COVID-19 News: April 29, 2020

  • During today’s daily briefing, Governor Newsom announced the expansion of a “Farm to Family” program and other new initiatives to combat food insecurity.
    • The COVID-19 pandemic has created an unprecedented level of demand at California food banks and simultaneously, farmers and ranchers have seen their market decrease by 50%.
    • In order to keep Californians fed and help farms and farm workers, California will be expanding its “Farm to Family” program with $3.64 million in new funding to jumpstart a $15 million campaign to further support the program through the end of the year.  In March, 14.5 million pounds of fresh fruits and vegetables were distributed and in the first three weeks of April, 18 million pounds.  Roughly 128 farmers and ranchers are donating to the program and 200 more have expressed interest.
    • The Governor also announced that CalFresh recipients will receive the maximum benefits allowable for the month of May, thanks to a waiver from the USDA.  Additionally, EBT cards can now be used for online purchasing at Amazon.com and Walmart.com.  The Governor is urging supermarkets to also join.
    • Please click HERE for more information on these programs.
  • The Governor provided an update on COVID-19 numbers from across the state:
    • 78 deaths in last 24 hours
    • 2% increase in hospitalizations
    • 4% increase in ICU rates
    • While it is good news to see that the data has stabilized, the state needs these numbers to decrease.  These increases, although slight, are a reminder that we need to continue to practice physical distancing.
  • The governor had a Q&A session with reporters following his briefing:
    • Yesterday Orange County approved reopening businesses with guidelines, what are your thoughts?
    • I laid out detailed guidelines during yesterday’s briefing explaining our strategy for making meaningful changes to our stay-at-home orders.  As you know, we have 6 indicators to make our determination, it won’t be on the basis of political considerations, pressure or what we want.  It will be based on the public health experts, the data on the virus.
    • Regarding the three meal a day program that was announced last week, you stated that local governments will be reimbursed for 94% of the cost, however, you haven’t set a timeline for how quickly cities and counties will be reimbursed, can you provide more clarity on the timeline?
    • 75% of the program is being funded by FEMA, so when the federal government reimburses the state, the state will reimburse local governments as soon as possible.  It depends on how quickly the federal government gets the money to us.
    • We just learned about the adjustments to the Bay Area shelter in place orders, some of which are more relaxed than the state order, are you thinking of easing the statewide order? What retail businesses are you referring to that can potentially open in a few weeks and what kind of guidelines can they expect to see? 
    • During yesterday’s roundtable, we had a very detailed conversation and broke it down by sector and even by geographical location.  More information will be coming on that.  We have been in constant communication with the Bay Area counties and we will take a closer look at their guidelines, however, they appear to be consistent with the state guidelines.
    • Some local counties want to reopen sooner, and they feel the statewide orders are too much of a “one size fits all” approach. Do you think you could have done anything different for some of the rural communities?
    • Some rural communities, such as Tulare and Fresno, are experiencing high COVID-19 rates.  You’re right, the state is not “one size fits all” and neither are the rural areas.  Yesterday Dr. Angell laid out the guidelines for regional variations, we can make accommodations for variance after Stage 2 when surveillance programs are up and running.
    • You’ve expressed concerns over a possible surge if we relax the orders too quickly, can you talk about those concerns more? Also, do you have the power to close all beaches to avoid the crowds like we saw in Ventura and Orange County over the weekend?
    • We had about 100 beaches in California where there were some concerns, but we had no issues with the majority of beaches in the state. There were a few exceptions and we are working closely with those local governments to resolve the issue.  The virus does not take weekends off and we have to continue being cautious.  I will be making subsequent announcements in the coming days regarding conversations I have had with law enforcement regarding protocols and procedures, more clarity will be coming in the next day.
    • The Governor’s complete briefing can be found HERE.
  • Governor’s Task Force on Business & Jobs Recovery
    • The Governor has finalized the membership of his recently created Task Force on Business & Jobs Recovery. A full list of members is available here.
  • Sacramento County Extends COVID-19 Order
    • Today, Sacramento County health officials issued a new Public Health Order that will be in effect until May 22nd.  While there has been some relaxation of rules related to recreational activities, the order still reinforces the direction for all individuals to stay home and continue to practice physical distancing.
    • Some of the new allowable essential and recreational activities include:
      • Visiting a health care professional for medical or dental care for chronic conditions or preventative services.
      • Allowing non-contact recreational facilities and activities, including shooting and archery ranges, disc golf, tennis and boating.
      • Healthcare providers and hospitals may reschedule appointments for care that were considered non-urgent and canceled when the Public Health Order was first issued. This includes elective procedures, preventive services such as immunizations and other care for chronic conditions.
      • More information on the updated order can be found HERE.
    • Bay Area Counties Ease Restrictions on Shelter-in-Place Orders
      • On Monday, six Bay Area counties including Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara and the City of Berkeley announced an extension of their stay-at-home orders through May 31st.  When the new order takes effect on Monday, May 4th, several new activities that were previously banned will now be permitted.  These newly allowed activities include all construction, certain businesses that operate primarily outdoors (e.g. retail nurseries, landscapers, gardeners) and outdoor facilities where social distancing is possible.
      • More information on the revised shelter-in-place orders can be found HERE.

For more information about COVID-19’s impact on California’s political and administrative landscape, visit our coronavirus webpage.

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2020-05-13T19:32:28-07:00April 29th, 2020|