By Nicole Nixon
Gov. Gavin Newsom used Facebook Live to update Californians on the state’s efforts to combat the coronavirus Wednesday night, saying he spent the first part of a $1.1 billion aid package on hotel rooms and trailers for some of the state’s unsheltered population. He also funneled $100 million to local efforts.
Newsom said the state now has 598 confirmed COVID-19 cases out of more than 12,600 tests, though results for about 3,200 tests are still pending.
The state is shoring up its hospital capacity in case of a patient surge. Newsom says he put in a request to President Trump for a Mercy Ship — a floating hospital — and plans to announce details for two new hospital conversions soon.
Earlier in the day, he announced that standardized tests are off this year for California’s K-12 students after signing an executive order to waive the annual end-of-year exams, pending federal approval.
"This time is stressful enough for students, families and educators without the additional burden of annual testing,” Newsom said in a news release. “This is an unprecedented time, and our main focus is on supporting the mental and socioemotional health of students, while continuing to provide educational opportunities such as distance learning.”
The executive order comes a day after Newsom said that the 98.8 percent of public schools that have closed due to the coronavirus will likely remain closed through the spring. The state has also released new guidance for schools to continue distance learning.
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