Skip to main content

Cononavirus and COVID-19 Information for California

Trustworthy information about COVID-19

How Long will California have to Shelter in Place?

We don't know.

In a press conference on March 23, Governor Newsom warned that the statewide closures and shelter in place regulations would likely stay in effect for at least 8 more weeks. 

These pages will be updated regularly (in some cases, daily) with the latest accurate, verifiable, news you can use during this pandemic.

Food Assistance During the Crisis

Isolating at home makes it hard to shop for food, and job loss can make that worse.

Meals on Wheels service to homebound seniors is expanding. A senior, their family member, or a caregiver can apply by calling 1-800-505-3367. More information and online applications in multiple languages on their website:


Food Banks offer free food baskets and other food assistance. Call Second Harvest of Silicon Valley Food Bank at 1-800-984-3663 between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m, or apply through their website. Their staff can provide information and assistance in English, Spanish, Vietnamese, Cantonese, Mandarin and Tagalog. 

Many school districts in Santa Clara County are distributing grab-and-go breakfasts and lunches to children (and some to adults too). 


Many local grocery stores chains (and some independents) have set up special shopping hours for seniors and/or other vulnerable people.

Medical Supplies and Facilities in the Bay Area

Demand for PPE - personal protective equipment, that is, masks, gloves, gowns and other barriers to infection - in healthcare centers is quickly outpacing available supplies.  If you have any that you can spare, here are some places around the Bay Area that are accepting donations, and details on what kinds of equipment to donate.


Many people and organizations are sewing face masks from cloth, too. Unfortunately these do not provide adequate protection for front-line medical staff. If medical-grade equipment is not available, a DIY mask with at least 2 layers may be useful for isolation at home situations, or to lower the chances of shedding viruses by asymptomatic people when outside the home on an essential errand. However, be aware that a recent comparative study found that the virus penetration rate for cloth masks was 97% (versus less than 50% for medical masks).

State authorities are also taking various measures to increase the number of hospital beds available during this crisis. In the Bay Area, plans are underway to re-open Seton Medical Center in Daly City, and also to use the Santa Clara Convention Center as a medical staging area.

Economic Support During the Pandemic

There are several measures being proposed and enacted to help people who are hit hard by this pandemic. The following are currently approved for people in California and/or in communities in Santa Clara County.

California is offering some financial assistance to people with confirmed COVID-19 and to those who care for them, through the state Employment Development Department (EDD).  From the California Department of Public Health website:

"Individuals who are unable to work due to having or being exposed to COVID-19 (certified by a medical professional) can file a Disability Insurance (DI) claim."

Californians who are unable to work because they are caring for an ill or quarantined family member with COVID-19 (certified by a medical professional) can file a Paid Family Leave (PFL) claim."

The CA EDD will waive the usual unemployment waiting period for those who lose their jobs (or have their hours significantly cut back)  due to this crisis. (And people who are self-employed or individual contractors are eligible for unemployment benefits if they meet certain criteria.)


If you don't have Health insurance, or lost it recently with loss of employment, you can sign up for it through Covered California (via the Affordable Care Act) though June 2020.


Housing relief:

PG&E stated on March 13 that "PG&E will not disconnect any customer's power for nonpayment during this health crisis." Their CARE program to reduce bills for customers facing economic hardships may also apply (check their website to see if qualify).


Support for unhoused / homeless :


Suspending student loans and/or interest on student loans:

The IRS has extended the deadline to file federal income tax to file and pay taxes to July 15, 2020. (It is also still possible to request a six-month extension to file taxes.) Deadlines for California state income tax have also been extended to July 15, 2020.


Later deadlines for 2019 income tax (both federal and California state):

About PlaneTree Health Library

PlaneTree Health Library's mission is to guide the public to trustworthy, accurate, and free health and medical information. It is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization. It does not take advertisements and its recommendations are independent of any commercial relationship.

Visit tour online information guides linked from our main website at:

The text on this page is copyright PlaneTree Health Library, licensed under Creative Commons CC BY-SA. Linked contents are the responsibility of their creators / copyright holders.