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COVID-19 State Policy Update 04.06.20

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April 6, 2020

Today, Governor Gavin Newsom held his daily briefing at the Sleep Train Arena in Sacramento, which is being converted into a hospital facility.  Newsom spoke about the state’s emergency actions to activate alternate care facilities and secure thousands of beds to prepare for a COVID-19 surge.  He also provided a general update on the state’s response to the COVID-19 outbreak.

The Sleep Train Arena site will have 400 beds available as part of the state's “Phase One” effort to procure 50,000 additional beds.   The Governor said California has locked in more than 4,613 beds in sites like the arena, in every major region.  However, he also said not every bed site looks like the arena.  California has the United States Naval Ship (USNS) Mercy, and then there are other locations like hotel rooms and medical stations that came from the federal government.  In the hospital system itself, it is believed that they have the capacity to do more than 30,000 beds.

With regards to California Health Corps, as of this morning, more than 81,879 health care professionals have applied.  The goal is to have some of these individuals help staff the new bed sites.

Consistent with past briefings, Governor Newsom provided the latest COVID-19 hospitalization and intensive care unit (ICU) patient figures.  The number of coronavirus hospitalizations is now 2,509.  The number of coronavirus patients in ICU beds is 1,085, a 4.3 percent increase from the day before.

This morning, and again at the briefing, the Governor announced that California will be loaning 500 state-owned ventilators to the Strategic National Stockpile inventory to help New York & other COVID-19 hotspots.  A copy of the Governor’s press release can be found here.  

During the Q&A, Newsom was asked whether he would pause the state’s next minimum wage increase, which is set to take effect in 2021.  Based on his response, the Governor is not yet ready to tackle this issue.  "Well, that’s January, and we’ll make a determination in real-time," he said.

On testing, he said community surveillance and making sure California tests asymptomatic people is "critical in ultimately expanding our testing goals."

Over the weekend, the Governor announced the launch of a new website— covid19supplies.ca.gov.  The website will allow individuals and companies to donate, sell or offer to manufacture 13 of the most essential medical supplies, including ventilators, N95 respirators, and testing materials.  Governor Newsom also announced the COVID-19 Testing Task Force, a public-private collaboration that will work with stakeholders across the state to quickly and significantly boost California’s testing capacity.  A copy of the Governor’s press release can be found here.

On Saturday, April 4, Newsom issued an Executive Order (EO) that will facilitate child care for children of essential critical infrastructure workers by allowing the California Department of Education and California Department of Social Services the flexibility to waive certain programmatic and administrative requirements in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.  Additionally, the order states that the Department of Education and the Department of Social Services shall jointly develop and issue guidance on how the essential worker prioritization will roll out, as well as guidance on how childcare programs and providers can safely provide care. This guidance will be issued no later than April 7th.  A copy of the Governor’s press release can be found here.  A copy of the Governor’s executive order can be found here and the text can be found here.

Additionally, on Saturday, Governor Newsom released a statement praising California counties for their pledge to use local authority to cancel penalties or charges for property tax non-payment related to COVID-19.   More information on the counties’ commitment can be found here.  A copy of the Governor’s press release can be found here.

As of April 4th, California Department of Public Health (CDPH) announced the most recent statistics on COVID-19.  There are 13,438 positive cases and a total of 319 deaths in California.  Also, as of April 4th, local health departments have reported 197 confirmed positive cases in health care workers.  Approximately 131,500 tests had been conducted in California.  At least 116,563 results have been received and another 15,000 are pending.  More information regarding the most recent COVID-19 statistics can be found here.