Tom Butt
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  COVID-19 Update for March 18
March 19, 2020

Today’s update from the League of California Cities.

East Bay Mayors, Council Members & City Management:

Thank you for your continued persistence and leadership as we navigate this challenge!

Today, there was significant action both at the state and federal levels.  We are working to make sure we provide you as much information as possible to help you and your communities.  Please note that the documents we are compiling are staff notes of calls and press conferences taking place and are not full readouts, but rather highlights to help provide you information that should be helpful.

Today’s briefings included: White House local government briefing; CalOES state and federal electeds briefing; Governor’s Office local government homelessness executive order briefing; and Governor Newsom’s address to Californians.  Additionally, CalOES daily briefing is attached, along with two additional documents provided by CalOES regarding SBA loans (one version is Spanish).

The Governor released a new one-stop website for COVID-19 resources.  This is a substantial source of information including unemployment and paid sick leave, along with small business assistance (information specifically to be added about this tomorrow on the website).  These specific items may be of interest to you on the website:
·       Apply for unemployment
·       Apply for disability benefits
·       Apply for paid family leave

We continue to partner with the Governor’s Office and CalOES is securing additional information about many different questions being asked about community operations and statutory requirements.  We will update you as we get further information.

Governor Actions Taken Today:

·       California Launches New Comprehensive, Consumer-Friendly Website and Public Service Announcements to Boost COVID-19 Awareness
·       Governor’s Facebook Address to Californians (Notes attached)
·       Governor Newsom Takes Emergency Actions & Authorizes $150 Million in Funding to Protect Homeless Californians from COVID-19  (Notes attached from technical assistance call about this EO)
·       Governor Newsom Issues Executive Order to Suspend Standardized Testing for Students in Response to COVID-19 Outbreak
·       Governor Newsom Issues Executive Order to Protect Ongoing Safety Net Services for Most Vulnerable Californians During COVID-19 Outbreak (Brown Act updated language included)

Other State Information Released Today:

Federal Actions Taken Today (Courtesy of the National League of Cities):

Note: From the LA Times this evening, President Trump signed an emergency relief package to provide free coronavirus testing and expand sick leave for many Americans. With the stock market plummeting and layoffs mounting, lawmakers are already working on the next package of proposals, expected to top $1 trillion, including aid to struggling industries and individual checks to most taxpayers.

On Capitol Hill today, the Senate passed the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (HR 6201). NLC included two factsheets on the bill, which can be found here and here.

Senator Rand Paul introduced an amendment to the bill that would require “pay fors” for the coronavirus relief package. The vote failed, with only three Senators voting for it. The bill will now go to the President, who is expected to sign it.

The Big 7 state and local government associations remain in daily contact, sharing our individual requests that all build on one another. NLC’s request for $100 billion for local governments allocated through a small number of direct formula block grants, including CDBG, is aimed at supporting the immediate actions local governments have taken to protect public health, residents and small businesses on the economic margins. NLC is engaging with the Big 7, other coalitions, and key Members of Congress on next steps and future funding supports for intermediate and long-term needs.

Looking ahead, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said, we are only in the second inning of providing relief to affected industries and individuals.

The White House, through the Treasury Department, today laid out in a two-page fact sheet of its proposal for a recovery plan.

The next step will take place in the Senate where Senate leaders are working to put together a third stimulus bill that can be passed by both chambers and then signed by the President. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell told Fox News that he hopes to get a bill together shortly and pledged that the Senate will not leave town until a bill is passed. According to The Hill, Sen.
McConnell created three working task forces to help funnel ideas through the process.

Meantime, at the White House, President Donald Trump announced a number of items:

  • He will invoke the Defense Production Act, which gives the president broad authorities to ask private manufacturers to produce needed supplies to combat COVID-19.
  • FEMA is deploying to every region of the country and at level-one, the highest level.
  • The Department of Housing and Urban Development is providing immediate relief to renters and homeowners by suspending all foreclosures and evictions until the end of April.

At the White House briefing, Defense Secretary Mark Esper said that they are preparing a “variety” of field and expeditionary hospitals that the President can deploy around the nation. The military is also preparing hospital ships Mercy and Comfort for deployment.

CMS Administrator Seema Verma announced the need to preserve personal protective equipment so that it is available for frontline responders. As such, CMS will announce detailed recommendations to further promote this needed conservation, specifically by limiting non-essential elective medical and surgical procedures, including dental procedures.

Also in Washington today, the Census Bureau announced that that it will suspend field operations for two weeks until April 1, 2020 to slow the spread of the coronavirus. The Census Bureau is not scheduled to start visiting non-responsive households until late May.

Rep. Carolyn Maloney, Chair of the House Committee on Oversight and Reform, issued the following statement in response to the announcement by the Census Bureau: “The Oversight Committee is closely monitoring the suspension of field operations and other developments to ensure that the Census Bureau takes all necessary steps to keep people safe while conducting a full, fair, and accurate census.”

Yesterday, U.S. Small Business Administration Administrator Jovita Carranza issued revised criteria for states or territories seeking an economic injury declaration related to COVID-19.

For the latest resources on COVID-19, check out NLC’s website.

Coronavirus Briefing by the California Office of Emergency Services (CalOES)
and Department of Public Health (CDPH) for State and Federal Elected Officials

Wednesday, March 18 at 1:00pm

Call Overview

Cal OES, CDPH, and several federal agencies, held a call for state and federal elected officials to give brief updates and take questions.

Dr. Gilberto Chavez, CDPH

  • Current Statistics for COVID-19 in California:
    • 598 lab confirmed cases in California;
    • Increase of 126 cases since yesterday, or largest one-day increase so far; and
    • 13 deaths reported in California.
  • Statewide Testing:
    • 12,000+ individuals have been tested so far;
      • 21 public and state labs have received tests and are testing; and
      • Capacity has increased significantly in recent days.
    • 11,900 individuals who traveled to California from abroad are self-monitoring.

