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COVID-19 State Policy Update – Tuesday Morning, March 24, 2020

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March 24, 2020

Yesterday, Governor Gavin Newsom held his a daily briefing to provide an update on the state’s response to the COVID-19 outbreak.  He spoke for approximately 20 minutes and then opened it up for questions:

 

·      During the Q&A, the Governor was asked about COVID-19 in jails and prisons.   He noted that strong isolation protocols exist and further that he has spoken with CDCR Secretary Ralph Diaz about the issue.  He also stated that he has no interest in releasing violent criminals.  More specifically, to the extent a release valve in reducing the prison population is needed, Governor Newsom said, "it will be for those nonviolent offenses and we will do it in a very systemic way.” 

 

·      During the press conference, Newsom stressed how “dynamic” the situation continues to be.  Based on updated modeling, California is looking to significantly increase procurement of assets, particularly beds.  It is estimated that the state will need 50,000 additional hospital beds to meet the surge of patients.  For reference, a few days ago, this figure was 20,000.   Additionally, Newsom said our health care system needs tens to hundreds of millions of units of personal protective gear –including gloves, masks, and shields.  

 

·      Newsom also said the State is shutting down parking lots at all state parks/beaches. The governor said parks officials would also be “significantly increasing” their patrolling of state beaches and noted that authorities “have the capacity to fine if necessary." 

 

·      Also notable, this afternoon President Trump announced he plans to postpone the October 1st deadline for Americans to obtain a Real ID card.

 

On Sunday, Newsom announced that President Trump has approved California’s request for a presidential Major Disaster Declaration to bolster California’s COVID-19 emergency response efforts.  According to the press release, “The Major Disaster Declaration makes federal funding available to state, tribal and local governments for emergency protective measures, including direct federal assistance, and makes funding available for crisis counseling for impacted individuals.”  A copy of the full press release can be found here.

As of March 22, 2020, at 2 p.m. Pacific Daylight Time, the California Department of Public Health said there are a total of 1,733 positive cases and 27 deaths in California (including one non-California resident).   For more information, please see https://www.cdph.ca.gov/Programs/OPA/Pages/NR20-031.aspx.

 

Also, the https://www.covid19.ca.gov/ website is being updated continuously.