gavin schoolsNearly 99 percent of California schools are closed, and it will likely stay that way for the foreseeable future, Gov. Gavin Newsom said Tuesday.

“This is a very sober thing to say,” he said, telling parents: “Don’t anticipate schools will open in a week. ... Few, if any, will open before the summer break.”

That means more than 6 million California students will continue home-schooling and distance-learning for several weeks.

Newsom made the announcement during an update on the state’s efforts to battle the coronavirus.

Earlier on Tuesday, the governor signed a $1.1 billion emergency funding package. He said some of that money will be used to shore up hospitals and prepare for a surge of patients in some areas.

The state has been taking stock of its capacity — about 75,000 beds with additional surge capacity — and plans to acquire and activate two “very large” hospitals, one in Northern California and the other in the south. Newsom said he plans to announce more details on those hospitals this Friday.

Based on projections, the governor said the state could need anywhere between 5,000 and 20,000 additional hospital beds in a worst case scenario.

“We need to prepare for a capacity that will ultimately transpire if our projections materialize,” he said, expressing concern that some hospitals could be overwhelmed by the crisis.

Newsom said other counties will likely soon follow Sacramento and the seven Bay Area counties that ordered all residents to stay at home.

“It’s now just time to absorb and recognize that we need to change our behaviors in a way that meets this moment,” he said, though he cautioned that the state “reserve[s] the right to go farther if we don’t think local efforts are meeting the moment.”

(Photo: California Gov. Gavin Newsom updates the state's response to the coronavirus, at the Governor's Office of Emergency Services in Rancho Cordova Calif., Tuesday, March 17, 2020 - Rich Pedroncelli, Pool / AP Photo)


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