Ryan Buras, Deputy Director of Recovery Operations, Cal OES

  • 14 task forces, working 7 days a week;
    • Task forces include:
      • Housing - first responders being deployed need a place today and state is working on that;
      • Hospitals - working on testing and expanding the number of beds in the state. Working with the hotel industry on this;
      • Economic - Looking at all things economic; and
      • Critical infrastructure.

John Greene – US Health and Human Services Department, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response [ASPR]

  • Grand Princess cruise ship update:
    • 850 passengers have been relocated to Travis air force base;
    • 240 passengers have been relocated to Miramar air force base;
    • Established one northern California and one southern California alternative care centers, for passengers who have tested positive and have symptoms;
    • Testing: Swabbing of all persons who accepted to be tested are done at both Miramar and Travis air force bases;
      • Results are being transmitted right now.
    • The ship has left pier and is serving out quarantine for 14 days at anchor in the San Francisco Bay.

Small Business Administration (SBA)

  • Approved California state emergency declaration for small businesses;
    • This action was required to authorize disasters loans in the state; and
    • Applies to all 58 counties in California.
  • Streamlining SBA process so applications can be approved more quickly;
  • Can loan up to $2 million for a small business.
    • 3.75% interest rate for businesses,
    • 2.75% interest rate for non-profits; and
    • Loans are 30 year loans.
  • To apply, go online to: .

American Red Cross

  • Natation-wide shortages of blood;
  • Had to canceled over 4,000 blood drives in the country;
    • In California, had to cancel over 300 blood drives.
  • Blood inventories are becoming quite depleted due to coronavirus shutdown of normal blood drive operations;
  • Hospital demand for blood still remains high; and
  • Urging locals to declare that blood donations are an essential activity in local communities during this outbreak.

Questions and Answers

  • National stockpile resources - how is that allocated?

States make requests of the stockpile then states allocate resources once they are sent form the stockpile. Local governments have a process to request more resources from the state as they receive resources from the federal government.

  • Will there be a “shelter-in-place” directive for the entire state?

At this time, there is no plan for a statewide “shelter-in-place” order. State is not using that language because it is not being used in the correct manner.

  • Are blood donors getting a test to see if they had COVID-19?

There is no blood donation test for COVID-19. The disease is not transmitted through the blood so testing for that reason does not exist. There is not yet a test to determine who has had COVID-19, let alone a blood test for it.

  • Will California shutdown our borders with other states?

There are no plans to do so at this time.

  • How can a local jurisdiction host a blood drive?

Red Cross website has instructions and can apply to host a blood drive online.

  • What is the process to determine what jobs and businesses are “essential”?

Cal OES is continuing to work on messaging that things such as food, power, and water are essential. Consider the supply chain for these things as essential. Also, urging folks to consult with their local public health office on what is determined to be essential and non-essential.

  • If we shouldn't use the words "shelter in place," then what words should we use? To be more accurate and clear for the public, what terminology is appropriate?

Working on promoting the message of "stay at home" across the state. Trying to not use "shelter in place" as that term does not describe, and is too harsh, for what is being asked. 

Briefing by the California Office of Emergency Services (CalOES)
and Governor’s Office for Local Elected Officials on the Governor’s New COVID-19 Homelessness Executive Order

Wednesday, March 18 at 5:00pm
Call Overview:

Cal OES, Governor’s Office, the California Business, Consumer Services, and Housing Agency, and the California Department of Social Services held a call for local elected officials to give brief updates and take questions on the Governor’s recent OVID-19 homelessness executive order.

Cal OES welcomed the local officials to the call and thanked the League of California Cities and California State Association of Counties for their continued partnership on the COVID-19 response.

Jason Elliot – Housing Advisor, Governor Gavin Newsom

  • Had calls with leadership of League, CSAC, and big city mayors earlier today to share some high level points of the new executive order;
  • Governor is keenly aware of the role locals play in this outbreak response and especially on homelessness;
  • Governor’s Office and state departments will issue more guidance on the reporting requirements for this pot of funding; and
  • Press release on Governor’s website with details on the executive order and additional guidance.

Ali Sutton, Deputy Secretary for Homelessness, California Business, Consumer Services, and Housing Agency

  • Additional funding for homelessness has been made available;
  • Immediate need is to get funding out to locals as quickly as possible;
  • Using the existing allocation methodology;
  • Will send an award letter and a standard agreement;
    • Will outline what funding should be used for;
    • Simple standard agreement that will already be signed by their department; and
    • Looking to send this out by Monday of next week.
  • Suggested steps on public health actions to take;
    • Such as:
      • 3ft guidance between beds; and
      •  Head to toe alignment of beds.
    • Pulled this info from CDC and HUD; and
    • Need to be isolating folks as soon as there are positive tests - need to have isolation spaces for those folks.
  • Are expecting locals should/will use the state procured hotel space for homeless individuals.

Kim Johnson, Director, California Department of Social Services

  • Thanked locals for their hard work and partnership;
  • Want to rapidly deploy resources that locals need;
  • State was to assist and support locals on this mission; and
  • Currently the state has procured 1,309 trailers from private vendors and FEMA;
    • Will get those out to the counties who have the highest numbers of unsheltered from the point in time count.

Lourdes M. Castro Ramírez, Secretary, California Business, Consumer Services, and Housing Agency

  • Want to provide locals with guidance to the best of their ability; and
  • Urge locals to continue to communicate with their agency as much as possible; feedback is key for them.

Questions and Answers

  • For the new $100 million allocated to locals, can this funding be used for administrative costs?

Yes, these funds can be used for administrative costs associated with the implementation of homeless response measures.

  • For the $50 million allocated for acquiring hotels, will all of that money be spent on hotels?

