A new program called “Stay Home. Save Lives. Check In,” intended to help older Californians combat isolation and food insecurity was announced by Gov. Gavin Newsom during a press conference in Sacramento today, Tuesday, March 31.

“The most important way for older Californians to stay safe is to stay at home,” said Newsom. “No older Californian should be forced to go outside to get groceries or their medication. It’s on all of us across the state to check in on the older adults in our lives – our friends, family and neighbors – to help them during this outbreak. Each and every one of us must reach out in a safe way to make sure our older neighbors have someone to talk to and have enough food to eat during these difficult times.”

Newsom described the challenges older Californians face obtaining basic necessities like food and medical prescriptions in addition to anxiety and isolation experienced while the stay-at-home order is in effect. The campaign urges all Californians to check on older neighbors with a call, text or physically distanced door knock. In addition, the state is urging local nonprofits and faith-based organizations to call to check on all of the older Californians in their networks.

The governor also announced the creation of a statewide hotline, 833-544-2374, in coordination with the nonprofit local 2-1-1 systems, giving Californians a single point of contact to get assistance while stay-at-home order is in place.

“Social isolation can be difficult for older Californians even in the best of times,” said Kim McCoy Wade, director of the California Department of Aging. “We have to help aging Californians feel connected – and we must ensure we all have access to any needed services right now. This work will save lives.”

During the hour-long conference Newsom touched on a number of other topics. Acknowledging that direction on the use of face masks while in public has been inconsistent, he said the state is preparing to provide definitive direction based on the best available science.

Additionally, Newsom provided updated numbers on the spread of the coronavirus in the state. To date, 6,932 cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed with 150 related deaths. He said that the number of patients in intensive care units due to infection has tripled in the last five days. According to the governor, the number of cases is expected to peak in California in the middle of May.

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