"And what people said was they can't isolate, they have to keep going to work, because they don't have money," explains Chan.
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So on Tuesday, the county's Board of Supervisors unanimously passed a pilot program that will pay infected people a one-time stipend of $1,250 to stay home. The program is expected to help thousands of people.
"When you have people who are going out and not being able to quarantine, when they are sick, this is going to spread the disease even more," says Supervisor Chan, who is also the chairperson of the county's health committee.
Supervisor Chan says $10 million is earmarked for the program, which will help those living in the five neighborhoods of Alameda County with the highest rates of COVID-19: Acorn, two areas of East Oakland (including the Fruitvale district), South Hayward, and Ashland and Cherryland in unincorporated Alameda County near San Leandro.
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But not everyone will qualify.
Individuals must be COVID-19 positive and referred by one of several approved neighborhood clinics. Also, they can't be eligible for any form of state or federal unemployment.
"Many of them are immigrants, and many are people who have not received benefits under the CARES Act," says Chan.
Supervisor Chan says this program is a "significant" piece of the county's overall attempt to help to those struggling financially during the pandemic. She says the county is working with the community and public health leaders to come up with other innovative solutions.
They have yet to announce a start date for the program.
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