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Newsom: Free and low-cost hotel options for health care workers

The governor addressed free and low-cost options for health care workers, free travel fare for Health Corps California hires and ventilator concerns.

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — As the need for health care workers increases across the globe, so too does the intense pressure on those in the medical field who have families at home. 

Their children and spouses may be social distancing by staying home from work and school, but what effect does their entering hospitals on a daily basis have on the health of their family? 

Many have decided to not take any chances - opting instead to pay out-of-pocket to stay in hotels, Gov. Newsom said in an update Thursday. He added that many workers are opting to sleep in their cars after a double shift, rather than commute and get less sleep. 

"This simply isn't acceptable," Newsom said, later announcing that he's proud to be able to offer those in the medical field some help starting on April 10. 

Health care workers can now find help from the state and "some of the finest hotel chains in the world" at caltravelstore.com. Here's how it works: 

  • Lower incomes: 100% reimbursement for costs of hotels across the state. 
  • Higher incomes: "Deeply discounted rates" for costs of hotels across the state.

RELATED: 15,000+ rooms acquired for homeless Californians, Gov. Newsom says

More than 150 hotels are participating in the stipend and voucher program and that number is only expected to grow, Newsom said, adding that this is an open-ended commitment until the coronavirus crisis passes.

Rooms will also be available to health care workers who have tested positive or who have been seriously exposed to the virus and are afraid to go home and infect their families. 

Starting April 10, frontline health care workers who are exposed to or test positive for COVID-19 can find hotel rooms through the CalTravelStore. 

Again, visit caltravelstore.com on April 10 to find participating hotels in your area and book a room. If you are a hotel and want to participate, email covid19lodging@dgs.ca.gov.

VENTILATORS 

Why is California sharing the wealth and lending acquired ventilators to other states? Because, Newsom said, it's the right thing to do as American citizens. 

Acknowledging that the sharing of ventilators is stressing out some Californias, Newsom shared the following information. 

  • Last month: 7,587 ventilators in 416 hospitals across the state.
  • Last week: 11,063
  • Today: 11,747

Every day the state is working to acquire more ventilators and refurbish them if necessary, so the overall number will continue to grow, Newsom said. 

"Ventilators can be used over and over and over again," Newsom said. "And when those ventilators are used to save lives in those other states, we have the firm commitment from those states to send them back."

Newsom went on to say that Virgin Orbit, a company in Southern California, is working on a "bridge ventilator" prototype that will also be available to those in our state who may need assistance breathing due to COVID-19. 

HEALTH CORPS CALIFORNIA 

Last week Gov. Newsom announced the creation of Health Corps California, which is expanding the health care workforce and staff by recruiting qualified professionals. 

RELATED: Gov. Newsom announces plan to hire health care workers during coronavirus surge

Any medical and health care professionals interested in signing up can visit healthcorps.ca.gov for more information and to register for the California Health Corps.

Thursday Newsom announced that, so far, more than 86,000 people have signed up, a number that he said is steadily growing and well above what the state expected. 

Inspired by Californian's willingness to help in a time of need, United Airlines reached out to the governor's office and said they would pay 100% of travel costs for health care workers across the globe who are hired by the Health Corps. 

Southwest, Alaska and Delta Airlines have also reached out and are covering travel costs for Health Corps workers. 

Newsom said these are open-ended commitments until the coronavirus crisis passes. Learn more at healthcorps.ca.gov

RELATED: 110,000 jobs are open in California; Onward CA will help you land one

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