California: Latest updates on coronavirus

On March 12 (Thursday) California Gov. Gavin Newsom issued a new executive order to help curb the spread of coronavirus. The order waives the normal waiting period for receiving benefits for those who are newly unemployed or disabled due to COVID-19. One provision also allows the state to take private property if needed to combat the virus.

Newsom also stressed on Wednesday (March 11) that all public gatherings in the state should be canceled until at least the end of the month, according to news reports. 

His statement comes as cases there are rising, with more than 314 confirmed or presumptive positive COVID-19 cases in California, including 22 passengers aboard the Grand Princess cruise ship. There have been four deaths linked to coronavirus in the state, including one in a woman in her 90s in a nursing home near the Sacramento area, according to The New York Times. The California Department of Health estimates that community transmission is taking place in Contra Costa, Riverside, Sacramento, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara and Yolo Counties.

More than 11,000 people are under self-quarantine in the state, according to the California Department of Public Health, meaning they think there’s a chance they were exposed to this novel coronavirus, so they’ve separated themselves from others in case they start showing symptoms. (Here are some tips for self-quarantine and self-isolation related to the coronavirus.) On March 10 (Tuesday), Sacramento County called off the quarantine period for those who have come in contact with people with COVID-19; they should self-isolate only if they are showing symptoms, NPR reported

On March 4, Newsom declared a state of emergency in order to make additional resources available for combatting the virus. In addition, that declaration will “formalize emergency actions already underway across multiple state agencies and departments, and help the state prepare for broader spread of COVID-19,” the governor’s office said in a statement.

The 2,450 people onboard the Grand Princess were almost completely disembarked by Friday (March 13), with only a 15 international guests who are waiting for transport to their home countries, along with crew, left on the ship, according to KRON4. The passengers and crew had been stuck on the ship for days after individuals onboard tested positive for COVID-19. So far, 22 individuals on the ship have tested positive. However, another 141 are showing mild symptoms, but have not yet been tested, and will be housed in a private hotel in San Carlos while they continue to be monitored, according to KRON4. A 71-year-old man onboard the ship became the state’s first reported death related to the coronavirus. He was a resident of Rocklin, east of San Francisco, and reportedly had underlying health conditions. 

As of Thursday (March 12), 2,402 passengers had disembarked the Grand Princess in Oakland and were being placed in a 14-day quarantine at various military bases, the SF Gate reported. Separately, three Transportation Security Administration agents at Mineta San Jose International Airport tested positive for COVID-19. 

Schools across the state have closed, including Elk Grove Unified School District, Los Angeles Unified School District, Sacramento Unified School District, San Francisco Unified School District, San Diego Unified School District, San Mateo School District and Santa Monica Malibu district schools, according to Edsource. More than 1 million children are now out of school.

Cases by county

  •  Solano: 3 
  •  Santa Cruz: 2 
  •  Napa: 1 
  •  Ventura: 1 
  •  Shasta County: 1 
  •  Fresno County: 2 
  •  Riverside County: 6 
  •  Alameda County: 5 
  •  Madera County: 1 
  •  Yolo County: 1 
  •  Santa Clara County: 48 
  •  San Francisco County: 14 
  •  Contra Costa County: 10 
  •  Orange County: 5 
  •  Placer County: 7 
  •  San Mateo: 15 
  •  Sonoma County: 3 
  •  Humboldt County: 1 
  •  Sacramento County: 11 
  •  San Diego County: 3 
  •  San Benito: 2 
  •  Los Angeles: 27 
  •  Marin: 1 
  •  Calaveras: 2 
  •  Stanislaus: 2 
  •  San Joaquin: 1 
  •  Plus additional cases in unreported locations. 

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