Apr 7, 2020
California Gov. Gavin Newsom COVID-19 Briefing April 7
California Governor Gavin Newsom held a press conference today on coronavirus. He announced a playbook for helping stress during the pandemic. He said the curve is “stretching” for California. Read the transcript here.
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Gavin Newsom: (00:00)
Moments that all of us are working through to reconcile the world we’re living in, to reconcile the need to pay our rent, our mortgage, to understand whether or not we could educate our kids at home with all of the other burdens and challenges that we face within the household, and where we’re going as a state and as a nation. The old adage, “We’re nothing but a mirror of our consistent thoughts.” Whatever we tend to focus on, we find more of. And if you’re like me, you’re focused on the nightly news 24/7 cycle, seven days a week. There’s a lot of anxiety running through those broadcasts, a lot of fear that is induced focusing on what this nation and the world is doing to meet this pandemic head-on. That stress is manifest, that stress is real. And all of us work through that stress differently.
Gavin Newsom: (00:59)
No one can moralize how some people deal with it versus others. Some people are coping quite well, others are struggling, understandably, struggling because they lost their job and they don’t have a paycheck, struggling because their kids aren’t at school, struggling in ways where they’re having a hard time sleeping, where they’re a little bit shorter, a little more irritable, and they’re prone to doing things that aren’t healthy. They may be drinking more than they should. I don’t just mean adult beverages, high sugar drinks. They may not be taking time to breathe. They may not even be taking time to reflect on their own health and the need to exercise, to hydrate, and to focus on reaching out and embracing someone else or calling for help, calling a friend and saying, “You know what? Can I just talk?” 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.
Gavin Newsom: (02:07)
That as a state, we are here to do what we can to support you and to be there at a time of need. I’ve tasked the surgeon general of the state of California, Dr. Nadine Harris Burke, to put together a strategy and a protocol to help support you and to support caregivers that need the peer to peer support, a little psychological first aid themselves to get through the day and to continue to thrive, not just survive, in terms of the workload as they’re taking care of people all throughout the state of California. I’ve asked her to consider not only the physical health needs of Californians in the context of addressing the issues of this virus, but the brain health needs, the mental health. After all, the brain is part of the body, and there’s nothing to be ashamed by recognizing your own limitations in terms of the stress and the angst that you may feel.
Gavin Newsom: (03:06)
In fact, there’s probably no one stronger than when he or she recognizes those stress points. And so we are putting out guidelines. We’re putting out guidance not only to our health plans in the state of California, both on the private side and on the public side, our Medi-Cal system, but we’re also putting a playbook together for you, a checklist as adults, as caregivers, but also a checklist for our children. Because everything I just said, it’s translated very differently into our children. Our children aren’t able to communicate words like this, “Boy, I’m completely stressed out.” Not a young child, maybe a teenager, but not a young child. And they manifest stress very differently. They have a tummy ache. They may not be sleeping as well. They may be particularly irritable. Sort of jumping back and forth. Well, I explained my daughter a few weeks ago as she threw her bed over because she was so upset when I told her it’s likely she wasn’t going to go back to school and see her friends this school year.
Gavin Newsom: (04:12)
Everybody manifest this differently, and our children are most vulnerable because they’re not able to communicate as effectively as many of the adults and caregivers. So we have a play book for them as well, a checklist for our children as well. And we have resources. We have on our COVID19.ca.gov website, COVID19.ca.gov website, we have 16 hotlines that we have made available, including text chat lines, where people can address their particular needs as it relates to domestic violence. Intimate partner battering, we’re seeing increasing in times of stress and the need to get help. You can call that DV hotline. Elder abuse of our seniors, we have a hotline for that. Child abuse, we have a hotline for that. Teens feeling deep emotional stress that are feeling in crisis, we have teen crisis hotline. All of these things available in many, many languages, there’s up to 170 languages in some instances.
Gavin Newsom: (05:29)
LGBTQ and their unique challenges. Across the spectrum supports, substance abuse, alcohol abuse, all of those hotlines. All of those resource sites are available on COVID19.ca.gov to help support you during these times of needs. There’s also concern, and I’ll ask the doctor to come up in a second, around secondary health effects. We talk about your physical health as it relates to making sure we stay at home, we practice physical distancing, we continue to do what we must in terms of our personal hygiene, washing our hands and the like. But it’s also true that stress hormones create the kind of anxiety that induces other secondary effects. It impacts your blood pressure. It impacts your heart and can increase the likelihood of a stroke. It can impact your diabetes. It can certainly impact your sense of wellbeing and depression and the like. And so the secondary health impacts are a big part of what we’re also looking to respond to.
