the heart of it. what do we think? >> it depends on who you ask. some people will say that, in general, california is just seeing your kids in our population demographics represent that.
others say there is something unique about this city, kids are moving to private schools or out of the city. families are moving out of the city. thus, schools aren't as populated anymore. that is true. san francisco has more than 106 -- 130 schools to serve more than 30,000 students, and they have one of the smallest amountt of students per site among similar districts in the state. >> what is the next step in the coming months, and is there still a chance to reverse this? >> there is not a chance to reverse it, but there is a chance to get more specific. as the governor releases more details about his plan in january and then in may, the school will be refining their budget plan and getting more focused on where these cuts are specifically going to come from.
which school district sites are going to see the most severe cuts, what sort of infrastructure is going to change. and i do want to back up and just explained that the reason why these decisions are so difficult is because san francisco unified is the only district in the whole state that serves as both a school district in a county office of education. they are not just making school site decisions, they are making broader policy decisions and staff that's focused on covid-19 protocols, how special education programs are run and other things. >> it's a complicated issue, but thanks for breaking that down the bite sizes for us, really appreciate it. >> thank you. >> we have links to the other original reporting on our website, abc7news.com, and watch more videos, check out our abc 7 bay area streaming tv app. we have heard isolated stories
>> breaking news in north richmond, sky seven is over the scene of the shooting at market in truman streets. one person has been transported to the hospital. there is a large police presence. san pablo police department is on the scene. definitely stay out of the area if you can. much more ahead on abc 7 news at 45. our final segment. you probably heard a lot about californians leaving the golden state for greener pastures. tired of crime, high prices and restrictions, it is that narrative true? in march, the high-profile report by the nonpartisan research group at uc berkeley found the answer wasn't so simple. the same group is out today. with a follow-up report and it too is just as fascinating. joining us now is the executive director of the california policy lab. thank you for your time today. before we jump into today's
report, summarize what you found back in march that got so much attention. people were leaving the bay area but not necessarily california, right? >> that's right. we did not see any evidence of an exit is from the rest of the state, but we did see in uptick of exes from the bay in march. and that was using data through december of last year. we now have data through september of this year. >> what does that show? i think the picture is different. as we pull up a map from your own website with the counties in california state, tell us what you are finding now. >> the big story now, in terms of who's moving into the day and whose moving out of the state is out far fewer people are entering california. we saw about a 38% drop in entrances to the state from other states in the union. so people seem to be focusing on
cal exits, when we are seeing a bigger shift, since the start of the pandemic, on what you might call cal entrances. this trend is statewide. we see it in all nine regions in the state of california, but it is more pronounced in the bay area. out-of-state entrances to the bay area have dropped by 35%. >> i think the colors are telling. it seems like that bay area generally have a larger percentage of people leaving, or at least people nonmoving and. are there some counties here there are seeing more people coming and then leaving? >> what you are looking at is the share of movers, the change in the share of movers who leave the state. it of complicated. if you are a mover and decide to leave the state, this is showing the change in the share of folks
moving. in san francisco, san mateo, sonoma, marin county, a much larger share of people who are moving or leaving the state them before the pandemic. so everywhere that spreads you see an increasing percentage of the leave rate among movers. >> are we seeing dark blue areas? that's where you have more people moving and then moving out? >> this map doesn't show you anything about entrances. it just shows you the percentage that leave the state. in the blue counties, the percentage that leaves has gone down. it means they are moving to other parts of the state. >> i know you are looking up the data and not doing exit interviews, but any idea what's driving these traces? >> it's a great question. unfortunately it tells us the wet of what's happening but not the why. there is a lot of speculation
about the reasons. whether they are pandemic related, like a shift towards remote work that allows people to live anywhere in the country. there are other longer-term trends that people have cited, wildfires or economic conditions, taxes or high hazard prices. we don't get into that in this particular report. and i think at this point it's mostly speculation. we hope to get into that and put some data on those questions. >> why's this information important? >> at its heart, i think thi population matters in a number of ways. we saw that with the census that meant that california lost one of its seats in the house of representatives. it also has impacts on federal funding formulas and potential impacts on tax revenues in the state. people leaving could impact
housing prices if demand for housing goes down. that could actually be a good thing in some areas. early in the pandemic we saw rent going down. it could impact the labor market or other parts of the economy. i think people are fascinated with the issue because it's about their perception of where they live. and if they think a lot of people are leaving and asked the question, should i be leaving two. i think that's part of the fascination. >> that is interesting. seven white, executive director of the california policy. thank you for a fascinating look on the new r
thanks for joining us. we will be here every weekday at 3:00 on tonight, breaking news as we come on the air. bracing for severe weather tonight. nearly 100 million americans now under alerts. high winds and possible tornadoes yet again in several states. at this hour, a rare tornado watch across at least six states in the upper midwest, including minnesota, which has never had a reported tornado in december. and then that system keeps moving east, including those states just hit with the deadly tornados. meteorologist rob marciano is standing by to time this out tonight. also, just in, the national weather service now saying it was an ef-4 tornado that tore across much of kentucky, including mayfield. winds up to 190 miles per hour. the governor there breaking down today as he introduced the president, and what president biden has just promised.
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