Yes, the $50 million will be spent entirely on procuring hotels.

  • Regarding the federal reimbursement requirement of a 75/25% match, how can locals get a breakdown of what funding requires this?

Consult your local emergency management office and understand which documents you need for a match.

  • For the use of the travel trailers for homeless individuals, are you going to site those as well? Or do locals need to do that?

The state is providing the first 1,309 trailers and paying for their hookup, but cities and counties will need to work together to site these trailers. Counties will also need to establish wrap around services for these trailers.

  • Can locals spend these dollars with their local continuums of care?


  • Can smaller cities with lower, but still existing, homeless populations get funding or trailers?

Talk to your local continuums of care and their county for a more detailed response.

  • For Monterrey County, can the Governor’s Office authorize the use of fairgrounds for homeless shelters? Concerned that some shelters are closing in their area and folks will have no place to go.

Need to get more information on why this is needed. In the meantime, encouraging locals who have concerns about shelter closures to email:

  • Is the state looking to procure other housing options outside of hotels and motels? Such as tents?

The state is prioritizing procuring hotels and motels to ensure isolation of homeless individuals and to slow the spread of the disease.

  • What about putting some trailers on school sites for homeless students?

Certainly a consideration, let them know how they can help. Cannot exclude any options right now.

  • Can Governor’s Office create an executive order to allow trailers on vacant property?

Will consider it.

  • How can local jurisdictions get COVID-19 test kits?

Local governments are urged to work with their local health public officials on requesting testing for their jurisdictions.

Coronavirus Briefing by the White House Office of Intergovernmental Affairs to Local Elected Officials
Wednesday, March 18 at 10:00am
Call Overview

The White House Office of Intergovernmental Affairs held a nation-wide call with local governments, elected officials and staff, to discuss the federal administration’s response and coordination on the coronavirus.

Douglas Hoelscher, Director White House Office of Intergovernmental Affairs:

  • Trump administration has taken unprecedented steps to address the Coronavirus outbreak;
  • Working since January on a response, including creating the White House Coronavirus Task Force and tapping the Vice President to work on this issue;
  • President Trump declared a national state of emergency for the US and is barring foreign travel from Europe and select other countries;
  • Looking to ramp up testing capacity with partnerships between the Food and Drug Administration and private sector;
  • Looking to pursue state authorization to do lab testing to increase testing efficiency;
  • Encourages every state to setup their emergency operations center;
  • Stressed that disasters are locally executed, state managed, and federally supported;
  • Are encouraging cities and counties to talk to their governors on federal funding questions;
  • Encouraging an "All-America" approach to solve this problem. Local leaders are an important partner on the response and mitigation efforts.

Vice President Mike Pence, White House Coronavirus Task Force

  • Thanking the state and local leaders. Praising the seamless coordination they have setup with state governors;
  • President Trump said he wanted to use the full force and resources of the federal government on this crisis;
  • Calling for the ongoing engagement between local, state, and federal leaders;
  • Will support families, businesses, and communities hit by this crisis;
  • Working on legislation, to extend paid family leave to all Americans;
  • Congress is poised to extend testing to all Americans for free;
  • Working on an economic stimulus bill for businesses;
  • President says he will do whatever it takes to get our country through this together;
  • All 50 states have COVID-19 cases. Hence why President signed the emergency declaration and invoked the Stafford act;
  • FEMA is activated in every region and is activated at Level 1 in all 50 states;
  • Urging all local leaders to contact their regional FEMA managers;
  • Important to communicate to all citizens, that the members of the coronavirus task force are top in the world;
  • The risk to the average American remains low. But the risk to seniors and those with chronic conditions are at high risk; and
  • This virus is 3x more infectious than the flu. Some people with little to no symptoms can spread it to folks who are at high risk.

Dr. Deborah Birx, White House Coronavirus Task Force

  • There are about 10 counties that are heavily impacted. But the virus could have been circulating for some time before vulnerable people got the virus;
  • Urging local leaders to start early on taking steps to curb the spread. If it feels like too much, that probably is the right course of action;
  • Applaud many of the mayors and governors who are already taking dramatic steps to curb the spread;
  • Testing – thanked the White House for prioritizing high risk individuals first for testing;
  • Taking steps to expand telehealth systems in the whole country;
  • Asked the medical community to postpone all non-essential medical procedures;
    • Need to prioritize hospitals for sick people; and
    • Not directives but strong recommendations.

Office of Management and Budget

  • $8.3 billion in funding recently signed into law to help fight the coronavirus outbreak;
  • $350 million will be distributed to states and locals;
    • Guidance will be out soon.
  • Buying more masks for the strategic stockpile;
  • US Health and Human Services Deparment will continue to fund response operations to help patients;
  • House passed a package to help families affected by COVID-19;
    • Includes provisions for free testing; and
    • Includes additional assistance to states through Medicaid.
  • Expects the Senate will take the bill up today and the President will sign it.

US Department of Agriculture

  • Want to make sure the food supply chain remains flowing;
  • Yesterday, USDA announced a collaboration to deliver a million meals per week to students in rural areas where schools are closed;
    • Will have 5 days of meals that are shelf stable.
  • Looking to collaborate and partner with more folks on this; and
  • Still allowing meal programs in some areas even if school are closed.

Federal Emergency Management Administration (FEMA)

  • All local governments are eligible for funding under state of emergency declaration;
  • US Department of Health and Human Services has funding available for local officials;
  • Urging local officials to take whatever actions are necessary to curb the spread;
  • All appropriate actions taken will be reimbursed; and
  • They do not want a delay in prudent action being taking by questions regarding federal funding.

Department of Homeland Security (DHS)

  • Maintaining critical infrastructure operations during the coronavirus response;
  • States may need to allow for access operations, but some states, such as California, already allow for these types of operations;
  • Sharing information, understanding risk, collectively managing risk are top priorities;
  • Developing guidance on the type of mission critical workers that need to access sites during this outbreak; and
  • Hope to issue guidance tomorrow morning on these topics.