Gavin Newsom: (06:42)
And that’s again the purpose of the guidance we’re putting out today and the incredible work that our surgeon general has been doing to integrate the behavioral, mental health side of the world and the substance abuse side of the world. She’s been working for many, many weeks to put together the guidance that we’re putting out today and to meet these challenges head on and to be there and extend a hand for you at this time of great stress and need. And so I shouldn’t belabor this, let me just ask her to come on up. It’s your surgeon general. We’re proud as the state of California to have our own surgeon general. But her expertise has been and continues to be trauma informed care, a world expert in this space. And she’s bringing that expertise to help address this moment so all of us can work through that fear and anxiety as we all are capable of doing with resiliency and the capacity to adapt to the moment as long as we have the support to get through this moment. With that, Dr. Burke Harris.
Dr. Nadine Burke Harris: (07:56)
Thank you, governor. The actions we’re all taking to slow the spread of coronavirus, physical distancing, hand-washing, wearing masks and proper disinfecting, are critically necessary and remain the top priority. But while we keep our physical distance, our social supports to maintain emotional and spiritual connection are more important than ever for our physical and mental health. The health impacts of coronavirus go beyond infection and COVID disease. It is important to recognize that stress related to the pandemic that many are feeling right now, compounded by the economic distress due to lost wages, employment and financial assets, plus school closures and sustained physical distancing can trigger the biological response, which also has an impact on our health and wellbeing. During times of heightened stress, our bodies make more stress hormones, including adrenaline and cortisol, and these can affect our health, our behaviors and our emotions. Overactivity of the stress response can be associated with a variety of symptoms, some of which are familiar and others that are less well known.
Dr. Nadine Burke Harris: (09:25)
Familiar symptoms include changes in sleep patterns or appetite, mood changes such as anxiety, depression, or anger, and increased risk of substance use or dependence and family violence. However, health conditions such as headache, abdominal pain, and digestive difficulties, increased blood pressure or blood sugar, asthma exacerbations, and increased risk of infection are also associated with an overactive stress response. 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.
Dr. Nadine Burke Harris: (10:09)
Individuals who have a history of trauma or adversity may also be at greater risk. The good news is that there are simple ways, simple things that you can do every day at home to protect your and your family’s health. Safe, stable and nurturing relationships help to protect our brains and bodies from the harmful effects of stress and adversity. Healthy nutrition, regular exercise, mindfulness like meditation, good sleep hygiene and staying connected to our social supports and getting mental health care all help to decrease stress hormones and improve our health. We’ve brought together evidence-based guidance in the surgeon general’s playbook on stress relief during COVID-19 and an additional playbook for caregivers and kids that offers practical tools and tips that you can add to your daily routine.
Dr. Nadine Burke Harris: (11:16)
We’ve also developed guidance for health plans and healthcare providers on addressing stress related health concerns during this pandemic, including how to implement trauma informed care and supporting provider resilience. That information is available at acesaware.org. If you are concerned about the effects of stress on your health, call your doctor or your mental health professional. And if you need help finding resources, visit the emotional support and wellbeing homepage at COVID19.ca.gov. Thank you.
Gavin Newsom: (11:55)
Thank you doctor, and the surgeon general will be available for questions in a moment as well. I’ll just remind everything. We are bigger than anything we face. And so I know the fear and anxiety we all have, but let us have faith. Faith conquers all. And know that this will pass. It will pass. And in that light, and in that spirit, let me give you an update on where we are in terms of the total number of positive cases in this state. And let me give you a sense of optimism in terms of the curve in California bending. It is bending, but it’s also stretching. And I want to make that point and that distinction in a moment. But let me first just give you the updated numbers. 15,865 individuals are currently tested positive for COVID-19. That represents a 10.7% increase over yesterday. Hotel or rather hospitalizations in the state of California and ICU beds, again, those are the numbers that I look at first thing every morning.
Gavin Newsom: (13:03)
The hospitalization numbers went up to 2,611 yesterday. That’s about a 4.1% increase from the previous day. ICUs went up to 1,108. That was about a 2.1% increase over the course of the last 24 hours. 2.1%, we’ll take. Of course, too many. We want to see that number go down, not up, but these are not the double digit increases we’re seeing in hospitalization rates or ICU rates that we saw even a week or so ago. That’s not to suggest by any stretch of the imagination that we’ll continue to see these declines. It’s to only reinforce the importance of maintaining physical distancing and continuing our stay at home policy that has helped bend the curve in the state of California. But that curve continues to rise, just not at the slope that originally was projected without the kind of interventions, these non-pharmaceutical interventions like physical distancing have provided for us, so let us continue in that stead, continue in that spirit, to meet yes, this moment and continue to do more to practice the physical distancing and the social distancing that are required.
Gavin Newsom: (14:28)
There are, unfortunately, now some 374 individuals that have lost their lives. 31 additional families that have a loved one lost their lives from this time yesterday, so that’s the progress report in terms of the numbers. 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.
