Newsom said 2.7 million Californians have applied for unemployment insurance so far. To meet increased demand for support, the Employment Development Department, or EDD, would be extending call center hours from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.
The governor also signed an executive order Wednesday creating the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program, which will give more unemployed workers access to unemployment insurance payments. PUA benefits will apply to self-employed workers, independent contractors, those whose wage history isn't long enough to qualify for unemployment, and those who have exhausted unemployment benefits.
Labor Secretary Julie Su said the state was targeting an April 28 launch date for receiving applications, and the first payments would go out within 24 to 48 hours. Once payments begin, Newsom emphasized they would be retroactive, so those who have been waiting to receive payments for several weeks would be compensated for that time.
RELATED: IRS launching 'Get My Payment' tool to allow you to track status of COVID-19 stimulus check
Newsom added he'd like to expand California's Work Sharing Program, which helps employers avoid layoffs.
The executive order also establishes a $125 million fund to provide relief to undocumented Californians affected by COVID-19 and are typically ineligible for unemployment benefits. The funds will be distributed as one-time $500 payments to undocumented adults, with a $1,000 cap per household, according to the governor's office. Applications will be accepted starting next month.
The $125 million fund is a public-private partnership; $75 million will come from the state and an additional $50 million will come from partner donors.
Newsom opened his press conference by announcing 63 new deaths caused by COVID-19, bringing the state's total to 821. The total number of positive cases is up to 24,424. Hospitalization rates only climbed by 1.5% over the past 24 hours, said Newsom, and the number of ICU hospitalizations declined by 0.2%.
RELATED: Santa Clara County's Dr. Cody explains what needs to happen to lift shelter-in-place
"By no stretch of the imagination are we out of the woods, despite the fact that we put forward a framework yesterday to consider the prospects of reopening certain sectors of our economy," said Newsom. "I want folks to know we need to maintain our vigilance and maintain the path we are on, a path that is producing results."
On Tuesday, Newsom detailed a plan for the state to eventually ease social distancing guidelines and lift stay-at-home orders.
Newsom said the ability to fully reopen the state was predicated on six 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
RELATED: Newsom unveils plan to reopen California, ease stay-at-home restrictions amid coronavirus pandemic
"Because you have practiced physical distancing ... you have bent the curve in the state of California," said Gov. Newsom. "The models have changed because of your behavior."
Newsom declined to give an exact date when stay-at-home orders might be lifted, but said he would re-evaulate progress on the six outlined criteria in two weeks and address the issue of timing then.
"We talk about what the new normal will look like. As I said, normal it will not be. At least until we have herd immunity and a vaccine."
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