Mar 15, 2020 - Health

California governor calls for heightened measures to battle coronavirus

Gov. Gavin Newsom. Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

California Gov. Gavin Newson announced new guidelines on Sunday designed to combat the spread of the coronavirus, including a call for self-isolation among residents 65 and over and those with chronic conditions, as well as the closing of all bars, wineries and pubs.

Why it matters: California is the most populous state in the country, making it imperative for it to take drastic measures to slow down the spread of the virus.

Highlights:

  • Newsom also called for restaurants to cut their occupancy rates by half to avoid unsafe crowding.
  • Nursing home visits will now be limited to end-of-life visits given the heightened risks of the elderly. Overall, about 5.3 million Californians are 65 and over.
  • The state will also be ramping up efforts to help people who are homeless and unsheltered, including adding more shelters and trailers.
  • He added that 51% of the state's school districts are now closed, which means that about 85% of the state's students will not be going to school come Monday.

Yes, but: These are not government-mandated orders. Newsom said he expects these recommendations will be broadly followed across the state and that he does have the ability to escalate enforcement.

  • Questions also remain about the impact of seniors staying home on the state's health care system—a number of doctors and other workers are over 60, some placing the numbers at about a quarter of practicing physicians.

Editor's note: The story has been updated with more details.

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