Gov. Newsom reminds residents to take care of mental, physical health amid pandemic

Gov. Gavin Newsom reminded California residents Tuesday to take care of their mental and physical health during the novel coronavirus pandemic, especially if they’re not working outside their home.

Newsom and state Surgeon General Dr. Nadine Burke Harris acknowledged that abiding by state and regional shelter-in-place orders can cause people to feel lonelier, more anxious or depressed and more stressed.

Newsom said during his daily address on the pandemic that those feelings can be particularly hard to deal with for children because they may lack the words to describe how they’re feeling. Adults may also cope with stress and anxiety in unhealthy ways such as drinking alcohol, avoiding exercise or not reaching out to a friend or family member for help, Newsom said.

“We recognize, I recognize, we all, I think, recognize the nature of this moment and I just want folks to know that staying at home doesn’t mean you’re alone,” he said. “That as a state, we are here to do what we can to support you and to be there at a time of need.”

The state has more than a dozen hotlines for residents across the state to seek help and emotional support during the outbreak as well as once the outbreak has passed. Those services include different points of contact for different demographics, including military veterans, teenagers, seniors, people in the LGBTQ community and law enforcement officers.

Burke Harris’ office has also posted stress management “playbooks” on the state’s coronavirus website, covid19.ca.gov, as well as basic guidance for stress reduction like maintaining supportive relationships, getting at least one hour of exercise each day and maintaining a healthy diet and sleep schedule.

“It’s important to know that these changes aren’t just in your head and to begin to identify how stress shows up for you physically, emotionally and behaviorally,” Burke Harris said. “Individuals who have a history of trauma or adversity may also be at greater risk.”

As of Tuesday afternoon, California has 15,865 confirmed coronavirus cases, 374 deaths and 2,611 patients in the hospital due to the virus. Newsom said the state’s modeling of the virus has shown that while cases continue to rise steadily and have yet to peak, actions like physical distancing have helped to reduce the virus’ spread when compared to a scenario in which the state failed to take precautionary measures.

“I want to remind everybody that this state continues to take advantage of every hour of every day, every moment to make sure we’re prepared for any surge and prepared for the long haul,” Newsom said.

Information about the state’s coronavirus response efforts and the myriad resources available during the pandemic can be found at covid19.ca.gov.

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