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Executive order waives unemployment waiting period, allows emergency property commandeering

Gov. Gavin Newsom issued a new executive order Thursday in response to the novel coronavirus pandemic, which now has nearly 200 positive cases reported in the state.

Newsom’s executive order waives a one-week waiting period for people who are unemployed or disabled as a result of the virus, which is also known as COVID-19, readies the state to commandeer property for use in treating, quarantining or isolating people, and allows legislative bodies to hold meetings electronically, among other policies.

At a late morning briefing at the State Capitol in Sacramento, Newsom said 198 people in all across California have tested positive for COVID-19, including 21 from Wednesday.

He said a problem is that there are just 8,227 kits available across the state as of midday Thursday to test for the virus, and 1,573 tests have been conducted so far.

Newsom said private labs are helping the state to expand the amount of tests available and authorities are also working to eventually set up centralized testing sites that are easily accessible.

He said:

“My greater concern is we could be testing a lot more people.”

The governor also provided an update on the quarantined Grand Princess cruise ship currently docked at the Port of Oakland, saying 1,963 passengers have been taken off the boat as of Wednesday night, with the hope that more than 400 more will be able to leave the boat Thursday.

Newsom emphasized the state public health guidance released late Wednesday for large gatherings that said non-essential ones must be limited to no more than 250 people, with gatherings of people at higher risk of severe illness for the virus limited to no more than 10 people while following social distancing guidelines.

The governor said:

“We have agency, we can change the future. It’s not something to experience, it’s something to manifest.”

He added:

“I have confidence we will meet the moment.”

Newsom’s full executive order on the coronavirus response can be accessed online.

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