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California Gov. Gavin Newsom to spend $50M converting hotels into coronavirus isolation for homeless

More than 60,000 homeless people could become ill with the coronavirus in California over the next eight weeks, badly straining the healthcare system, the state governor has said.

California, the nation’s most populous state, has also been among the hardest hit by the coronavirus outbreak, with 598 confirmed cases as of Wednesday, a 21 percent increase over the day before, and at least 17 fatalities have been reported. 

Of 12,600 people tested there are still 3,250 results undelivered, and with hospitalization rates for those infected with the flu-like disease about 20 percent, a requirement for additional hospital beds could quickly overwhelm hospitals, Governor Gavin Newsom said.  

Modeling has shown that more than 60,000 homeless people could become ill with the coronavirus in California over the next eight weeks, Governor Gavin Newsom said Wednesday

People try to stay warm as they face the elements inside a homeless encampment flooded under a rainstorm across the Echo Park Lake in Los Angeles, Thursday, March 12

People try to stay warm as they face the elements inside a homeless encampment flooded under a rainstorm across the Echo Park Lake in Los Angeles, Thursday, March 12

Above a map shows the number of confirmed coronavirus infections and deaths in the US as of Thursday

Above a map shows the number of confirmed coronavirus infections and deaths in the US as of Thursday

‘Over the next eight-week period, we have modeled that of the 108,000 unsheltered Californians that are out on the streets, if you had an attack rate of about 56 perecent, you’re looking at 60-plus thousand individuals that may have COVID-19,’ Newsom, a Democrat, said in a Facebook address to the state.

‘That creates a deep point of anxiety for the existing population but moreover for our healthcare delivery system, our capacity to move people in and out of the shelters safely without contacting other people and putting them at risk as well.’

The governor said he had issued an executive order authorizing the distribution of an $100 million to cities and counties across California to blunt the impact of the respiratory illness on the homeless, and had acquired 1,300 trailers to use as temporary housing.

Another executive order directed that $50 million be used to convert motels and hotels into shelters where homeless people could be isolated if they caught the virus.

Newsom said he had spoken to the Trump administration about anchoring a U.S. Navy medical ship, the Mercy, off the Californian coast to house additional patients and to set up field hospitals in the state.

In San Francisco, doctors were seen in the streets on Wednesday breaking cover to give advice and provide help to the city’s large homeless population. The city is on lockdown for three weeks and six Bay Area counties have been told to shelter-in-place.

Governor said he had issued an executive order authorizing the distribution of an $100million to cities and counties across California to blunt the impact of COVID

Governor said he had issued an executive order authorizing the distribution of an $100million to cities and counties across California to blunt the impact of COVID

A homeless person shelters from the rain under a movie theater sign during the global outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Encinitas, California on March 18.Some cities are making provisions, finding new shelter so the homeless who contract the virus have a place to recover without spreading the infection further

A homeless person shelters from the rain under a movie theater sign during the global outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Encinitas, California on March 18.Some cities are making provisions, finding new shelter so the homeless who contract the virus have a place to recover without spreading the infection further

A duck swims in the gutter next to a homeless encampment flooded under a rainstorm across the Echo Park Lake in Los Angeles last Thursday

A duck swims in the gutter next to a homeless encampment flooded under a rainstorm across the Echo Park Lake in Los Angeles last Thursday

Experts say that the homeless, who often have health and substance-abuse problems, are exposed to the elements and do not have easy access to hygiene, are more vulnerable to the coronavirus.  

Anthony Colebar, 52, from Decatur, Illinois, who is homeless, and was shot in the face with a shotgun, said last week that he is not worried about the coronavirus, as he stood in a rainstorm outside his camp overlooking downtown Los Angeles.

Still some cities are making provisions, so the homeless who contract the virus have a place to recover without spreading the infection further. 

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said the state’s largest city was making a new push to identify homeless people considered most vulnerable to the virus, including the elderly and those with pre-existing medical conditions.

The Democratic mayor said that up to 6,000 of those potential coronavirus victims would be given beds in city recreational centers.

Patients suspected of carrying the virus would be isolated in emergency trailers, a move paid for by tapping into state funds made available by the governor.

LA is home to the notorious Skid Row where the streets are lined with cardboard boxes which the displaced used as shelter. 

A homeless encampment is seen under a rainstorm, Thursday, March 12, 2020, in downtown Los Angeles. Experts say that the homeless, who often have health and substance-abuse problems, are exposed to the elements and do not have easy access to hygiene, are more vulnerable to the coronavirus

A homeless encampment is seen under a rainstorm, Thursday, March 12, 2020, in downtown Los Angeles. Experts say that the homeless, who often have health and substance-abuse problems, are exposed to the elements and do not have easy access to hygiene, are more vulnerable to the coronavirus

Anthony Colebar, 52, from Decatur, Ill., who is homeless, and was shot in the face with a shotgun, says he is not worried about the coronavirus, as he stands in a rainstorm outside his camp overlooking downtown Los Angeles, last Thursday

Anthony Colebar, 52, from Decatur, Ill., who is homeless, and was shot in the face with a shotgun, says he is not worried about the coronavirus, as he stands in a rainstorm outside his camp overlooking downtown Los Angeles, last Thursday

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