Small Business Administration

  • Due to presidential action, they are expanding disaster recovery loans to all states;
  • Governors can now identify 5 businesses in a single county affected by the coronavirus and extend that to the whole state;
    • CA has already done this; and
    • Businesses can apply for up to $2 million in loans.
    • Can apply online at:

Notes from Governor’s Address to Californians – March 18, 2020
** Information transcribed and truncated for audience;
notes may not fully capture all information provided **

Good evening everybody.  Just wanted to check in this evening and talk about what we have been up to at the State Operation Center and working on throughout the State, on the ground, communities large and small around the state.  Preview of where we think things are going in the next few hours, days and weeks. 

Series of technical actions the State took today to codify the announcement I discussed yesterday evening specifically regarding school testing.  We put out directives yesterday about distance learning, curriculum to support homeschooling across the State. 

We want to give people assurance that we have comprehensive set of materials online throughout the districts.  We also wanted to put to rest the issue of testing – these kids do not deserve to be tested.  It should be the last thing we consider, and we codified that formally today through executive order.

Another series of executive orders:
•             Warren Act (technical issue for business): Reduce restriction about notifications about mass layoffs.

•             Interstate commerce to allow logistics to move between states and align with federal rules.

•             Social safety net related to access of CalWORKS, food stamps, and Welfare to Work.  We are allaying those concerns for the next 90 days to make those benefits more readily secure.  Recipients do not need to come back for reauthorization, as we want to focus on new applicants.

•             Public meetings language clarified about ambiguities about Bagley Keene Act but goes to the issue of open public discourse and issues of transparency so we clarified that.

Regarding homelessness, we put an executive order out today on this.

Prioritized this issue in the State.  Currently have 108,000 unsheltered homeless, and there was 151,000 in our last point in time count.  We are planning and distributing real resources and funding, in additional to funding made available last year in emergency grants, and want to provide more flexibility to cities and counties on how to access the dollars along with more certainty that when they draw down these dollars that they can focus on COVID-19.  This includes siting and converting facilities so waiving some environmental processes (CEQA for siting), making it easier to bring up facilities, along with expanding eligibilities of existing dollars to spread out more comprehensibly.  We are deploying $100 million in real time to cities and counties to address the needs of most vulnerable.  Another $50 million are for hotels and trailers.

In full transparency, we have modeled over next 8 weeks for the current homeless population of 108,000, that if there is an attack rate of 56 percent, that would mean 60,000 plus individuals may have COVID-19.  This creates deep anxiety for current homeless population and our health care facility system and moving people in and out of shelters safely.  A consequence of this modeling and putting a punctuation point on this issue is we have put out these dollars and are putting out 1,309 trailers.  The trailers were procured today and are being distributed throughout the state.  They will be hauled and installed over the next few days, and then the operations will be turned over to continuums of care and local resource centers.  

Again, we are not just providing trailers, but have additional resources.  In the protocols of isolating people, the idea of the hotel/motel is about bringing people inside with a door, key, and lock with services to support.
We have identified 950 properties that we are working with local municipalities and agencies to procure with the additional funding.  This is higher than 901 from yesterday.

We also are laying out additional strategies on surge.  Fair to say if looking at 56 percent unsheltered, and if we did this for the general population and we have hospitalization rate of 20 percent.  That requires a broader surge capacity – north of 19,500 beds.

We are running scenario plans for full transparency.  There are some models that are more modest, and some more extreme.  Have to look at existing surge capacity and look at procuring additional assets.  Not just for homeless, but for general population.

Announcing Friday two new hospitals that we will be bringing into our portfolio to address the 20,000 bed gap.  Negotiating with other hospitals to bring online, and local governments doing the same.

We recognize we need support from federal government.  Announced last night that we are asking for specific ask from the federal government.  We are looking at mobile hospitals and bring the Navy to help off the coast with the USS Mercy.  That would provide an additional 1000 bed capacity, provides support for pharmacists and other diagnostic equipment.  Request formalized today.  Requested two mobile hospitals that have capacity 496 beds in each of those units.  Requested a series of other assets that I will discuss in upcoming days so we can scale up not only the physical capacity but the human capacity.

We also have surge capacity within our existing hospital system which we estimate at 10,000 beds.  Add this with the procurement of the new hospitals, hotels / motels, working with assisted living / skilled nursing facilities, and looking at a regional and comprehensive approach to procure those assets, and stack with the federal support of mobile hospital and the Mercy off the coast.  FYI – Mercy will need at least 5 days to get it operationalized and then have to move the ship.  Looking to federal government to help advance those resources.

Preview as we are preparing for the next 8 weeks as we see cases increase.

We are at 581 positive cases as of last night which is a 21 percent increase over previous day. 

12,600 have been tested, and 3215 tests that have not yet come back so we don’t know the status.  When it comes to testing, there is some lag.  We are seeing an increase in our capacity to test.  We need to see the test turnaround move quickly.  Need to procure more swabs to do specimen samples versus diagnostic testing.  Kits are not complete.  Our capacity is increasing, but supplies becoming increasingly challenging.

Have request a massive amount of supplies from federal partners.  Pleased that FEMA is being used in a more comprehensive manner.  Made very detailed asks of FEMA including ventilators, equipment, glasses, gowns, masks.  This is important, as when we met with the hospitals last night and today, many hospitals are running low on supplies (depends where you are regionally). 

We have seen price gouging.  In San Diego, masks that were selling for 3 cents were marked up to 83 cents.  Thankful the San Diego DA went after.  Will continue to be aggressive on this.

Hospitals are going down to LA garment district and asking seamstresses to make masks.

The request to FEMA is incredibly important.

