Gov. Gavin Newsom, the California Democrat, released an executive order on Thursday that includes the authority for Sacramento to take over hotels and motels for medical use for coronavirus patients, in a move he said will help the state of 40 million prepare for any widespread outbreak.
Some patients in the state have already been moved to hotels. The Desert Sun reported that a 120-room hotel in San Carlos, which is near San Francisco, has been already tapped to house passengers from the Grand Princess cruise ship.
The first-term governor told reporters that besides hotels and motels, state officials are also scouting for potential lodging in "mothballed" facilities and state parks.
The executive order, according to the report, has been designed to allow the state’s Health and Human Services Agency and the Office of Emergency Services to commandeer private property for coronavirus treatment. It also offers economic relief for residents.
“This is where we need to go next, and to make sure we fully implement those procedures and protocols to slow down the spread to get through a peak and to get through the next few months, so we don’t overwhelm our healthcare delivery system,” Newsom said, according to the Los Angeles Times.
The report pointed out that there are 198 known cases of COVID -19 in the state of about 40 million.
State and local leaders were weighing short-term help for small businesses and individuals, with Newsom’s executive order eliminating a one-week waiting period for unemployment benefits. In Sacramento, the City Council planned to vote Friday on a $1 million economic relief package that could provide loans to restaurants and other businesses hurting due to coronavirus precautions.
In Los Angeles, Mayor Eric Garcetti closed City Hall to the public and banned all events or conferences on city-owned properties for more than 50 people. City board and commission meetings will be transitioned to publicly accessible phone or video conference sessions.
“We are entering a critical period,” Garcetti warned, urging residents to take steps to protect themselves, loved ones and neighbors. “These are common-sense measures.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report