SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- Gov. Gavin Newsom addressed the state's ongoing fight against novel coronavirus and its impacts in his daily press briefing Thursday.
Newsom announced he signed an executive order to grant two weeks of supplemental paid sick leave to California food workers who have been infected with COVID-19, exposed to the virus, or are otherwise ordered to quarantine and isolate.
"I think about the people that grow our food, pick our food people, pack our food, deliver our food, cook, serve and sell our food. That's the food chain in the state of California. That sector by definition is essential."
Newsom said he hoped the executive order would encourage workers to stay home if they feel sick, and know they'd be compensated for that time.
"I heard a few grocery workers say this: 'We're called essential workers, but increasingly we feel like we are disposable.' I want you to know you're not disposable. You're essential and valued."
In the past 24 hours, an additional 69 Californians died as a result of COVID-19, the governor said. So far 890 people have died.
While ICU hospitalizations saw a minor increase of 1.4%, total hospitalizations dropped by a slim 0.9%. Newsom called the trend "encouraging," but emphasized "we're not out of the woods yet."
Thursday's briefing was delayed by 30 minutes because Newsom said he was on a call with governors from around the country, President Donald Trump and Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. Trump and Fauci were reviewing the federal plan, to be announced at 3 p.m., to ease social distancing requirements. Newsom said he hadn't yet received "a booklet" on the plan and therefore didn't have a chance to fully review it.
The governor's daily briefings have become popular viewing in California. Just this week, he has announced a plan to eventually reopen the state, a massive expansion of unemployment benefits, and a $125 million fund to help undocumented Californians who have lost work due to COVID-19.
As the spread of COVID-19 appears to be slowing in California, Newsom is asking residents to maintain social distancing for the time being. He has declined to give a precise date when shelter-in-place restrictions might end, but said he'd be evaluating the state's progress on six key criteria:
- Expand testing and doing contact tracing for those who test positive
- Being able to protect California's most vulnerable populations, including seniors, homeless individuals and those with compromised immunity
- Ensuring medical facilities are equipped to handle potential surges
- Working with research hospitals and other research partners to pursue therapies for the virus
- Making sure businesses, schools, and other public spaces can continue physical distancing
- Being able to return to more strict measures, as needed
Newsom said he'd reevaluate the situation in two weeks, and might consider rolling back restrictions.
If you have a question or comment about the coronavirus pandemic, submit yours via the form below or here.
Get the latest news, information and videos about the novel coronavirus pandemic here
RELATED STORIES & VIDEOS:
- Live updates about coronavirus outbreak in US, around the world
- Coronavirus data: See how the curve of COVID-19 cases is bending in each Bay Area county
- Everything you need to know about the Bay Area's shelter-in-place order
- Coronavirus Doctor's Note: Dr. Alok Patel gives his insight into COVID-19 pandemic
- Stimulus calculator: How much money should you expect from coronavirus relief bill
- WATCH: ABC7's interactive town hall 'Race and Coronavirus: A Bay Area Conversation'
- What Bay Area tenants need to know about rent payments, eviction amid COVID-19 outbreak
- Here's how shelter in place, stay at home orders can slow spread of COVID-19
- Coronavirus Timeline: Tracking major moments of COVID-19 pandemic in San Francisco Bay Area/
- Coronavirus and the new normal of living in the San Francisco-Bay Area -- COVID-19 Diaries
- Happy hour goes virtual as people try to be sociable while social distancing during COVID-19 crisis
- Coronavirus Outbreak: Here's why you should practice 'social distancing'
- DRONEVIEW7: What the Bay Area looks like during the coronavirus shelter-in-place
- ABC7's drive around San Francisco shows empty streets, businesses shuttered
- Symptoms, prevention, and how to prepare for a COVID-19 outbreak in the US
- List of stores, companies closing due to coronavirus pandemic
- Canceled late fees, free services available amid COVID-19 crisis
- Here's how you can help during COVID-19 pandemic
- How to maintain learning during school closures
- No masks but here are 100+ products that may help protect you against novel coronavirus germs
- Here's a look at some of history's worst pandemics that have killed millions
- Asian community fighting racism, xenophobia, bigotry as world fights COVID-19