Not to alarm you.  There have been stories of medical facilities purchasing of swim goggles or gloves from hardware or grocery stores.  This is not acceptable.  In real time, we are repositioning and procuring our approach to the supply chain and FEMA will be critical to this.  I am just being straight with people of where we are.  We have a remarkable hospital system.  Putting all these plans in to play over the next 8 weeks.  Beginning to more aggressively procure assets and mobile assets not just along the coast, but in central California and the deep norther part of the state.

Thank you to all our frontline employees – pharmacists, people cleaning pharmacies, people bagging food at the grocery stories – all these essential employees willing to meet this moment.  Of course our police, sheriff, fire and our National Guard. Incredible work being done at the local level.

And also our state employees that have new guidelines on telework and doing new rotated shifts.  We ae doing surveys of our employees in certain capacities that are non-essential, they are willing through these surveys to say they have other skills to help with essential tasks.  We are shifting them to help, for example, with unemployment insurance.  We have on average 2000 claims a day.  A couple days ago we had 40,000 applications.  Yesterday we have 80,000 applications.  I want to applaud our workers that may be considered non-essential and making themselves essential to these new jobs.  Deep respect and inspiration at this time. Part in parcel for us to row in the same direction to meet this moment. 

Q and A
Are we on statewide lockdown or shelter in place yet?
No. Many counties that have come up with home isolation guidelines.  Lockdowns that still allow for essential activities to occur (grocery shopping, work).  County health directors have defined what’s essential and non-essential.  It’s confusing to some as every county does not have the same guidelines.  I expect in days and weeks that we will see additional counties model similar strategies.  But the statewide directives that bars are closed and restaurants are takeout, and public gatherings limited to your social cohort, no movie theaters. 

How are you helping small businesses?
Grateful to Trump Administration.  First state to request SBA waivers.  We want to make sure that gets socialized in the business community that these exists and are aviallbale in the State for businesses up to 500 employees.  Information centralized at a new website:  Link to be added tomorrow about SBA.

How many tests are we doing and where?
12,600 tests done.  We have mobile tests with our partnership with Verily – looking to go from the two counties to three.  Potentially getting to Sacramento and Riverside to broaden sites.  Verily’s website has an eligibility list about what things are and what things are not.  In additional to the 21 labs that are currently doing testing in the state, and the private labs that are testing that are increasing their throughput of testing along with the hospitals (up to 7 in the upcoming days).  Only thing impediment to tests is specimen sampling and getting swabs, and getting the reagent ingredients for tests. One flight is coming back from China with those supplies.  Big logistics operations, that’s what we do best.
Lot more coming tomorrow. Proud of state employees, first line employees - nurses and doctors, and medical professionals, and the support staff behind them.
One final shout out, I have seen around the janitorial staff doing heroic work keeping things sanitary and showing up to work.
Hats off to all of you. California strong. Thank you.


California: State of Preparedness
New information in blue.
Control + click on the item in table of contents for easy navigation to sought after information.
COVID-19 at a Glance
Grand Princess Cruise Ship
Actions Taken by the State and Federal Government
March 18
March 17
March 16
March 15
March 14
March 13
March 12
March 11
March 10
March 9
March 8
March 7
California is Prepared:
How Can People Protect Themselves:
About the Disease:
About the Tests:
Economic Injury Disaster Loans
Other Resources and Press Releases

COVID-19 at a Glance

  • As of the morning March 18, 2020 there were a total of 598 positive cases in California. 24 cases are from repatriation flights, and the other 574 confirmed cases include:
    • 91- travel related.
    • 88 - person-to-person.
    • 142- community transmissions.
    • 253 -currently under investigation.
    • 13 - deaths (Includes one non-California resident).
  • Hospital Capacity (as of March 15)
    • 74,000 hospital beds at 614 facilities.
    • Surge capacity of 8661 beds.
    • 11,500 ICU beds (includes pediatric and neonatal).
    • 7587 ventilators.
    • EMSA has additional 900 ventilators.
    • Procured an additional several hundred ventilators.
    • Negotiations are underway to re-open healthcare facilities to significantly increase surge capacity.
    • A minimum of 750 new beds will be added to surge capacity by end of the week.
  • Taskforces have been stood up by the State Operations Center (SOC) to address various COVID-19 response issues:
    • Communications/Crisis Communications (ESF* 2/ESF 15)
    • Transportation and Infrastructure (ESF 1/ESF 3)
    • Housing and Social Services (ESF 6)
    • Logistics/Commodity Movement (ESF 7)
    • Fire/Law Enforcement (ESF 4/ESF 13)
    • Public Health and Medical (ESF 8)
    • Schools Task Force
    • Economic Impact/Recovery Task Force
    • Volunteers & Philanthropy (ESF 17)
    • Innovation & Technology Task Force
    • Cybersecurity (ESF 18)
    • Corrections Facilities & Hospitals

* Emergency Support Function

  • Nationwide
    • As of March 18, 2020, there have been 97 deaths.
    • 7,038 cases reported in 54 jurisdictions (49 states, District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam, and US Virgin Islands)
    • 11,900+ individuals who traveled on commercial flights through SFO or LAX are self-monitoring across 49 local health jurisdictions. This is precautionary and these individuals are not displaying symptoms at this time.
  • From the international data we have, of those who have tested positive for COVID-19, approximately 80 percent do not exhibit symptoms that would require hospitalization.

