Weideman Group COVID-19 Update
December 4, 2020

Post

California COVID-19 Statistics

California sees record infection rates as unprecedented surge continues. New cases of COVID-19 and hospitalizations in California continue their rise according to the latest data released by state and local health departments. This is consistent with the rest of the country, which is experiencing record growth. THESE are the most recent facts released by the Department of Public Health.

Newsom Administration

Governor Newsom issues a new regional stay-at-home directive.  Governor Newsom announced additional use of the “emergency brake” as California continues to see rapid growth in COVID-19 infection and hospitalizations. The Governor introduced a regional stay-at-home order in an effort to blunt the surge and save lives. The state will be broken up into 5 regions to help manage the response efforts, which are based on current health system mutual aid. The regions will be:

  • Northern California: Del Norte, Glenn, Humboldt, Lake, Lassen, Mendocino, Modoc, Shasta, Siskiyou, Tehama, Trinity
  • Bay Area: Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Monterey, Napa, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, Solano, Sonoma
  • Greater Sacramento: Alpine, Amador, Butte, Colusa, El Dorado, Nevada, Placer, Plumas, Sacramento, Sierra, Sutter, Yolo, Yuba
  • San Joaquin Valley: Calaveras, Fresno, Kern, Kings, Madera, Mariposa, Merced, San Benito, San Joaquin, Stanislaus, Tulare, Tuolumne
  • Southern California: Imperial, Inyo, Los Angeles, Mono, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, San Diego, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, Ventura

Once a given region reaches 15% of available ICU capacity or below, the region will have 24 hours to implement the stay-at-home order. That order will be in effect for a 3 week period and will be reassessed by the Department of Public Health after the 3 weeks has elapsed – ICU trends will be projected out for 4 weeks to determine if the order can be lifted. Upon exiting the stay-at-home restrictions, counties in the region will revert back to their colored tiers based upon their respective conditions. Four regions are expected to cross the stay-at-home order threshold in the next few days. Most of the Bay Area has announced they will implement California’s stay-at-home order on Sunday rather than waiting for the state to trigger the restrictions. While a stay-at-home order is in place, all non-essential travel is temporarily restricted. In addition, the following sectors will be temporarily closed when a region is subject to a stay-at-home order:

  • Playgrounds and recreation facilities
  • Bars
  • Wineries
  • Personal services
  • Hair salons / barber shops
  • Movie Theaters
  • Live Audience sports

Sectors that will remain open when a region is placed into the stay-at-home include:

  • Schools that have received a waiver
  • Critical infrastructure
  • Retail (20% capacity to reduce exposure)
  • Restaurants (solely for take-out and delivery)

The regional order can be found here and an updated list of essential personnel is available at COVID19.ca.gov. Below is a recap of additional administration actions and announcements:

  • Vaccine Distribution Guidelines - The Drafting Guidelines Workgroup and Community Advisory Committee have submitted recommendations for who will receive the initial vaccine. Details include:

– The vaccine will be distributed in phases and the state will initially receive 327,000 doses. 

– Groups included in the first phase include critical healthcare workers and long-term care residents. 

– The presentation from the committee can be found here

  • Master Plan for Early Learning - Governor Newsom announced the release of the Master Plan for Early Learning and Care: California for All Kids, which provides a roadmap for building a comprehensive and equitable early learning and care system over the next decade.
  • Small Business Assistance - Governor Newsom announced that California will provide temporary tax relief for eligible businesses impacted by COVID-19 restrictions. The relief entails an automatic three-month income tax extension for taxpayers filing less than $1 million in sales tax, extends the availability of existing interest and penalty-free payment agreements to companies with up to $5 million in taxable sales and provides expanded interest free payment options for larger businesses. 
  • Social Innovation Impact Report - Governor Newsom issued the state’s first-ever Social Innovation Impact Report highlighting innovative public-private-partnerships that have contributed $3.9 billion toward the state’s housing efforts, COVID-19 response and more. California engaged 196 corporate and philanthropic partners and 748 community-based organizations, benefiting each of the state’s 58 counties.

Budget

The Legislative Analysts’ Office released a fiscal perspective report with suggestions on how to allocate California’s one-time $26 billion windfall. The report highlights core recommendations from the office that include:

  • Allocating roughly half of the windfall to restoring budget resilience 
  • Using the other half on one-time expenditures to mitigate the effects of the pandemic
  • Refraining from adding new ongoing commitments and making progress towards reducing the ongoing deficit

California Legislature 

Important Dates:

  • December 7 – 2021-22 Legislative Session Begins
  • January 4 – Legislature Reconvenes
  • January 10 – Governor Must Submit January Budget
  • February 19 – Bill Introduction Deadline

2021-2022 Legislature to be sworn in on Monday kicking off the new legislative session.  The California legislature will be sworn in on December 7th and the “desk” will be open to process new bill introductions for the new session on that day. Due to COVID-19, the houses are continuing to employ enhanced public health measures that will make for a very different swearing in day.  The Assembly will be sworn in at the Golden 1 Center in downtown Sacramento to accommodate for social distancing of all 80 members and the Senate will convene in their Capitol chambers with very limited attendance. After their swearing in day, the legislature will break and reconvene for their regular session on January 4, 2021. 

