California Governor Wants $2.7B to Battle Pandemic, Seeks More Time off for Sick Workers

With new coronavirus cases surging across the state, California Gov. Gavin Newsom’s administration on Saturday proposed spending another $2.7 billion to expand testing and boost hospital staffing, while calling for a new law to give workers more paid time off if they get sick.

California had more than 10,100 people hospitalized with the coronavirus on Friday, or about half of of the peak reached during last winter’s surge. Demand for coronavirus testing has soared along with the state’s case rates, making it difficult for many to get tested in many parts of the state.

California Extending Indoor Mask Mandate Until Mid-February

California’s indoor mask mandate was extended into mid-February to help prevent the astonishing spike in coronavirus cases from overwhelming hospitals but the state’s health director said Wednesday additional restrictions are not being considered.

The fast-spreading omicron variant of COVID-19 is sidelining exposed or infected health care workers, leading to hospital staffing shortages that could become a bigger problem.

Vaccinated California Employees Face Workplace Restrictions

In a move criticized by business groups and hailed by labor advocates, California’s workplace regulators extended the state’s coronavirus pandemic regulations into next year with revisions that employers said could worsen the state’s severe labor shortage.

The revised rules require that vaccinated but asymptomatic workers who come in close contact with someone infected with the virus must wear masks and stay 6 feet from others for 14 days if they return to work.

The current rules allow those employees to keep working without restrictions unless they show symptoms _ under the assumption that the vaccine generally will protect them.

Report: California Workers’ Comp Covid Claim Volume Trending Down After Summer Surge

The summer surge of COVID-19 claims that hit the California workers’ compensation system in July and August appears to have run its course, according to the California Workers’ Compensation Institute.

A CWCI analysis released on Tuesday shows the number of claims reported to the state Division of Workers’ Compensation in September and October fell sharply, with the projected claim count for October falling to 3,621 cases, down nearly 56% from the 8,197 claims projected for the summer peak in August.

California Requiring Vaccine or Testing for State Workers

California will require millions of health care workers and state employees to show proof of a COVID-19 vaccination or get tested weekly, announcing a broad measure this week to try to slow rising coronavirus infections in the nation’s most populous state, mostly among the unvaccinated.

The new rule, to take effect next month, is the latest example of California and politically progressive cities nationwide cracking down on a virus that has upended life since March 2020. New York Mayor Bill DeBlasio announced a similar plan Monday that requires 340,000 city employees, including teachers and police officers, to show proof of vaccination or undergo weekly testing.

Californians Hit Beaches, Traveled Ahead of Virus Rules Easing

Californians headed to campgrounds, beaches and restaurants over the long holiday weekend as the state prepared to shed some of its coronavirus rules.

Southern California beaches were busy with families barbecuing and children playing in the sand and surf. Business owners said they were scrambling to hire workers to keep up with the stream of customers eager to get out since virus cases have fallen and vaccinations have risen.

“It feels very, very close to normal,” Bob Alfera, a resident of seaside Santa Monica, told KCBS-TV.

Report: California Comp Virus Claim Volume Plummeted in February

The wave of COVID-19 claims that hit the California workers’ compensation system at the end of 2020 has subsided for the time being as the number of claims reported to the state Division of Workers’ Compensation for February fell to the lowest level in a year, an analysis by the California Workers’ Compensation Institute Shows.

The CWCI report shows the projected ultimate claim count for February came in at 4,533 cases, down nearly 90% from the record 43,158 claims projected for December.

The figures from CWCI’s COVID-19/Non-COVID-19 Interactive Application show that after surging to an all-time high in December, the monthly COVID-19 claim count fell by more than 50% in January, a decrease that coincided with the steep drop in new coronavirus cases in the state.

California Governor Wants Vaccines for Central Valley Farmworkers

More vaccines are headed to California’s vast Central Valley, an agricultural region whose workers and residents have been hard hit by coronavirus, Gov. Gavin Newsom said Monday.

The multi-county region, which includes the cities of Fresno and Bakersfield, will get significantly more vaccines this week dedicated to farmworkers. The shifting allocation comes as California moves to inoculate others beyond health care employees in other essential jobs, including food and farm workers and teachers.

California had been distributing doses based on the estimated number of health care workers and seniors in each county, but is revising its formula as it moves through its planned vaccination tiers.

California School Employee Arraigned for Workers’ Comp Fraud After Virus Diagnosis

Stephanie Medrano, 33, of West Covina, Calif., was arraigned on Tuesday on multiple counts of grand theft and insurance fraud after allegedly making misrepresentations following a COVID-19 diagnosis in an attempt to collect more than $33,000 in undeserved workers’ compensation insurance benefits.

The California Department of Insurance launched an investigation after receiving a claim of suspected fraud from Medrano’s employer, the Baldwin Park Unified School District, on Aug. 21, 2020. The investigation reportedly revealed Medrano made multiple misrepresentations in order to extend a workers’ comp claim submitted to her employer after she was diagnosed with COVID-19.

COVID-19: California May Not Reach Herd Immunity for Years

(TNS) - If everything goes according to plan, much of California could come close to herd immunity levels of vaccination by late summer. Within weeks, the effects could be dramatic: very low case rates, people comfortably allowed to gather again, maybe even some looser rules around mask-wearing.

Of course, little about this pandemic has stuck to the plan.

Between the emergence of new coronavirus variants, unreliable vaccine supplies and uneven access to the doses available, it may take months or even years longer than anyone would like to hit herd immunity. It's possible California, the nation and the world may never get there.

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