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SAN DIEGO — Gov. Gavin Newsom announced an executive order guaranteeing two weeks of supplemental sick leave for food sector workers impacted by coronavirus in his daily news conference Thursday.

Newsom said the order affects “the folks on the front lines of our food delivery system,” including agriculture workers who pick and pack produce, drivers who deliver food, restaurant workers who prepare it, and grocery store workers, among others.

Employees who have contracted coronavirus, come into direct contact with someone with the virus, or who have been forced into quarantine will be eligible for the paid leave, the governor said.

Henry Vasques, 26, has been an agricultural laborer for 9 years. He worries about Covid-19, especially working so closely with other workers all day long without protection. “I’m uncomfortable,” he says, “but I must work.” Agricultural workers from Bud Farms harvest and pack celery and other crops for both American and export consumption. At this time, many of those working in agriculture have become essential workers, helping to ensure Americas food supply does not dry up as so many other business close down to weather the pandemic. (Photo by Brent Stirton/Getty Images.)

“We want to make sure that you know: If you’re sick, it’s OK to acknowledge it,” Newsom said, encouraging workers to report to their supervisor and take leave without worrying about the economic consequences.

The governor also commended the healthy workers who are still showing up to the front lines each day. “A lot of folks could easily dial it in, file for unemployment insurance, call it a day,” Newsom said. “But there’s dignity in work (and) with dignity comes respect and admiration.”

The paid leave program was negotiated by the state, the California Grocers Association and union leaders, according to the governor.

Calif. coronavirus tallies

According to the state’s official record, there are 26,182 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in California.

That includes 1,191 coronavirus patients who are being treated intensive care units, a 1.4% increase over the last 24 hours. Meanwhile, the number of hospitalizations saw a “modest decline” of .9%, to 3,141, Newsom said.

The governor said there were 69 deaths in California due to COVID-19 over the last 24 hours, making 890 “families torn asunder.” The governor called the number “a very sober reminder” at a time when conversations about loosening social restrictions are intensifying on a national and state level.

Both ICU and hospitalization totals have stabilized in recent days, bouncing between increases and decreases in the low single-digits.