Following the November Presidential Election, Democrats will hold 60 seats in the Assembly, and Republicans will hold 19 seats after picking up one seat formerly held by Christy Smith. Assemblyman Chad Mayes will be the sole independent member in the chamber. In the Senate, Democrats picked up two seats after John Moorlach and Ling Ling Chang lost elections to Dave Min and Josh Newman. The Democrats will hold 30 seats in the chamber and the Republicans will hold 9 (one seat is vacant). Speaker Anthony Rendon has announced that Assemblymember Eloise Reyes will succeed Ian Calderon as Assembly Majority leader. We also expect that the Pro Tem and the Speaker will be announcing committee chairs before the end of the year. One of the most coveted chairmanships is the Senate Budget Chair, which became vacant after Senator Holly Mitchell won her bid for Los Angeles County Supervisor.

Regulatory Agencies and Department Actions

Multiple departments provide updates on their efforts to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 and the wildfires. Here are some highlights:

  • Vaccine Community Advisory Committee - The California Department of Public Health announced the membership of the Community Advisory Committee that will ensure equitable distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine in California. Weideman Group clients SEIU and CSHP have seats on this Committee.   
  • Ski Resort Guidelines - The state has issued long awaited guidelines for ski resorts and other outdoor operations so Californians can safely camp and hit the slopes. The guidance can be found here
  • New EDD Task Force - After reports of unemployment insurance fraud by inmates in California prisons, the Governor has assigned a new task force to look into better fraud protection practices at the Employment Development Department. 
  • Mendocino Intake Center - A FEMA Mobile Registration Intake Center will open in Covelo Friday,  Dec. 4, through Sunday, Dec. 6, to serve Mendocino County wildfire survivors.
  • FEMA Helpline - Individuals and households with losses due to August/September wildfires in northern California counties have just one week remaining to apply for grants from FEMA or low-interest disaster loans from the U.S. Small Business Administration. The deadline is Dec. 11.
  • Federal Fire Assistance - Governor Newsom secured a Fire Management Assistance Grant  (FMAG) from FEMA to help ensure the availability of vital resources to suppress the Bond Fire burning in Orange County. 
  • Prepositioned Fire Resources - Due to ongoing fire warnings across the state, Cal OES has strategically prepositioned critical fire resources in four counties across the southern part of the state.
  • SBA Disaster Loans for Nonprofits - Low-interest federal disaster loans are now available to certain private nonprofit organizations in California following the federal disaster declaration for Public Assistance as a result of wildfires that occurred Sept. 4 – Nov. 17, 2020.
  • SBA Loan Awards - The U.S. Small Business Administration has approved more than $50 million in federal disaster loans for California businesses and residents impacted by wildfires that occurred Aug. 14 – Sept. 26, 2020.

Biden – Harris Transition

President-elect Biden’s Administration starting to take shape. With just over 6 weeks until President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris are sworn in, they have been busy filling key positions. Below is a recap of recent actions: 

  • Transition Formally Begins - The head of the General Services Administration signed documents granting the Office of the President-elect access to government resources and departments for the transition of administrations. 
  • Economic Team - President-elect Joe Biden unveiled his economic team, which includes former Chair of the Federal Reserve, Janet Yellen, as his pick for Treasury Secretary. 
  • Harris Chief of Staff - Vice President-elect Kamala Harris has named Tina Flournoy to be her chief of staff. 
  • Dr. Fauci - President-elect Joe Biden has asked Dr. Anthony Fauci to be his chief medical advisor. 
  • Masks - President-elect Joe Biden will encourage Amerians to wear masks to slow the spread of COVID-19 for his first 100 days in office.

Federal Government

Congressional leaders resume stimulus negotiations with the clock running. With talks on a second stimulus package going nowhere for over 8 months, Congress is seeking to pass a measure on December 11, the same day federal funding runs out, before adjourning for the year. A bipartisan group of senators introduced a $908 billion proposal that includes extension of unemployment benefits, funds for vaccine distribution, and small business relief. President-elect Joe Biden encouraged Congress to pass the package, calling it a “good start,” but stated that he will seek a larger, more comprehensive package in January.  Below is a recap of additional actions and announcements:

  • New Quarantine Guidance - The Center for Disease Control and Prevention updated quarantine guidance, shortening exposure quarantine time from 14 days to 10 days, or 7 days if you have tested negative. 
  • Vaccine Prioritization - The CDC Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices recommended that healthcare workers and those living in long term care facilities be the first to receive the vaccine. The workgroups phased recommendations can be found here.

Local Action

Local governments continue to take actions they deem appropriate given their unique circumstances. Here are some highlights:

  • Long Beach Resiliency Fund - With new stay-at-home restriction impacting restaurants, the Mayor of Long Beach, Robert Garcia, proposed a $5 million fund to assist the struggling businesses. 
  • No LA Enforcement - Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva said that deputies of the department will not enforce Governor Newsom’s stay-at-home order when it goes into effect. 
  • LA Stay-At-Home - The City of Los Angeles issued a stay-at-home order that is similar to the order issued by the county. 
  • LA Hospital Surge - With the availability of intensive care beds in the county dwindling, Los Angeles activates surge plans as cases continue to rise. 
  • Sacramento Health Chief Resigns - The head of the Sacramento County Department of Health Services has resigned from his position, returning to Baltimore with his family. 
  • Service Workers Stipend - Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti announced $800 stipends for food service workers affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. 
  • San Diego Vaccine Plan - San Diego County health officials have prioritized health care workers for the initial distribution of COVID-19 vaccines.

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