Contracting the coronavirus could lead to a substantial cash payout for residents in one California county.
Alameda County, of which the city of Oakland is the seat, will offer a $1,250 one-time payment to some residents who test positive for COVID-19 to encourage them to isolate themselves if they get sick.
The Los Angeles Times reported the Alameda County Board of Supervisors unanimously approved the pilot program this week.
In the program, the county has allocated $10 million for 7,500 participants.
The logistics of the program will be worked out over the next several weeks.
Alameda Supervisor Wilma Chan is leading the program, according to the newspaper.
Chan’s policy director, Vanessa Cedeño, told the Times that the program is a response to concerns of those residents who say they cannot afford to stay home if they get COVID-19.
“What we heard — through our conversations with [residents], or the conversations they were having with contact investigators and tracers — was that many of them just could not afford to lose two weeks’ worth of wages to quarantine and isolate,” Cedeño said.
“If people are afraid to get tested or they cannot isolate safely when they’re COVID positive, then our efforts to contain the virus are not going to be as successful,” she added.
Cedeño said that despite services such as food delivery, some Alameda County residents face financial ruin if they test positive for the coronavirus.
“But at the end of the day, you can’t meet everybody’s basic needs. Sometimes people just need the money,” she said.
According to the Times, county officials settled on the $1,250 figure because it equals the average of two 40-hour work weeks paid at minimum wage in the city of Emeryville, which has the highest minimum wage rate in Alameda County at $16.30 an hour.
A number of California’s elected officials have taken rather liberal approaches to either fighting the spread of the coronavirus or to distributing payouts to residents.
For example, Gov. Gavin Newsom ordered that illegal immigrant households in his state receive a maximum payment of $1,000 in May, NBC News reported.
That was in response to illegals being ineligible to receive stimulus payments under the federal $2.2 trillion CARES Act.
Newsom announced that $125 million would be set aside for those who are in the country illegally through a public-private collaborative disaster relief fund.
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