Tom Butt
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  COVID-19 Update - March 20
March 21, 2020

Last night’s update courtesy League of California Cities:

East Bay Mayors, Council Members & City Management:

We continue to appreciate everyone’s efforts and leadership through this public health crisis!

Just a few minutes ago, the Governor released a new executive order regarding elections.  We coordinated with the Governor’s Office today on this executive order and are pleased to see language specifically about district elections to ensure concerns raised about timelines and requirements were addressed. The EO information is below under “Governor Actions”. 

In regards to the Governor’s executive order released yesterday evening, we have received word from CalOES that additional guidance is forthcoming shortly.  We will share that guidance when we receive it.  We do anticipate additional executive actions over the weekend and will continue to provide daily updates to you.

We are receiving lots of good questions from you through our new email (if you could copy me on your questions too I’d appreciate it – We are working with the Governor’s Office and CalOES on answers to your questions. Additionally, continue to check the League’s Coronavirus website along with the new one-stop shop state website as both websites are being updated throughout the day.   

Attached you will find the daily CalOES briefing, along with notes from the CalOES state / federal official call. 


Governor Actions
·       Governor Gavin Newsom today 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 also extends the deadlines for ballot counting, tabulation, and other responsibilities related to the official canvass of California’s Presidential Primary Election that could risk undermining social distancing measures, and suspends the timeframes for public hearings required by political subdivisions that are in the process of changing from an at-large method of election to district elections.
A copy of the Governor’s executive order can be found here and the text of the order can also be found here.

·       Governor Newsom Deploys California National Guard to Help Distribute Food at Food Banks & Protect California’s Most Vulnerable 


Federal Update (Courtesy of NLC)

Senators from both parties and representatives from the Administration are racing to finish a third stimulus bill tonight. The hope is that they will have a final bill done by midnight, according to reporting by The New York Times.

However, at approximately 8 p.m., Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin left the negotiating session to attend another meeting, telling reporters: "everybody is working awfully hard." According to sources, Mnuchin left the meeting to go speak to
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer.

The departure of a key figure such as Mnuchin from the negotiations could mean that a deal is likely not to come together tonight despite the Senate's best efforts.

Earlier in the day, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi in a letter to her colleagues said that the bill "as written" is a nonstarter. 

NLC's big ask found a champion with Senator Ben Cardin. Cardin is one of a handful of senators who were sitting at the table with Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer in the critical negotiating hours. According to a Cardin staffer, the senator is advocating that the language that would exclude cities, states, another governmental instrumentalities from receiving tax credits for providing leave under HR 6201 be removed.

NLC fought hard to gain traction on this provision, and it appears it is paying off.

As part of moving a final bill through the Senate, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell checked a key box by filing a necessary procedural motion on Friday.

The Senate hopes to have a vote on the final package on Monday.

On Thursday, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer said that he would not bring back the House until there was a final deal on the third stimulus package. Bringing members back would be a last resort. At this time, the House is likely to try to pass this bill by unanimous consent, preventing the members from having to travel.

The initial bill that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell released yesterday contained little in the way of assistance for local governments. The nearly 250-page bill provides special tax provisions to businesses, stabilization funds to what are considered critical industries, such as the airlines, and payments to households in an effort to stimulate the economy.

The final bill which is still being hammered out by negotiators will likely look slightly different from the bill text released yesterday. We will send out a link to the final bill text as soon as we get it.

Speaking at the White House today, President Donald Trump said the growing coronavirus outbreak is under control, despite the acknowledgement that key supplies such as personal protective equipment are in short supply.

Also, at the briefing, Administration officials announced new restrictions on travel on the northern and southern border.  Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and acting Homeland Secretary Chad Wolf said commerce would continue across the borders and the measure was aimed at stopping non-essential crossings.

The President, who earlier this week invoked the Defense Production Act said General Motors might become involved in retooling its automotive lines to help make ventilators. Addressing the question about shortfalls in protective equipment, namely masks, Trump said: "the act is very good for getting things like this. They will be here soon. We're having them shipped directly to states."

Yesterday, Trump touted an anti-malarial drug as a possible solution for fighting the coronavirus. When pressed by reporters about the efficacy of this drug as a difference maker, Trump said "What the hell do you have to lose?"

As Americans continue to isolate and practice social distancing, the President said that in two weeks he would take a look and how social distance measures are working and what the next steps might be.

Meantime around Washington today, The US Census Bureau in a press call danced around the question of how they would deal with delays in the census should the COVID-19 outbreak continue to spread. Earlier this week, the Census Bureau announced that they pushed back field operations until April 1st.

Today, the Census Bureau also released a map where one can track responses by state, county, city, congressional district, and tribal area.

The map can be found here:

NLC joined a coalition letter released today calling on the White House to put a moratorium on the rulemaking process during the COVID-19 outbreak. The rulemaking process is meant to be informed by strong public comment. Because of the current health crisis, NLC and its coalition partners believed the needed expertise to inform the rule making process is not available and the process needs to be halted.

We have received many questions the last few days regarding how to best seek FEMA Assistance as well as questions regarding the exclusion of tax credits for state and local governments in HR6201 that has now become law. Refer to the blog and the FAQ for more information regarding those topics. The FAQ is attached for your reference.

Last, the International Association of Fire Chiefs shared their legislative asks of Congress. We attached for your convenience as well. 

For more resources on COVID-19, check out It is updated daily.