Grand Princess Cruise Ship

  • As of Saturday, March 14, state and federal officials disembarked more than 2,900 individuals from the Grand Princess which includes more than 2,400 passengers and more than 500 crew.
  • The ship departed the Port of Oakland on Sunday, March 15.
  • In total, 1,424 individuals were safely brought ashore during the first two days of the Grand Princess disembarkation.
    • 613 sent to Travis Air Force Base (CA)
    • 42 sent to Miramar Marine Corp Air Station (CA)
    • 124 Sent to Dobbins Air Reserve Base (GA)
    • 98 sent to Lackland Air Force Base (TX)
    • 168 repatriated via chartered flight to United Kingdom
    • 19 relocated to Asilomar
      • This number will fluctuate as those who test positive for COVID-19 are relocated to Asilomar and those who test negative are relocated to federal military bases.
  • An additional alternative quarantine site has been identified, a hotel in San Carlos owned by a private company, GRM Properties. The hotel has the capacity to house up to 120 individuals and currently has no guests. The individuals being relocated to San Carlos will not interact with the general public.
  • Each person going to San Carlos has been screened by medical professionals, and because they have mild symptoms that do not require hospitalization, they cannot be quarantined at Travis Air Force Base. While none of these individuals are known to have contracted novel coronavirus (COVID-19), they will be tested and monitored by medical professionals.

Actions Taken by the State and Federal Government

  • On March 17, 2020, the President announced on that all states can now authorize tests developed and used within their borders, in addition to the FDA. 
  • The Small Business Administration announced all California counties eligible for Economic Disaster Loans on March 17, 2020.
  • Governor Gavin Newsome signed SB 89 and SB 117, budget bills that provide $500 million in General Fund monies to help California fight COVID-19 and authorizes increases up to $1 billion. The funding will:
  • Increase hospital bed capacity and purchase medical equipment to combat the coming surge in COVID-19 patients;
  • Protect hospitals, nursing homes, and other facilities most vulnerable to COVID-19 spread
  • Provide lifesaving services to Californians isolating at home
  • Support local government to reduce the spread of COVID-19 in homeless populations and provide safe beds for people experiencing homelessness
  • Provide funding to clean childcare facilities that remain open.
  • The package also provides $100 million Proposition 98 General Fund for personal protective equipment and cleaning for schools that remain open. It also allows schools to maintain funding despite service disruptions.
  • On March 16, Governor Gavin Newsom requested that the California State Legislature take emergency action to fight Covid-19. Letter can be viewed here.
    • The early and unanimous passage of the budget bills secured $1.1 billion in funding for COVID-19 efforts.
  • On March 16, the President issued guidance discouraging gatherings greater than 10.

On March 16, the Small Business Administration approved an Economic Injury Disaster Loan assistance declaration for California, which makes loans available to small businesses and private, non-profit organizations in designated areas of a state or territory to help alleviate economic injury caused by the Coronavirus (COVID-19).

  • The declaration covers the following primary counties: Alameda, Calaveras, Contra Costa, Los Angeles, Sacramento, San Diego, San Francisco, San Mateo, Sonoma and Tuolumne.
  • It also covers the contiguous counties of Alpine, Amador, El Dorado, Imperial, Kern, Lake, Madera, Marin, Mariposa, Mendocino, Merced, Mono, Napa, Orange, Placer, Riverside, San Bernardino, San Joaquin, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, Solano, Stanislaus, Sutter, Ventura, and Yolo.
  • Additional counties can still submit worksheets in order to be added to the declaration.
  • Governor Gavin Newsom also issued an executive order that authorizes local governments to halt evictions for renters and homeowners, slows foreclosures, and protects against utility shutoffs for Californians affected by COVID-19.
  • The Department of Motor Vehicles requested law enforcement exercise discretion for 60 days in their enforcement of driver license and vehicle registration expiration dates beginning March 16, 2020. The DMV is taking this action so that at-risk populations, including seniors and those with underlying health conditions, can avoid required visits to DMV field offices for driver license or vehicle registration renewals.
    • Transactions that fall within this action include driver license renewals for those:
  • 70 years of age and older required to take a knowledge test
  • Individuals who are required to renew in the office (last DMV visit was 15 years prior)
  • Individuals subject to vision testing
  • Individuals with complex driving history

On March 15, Governor Gavin Newsom announced pilot programs in Santa Clara and San Mateo counties that will begin mobile testing labs in next 24 to 48 hours. Pilot program could expand to other areas of state. The Governor also called for:

