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California working to extend extra benefits for health care workers

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SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KRON) — California is trying to extend extra benefits to healthcare workers on the frontlines of COVID-19.

California healthcare workers on the frontlines of COVID-19 now have access to travel vouchers and stipends.

Governor Newsom announced Thursday the state will reimburse lower wage workers 100% of hotel costs and provide vouchers to others who need to sleep away from home for work.

“So that they can be closer to their patients, and to provide them the opportunity to worry about being out of pocket or worry about exposing their families or god forbid worry about sleeping in their cars,” Newsom said.

The 150 hotels that are part of the state’s bulk purchasing plan will be available on a new state website starting Friday.

Newsom said FEMA will help fund this program along with a $25 million dollar donation from Mark  Zuckerberg.

“We need to provide the kind of support for a work force that is deeply stressed out, deeply stretched,” Newsom said.

Enhancing staff throughout the state’s medical workforce, California now has more than 86,000 applicants for its health corps.

Newsom said Thursday the first 350 people have been picked to help launch the program.

To help HealthCorps members get to their destination, Newsom announced a handful of airlines stepped in to offer free round trip tickets to their temporary workplace.

“No matter where they are at any point across the globe,” Newsom said. “Doesn’t matter if they’re in the state or not.”

The state, trying to put resources in place ahead of its predicted patient surge in mid-May.

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