In summary

Calfiornia sends 500 ventilators to federal government. Essential workers get child care help. Demand for small business loans crashes system.

Good morning, California. It’s Tuesday, April 7.

“A moral and ethical responsibility”

Gov. Gavin Newsom tours the Sleep Train Arena, former home of the Sacramento Kings basketball team in Sacramento on Monday, April 6, 2020. The arena is being transformed into a 400-bed emergency field hospital to help deal with the coronavirus. Photo by Rich Pedroncelli, AP Photo/Pool
Gov. Gavin Newsom tours Sleep Train Arena in Sacramento on Monday as it is transformed into a 400-bed field hospital. Photo by Rich Pedroncelli, AP Photo/Pool

California may not have received any ventilators from the federal government, but that didn’t stop Gov. Gavin Newsom from sending it 500 to pass on to states particularly afflicted by coronavirus, such as New York.

Newsom’s Monday announcement came less than a week after the governor expressed frustration that California hadn’t received any ventilators from the national stockpile. (Through a separate agreement, 170 were sent to Los Angeles County, although none of them worked.) It also came as a surprise, considering that just last week, Newsom, seeking to increase the state’s ventilator supply by more than 5,000, asked Californians in a press conference to send the government “old ventilators lying in your basement.”

But Newsom said Monday he was “confident” in lending the ventilators because California’s hospital inventory had increased from 7,587 to 11,036, and thousands more are being refurbished. In addition, the state’s shelter-in-place order has helped buy time to procure resources.

He also cited a “moral and ethical responsibility of providing resources in real time to those most in need.”

  • Newsom: “I’d like to be able to do more. … And to the extent we can, we will. … This is the state of California. We have an abundant mindset, and we’re a well-resourced state. So I expect, and I imagine everybody expects, California to do more than most other states.”

(Over the weekend, the governors of Oregon and Washington sent ventilators to the national stockpile to help states like New York.)

Newsom added that if California ends up needing the ventilators back, they will be returned as they were “lent, not given” to the federal government. But he seemed to doubt that would be necessary.

  • Newsom: “We had our professionals look at this, we looked at our modeling, we looked at conditions on the ground, and we feel confident in our capacity to meet our needs while meeting the needs of others.”

Also on Monday, Newsom said the state had secured more than 4,600 hospital beds at various alternative care sites, including Sacramento’s Sleep Train Arena, where he gave his press conference. California’s goal is 50,000 hospital beds to treat a projected surge in COVID-19 patients.

The Bottom Line: As of 8:30 p.m. Monday night, California had 16,342 confirmed coronavirus cases and 385 deaths from the virus, according to a Los Angeles Times tracker. (These numbers are different from those of the state Department of Public Health, which are updated less often.)

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. State makes it easier for essential workers to get child care

Joshua Martin and his two children, 4-year-old Olivia and 9-year-old Matthew, play Jumanji with their grandmother Shelley McCall. McCall has been babysitting the children since schools closed because Martin and his wife are both healthcare workers but they worry about her health. Photo courtesy the Martin Family
Joshua Martin and his two children play Jumanji with their grandmother, who has been babysitting because both Martin and his wife are health care workers. Photo courtesy the Martin family

The state is aiming to make life easier for thousands of Californians working at hospitals, grocery stores and law enforcement agencies by subsidizing and prioritizing their children for child care as well as easing some regulations for child care centers, CalMatters’ Elizabeth Aguilera reports. The news came as a relief to health care workers, 80% of whom said child care is one of their top challenges. “It would be a blessing,” said Joshua Martin, a Kaiser Permanente nurse. “It’s very stressful wondering about the children and worrying about how long this is going to go on.”

2. Can government handle demand for small business aid?

California’s Small Business Administration E-Tran system crashed as it was inundated with users. Image via iStock

Days after Newsom encouraged California small businesses to apply for new state and federal loans to help keep employees on payroll, the system is hitting significant technological snags, Politico reports. E-Tran, the government system through which banks are processing loans for the $350-billion Paycheck Protection Program that launched Friday, crashed for at least four hours on Monday because of the volume of users. The system also asked banks for documents they didn’t anticipate, further slowing down and complicating the process. “It is like a feeding frenzy” as banks rush to get loans processed, Bank of the West Corporate President Cynthia Blankenship said.

3. San Francisco issued a shelter-in-place order before Los Angeles. It made a difference

A sign on the Parkway Lounge in Oakland announces indefinite closure. Photo by Anne Wernikoff for CalMatters
A sign posted on the door at Parkway Lounge in Oakland announces its indefinite closure. Photo by Anne Wernikoff for CalMatters

On March 15, San Francisco had 43 COVID-19 cases to Los Angeles’ 94. The next day, San Francisco and six other Bay Area counties issued a shelter-in-place order. Los Angeles waited three days before following suit. In that time, LA’s cases doubled, while San Francisco’s increased by only 63%, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. Although LA is much larger than San Francisco and testing data remain incomplete, experts say the Bay Area’s early intervention made a difference. San Francisco’s cases have increased tenfold since the shelter-in-place, while LA’s have shot up by more than 48 times.

CalMatters live conversations

  • Today at 1 p.m.: CalMatters talks with Isabel Guzman, Gov. Newsom’s director of the Office of the Small Business Advocate, 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.
  • Check out our past “Getting Through Coronavirus, Explained” live conversations here.
  • Curious how CSU is handling coronavirus? Check out CalMatters’ College Journalism Network Q&A with Chancellor Tim White.

CalMatters commentary

California post-coronavirus: As California recovers from the coronavirus pandemic, we must address the shortcomings of economic inequality and create a government that works for the people, argues Micah Weinberg, CEO of California Forward.

A new era in water management: We have the opportunity to chart the right path for California’s water users, the farms that grow our food and the environmental resources we all cherish, writes Roger Cornwell, general manager of River Garden Farms in Knights Landing, Yolo County.

Other things worth your time

San Francisco and San Mateo counties extend property tax deadline from April 10 to May 4. // The San Francisco Chronicle

Photo gallery: What social distancing looks like around the world. // The Los Angeles Times

Amid the coronavirus pandemic, a group of homeless and housing-insecure Angelenos are moving into vacant homes owned by Caltrans. // The New Yorker

Video: Here’s what Yosemite looks like completely devoid of humans. // The Sacramento Bee

How San Francisco’s response to HIV/AIDS is informing its coronavirus strategy. // The San Francisco Chronicle

Sacramento churches continue drawing scrutiny for their response to the coronavirus pandemic. // The Sacramento Bee

Ad wars are heating up in a special election for this Southern California House seat. // Politico


See you tomorrow.

Tips, insight, or feedback? Email

Follow me on Twitter: @emily_hoeven

Subscribe to CalMatters newsletters here.

Follow CalMatters on Facebook and Twitter.

We want to hear from you

Want to submit a guest commentary or reaction to an article we wrote? You can find our submission guidelines here. Please contact CalMatters with any commentary questions:

Emily Hoeven wrote the daily WhatMatters newsletter for three years at CalMatters . Her reporting, essays, and opinion columns have been published in San Francisco Weekly, the Deseret News, the San Francisco...