El Cerrito, CA

Wednesday in The East Bay: Fire causes BART delays, hundreds of East Bay students test positive for COVID and more

Refugio Garcia

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Blaze at abandoned building in El Cerrito causes BART delays

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A blaze at an abandoned building in El Cerrito Tuesday morning forced BART to close one of its train lines causing major delays, East Bay Times reports.

The fire was reported at 11965 San Pablo Ave. at approximately 4:23 a.m., according to El Cerrito fire officials. The cause of the blaze is unknown.

BART service to the Richmond line in the Millbrae, Berryessa and Richmond directions was suspended for about 20 minutes between the El Cerrito del Norte and Richmond stations, according to BART officials.

Temporary service was provided to the El Cerrito del Norte, Richmond and El Cerrito Plaza stations by AC Transit while BART service was unavailable.

The fire occurred at a structure that was formerly a Taco Bell. No injuries were reported.

BART service resumed at 5:50 a.m. with residual delays reported throughout the day.

Rapid at-home COVID tests prevent hundreds of infected students from returning to class

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Administrators in Oakland and Berkeley on Tuesday touted the success of the distribution of rapid at-home COVID tests that prevented hundreds of infected students from returning to class following the holiday break, East Bay Times reports.

“We are pleased to see this testing regimen work the way we hoped it would, keeping sick people at home,” Oakland Unified Superintendent Kyla Johnson-Trammell said.

The distribution of at-home COVID tests for students and staff is part of a statewide effort to combat the spread of the highly contagious omicron variant as new cases continue to surge.

Of the 21,000 results collected by Oakland Unified, 472 positive new infections were reported with 396 cases among students, 64 new cases among staff with 12 parents also testing positive.

Berkeley Unified also reported 227 new cases after collecting 7,687 test results.

“The at-home testing kept a lot of COVID out of our schools,” said public information officer Trish McDermott. “Their positive status was determined before they set foot on a campus. We think that’s a system that works.”

Classes within Oakland and Berkeley school districts were kept going by substitutes and other staff after 269 teachers were absent in Oakland and 61 teachers and 44 other staff were absent in Berkeley on Tuesday.

California Governor Gavin Newsom said last month that his administration was working to curb the spread of new infections ahead of the holiday break by “making at-home testing kits available to every K-12 public school student as they head back to the classroom from winter break.”

However, the distribution of all at-home tests for students totalling nearly 6 million was stifled due to “ the unprecedented storms the country has seen over the last two weeks,” according to a statement made by the governor’s office.

Wienerschnitzel joins meatless meat trend with plant-based hot dog

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Newport Beach-based Wienerschnitzel has joined the meat-free protein trend sweeping across eateries in the U.S. with a limited time selection of plant-based hot dogs, East Bay Times reports.

The new meatless options offered at Wienerschnitzel includes the Backyard Veggie Dog, topped with American cheese, tomato, pickle, ketchup and mustard; the Chicago Veggie Dog, served with mustard, pickle, tomato, onion, relish, and peppers; and the Barbeque Veggie Dog slathered with barbecue sauce, and loaded with pickle spear and chopped onions.

The meatless hot dogs are made with the same spices as the regular hot dogs but are made from pea protein and are naturally smoked.

The trend of meatless options have gained popularity recently and have been added to the National Restaurant Association’s list of hot trends for 2022.

Wienerschnitzel is currently offering a $1 off coupon for meatless hot dogs on its website.

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