Tom Butt
  E-Mail Forum – 2020  
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  COVID-19 Update - March 20
March 22, 2020

East Bay Mayors, Council Members & City Management:

Tonight, the Governor released a new executive order.  This order encompasses many items but we want to highlight some that you may be interested in (but do also review the EO):
·       Section 2: Additional Brown Act provisions
·       Section 3: Retired annuitants provisions also apply to local government
·       Section 4: Any local ordinance, including those relating to noise limitations, is suspended to the extent it restricts, delays, or otherwise inhibits the delivery of food products, pharmaceuticals, and other emergency necessities distributed through grocery stores and other retail or institutional channels, including, but not limited to, hospitals, jails, restaurants, and schools.
·       Section 12: The time limitation set forth in Penal Code section 4750(j) for any jurisdiction submitting a claim for reimbursement is delayed for a period of 60 days. The State Controller shall have the discretion to provide the additional time extension, as appropriate. 

In last night’s email, I shared the new guidance document from the Governor’s Office about critical infrastructure workers.  I want to call out that housing construction workers (and others in the community-based government operations section) are considered among the group of workers who are exempted from the stay at home order.

Additionally, the Governor hosted a press conference this evening.  Notes are attached and specific items highlighted that may be of specific interest (these notes are not fully inclusive all remarks).  Also attached is CalOES’ daily briefing.

Lastly, the Governor also provided information on strengthening California’s health care delivery system to respond to COVID-19.

If you have COVID-19 questions, please email and also look at our COVID-19 resource website for additional information.

Governor’s Press Conference
March 21, 2020, 5:15pm
** Information transcribed and truncated for audience;
notes may not fully capture all information provided **

  • Discussion of stay at home orders across the United States.
  • Remarkable moment – cannot express more gratitude as we are struggling through this moment; the incredible mindset that persists across the country that we can get through this and meet this moment together.
  • Tim Cook, Elon Musk working on face masks, components of ventilators to help meet demand.
  • Companies large and small wanting to convert their manufacturing facilities to help manufacture needed supplies.
  • Remarkable response by our teams – 21 million masks in State’s reserve – 10 million masks distributed last week, 1.5 million in the past few days, and working to get the rest out in the system.
  • Seton Hospital and St. Vincent Hospital being brought online.
  • Long Beach – Mayor Garcia – got 130 rooms online, people already being transferred.
  • San Francisco, Coalinga, Pacific Gardens also have commitments.
  • All told, 1000 beds procured.
  • President 8 field medical units into California – 2,000 bed capacity.
  • First of four national stockpile assets delivered (Riverside received first delivery) and starting to distribute assets statewide: gowns, masks, gloves.
  • Second national stockpile order on its way.
  • Prioritizing the most vulnerable Californians including homeless (108,000). 
    • 2400 hotel rooms secured; 1900 in San Diego County. Will ensure to secure the resources to get people off the streets quickly.
  • 7 counties have secured beds for homeless
  • First trailers distributed throughout the state
  • Increased goals for homeless to 51,000 rooms that are committed to identifying and bring into the portfolio
  • Working on an additional 1000 skilled nursing bed for our seniors
  • California has approximately of 416 hospitals
    • 78,000 bed capacity
    • Need 19,500 beds to meet midway projections
    • Surge capacity of 10,000 beds
    • Army Corps looking at how to convert hotel rooms into quasi hospital rooms; and same with UC dormitories
    • Fairgrounds, convention centers being considered
    • Sport teams have offered arenas to assist.
  • Unemployment claims, shows how many are struggling and the need for federal support:
    • 6 days ago: 40,000
    • 5 days ago: 70,000
    • 4 days ago: 80,000
    • 3 days ago: 125,000
    • 2 days ago: 135,000
    • 1 day ago: 114,000
  • Working with other governors and sharing ideas and best practices
  • Testing update
    • Been forthright about issues.
    • Swabs / specimen samples and needing the media for those collections.
    • Smart testing – what is the purpose for testing? Number of people tested both positive and negative being reviewed.
    • We want to know if we are bending the curve which provides for the need of broader testing.
  • Use common sense; be a good neighbor.
  • Essential versus non-essential:
    • Make sure food and distribution networks is secure
    • Pharmacies / medial supplies
    • Laundry
    • Transportation systems, security and infrastructure
    • Exercise, but not in a group of people
    • On enforcement side – social pressure has moved quickly
    • Socialize these new protocols
  • Corrections system, prison system – make sure people are getting appropriate support.
  • Need more support from the federal government and encouraged by conversations with the President, Department of Defense, and US Health and Human Services Agency.

