California Issues Directive to Fight COVID-19

California Issues Directive to Fight COVID-19

SACRAMENTO — Following the announcement that older adults and those at higher risk for serious illness from COVID-19 should isolate, Governor Gavin Newsom issued an executive order to protect the health and safety of Californians most vulnerable to COVID-19 residing at health care, residential and non-residential facilities licensed by the state. The order directs state health and social services agencies to redirect resources and staff to the facilities, focusing on providing technical assistance and supporting compliance with core health and safety requirements for caregivers and the cared for.

The Governor’s order also directs the Health and Human Services Agency to develop alternatives to leverage in home supportive services programs, adult protective services programs, area agencies on aging and regional centers, and other programs to support the home isolation of vulnerable Californians, including seniors and those with serious chronic conditions.

“These will be challenging times and California is mobilizing every part of government to protect and isolate residents most vulnerable to COVID-19. Those who are over the age of 65, Californians with underlying health issues, residential care patients and all those who care for these individuals are uniquely at risk. In the coming weeks, our state must rally behind these Californians and work aggressively to ensure their needs are safely met.”

The order directs the following:

  • The state must focus on protecting the health and safety of the most vulnerable in licensed facilities.
  • The state shall immediately identify health, community care facilities, and other sites that house populations that are most vulnerable to COVID-19. This includes, but is not limited to seniors and individual who require assisted-living services due to chronic health conditions.
  • The state shall redirect resources and provide technical and compliance support to protect caregivers and those they care for.
  • Enforcement activities shall focus where there are allegations of the most serious violations impacting health and safety.
  • The Health and Human Services Agency, in consultation with counties and labor organization and consumers, shall leverage existing services and programs to support home isolation of vulnerable Californians, including seniors and those with serious chronic underlying health conditions.
  • To address the increased demand for healthcare workers and first responders, state Departments shall authorize first responders, care providers, and workers who are asymptomatic and taking precautions to prevent the transmission of COVID-19, to continue working during the period of this emergency.

“It is also important that older adults and those at elevated risk of serious illness from COVID-19 take immediate steps to reduce their risk. This includes staying at home as much as possible and practicing social distancing,” said Governor Newsom.

Based on the Governor’s announcement yesterday, older adults, individuals with compromised immune systems, and individuals who have serious chronic medical conditions like heart disease, diabetes, and lung disease should take the following steps:

  • Remain at home until order is rescinded, or until further guidance is issued.
    • Cancel any non-essential travel, appointments, etc.
    • For routine medical care, contact your health care provider to discuss rescheduling.
  • Continue with outdoor activities.
    • As long as you practice social distancing, we encourage you to continue your outdoor activities such as walks, runs and yardwork, to the extent your health allows it.

The full executive order can be viewed here.