    • Those who are older than 65 and those with chronic conditions to isolate in their homes as they face the greatest risk from COVID-19.
    • Visitation of patients in hospitals, skilled nursing facilities, senior and assisted living homes be for “end of life” only.
    • Bars, night clubs and wineries to close.
    • Restaurants to cut occupancy in half.
  • Points of access will be expanded to deliver good to people who are isolated in their homes.
  • On March 15 Governor Gavin Newsom announced efforts to address the unsheltered homeless population:
    • Hotels and motels will be procured to remove the homeless from the streets.
    • 450 trailers will be sent to critical points to provide housing to the homeless.
  • Announced forthcoming guidance for schools that plan to remain open.
  • The CDC also announced new guidance for mass events and recommends that for the next 8 weeks, organizers cancel or postpone in-person events that consist of 50 people.
  • March 14 , the House of Representatives passed H.R 6201, The 2nd Federal Supplemental—Coronavirus Response Act. The bill includes paid sick leave, unemployment insurance, free testing and money for food stamps, among other things. Complete summary of appropriations made in the bill can be viewed here.
  • As of March 14, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has an Incident Management Assistance Team integrated into the Cal OES State Operations Center in Sacramento to support the State of California and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) with the coordination of federal resources.
  • March 13 , the President issued a proclamation declaring a national emergency concerning the COVID-19 outbreak. To view the declaration, click here. The White house also released a memorandum on expanding state-approved diagnostic tests. Click here to view.
  • State, territorial, tribal, and local government entities and certain private non-profit organizations are eligible to apply for assistance for measures taken to respond to the COVID-19 emergency at the direction or guidance of public health officials. Reimbursable activities typically include emergency protective measures such as the activation of State Emergency Operations Centers, National Guard costs, law enforcement and other measures necessary to protect public health and safety.
  • The FEMA Region IX Office in Oakland stood up its Regional Response Coordination Center to co-coordinate with HHS for federal resources to the seven states and territories within its operational jurisdiction. 
  • Governor Gavin Newsom signed an Executive Order ensuring state funding for schools in event of physical closure.
  • March 12 , Governor Gavin Newsom issued a new executive order further enhancing California's ability to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Governor's order:
    • Waives the one-week waiting period for people who are unemployed and/or disabled as a result of COVID-19;
    • Delays the deadline for state tax filing by 60 days for individuals and businesses unable to file on time based on compliance with public health requirements related to COVID-19 filings;
    • Directs residents to follow public health directives and guidance, including to cancel large non-essential gatherings that do not meet state criteria;
    • Readies the state to commandeer property for temporary residences and medical facilities for quarantining, isolating or treating individuals;
    • Allows local or state legislative bodies to hold meetings via teleconference and to make meetings accessible electronically; and
    • Allows local and state emergency administrators to act quickly to protect public health.
  • March 11 , Governor Newsom and state public health officials announced updated guidance on gatherings to protect public health and slow the spread of COVID-19. The state's public health experts have determined that gatherings should be postponed or canceled across the state until at least the end of March. Non-essential limited to no more than 250 people, while smaller events can proceed only if the organizers can implement social distancing of 6 feet per person. Gatherings of individuals who are at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19 should be limited to no more than 10 people, while also following social distancing guidelines.
  • On March 11, the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a pandemic.
  • March 10 Snapshot:
    • 1017 total individuals were disembarked from the ship on March 10.
      • 614 individuals were transported by bus to Travis Air Force Base near Fairfield, California.
      • 124 individuals were transported via charted flight to Dobbins Air Reserve base near Marietta, Georgia.
      • 98 individuals were transported via chartered flight to Lackland Air Force Base near San Antonio.
      • 136 individuals were repatriated via chartered flight to the United Kingdom.
      • 3 individuals were transported via ambulance.
      • Up to 24 individuals who disembarked the cruise ship are being relocated to a cluster of buildings on the Asilomar State Beach and Conference Grounds in Pacific Grove. The individuals will be temporarily housed in buildings that are removed from visitors and the public, and will not interact with other Asilomar guests, employees, or the general public.
        • All the individuals have been screened by medical professionals, and because they have mild symptoms that do not require hospitalization, they cannot be quarantined at Travis Air Force Base. While none of these individuals is known to have contracted novel coronavirus (COVID-19), they will be tested and monitored by medical professionals while at Asilomar.
  • Following the completion of the mission, the Grand Princess Cruise Ship will be moved from dock at the Port of Oakland and temporarily anchored.
  • Upon the ship’s departure, the Port of Oakland site will be fully remediated and decontaminated by immediately removing temporary structures and pressure washing the entire site with a bleach solution to disinfect it.
  • CHHS and Cal OES continues partnering with federal and local governments to ensure that adequate protocols are in place to protect the health of the disembarked passengers and the public health of California and the communities surrounding Asilomar.
  • The state worked, and continues to work closely with local agencies, including Monterey County and the City of Pacific Grove, to coordinate this mission and provide communication and information to the public.
  • March 9 Snapshot:
    • 407 total individuals were disembarked from the ship
      • 173 U.S. residents
      • 149 transported via bus to Travis Air Force Base
      • 24 transported via ambulance
      • 234 Canadians 
        • 232 transported for repatriation to Canada
        • 2 transported via ambulance
    • The first day of disembarkation focused on passengers with the greatest medical need (not necessarily related to COVID-19). Many of these passengers had limitations on their movement which required greater time and care while they de-boarded the vessel.
  • Around noon on March 9, the Grand Princess cruise ship docked in the Port of Oakland and begin the disembarking process. Federal support teams from the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness & Response within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (U.S. HHS) setup disembarking screening protocols to focus first on helping those individuals who required immediate emergency medical care, not necessarily related to COVID-19 exposure.
    • After the first cohort of individuals disembarked, the federal staff began disembarking the 962 California residents and Canadian nationals.
    • Once all California residents were off the ship, non-Californians were transported by the federal government to facilities in other states. The crew was quarantined aboard the ship. Crew members in need of more acute medical care, were transferred to an appropriate medical facility in California.
    • For more information regarding today’s activities in Oakland, see this press release from OESNews.
  • March 8 , Cal OES and CDPH issued a press release giving an overview of the plan for the disembarking of the Grand Princess passengers and crew. For that release, please visit the OES News page.
    • U.S. Department of Health and Human Services worked with state and local partners in California to support passengers returning to the U.S. on the Grand Princess cruise ship. For that release, please visit the HHS page.
    • The ship docked temporarily in a non-passenger port in San Francisco Bay.
    • Passengers will be transferred to federal military installations for medical screening, COVID-19 testing, and a 14-day quarantine.
    • Nearly 1,000 passengers who are California residents will complete the mandatory quarantine at Travis Air Force Base and Miramar Naval Air Station, and residents of other states will complete the mandatory quarantine at Joint Base San Antonio Lackland in Texas or Dobbins Air Force Base in Georgia.
    • The Department of State worked closely with the home countries of several hundred passengers to arrange for repatriation to their countries.
  • March 7 , California officials issued updated guidance to schools, colleges and universities, event organizers and public health officials as they plan for further spread of COVID-19.
  • On the morning of March 6, the federal government and the State of California learned that 21 of the 46 individuals who were tested for COVID-19 on the Grand Princess cruise ship tested positive.
    • Federal and state government have been working in close collaboration overnight and throughout the day to quickly stand up a solution that meets the health needs for those on board and protects public health.
    • The ship remains in international waters, and the mission will be a joint effort by the federal government and the State of California.
  • On March 5, under the direction of Governor Gavin Newsom, the Department of Managed Health Care directed all commercial and Medi-Cal health plans regulated by the Department to immediately reduce cost-sharing to zero for all medically necessary screening and testing for the COVID-19.
  • On March 5, the California Department of Insurance issued similar direction providing cost free medically necessary testing for an additional 2 million Californians. Combined these announcements ensure that 24 million more Californians are eligible to receive testing, should their health care provider deem it medically necessary.
  • On March 5, the California Employee Development Department announced support services to individuals affected by COVID-19 in California. For faster and more convenient access to those services, the use of online options is encouraged.
    • Individuals who are unable to work due to having or being exposed to COVID-19 (certified by a medical professional) can file a Disability Insurance claim.
    • Californians who are unable to work because they are caring for an ill or quarantined family member with COVID-19 (certified by a medical professional) can file a Paid Family Leave claim.
    • Employers experiencing a slowdown in their businesses or services as a result of the Coronavirus impact on the economy may apply for the UI Work Sharing Program.
  • On March 4, Governor Newsom declared a State of Emergency.
    • The order streamlines processes to allow California to more rapidly address the impacts of suspected or confirmed COVID-19 cases throughout the state. Proclamation can be viewed here.