Questions and Answers
Concerned that people are not adhering to the stay at home order? 
Working with mayors on best approach to enforcement.  Can increase efforts if necessary if Californians are not responding appropriately.
New approach to testing? Do you meant testing a broader range of people?
Conducted three community surveillance testing efforts in the counties of Orange County, Los Angeles, and Santa Clara. These broad random test, testing young and healthy, has given us info that who is ill and infecting people that do not even know they have the virus.  Allows us to resource accordingly.  Until we have the abundance of tests, and we want to be more strategic with those who have symptoms, have underlying health conditions, vulnerable, front line, already in the hospital, etc. More smart and targeted testing.
State laws governing scope of practices for doctors / nurses that you are planning to waive?
We will have an omnibus executive order that provides for all those details – adult facilities, community clinics, flexibility within hospital setting.  Many more steps forthcoming.
Is California planning to create its own test?  What would that look like? 
Discussed with the CEOs of Genentech and Gilead yesterday.  In deep partnership with those companies, and the five UC hospitals are in advanced trials with drugs referenced in the past few days.  National perspective, but California is trying to amplify the research and focus on treatment, and once available but made readily available not just in California but for the American people.
Are companies helping to make supplies?  How did that happen?
This is happening in California.  We reached out to Bloom Energy (KR). They asked what do you need.  We have old ventilators and they need to be repurposed.  The manufacturer indicated you can only repurpose 200 a month.  KR got 24 done in a few hours.  If these are certified, then KR ready to go to task. 
Reached out to Elon Musk for both Tesla and SpaceX.  He is looking at both ventilators and 3D printing. 
The policy in place for foreclosures and evictions that ends on May 31st may still cause impacts to people who may only recently go back to work shortly before that time.  What about protecting people 60 days once they go back to work?
A team is working on mortgages and payments.  By Tuesday, should have substantive answer.  We are looking to adjust timelines in previous executive orders (example: State had moved tax payments to June, but then federal government moved theirs to July, so we updated our timeline.) 
Including a recognition that things are not delivered equally across the state.  We are a nation-state; localism is determinative – different rules, concerns, points of views.  Localism is determinative in many ways.  For both residential and commercial evictions, if we are not meeting the moment, we can strengthen provisions and deadlines.  We are actively monitoring this.
What about the homeless once they are in assets and the long-term needs? 
We are not thinking about this just situationally but also sustainably.  Address the crisis and then anticipate the challenge in a few months as this current crisis shift and we will need to address this.  It is one of the big challenges with counties and cities – if they are going absorb additional services, they want to know that those dollars are not temporary. Negotiating with hotel operators to see if we can purchase outright.  Deeper anxiety is around the wraparound services. 
With the new statewide order, there are some areas that also have local orders.  Which one should be followed?  The stricter version?
20 counties have various versions.  Some have augmented theirs.  We put an overlay as the state, and we are answering this questions in real time and working those examples that get granular (i.e., hairdressers, nail salons, cannabis – medical versus recreational).  We have 16 core constructs that go to essential services that are universally accepted and working to nuances and one-off issues.  We are open to arguments and interested in evidence – we are listening to changing concerns and work with our local partners. 


Surge capacity – one thing to add new beds versus medical personnel support for that.  Where are that personnel coming from?  Does the military mobile units include personnel?
Seton: Comes with staff
St. Vincent: Does not come with staff
Long Beach: Augmenting staff

Depending on the specific site and facility, we may have more physical asset and some human resources support, but need to augment.
Are there plans to shutdown highways or points of entry into California?
No plans and have no discussed planning along those lines.  As the federal government has made moves along this, so we are adjusting to those concerns.  Worried about national capacity about our air traffic controller and logistics people stay healthy, and those things will require us to adjust in real time. 
This should not worry people, but we do put out 500 National Guard members for humanitarian work to help food banks.  For example, in Sacramento, volunteers dropped by 65 percent.  Gearing up to help provide mutual support.
Are you considering potential restrictions?  Is there a scenario that would restrict access to beaches, forest, parks, public gathering places?
I hope not because that would defeat the purpose of meting this moment.  Have confidence in people of California.  It’s going to take a little bit of time – not even 48 hours into this process.  Incumbent on all of us to change our behaviors.
Walk your dog, but not around hundreds of others. Get some exercise, hike, walk along the beach, but not along with people.  Simple common sense. 


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 21
March 20
March 19
March 18
March 17
March 16
March 14
March 13
March 12
March 11
March 10
March 9
California is Prepared:
How Can People Protect Themselves:
About the Disease:
About the Tests:
Economic Injury Disaster Loan
Other Resources and Press Releases

COVID-19 at a Glance

  • As of the morning March 21, 2020 there were a total of 1,224 positive cases in California. 24 cases are from repatriation flights, and the other 982 confirmed cases include:
    • 96- travel related, 10 of which are from the Grand Princess.
    • 122 - person-to-person.
    • 325- community transmissions.
    • 657- currently under investigation.
    • 23 - 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.
    • An additional several hundred ventilators procured.
    • California is working to secure additional locations in order to “stack” enough resources to address anticipated need.
      •  Seton Medical Center in Daly City to add 190 beds. This hospital will start accepting patients on Wednesday.


