More than 2.3 million new unemployment claims in California came in March, with the state struggling to keep up with the demand amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Starting Sunday, Californians should start to get relief.
According to Gov. Gavin Newsom, an additional $600 per week will be added to unemployment benefits due to the federal stimulus package, starting on Easter.
The average weekly benefit for Californians hovers around $340, so that average will now move to $940. For those that receive the maximum benefit, that will now be $1,050.
The new totals will last for four months.
According to Gov. Newsom, the Sunday payments are for those with already processed claims and for the week ending Saturday.
Gov. Newsom also said that the unemployment claims processed over the past four weeks exceed the totals for all of 2019, with the state paying $684.3 million in benefits last month.
In looking at the same week last year, the 925,450 claims in 2020 represents an increase of more than 2,400%.
COVID-19, by the numbers
The Santa Barbara County Public Health Department announced 15 additional confirmed COVID-19 cases on Thursday, running the county’s total to 243.
In California, there are now 20,212 confirmed cases with 547 deaths.
Santa Barbara County remains 15th in the state in total cases, although it is gaining ground on Ventura County, which is 13th with 274 cases.
In the United States, the confirmed-case total moved to 466,033, now more than 300,000 ahead of Spain, which is second in the world with 153,222 cases.
Worldwide, there are 1,602,216 cases with 95,735 deaths and 355,079 having recovered.
Cottage Health, by the numbers
Here is an updated look at where Cottage Health stands through Thursday:
- Cottage Health is caring for a total of 172 patients across all campuses.
- 129 are acute care patients; 244 acute care beds remain available.
- Of the 129 patients, 13 patients are on ventilators; 47 ventilators remain available (adult, pediatric and neonatal ventilators)
- Of the 129 patients, 13 patients are in isolation with confirmed COVID-19 diagnosis.
- Of the 13 patients in isolation, 8 patients are in critical care.
- Cottage has collected 1,514 cumulative test samples: 116 resulted in positive, 1,276 resulted in negative, and 122 are pending
Newsom defends lending ventilators
Gov. Newsom spent part of his day on Thursday sending hundreds of ventilators to other states in need, drawing criticism from some of the state’s counties that had requested, but had not received them.
He assured the state that there were plenty on hand to help fight the coronavirus, and that if the need grew, that the other states would return the ventilators.
“We can’t just sit on assets when we can save lives and help our fellow Americans, so I just want to clear up any anxiety in that space or any ambiguity or any misinformation,” Gov. Newsom said.
Gov. Newsom pointed to Californians heeding the stay-at-home orders as to why the ventilators aren’t immediately needed here, as the progression of the virus has slowed.