California is Prepared:

  • Given our connectedness to rest of the world and our sheer size, we have always understood that a fast-spreading and novel infectious disease could show up here first, in California, before anywhere else in the country. 
  • In recent years we have had a plan for a flu-like pandemic – one that has built on our knowledge and experience with previous flu-strains and infectious diseases.
  • Our public health infrastructure and our expertise is second to none. We have been preparing for this particular virus since it was discovered last year, and we have been in deep and daily coordination with the CDC, local government and our health system as it spread.

How Can People Protect Themselves:

Every person has a role to play. So much of protecting yourself and your family comes down to common sense – things you learned as a kindergartner:

  • Washing hands with soap and water.
  • Avoiding touching eyes, nose or mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoiding close contact with people who are sick.
  • Follow guidance from public health officials.
  • It is also important that anyone experiencing symptoms of COVID-19, call their health care provider first before seeking medical care so that appropriate precautions can be taken.
  • Staying away from work, school or other people if you become sick with respiratory symptoms like fever and cough.  

About the Disease:

  • The family of coronaviruses has been around for some time. Some coronavirus are common, like the ones that cause the common cold. Coronavirus Disease 2019, or COVID-19, is a new a kind of coronavirus.
  • The most common symptoms include fever cough and respiratory symptoms.  Our experience to date is that most people, more than 80%, have mild or no symptoms, but some have more complicated course, including pneumonia. 
  • We are learning more about its transmission, but the most common symptoms are respiratory, so its primary mode of transmission is through coughing and sneezing.

About the Tests:

  • California has 22 - labs with test kits, 21 already testing with 49 local health jurisdictions involved in self-monitoring.
  • 9,095 – Number of tests California can perform now.
  • 2,865 – Number of people tested in Public Health Labs
  • Quest Lab coming online with the immediate capacity to process an additional 1,200 tests daily.
  • 2 other commercial labs will be coming online by March 24.
  • The CDC is providing test kits to public health labs in the U.S., including California, to detect the novel coronavirus. The test kits contain all the elements necessary for a laboratory to test and confirm the presence of the disease. Each test kit contains enough ingredients to test between 350 and 400 individuals. As of March 7, there are 25 such kits in California at various public health labs. Additional test kits have been ordered.
  • At this time, both oral and nasal swabs are taken at a hospital or by a physician who suspects COVID 19. This is handled through regular procedures for specimen collection, much in the same way flu testing is handled. There are no special materials needed for this collection. Those specimens are delivered, again much in the same way flu specimens are delivered, to the nearest public health lab for testing.
  • California is working closely with the CDC to request and receive more testing capacity, as needed. The CDC has fulfilled those requests on an ongoing basis and, as needs expand, California continues to request more testing capacity.

Economic Injury Disaster Loan

  • Cal OES has been working diligently with county representatives to gather data on the economic impacts Coronavirus has had on small businesses, in order to verify the need for a U.S. Small Business Administration Economic Injury Disaster Loan declaration.
  • SBA has declared 40 counties across California for economic losses with the incident period as early as of January 31, 2020.
  • This SBA declaration, makes available Economic Injury Disaster Loans to impacted small businesses, small agricultural cooperatives, small businesses engaged in aquaculture, and private non‐profit organizations.
  • SBA loans can be approved up to 2 million dollars but are limited to the economic injury determined by SBA.  These loans are intended to assist through the disaster recovery period.
  • March 17, 2020, Cal OES asked SBA to bring in the remaining counties make all of California eligible. Pending approval from SBA but expect response today. Once approved, the Governor’s office, Cal OES and SBA will coordinate with the declared counties to get public messaging out to your communities on eligible requirements and how to apply.


 A new Q&A section is being developed. Stay tuned.

Other Resources and Press Releases

CDC Webpage

CDPH Website

COVID-19 Guidance Documents

Governor Newsom Asks Legislature for Emergency Legislative Action to Fight COVID-19

Small Business Administration- Disaster Loan Assistance-Declaration Details
DMV allows customers to avoid coming to a DMV office for 60 days

FEMA Support Under Emergency Declaration

Get Your Mass Gatherings or Large Community Events Ready

Governor Newsom Signs Executive Order Ensuring State Funding for Schools Even in Event of Physical Closure

Frequently Asked Questions About Use of Stockpiled N95 Filtering Facepiece Respirators for Protection from COVID-19

Interim Guidance for Protecting Health Care Workers from Exposure to 2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV)

Governor Newsom, State Health Officials Announce More than 22 Million Californians Now Eligible for Free Medically Necessary COVID-19 Testing

Federal and State Partners Protect the Community of Oakland while Supporting the Safe Return of Passengers from the Grand Princess Cruise Ship

Covid-19 Public Health Guidance for Individuals With Access And Functional Needs