Weideman Group COVID-19 Update
July 10, 2020

Post

The spread of COVID-19 across California and the country is impacting everyone’s personal and professional lives. To ensure you are receiving the most up to date and pertinent information, Weideman Group is closely monitoring actions being taken by the state (Governor, Legislature, regulatory agencies) and the federal government. We will be sharing the most significant COVID-19 information with you on a periodic basis. Here is a summary of important information from this past week. 

California Statistics

California cases continue to rise, alarming public health officials. With a rising number of positive COVID cases and local governments seeing their limited resources dwindling, the Governor has mandated that certain counties reinstate closures of indoor activities (e.g. bars, dining, theaters, museums). State officials continue to urge residents to abide by the physical distancing and mask order to minimize the spread. HERE are the most recent facts released by the Department of Public Health.

California Legislature 

Important Dates:

June 19 – July 27 -  Assembly Summer Recess

  • July 2 – July 27 -  Senate Summer Recess
  • July 27 – Legislature Reconvenes
  • August 31 – Last Day of Session
  • September 30 – Last Day for the Governor to Sign or Veto Bills
  • November 3 – General Election
  • December 7 – 2021-22 Legislative Session Begins

Legislature extends recess as an increasing number of legislators and staff test positive for COVID-19. The Legislature was set to return from summer recess on July 13, but due to public health concerns associated with a spread in the Capitol community the Legislature will now reconvene on July 27. Several members and staffers have been exposed and tested positive, including Assemblymembers Burke and Lackey. Senate President Pro Tem Toni Atkins and Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon have asked that all staff work from home and will use the extended recess to deep clean the Capitol. The delayed return means the Legislature will only have 5 weeks to get bills through policy committees, fiscal committees, and floor votes. It is highly likely we will see a further decrease in the amount of bills allowed to move forward given the inability to conduct hearings during the truncated timeline remaining for session. Leadership is reworking the calendar to minimize potential COVID exposure.

Newsom Administration

California continues to grapple with the increase in COVID-19 cases. Hospitalizations have increased 44% over the past two weeks and the state reported 137 deaths on Thursday. Here is a recap of recent actions and announcements:

  • Counties Monitoring List - Governor Newsom announced that additional counties have been added to the Counties Monitoring List. This brings the total to 29 counties currently on the state’s enhanced monitoring list. These counties are required to roll back their reopening plans by closing indoor activities such as dining and museums for 3 weeks. These counties are receiving additional technical assistance from the state. The list of counties can be found here
  • Task Force Enforcement - Governor Newsom provided an update on the work the enforcement task forces throughout the various departments and agencies are doing. Over the weekend, the Alcohol Beverage Control team made 5,986 visits and issued 52 citations, Cal OSHA contacted 441,755 businesses, and the Board of Barbering and Cosmetology contacted 344 licensees.  
  • Testing Challenges - Governor Newsom’s Testing Task Force has successfully increased the number of COVID-19 tests, averaging 80,000+ tests per day. Challenges moving forward include reduced availability of tests, result time slowdowns and testing site closures. 
  • CalOES Appointment  – Governor Newsom has appointed Sherri Sarro as the Assistant Director of Response at the Governor’s Office of Emergency Services. Sarro brings 28 years of law enforcement experience with her to OES. 
  • San Quentin Outbreak - San Quentin Prison faces a serious outbreak of COVID with 1,331 inmates testing positive and 7 deaths. Teams have been brought in to assist the prison manage the outbreak employing strategies such as decompression and using alternate facilities. COVID tracking of cases in CDCR can be found here
  • Increased CalFire Support - Governor Newsom announced several measures that are currently underway to assist first responders during wildfire. Part of these measures includes the acquisition of 12 black hawk helicopters (three have been delivered) and an initiative to hire over 800 new temporary firefighters for the season. 
  • Shop Safe Shop Local - Governor Newsom issued a proclamation declaring California for All Small Business Month, encouraging people to shop local during the pandemic. 

