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COVID-19: Governor puts National Guard on alert, gives new guidance, signs laws, updates stats 


California Gov. Gavin Newsom at a recent press conference.

Governor Newsom places National Guard personnel on alert to support COVID-19 community readiness

SACRAMENTO – Following through on his commitment to mobilize state personnel and assets to protect local communities and fight the spread of COVID-19, Governor Gavin Newsom today announced that he has placed the California National Guard on alert.

The National Guard has been directed by the Governor to be prepared to perform humanitarian missions across the state including food distribution, ensuring resiliency of supply lines, as well as supporting public safety as required.

“As Californians make sacrifices over the coming weeks and stay home, we are immensely grateful for medical providers, first-responders and National Guard personnel who are assisting those who are most vulnerable to COVID-19,” said Governor Newsom.

Today’s announcement, made in the Governor’s capacity as the Commander-in-Chief of the California National Guard, is consistent with duties routinely performed by the California National Guard during natural disasters and other emergencies within the state.

California releases new COVID-19 guidance for K-12 schools

– On Tuesday, California education and health officials released new guidance for K-12 schools to help education leaders meet the needs of all students affected by school closures, with an emphasis on assisting low-income children and those with disabilities.

This guidance follows Governor Gavin Newsom’s March 13 Executive Order, which ensured that schools continue to receive funding and outlined key efforts that schools should pursue, including educational opportunities via distance learning and independent study, provision of school meals in noncongregate settings, continued services for students with disabilities, and opportunities to support parents in securing care and supervision for their children.

“Even though a school may be physically closed, educating and feeding our kids shouldn’t stop. Students still need instruction – even if it’s at a distance. Our low-income students also continue to need access to free or reduced price, healthy meals,” said Governor Newsom.

The guidance focuses on four critical areas:

  • Distance learning and independent study
  • School meal delivery
  • Accommodations for students with disabilities
  • Child care and supervision


It also provides:

  • Curated resources for schools to plan and implement distance learning tailored to their community’s needs and capacities;
  • Best practices and examples in distance learning and independent study from districts around the state and nation;
  • Best practices and examples in delivering school meals in noncongregate settings; and
  • Curated resources for identifying local partnerships to support child care and supervision.

The guidance and materials can be found here.

The guidance was created by the California Department of Education, the State Board of Education, and the California Health and Human Services Agency.

Governor Newsom signs emergency legislation to fight COVID-19

–Governor Gavin Newsom signed emergency legislation today providing up to $1 billion in funding to help California fight COVID-19.

“It’s simply remarkable. In just one day’s time, members of the California Legislature came together across party lines to unanimously pass emergency legislation authorizing over $1 billion to fight COVID-19. This money will provide more hospital beds and medical equipment to help hospitals deal with the coming surge and it will help protect those who are most at risk. I am grateful to the Legislature for their quick action,” said Governor Newsom.

The emergency legislative package provides $500 million General Fund 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; and
  • Provide funding to clean child care 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.

The Governor signed the following bills today:

  • SB 89 by the Committee on Budget and Fiscal Review – Budget Act of 2019.
  • SB 117 by the Committee on Budget and Fiscal Review – Education finance: average daily attendance and timeline waivers: protective equipment and cleaning appropriation: COVID-19.

Governor Newsom signs executive order to allow timely delivery of vital goods during COVID-19 outbreak

–Taking action to ensure that key commodities can be delivered to California retailers in a timely manner during the COVID-19 outbreak, Governor Gavin Newsom today signed an executive order to ease restrictions on commercial drivers engaged in support of emergency relief efforts.

The change comes in conjunction with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s emergency waiver announced last week to ensure the free flow of critical supplies and equipment.

The executive order also suspends existing law for employers directly impacted by COVID-19 and directs the Labor and Workforce Development Agency to provide guidance to impacted employees.

The Governor’s full executive order can be found here.

COVID-19 in California by the numbers

As of 6 p.m., March 16, 2020:

  • 11 – Deaths
  • 472 – Positive cases
  • 24 – Cases of positive tests related to federal repatriation flights
  • 448 – Cases not related to repatriation flights
  • 82– Travel-related
  • 75 – Person to person
    98 – Community transmission
  • 193 – Under investigation
  • 11,750+ – Number of people self-monitoring who returned to the U.S. through SFO or LAX
  • 49 – Number of local health jurisdictions involved in self-monitoring
  • 22 – Labs with test kits, 21 of which are already testing


Ages of all confirmed positive cases in California

  • Age 0-17: 7 cases
  • Age 18-64: 300 cases
  • Age 65+: 160 cases
  • Unknown: 5 cases

How Can People Protect Themselves

Every person has a role to play. Protecting yourself and your family comes down to common sense:

  • Washing hands with soap and water for a minimum of 20 seconds.
  • Avoiding touching eyes, nose or mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Cover a cough or sneeze with your sleeve, or disposable tissue. Wash your hands afterward.
  • Avoiding close contact with people who are sick.
  • Staying away from work, school or other people if you become sick with respiratory symptoms like fever and cough.
  • Practice social distancing.
  • Following guidance from public health officials.

What to Do if You Think You’re Sick

Call ahead: If you are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 and may have had contact with a person with COVID-19, or recently traveled to countries with apparent community spread, call your health care provider before seeking medical care so that appropriate precautions can be taken.

San Luis Obispo County’s urgent communicable disease line is (805) 781-4553.

California continues to issue guidance on preparing and protecting California from COVID-19. Consolidated guidance is available on California Department of Public Health’s Guidance page.

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About the author: News Staff

The news staff of the Paso Robles Daily News wrote or edited this story from local contributors and press releases. The news staff can be reached at