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California to provide frontline health care workers with hotel rooms, flights at no-or low cost

Newsom said vouchers will be provided to health care workers with 100% reimbursement so that they don’t have to worry about out-of-pocket costs during this crisis.

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Governor Gavin Newsom provided his daily update on COVID-19 for California Thursday. Starting Friday, Newsom announced that California will provide frontline health care workers with hotel rooms at no-or low cost and free flights for California’s Health Corps. 

Newsom said vouchers will be provided to health care workers with 100% reimbursement so that they don’t have to worry about out-of-pocket costs during the coronavirus crisis. More information can be found at caltravelstore.com.

Newsom also spoke about people who have reached out to him concerned about California’s willingness to lend ventilators to other states.

“It was the right thing to do and the responsible thing to do in order to help save the lives of all Americans throughout the country,” Newsom said.

Newsom said states that received ventilators from California will be able to send them back for re-use as those assets are called upon when needed by health care facilities.

“Ventilators are different than personal protective equipment (PPE), ventilators can be used over and over and over again. Right now, California is in a position now to help other state’s who really need it,” Newsom said.

On Wednesday, Newsom addressed the need for more personal protective equipment (PPE) during his daily coronavirus press briefing.

"The big concern is always been a run on masks that would impact our health care delivery system and our first responders. We've been able to secure over 41 and a half million N95 masks and distribute them throughout the state of California," said Newsom.

Newsom said the state will spend nearly $1 billion to purchase up to 200 million masks a month during the coronavirus outbreak. Newsom made the announcement Tuesday. The masks will be made overseas. Newsom said the state has signed multiple contracts with an unidentified consortium of nonprofits and a California-based manufacturer to obtain the masks. State taxpayers will pay $495 million upfront. Other payments will be made as shipments arrive. The Newsom administration estimates total payments will be $990 million. California and other states have had trouble finding enough masks during the outbreak.

RELATED: Governor Newsom announces partnership to get California 200 million masks per month

RELATED: San Diego County expands bans on all gatherings amid the coronavirus pandemic

Newsom said Tuesday he is working with the Legislature on an economic stimulus package for immigrants in the country illegally and others not covered by the federal stimulus package approved by Congress.

The federal government is dividing up about $30 billion to roughly 14 million California households this month, part of the federal CARES Act. But the checks — $1,200 per adult earning less than $75,000 and $2,400 per couple under $150,000 — only go to those who file their taxes using a Social Security number.

Those who use an individual Taxpayer Identification Number, including most living in the country illegally, are excluded.

About 2 million people in California are suspected of living in the country illegally, according to the California Latino Legislative Caucus. The group has asked Newsom to create a “Disaster Relief Fund” for cash payments to those immigrants until the state's emergency proclamation is lifted or they are able to return to work.

Newsom said “all of that is being considered,” adding it is part of a broader package he plans to unveil in May that will include “some economic stimulus strategies at a state level, not just waiting for the federal government to do that for us.”

“Californians care deeply about undocumented residents in this state,” he said.

As of Thursday's update from the state, there are 18,309 confirmed cases in California and there have been 492 deaths.

RELATED: Coronavirus in San Diego and California: Latest updates and news

RELATED: Self-employed struggle to find financial help during crisis

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Click here to watch "Facts Not Fear," a News 8 Special on coronavirus from March 26, 2020. 

BACKGROUND

According to the CDC, coronavirus (COVID-19) is a family of viruses that is spreadable from person to person. Coronavirus is believed to have been first detected in a seafood market in Wuhan, China in December 2019. If someone is sick with coronavirus, the symptoms they may show include mild to severe respiratory illness, cough, and difficulty breathing.  

Currently, there is no vaccine, however, the CDC suggests the following precautions, as with any other respiratory illness:  

Know how it spreads 

  • There is no vaccine  

  • The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to the virus 

  • It is thought to spread mainly from person-person between people in close contact 

  • And believed to be spread by respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes 

Protect yourself 

  • Wash your hands with soap and water for a minimum of 20 seconds 

  • If soap and water aren't available, use hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol 

  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth 

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick 

  • Put distance between yourselves and others 

Protect others 

  • Stay home when you are sick 

  • Wear a facemask if you are sick 

  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash 

  • If you don't have tissue, cough or sneeze into the inside of your elbow 

  • Immediately wash your hands after coughing and sneezing  

  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe 

You can find information on disinfecting and cleaning on the CDC's How to Protect Yourself page. 

The California Department of Public Health has issued guidance on the use of cloth face coverings to protect against the spread of the novel coronavirus COVID-19.  

The County of San Diego has made face coverings mandatory for those working with the public including grocery stores, pharmacies, gas stations, convenience stores, and similar businesses. 

While officials say these face coverings are not a substitute for practices like social distancing and handwashing, there is evidence to suggest that the use of cloth face coverings by the public during a pandemic could help reduce disease transmission. Officials do not recommend the public use N-95 or surgical masks which are needed by health care workers and first responders.