Student loan servicers are granting 90 days forbearance during the COVID-19 pandemic. (Photo by CafeCredit.com/Flickr)

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Twenty-one of the state’s 24 largest student loan servicers will offer 90 days of forbearance on student loan payments to more than one million residents during the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced recently.

Newsom credited Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker for leading the effort to support borrowers who were not covered by debt forbearance in the $2.2 trillion federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act.

Pritzker announced a similar order April 21 for residents with private and non-federal student loans.

Newsom also announced this past Thursday that he signed a retroactive executive order preventing debt collectors from garnishing the $1,200 federal stimulus payments included in the CARES Act.

Debt collectors who have already made those garnishments will be required to give the money back to the debt holder, Newsom said. The order does not apply to state residents making child support or victim fund payments.

“Under the economic circumstance that is the nature of this crisis for individuals and families, now is not the time to garnish those emergency contribution checks,” Newsom said.

On April 22, California experienced its deadliest 24-hour period since the pandemic began, according to Newsom, with 115 people dying around the state due to the coronavirus. That same day, the state also saw its largest number of new cases — 2,283. As of Monday, California’s death toll stands at 1,716 and public health officials have confirmed 43,691 cases statewide.

In spite of continually rising cases, Newsom said hospitalizations for the virus fell 4.4 percent and the number of patients in intensive care for the coronavirus fell 1.2 percent.

Newsom reminded residents that practicing physical distancing is even more imperative with warm weather expected across the state.

“People are prone to want to go to the beaches, parks, playgrounds and go on a hike and I anticipate there’ll be a significant increase in volume,” he said. “But I also think if there is and people aren’t practicing physical distancing, I’ll be announcing, in a week or so, these numbers going back up. I don’t think anybody wants to hear that.”