COVID-19 Spending

In early March, the Legislature authorized $1 billion in general funds for the Governor to fight COVID. To date, the Administration has spent $826.8 million of the monies on pandemic response and $1.4 billion from the Disaster Response-Emergency Operations Account (DREOA), mostly on procuring masks and respirators for industries across the state. The Budget includes $750 million to provide support for counties experiencing revenue losses for realigned programs as a result of COVID.  A full breakdown of the state’s COVID spending can be found here

Regulatory Agencies and Department Actions

Numerous departments provide updates on their efforts to mitigate the impact of COVID. Here are some highlights:

  • EDD Distribution - The Employment Development Department has issued $41.3 billion in unemployment insurance and has processed 7.5 unemployment insurance claims.
  • CSU Remains Online - California State University Chancellor Timothy White said that the CSU system may remain online for the remainder of the academic year due to COVID.  
  • Contact Tracing Scam - The Governor’s Office of Emergency Services warns about scammers posing as COVID contact tracers attempting to gain personal information. 
  • Decontamination Update - The Governor’s Office of Emergency Services has established two Critical Care Decontamination Systems to clean PPE for reuse. 
  • UC Selects First Black President - The Regents of the University of California have selected Dr. Michael V. Drake to be Janet Napolitano’s successor as President of the University of California. Dr. Drake, former Chancellor of Ohio State University and UC Irvine, will be the first African American to lead the system. 
  • CDE Implementation Tool - The California Department of Education announced the roll out of an implementation tool designed to assess student learning. This tool offers strategies to assess the student’s learning. 
  • Bar Exam - Some electeds, law school students, and law schools are asking the California Supreme Court to cancel the upcoming bar exam and automatically license lawyers under diploma privilege. 

Federal Government

Congress discusses a second round of stimulus payments. Senate Majority leader Mitch McConnell signaled earlier this week that he is open to authorizing a second round of stimulus checks to Americans as the pandemic induced recession continues. Thursday the White House called for a $1 trillion relief package which Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi called inadequate after the Democratic led house passed a $3 trillion relief package that Republicans called dead on arrival. California has made a request of $14 billion from the federal government to avoid trigger cuts set to take effect on October 15.  Here is a recap of recent federal actions and announcements: 

  • Small Business Loans - The US Small Business Administration announced that it is offering loans to small businesses affected by the civil unrest that occurred within the last couple of months.
  • Elections Funds - State and local officials have asked Congress for funds for expanded vote by mail and election precautions for the upcoming November General Election. 
  • Student Deportation - ICE has announced that students in the United States on visas must return to their home countries if their universities will be utilizing online learning. Several higher education institutions are challenging this decision in the judicial system.
  • US Withdraws from the World Health Organization - The Trump Administration has begun the formal withdrawal process from the World Health Organization. The United States must give a year notice of its intention to leave and pay any outstanding debts owed to the Organization. 
  • Trump Calls for School to Reopen - President Trump is urging schools to reopen in the fall and has threatened to withhold funding from schools if they do not fully reopen. 

Local Action

Local governments grapple with an increase in coronavirus cases and hospitalizations. Here are some highlights:

  • San Bernardo Cancels Tests - San Bernardino has canceled hundreds of appointments for COVID tests due to testing shortages.
  • Yolo County Fines Businesses - Businesses in Yolo County could face fines of up to $10,000 for not adhering to county health orders as the county sees a spike in cases. 
  • Marin County Stops Indoor Dining - Marin County has taken steps to roll back their reopening by ceasing indoor dining. 
  • San Diego Waves Permits - San Diego is waiving permits to allow restaurants to increase dining space on sidewalks and in parking lots. 
  • Santa Clara Risk Reduction Opening - Santa Clara County’s new health order is a “risk reduction” approach that allows people to resume many business and social activities with certain strict precautions in place to encourage physical distancing. 
  • Sacramento Closing Testing Sites - 5 testing sites in Sacramento specifically placed to meet the needs of underserved communities will close as testing challenges mount around the county. 

Resources

  • California Coronavirus Response website can be found here
  • California Department of Public Health guidance documents can be found here
  • California COVID-19 risk screening and testing can be found here
  • California Local Public Health Authority information can be found here
  • Center for Disease Control and Prevention COVID-19 updates can be found here
  • Looking for ways to help your community? Visit this site here