California Gov. Gavin Newsom Extends Workers' Compensation to More Essential Workers

Medical personnel in facemasks are seen outside a hospital in Burbank, California on April 7, 2020 - coronavirus - covid-19-Getty - H 2020
FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP via Getty Images

Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors Chair Kathryn Barger on Wednesday also announced the first round of businesses that can reopen Friday, including trails, golf courses, florists and car dealers.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom on Wednesday announced the signing of an executive order extending workers' compensation to essential workers who test positive for COVID-19. 

During his daily coronavirus briefing, Newsom said benefits could only be rebutted by an employer "under strict criteria," and the benefits "should provide calm and relief" to those continuing to work amid the pandemic. He added that the goal is to "keep our workers healthy and keep them safe," and avoid situations in which a worker tests positive for COVID-19 and fears informing an employer because they will no longer be able to work.  

Newsom also announced the launch of a new website that offers test site availability for California residents, including the ability to make direct reservations for testing.

The governor noted that California is now testing about 30,000 people a day for the novel coronavirus, and has tested over 800,000 people as of his briefing announcement.

Some businesses also received positive news during Los Angeles County's daily briefing, held downtown at the Board of Supervisors headquarters.

County Board of Supervisors Chair Kathryn Barger announced the first round of businesses that can reopen, while abiding by safety precautions, on Friday. They include trails, golf courses, florists, car dealers and some retailers. Barger noted the health order allows for curbside pickup only, with in-store shopping on hold for now. 

"I appreciate the community’s continued understanding as we navigate this constantly changing issue. Our residents and businesses have been incredibly gracious and I know that it has not been easy for any of you," she said.

L.A. County Department of Public Health Director Dr. Barbara Ferrer also announced new coronavirus numbers during the county's daily briefing. Ferrer said that as of Wednesday, Los Angeles County had recorded 55 more fatalities and 851 newly diagnosed cases of COVID-19.

A total of 1,367 county residents have died from COVID-19, the illness caused by the novel coronavirus, and the total number of positive cases has reached 28,644 to date. The national figure for cases is over 1.2 million, with a death count reaching over 72,000.

Ferrer added in her report that of the 1,260 deaths reported in L.A. County for which ethnic data was available, 12 percent were African American, 19 percent Asian, 39 percent Latinx, 28 percent white, one percent Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander and one percent identified as another race.