Bay Area county passes plan to pay some COVID-positive residents to stay home

The Alameda County Board of Supervisors unanimously passed a pilot program that will pay infected people a one-time stipend of $1,250 to stay home.
ALAMEDA COUNTY, Calif. -- A Bay Area county's Board of Supervisors on Tuesday unanimously passed a pilot program that will pay infected people a one-time stipend of $1,250 to stay home.

Alameda County Supervisor Wilma Chan has visited parts of the county hardest hit by COVID-19, like the Acorn district in West Oakland.

"And what people said was they can't isolate, they have to keep going to work, because they don't have money," explained Chan.

The stipend program is expected to help thousands of people.

"When you have people who are going out and not being able to quarantine, when they are sick, this is going to spread the disease even more," says Chan, who is also the chairperson of the county's health committee.

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Chan said $10 million is earmarked for the program, which will help those living in the five neighborhoods of Alameda County with the highest rates of COVID-19: Acorn, two areas of East Oakland (including the Fruitvale district), South Hayward, and Ashland and Cherryland in unincorporated Alameda County near San Leandro.

But not everyone will qualify.

Individuals must be COVID-19 positive and referred by one of several approved neighborhood clinics. Also, they can't be eligible for any form of state or federal unemployment.

"Many of them are immigrants, and many are people who have not received benefits under the CARES Act," said Chan.

Chan said the program is a "significant" piece of the county's overall attempt to help to those struggling financially during the pandemic. She said the county is working with the community and public health leaders to come up with other innovative solutions.

They have yet to announce a start date for the program.
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