6A        Morning Edition
9A        Music
3P        Fresh Air
4P        All Things Considered
6:30P  The Daily

7P        Eclectic After Dark
banner101 3
target="_blank" href="#trafficdown">Sacramento drivers still spending less time in traffic than before the pandemic

Travelers, families reunite as China eases reopening restrictions

Sacramento City Schools will not require masks for students after winter break

Hospitals run out of beds as COVID-19 spreads through China again

COVID-19 By The Numbers

Wednesday, January 11

12:44 p.m.: Sacramento restaurants can apply for city grants to build outdoor dining patios

Early on in the COVID pandemic, the city of Sacramento allowed temporary dining on sidewalks and parking spots, but now the city is encouraging restaurants to build permanent patios with the Al Fresco Dining Grant Program.

City Council unanimously approved the new program Tuesday night. Restaurant owners can apply for up to $20,000 from the city through this June. However, the outdoor dining areas need to be built before June 2024.

Funding for the grants comes from COVID-relief funds in the American Rescue Plan act. The council ultimately approved a total of $1.7 million for the outdoor dining grant program.

You can learn more about the city's Al Fresco Dining Program and apply for the patio grants on the city's website.

Monday, January 9

6:02 p.m.: Sacramento drivers still spending less time in traffic than before the pandemic

Commuters in the Sacramento region were stuck in traffic for an average of 36 hours during 2022, an increase over last year but still less than before the pandemic, according to a new report.

That fit in with most other cities in the United States, where time in traffic congestion is still down almost half from 2019, according to the 2022 Global Traffic Scorecard by the mobility analytics firm INRIX. The average driver in the U.S. spent 51 hours in traffic in 2022, up 15 hours from 2021.

Bob Pishue, transportation analyst at INRIX, told NPR that the rise in gas prices helped slow the increase back to pre-pandmeic commute levels.

"2022 was shaping up to be a year of re-emergence and a return to a new, post-pandemic behavioral norm, but that halted with the rise in oil prices, supply chain disruptions, and inflation," Pishue said.

In Sacramento, average congestion time was up 44% from 2021, but down that same amount from 2019. Those 36 hours of traffic ranked 25th in the U.S.

Chicago topped the U.S. list at 156 hours lost, with Los Angeles and San Francisco sixth and seventh at around 90 hours.

12:11 p.m.: Travelers, families reunite as China eases reopening restrictions

First international travelers are arriving in China without the mandatory quarantine that had been imposed at the start of the pandemic three years ago.

According to the Associated Press, the easing of border restrictions comes even as the virus continues to spread in China amid what critics say is a lack of transparency from Beijing.

More foreign governments are imposing testing requirements on travelers from China — most recently Germany, Sweden and Portugal.

On Sunday, thousands of travelers from semi-autonomous Hong Kong crossed into mainland China, some having been separated from their families since the pandemic.

Like other passengers from abroad, they still have to show a negative test result taken within 48 hours — a measure China has protested when imposed by other countries.

Friday, January 6

10:23 a.m.: Sacramento City Schools will not require masks for students after winter break

Sacramento City Unified School District students will not be required to wear masks when they return from winter break on Monday after Sacramento County avoided the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's highest COVID-19 risk level.

On Dec. 22, the CDC placed Sacramento County into the "high" community level, a measurement of COVID-19 risk that considers the number of cases in an area and the capacity of local hospitals. SCUSD policy states that when the county's risk level is high, students and staff must wear masks indoors.

District officials did not require masks for students on Dec. 23, the last school day before the winter break, but said they would if the county remained at the highest risk level when students returned.

Last week the CDC moved Sacramento County to the "medium" level and it remained there Thursday, according to new figures released by the CDC showing cases and hospitalizations continuing to decline, though remaining elevated. The CDC releases new rankings every Thursday.

No California counties remain in the highest COVID-19 risk level after Los Angeles and Imperial were moved to medium this week. At the medium level, health officials recommend anyone who is immunocompromised or at increased risk of becoming sick wear a mask or respirator in indoor public spaces.

Thursday, January 5

12:13 p.m.: Hospitals run out of beds as COVID-19 spreads through China again

The COVID-19 outbreak is stretching China's public health facilities.

At the Chuiyangliu hospital east of Beijing on Thursday, beds ran out by midmorning, even as ambulances continued to bring more people in, the Associated Press reported.

Hard-pressed nurses and doctors rushed to take information and triage the most urgent cases. Last month, China abandoned its most severe pandemic restrictions after nearly three years of lockdowns, travel bans and school closures.

Those actions have taken a heavy toll on the economy and prompted street protests not seen since late 1982. The European Union has "strongly encouraged" its member states to require COVID-19 testing of passengers from China, which responded by warnings of "countermeasures" if such policies were imposed.

Tuesday, January 3

12:16 p.m.: China criticizes 'unacceptable' response to COVID-19 testing

The Chinese government has sharply criticized COVID-19 testing requirements being imposed on passengers from China and is threatening countermeasures against the countries involved.

According to the Associated Press, the Foreign Ministry spokesperson said at a daily briefing that China believes the entry restrictions adopted by some countries targeting passengers from China lack scientific basis.

She said some excessive practices are “even more unacceptable.”

It’s unclear what steps China might take. The country abruptly eased strict anti-virus measures in December, leading to a surge in cases.

Countries including the U.S., U.K., India, Japan and several European nations have announced stricter measures on travelers from China. Many are worried about a lack of data from China and fear that new variants may spread.

Find older coronavirus updates on our previous blog page here.

Follow us for more stories like this

CapRadio provides a trusted source of news because of you. As a nonprofit organization, donations from people like you sustain the journalism that allows us to discover stories that are important to our audience. If you believe in what we do and support our mission, please donate today.

Donate Today

State News

  • SoCo Calendar
  • Latest News
  • Right Now
  • Weather
  • Earthquakes
  • First News
Read More
thumbnail FirstNews logoA weekday early morning podcast that offers a first look at the top local news stories and weather forecast you need to start your day.

Sonoma County news stories featuring the latest in breaking news, county government, elections, environment, cultural happenings, and updates on your communities, from Petaluma to Cloverdale, and from Sonoma to Bodega Bay, and everyplace in between.

Subscribe to the Sonoma County First News podcast through our website, the NorCal Mobile App, NPR Podcasts, NPR One, iTunes/Apple Podcasts, or wherever you get your podcasts. 

Read More

Northern California
Public Media Newsletter

Get the latest updates on programs and events.