Newsom said Saturday that 126,700 Californians had been tested for the novel coronavirus and 13,000 were waiting for results. Although that’s a significant decrease from the 59,500 tests that were pending as of Thursday, Newsom said he wasn’t satisfied.
Newsom: “Let me just acknowledge at the outset that the testing space has been a challenging one for us, and I own that. I have a responsibility as your governor to do better and do more testing in the state of California.”
Here’s what Californians can expect in the next few weeks:
Five to seven high-capacity testing hubs around the state through a partnership with UC San Diego and UC Davis
Also: CalMatters is tracking, by county, positive and suspected cases of COVID-19 patients hospitalized throughout the state. Check it out.
Other stories you should know
1. For developmentally disabled and their families, coronavirus unravels safety net
With the shutdown of state-funded programs that provide home health aides and day care, more than 360,000 severely disabled Californians and their families are “left to their own devices,” said Sue Swezey, 83, who is now caring full time for her 57-year-old autistic son. Meanwhile, many caretakers face furloughs, and those still working face confusion as to whether the state considers them essential workers, Dan Morain and Anita Chabria report in a CalMatters-Los Angeles Times collaboration. “We don’t know if we’re going to survive,” said the head of one nonprofit program.
2. Can the CA Legislature govern from home?
Because of the coronavirus pandemic, California lawmakers will be working from home through at least May 4 in an unprecedented interruption in legislative business, CalMatters’ Laurel Rosenhall reports. The Assembly speaker suggested lawmakers will consider fewer than a quarter of the bills introduced, and Newsom said his earlier $222 billion budget proposal is “inoperable.” Meanwhile, questions remain about how the Legislature will be able to vote from home and provide public access to open sessions. Lawmakers will need to figure it out soon, as they have to pass the state budget by June 15.
3.Nearly 900 homeless move into hotel rooms as CA considers long-term housing solutions
California has leased 6,867 hotel and motel rooms to shelter homeless individuals who are at risk or have tested positive for COVID-19 under a new initiative called Project Roomkey, with a federal agency footing 75% of the bill, CalMatters’ Matt Levin reports. Nearly 900 homeless Californians have already moved in. The state hopes to procure 15,000 rooms, although that would help just a fraction of its homeless population. Nevertheless, Newsom said the state is considering long-term housing solutions for the homeless, and many of the hotel leases have purchase options. “This was the crisis we needed to address before the COVID-19 crisis,” he said.
4. Wear a mask in public! OK, but what kind?
Every American should wear a face mask in public to protect against contracting or spreading coronavirus, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Friday. Riverside County took it a step further on Saturday, ordering residents to wear face masks whenever they leave their homes. As questions abound as to which masks and face coverings to wear and how effective they are, CalMatters’ Julie Cart has a helpful guide.
CalMatters coronavirus webinars
Tuesday, April 7 at 1 p.m.: CalMatters talks with Isabel Guzman, director of the Office of the Small Business Advocate at GO-Biz, about how California is helping small businesses weather the coronavirus pandemic. Register here and submit questions here.
Thursday, April 9 at 1 p.m.: CalMatters talks with therapists Amy Ahfield and Mark Levine about how to maintain mental health during the epidemic. Register here and submit questions here.
CalMatters columnist Dan Walters: California’s high-flying economy has crashed into the coronavirus, and the results are dramatic. But how long will they last, and what will be the net effect?
In light of the coronavirus epidemic, it is imperative that Gov. Newsom’s Master Plan on Aging takes on a serious public policy role. We don’t need platitudes for addressing the needs of the elderly. We need concrete policies, strong regulations with enforcement teeth and a commitment to sustained oversight, argues Ed Dudensing, former Sacramento County deputy district attorney.
Other things worth your time
Could coronavirus push California to bridge its digital divide? // CalMatters
Trump said the NFL could start by September. Not in California, Newsom says. // The Mercury News