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California readies for worst-case scenarios as virus spreads

Governor Gavin Newsom
Posted at 11:15 AM, Mar 18, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-18 15:07:07-04

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — California Gov. Gavin Newsom's assessment that it's likely few, if any, California schools will reopen before summer break has surprised parents. Some question whether distance learning is viable and others are just as concerned about the loss of their children's social activities.

Newsom's comment comes as California is preparing to deal with worst-case scenarios that could overwhelm hospitals and drain the state's spending reserves. The governor said Tuesday that he is putting the California National Guard on alert for duties such as ensuring food distribution. He said the state is acquiring two vacant hospitals to beef up capacity as it faces the possibility of a surge of hospital patients. 

“These social safety net programs are so important for families — especially during this crisis,” said Governor Newsom. “We don’t want Californians who rely on these services to lose them.”

The order also waives eligibility re-determinations for 90 days for Californians who participate in:

  • Medi-Cal health coverage
  • CalFresh food assistance
  • CalWORKS
  • Cash Assistance for Immigrants; and
  • In-Home Supportive Services

The change will allow current recipients of these safety net programs to continue receiving them without interruption. The executive order also waives certain provisions of the Bagley-Keene Act.