Thank you,

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

Friday, March 20 at 6:30pm
Call Overview:

CalOES and CDPH held a call for state and federal elected officials to give brief updates and take questions.

Dr. James Watt, CDPH

  • The best way for Californian's to stay healthy is through common sense measures;
  • The state has a new COVID-19 "one stop shop" website;
  • Current Statistics for Covid-19 in California:
    • 1006 lab confirmed cases in California;
      • 982 cases not related to repatriation flights;
        • 86 – travel-related;
        • 108 – person to person;
        • 266 – community transmission; and
        • 522 – under investigation.
    • 19 deaths reported in California.
  • Ages of all confirmed positive cases:
    • Age 0-17: 18 cases;
    • Age 18-64: 771 cases;
    • Age 65+: 273 cases; and
    • Unknown: 4 cases.
  • Continue to send Cal OES businesses and individuals who want to help. They are following up on all of those leads.

Ryan Buras, Deputy Director of Recovery Operations, Cal OES

  • Created 14 task forces;
    • Innovation and tech task force;
      • Working to create a dashboard and predictive model.
    • Food and supplies;
      • Finalizing the foodbank assessment;
      • Some counties have requested national guard humanitarian support;
        • Only doing this if requested.
    • Financial protections;
      • Small Business Administration reports that the whole state has been declared eligible for SBA disaster loans.
    • Schools;
      • 6 million students are impacted;
      • School food authorities will continue to serve meals to make sure students are fed.
    • Logistics and commodities;
      • Working to get the national stockpile distributed.
    • Housing;
      • Looking at homeless issues.
    • Transportation;
      • Things seem to be going ok as of now.


Casey Deshawn – Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Region 9

  • Leading federal operations on behalf of the White House Task Force;
  • Transferred over 100 trailers to help the homelessness task force;
  • Helping facilitate and deliver packages and supplies from national stock pile to California;
  • Working with tribal nations to help address their needs; and
  • Working with Department of Defense on finding enough hospital beds to support California’s hospitals.

Cal OES – Update on Strategic National Stockpile Supplies

  • California has gotten their first load from the stock pile in and expect another load tomorrow;
  • Those supplies are being distributed according to the standard existing practice;
    • Hospitals make requests for supplies through their regional medical coordinators;
    • Those requests then go up to the state, they are approved, and the supplies are sent;
    • Because of extreme demand, not all requests are filled in full;
      • When California receives more stock pile resources, they will go back and give the hospitals the supplies they asked for in full.

Brian Ferguson Public Information Officer, Cal OES

  • Cal OES joint information center:
    • Have 40 reps from communications staff in varies state departments, all are located  at Cal OES;
    • Making sure the public has a good idea of what the state is doing;
    • Taken unprecedented action recently, never been done before;
    • Governor Newsom announced a state-wide stay at home order last night;
      • Need to bend the curve, and stop the spread of COVID-19.
    • CDPH and Governor’s Office will issue additional guidance on this soon;
    • The order is not a "shelter in place" order;
      • Not a lock the door and don’t come out;
      • Can still go about and do essential activities;
      • Still can go to work if you are in an essential sector; and
      • Can still go walk the dog, etc.
    • Extensive guidance is available on CDPH’s website on what to do during this crisis;
    • Governor Newsom issued a statewide public service announcement campaign to push out messages straight to Californian’s TVs for free;
      • Hoping to dispel false information and put Californians at ease.
    • Asking state and federal officials also participate in sending out these PSA's;
      • Thanks them for their partnership.

Questions and Answers:

  • For seniors, should they stay at home? Or can go and get groceries? They are getting conflicting information.

Cal volunteers is trying to connect with young healthy adults to volunteer to help seniors get groceries delivered, etc. In terms of the actual guidance from the state, they are working on messaging between the state and counties.

  • Can you provide any clarification on Governor’s Order/Directive?

Further clarification is coming.

  • Should we use the federal CISA guidance for determining which businesses are essential?

The 16 sectors that are defined in the CISA are what the Governor based his order on. For sectors that do not fall into those categories, they recognize the difficulty in determining if they are essential or not. Can help provide the clarity folks need in determining if they are essential or not.

  • Do businesses need to put up collateral to receive a Small Business Administration Disaster loan?

Yes, any loans over 25,000 dollars need collateral, but if a business does not have collateral, SBA will not force them to give collateral.

  • How will the strategic stockpile supplies be distributed equally?

Everyone that has put in a request will get the supplies that they need from the stockpile. It is critical that the county takes requests from folks in their county and sends those requests to Cal OES at the State Operations Center.


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 20,
·       March 19
·       March 18
·       March 17,
·       March 16
·       March 15
·       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 20, 2020 there were a total of 1006 positive cases in California. 24 cases are from repatriation flights, and the other 982 confirmed cases include:
    • 86- travel related, 10 of which are from the Grand Princess.
    • 108 - person-to-person.
    • 266- community transmissions.
    • 522- currently under investigation.
    • 19 - 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.
    • California is working to secure additional locations in order to “stack” enough resources to address anticipated need.
      •  Agreement pending approval for 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 will be operational this weekend.


      • Processing a contract California Pacific Medical Center- Pacific Campus for an additional 157 beds.



  • 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


  • 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.
  • 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 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 – public health labs currently testing.


  • As of March 20, 23,200 tests had been conducted in California.
    • 11,487 results have been reported to Public Health.
    • 11,700 are pending
  • 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

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