Coronavirus Cash: Alameda County Launches Stipend Program For Those Diagnosed With COVID-19

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If you’re sick with COVID-19, you could soon be getting a check in the mail.

Alameda County will pay $1,250 dollars to people diagnosed with COVID-19 to stay home and self-isolate if they’re not receiving unemployment benefits or paid sick leave. The county's Board of Supervisors approved the pilot program Tuesday as a way to help curb the spread of the coronavirus and help hourly workers who can’t afford the loss in wages.

"There’s kind of some necessary components to being able to stay at home," Supervisor Wilma Chan told KCBS Radio. "One of them is having some money. People are living paycheck to paycheck."

To qualify, people must get a referral from one of five community clinics that are located in hard-hit areas such as East Oakland and Hayward.

The program is expected to cover up to 7,500 people.

"The challenge for the pandemic may be long-term," Supervisor Keith Carson said. "There is clearly not a cure now. We don’t have a vaccine. We’re not sure if there’s going to be additional federal and state dollars that are going to be available to help us."

It’s not yet been determined when the program will get underway. The stipend's total was determined based on two-weeks pay at minimum wage in Alameda County.

Supervisors are aiming not to exceed $10 million in costs.