In his latest coronavirus update, California Gov. Gavin Newsom announced that he had signed an executive order extending worker's compensation coverage to all frontline workers in the battle against COVID-19.
The governor initially expanded paid sick leave in April to workers in food industries, but acknowledged that health care workers and first responders were left out of that state order.
Wednesday’s order broadens benefits to all sectors, as long as the employee tests positive for COVID-19 by a physician.
“If you’ve tested positive with C-19, with COVID-19, by a physician, then you are eligible for this workers’ comp benefit. It can only be rebutted by your employer but under strict criteria,” Newsom said. “This is a way of providing support to our critical workers that are essential in our capacity, not only to meet the needs of the people today but as we begin to enter into this new phase and start to reopen the economy."
In addition, Newsom also announced that he was extending the penalty waiver for fees and fines associated with the 10% tax code penalty. The waiver would be extended through next May for residents.
“We made the point that we were working with the counties to see if we could coordinate and collaborate in a way that can address the hardship claims that were coming in and allow people to get on payment plans without experiencing that rather sizable 10% tax code penalty that is assessed on those property tax bills,” Newsom said.
The executive order extends the penalty waiver through May 2021, the governor said.
As of Wednesday, the state has reported more than 58,000 cases of COVID-19 and 2,388 deaths related to coronavirus complications with an additional 95 deaths in the last 24 hours. Both hospitalizations and ICU numbers droped 1%.
As testing has ramped up across the state, Newsom said California has rolled out a new site for people to find locations near them where they can get tested for coronavirus. You can find Central Coast testing sites here.
Newsom also mentioned that over 4 million people have filed for unemployment since the outbreak began in California.
“This is serious. We’ve never experienced anything like this in our lifetime. This is Depression Era numbers in terms of the unemployment, you’ll see, across this country, not just in the state of California,” he said. “These numbers are jaw-dropping. And it is alarming.”