      • Agreement pending approval for St. Vincent Medical Center, which will add 300 beds.
      • Community Hospital of Long Beach, containing 130 beds.


      • California Pacific Medical Center- Pacific Campus for an additional 157 beds.
  • California began receiving shipments from a prior request from the Strategic National Stockpile. The request included:


  • 358,381 N95 masks
  • 853,730 surgical masks
  • 162,565 face shields


  • 132,544 surgical gowns
  • 678 coveralls
  • 471,941 gloves



  • California this week requested the following additional supplies from the Strategic National Stockpile:
  • 20 million N95 masks
  • 10 million surgical masks
  • 600,000 surgical gowns
  • 600,000 face shields
  • 600,000 gloves
  • 300,000 goggles
  • 100,000 coveralls 
  • 10,000 ventilators
  • 2 million swabs
  • 200,000 RNA

extraction kits

  • 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 20, 2020, there have been 201 deaths.
    • 15,219 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.
  • The passengers’ 14 day quarantine started when they disembarked, so some will end their time on March 24th, 25th, 26th and 27th.


  • However, each is an individual medical decision, so discharge dates may vary.

Actions Taken by the State and Federal Government


  • Governor Newsom directed $42 million in emergency funding to expand California’s health care infrastructure and secure equipment and services to support California’s response to COVID-19.


    • $30 million to lease and operate two facilities and to expand the state’s hospital capacity.
      • Seton Medical Center in Daly City.
      • St. Vincent Medical Center in Los Angeles.
    • $1,420,000 to expand capacity of the state’s public health lab in Richmond.
    • $8,647,000 to purchase new ventilators, as well as IV fusion pumps, and refurbish additional ventilators.
    • $2 million to contract with American Medical Response to provide patient transportation.


  • The Treasury department announced Tax Day would be moved from April 15th to July 15th.
  • The U.S. Department of Education is temporarily waiving interest on all federally held student loans and has directed federal lenders to suspend student loan payments for 60 days.


  • 500 California National Guard personnel have been requested by CalVolunteers and CHHS On March 20, to augment food distribution through food bank and pantry locations due to COVID-19 disruption of local and volunteer activities throughout the state


  • On March 20, 2020, CDE launched the email  to streamline management of inquiries from the field.
  • On March 19 , Governor Gavin Newsom requested federal assistance to support California’s efforts to prepare to COVID-19. The letter to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy can be found here. He also requested that the President deploy the USNS Mercy Hospital Ship. Governor Newsom Also issued an executive order to permit vote-by-mail procedures to be used in three upcoming special elections, protecting public health and safety during the COVID-19 outbreak. The order can be viewed here.


  • On March 19, 2020, Superintendent Thurmond announced the CA Meals for Kids mobile application now includes an “Emergency Meal Sites” layer identifying sites that continue to serve meals during school closure.


  • Governor Gavin Newsom issued executive orders suspending standardized testing for students in response to COVID-19 and providing flexibility to local governments to spend their emergency homelessness funding on immediate solutions tailored to combatting COVID-19 and its impacts on the homeless population. He also directed the first allocation of the $500 million in emergency funding recently authorized by the Legislature for COVID-19 related activities – $150 million for local emergency homelessness actions. To deploy this first funding allocation, the state will provide:


    • $100 million directly to local governments, for shelter support and emergency housing to address COVID-19 among the homeless population.
  • $50 million to purchase travel trailers and lease rooms in hotels, motels, and other facilities in partnership with counties and cities to provide immediate isolation placements throughout the state for homeless individuals.
  • 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 Newsom 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 an 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.


  • 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.


  • 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.


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 – state and county labs currently testing.
  • As of 2 p.m. March 20, 25,200 tests have been conducted in California, including private and commercial labs.
    • 12, 528 results have been reported to Public Health.
    • 12,700+ are pending.


  • In order to better focus public health resources on the changing needs of California communities, the state is no longer collecting information about California travelers returning from countries that have confirmed COVID-19 outbreaks.
  • Community transmission of COVID-19 has been identified in California since late February, and since early March, most confirmed cases in the state were not related to travel outside of the United States.


  • 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.


  • 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.



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



Other Resources and Press Releases


California Coronavirus (COVID-19) Response

CDC Webpage

CDPH Website

COVID-19 Guidance Documents

Governor Newsom Takes Action to Strengthen California’s Health Care Delivery System to Respond to COVID-19

Governor Newsom Signs Order to Protect Public Health by Expanding Vote-by-Mail Options and Extending Deadlines for Presidential Primary Canvass

FEMA Rumor Control Page

Governor Gavin Newsom Issues Stay at Home Order

Governor Newsom Takes Emergency Actions & Authorizes $150 Million in Funding to Protect Homeless Californians from COVID-19

Governor Newsom Issues Executive Order to Suspend Standardized Testing for Students in Response to COVID-19 Outbreak

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

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