Gavin Newsom: (15:01)
And I talked about the curve bending but also stretching and that’s why I just want to impress upon people, our modeling shows that we’re not at peak in a week or two, that we are seeing a slow and steady increase, but it’s moderate and it’s moderate again, because of the actions all of you have taken in terms of the physical distancing. That moderate increase has allowed us to do what we did yesterday and that was to announce the 4,613 alternative care sites to help us decompress our hospital system. It’s allowed us to begin to process the 89 plus thousand people that have filled out the application on our health corp website and to begin to triage individuals in their unique expertise and capacity so that we can staff those alternative care sites and to procure more personal protective gear. And we’ll have more on that tomorrow as we continue to find more places to source N95 masks, shields, gowns, coveralls, and the like, including ventilators.
Gavin Newsom: (16:15)
I just want to say briefly though on the ventilators, I couldn’t be more proud of the good work that my fellow governors are doing all across this country. I’ve had some really remarkable conversations with the governors individually and as a group and we couldn’t be more proud as a state to be sending those ventilators back east and just know that the first ones will arrive in New York and New Jersey and Illinois tonight. Two planes are going out with those vents back east and into the state of Illinois. We have four other states that we will be sending ventilators to as well. And I just want to thank those governors for all the good work they’re doing, all the hard work they’re doing, and the constant engagement back and forth as we all are dealing with different point in time in terms of the acuity of the COVID-19 response. And they are certainly, in those states dealing, with a curve that puts a deep pressure on their healthcare delivery system. And we’re just proud as a state because of the great work that all of you have done in slowing down that rate of growth, that we’re able to provide those resources and confidently know that those supports will be reciprocated by those governors and by those states unquestionably. So again, the spirit of this moment and the spirit of people…
Dr. Mark Ghaly: (17:43)
We see in communication with our hospitals on a very regular basis to ensure that they have the ventilators on hand to take care of the patients who are coming through their doors. But we anticipate needing those down the road in next month and in the month of June.
Gavin Newsom: (18:03)
And [inaudible 00:18:06], just remind you yesterday I made a announcement, may not have been picked up by everybody, but because of the great work that’s been done by our hospitals, again, all 416 hospitals within the state of California, they had originally assessed an inventory of 7,587 ventilators. They came back after repurposing, refurbishing, and doing even more work to get ventilators within the system from outside of the system. They now have an inventory of 11,036 and by the way, that number is dynamic as they’re ordering ventilators from sources all across the country and around the world as well.
Gavin Newsom: (18:42)
In addition, as you know, we had originally estimated, not estimated, we initially announced that we had 4,252 ventilators that we had secured in the state of California. A lot of those needed to be refurbished. We’ve talked a lot about how they’ve gotten refurbished and in addition to that, we have sourced a few thousand ventilators that are on their way that have been procured. Checks had been cut and we will be receiving the first shipment early this week and that, for all of those reasons, we felt we were well positioned to make the contribution and lend those 500 ventilators to those states most in need. So that was the determination because we feel we’re adequately resourced for the moment. Again, in a dynamic world where things can change, but we’re confident that the number of ventilators that we currently have in possession are adequate to the task in the very short term.
Speaker 1: (19:41)
Kathleen Ronayne, AP.
Kathleen Ronayne: (19:44)
Hi governor. So I have a question about the 500 ventilators that we loaned yesterday. I just want to be clear on exactly what role California played in deciding where they would go. The vice president yesterday said in the White House briefing who laid out states they would go to, he did not mention New York, New Jersey, and Illinois. He may have just misspoke, but I’m wondering did we play any role at all in deciding where those ventilators would go?
Gavin Newsom: (20:13)
We did. 100 going to New York, 100 going in New Jersey, 100 going to Illinois. The Vice President was correct. Ventilators are going to DC, Delaware ventilators are going to Maryland and likely Nevada, so that was the determination. It was done through the collective wisdom of our partners at FEMA and I will remind you, we have extraordinary partnership with FEMA, both from the acting director Peter Gaynor, and our regional director, Bob Fenton. It was done in collaboration with their expectation and needs of what is required of the moment on the ground based upon that data and that collaborative engagement. We made those determinations working together, including with the Vice President and his task force.
Speaker 1: (21:03)
Alejandro Lazo, Wall Street journal.
Alejandro Lazo : (21:06)
Hi. Thank you. I’m trying to get a bit of clarity on the number of open hospital beds that there are statewide, not just the total that the system could handle. Is it thousands? Are we talking about tens of thousands of open hospital beds that are available to COVID-19 patients? We know that LA County has had about 1600 hospital beds, including 300 ICU beds available yesterday, but we’d really like to know statewide. Can you tell us how many statewide beds are open right now? We just think that’s a very critical number.
Gavin Newsom: (21:44)
Yeah, well, we’ve done an amazing job. I’ll ask Dr. Ghaly to fill in the blanks on that. The hospital system has done a remarkable job at decompressing their own system at a great cost to the hospital system. Economic costs, but they have done a remarkable job at slack and that is reducing the number of elected surgeries. Trauma is down because ED numbers are down and as a consequence, they have prepared. So we have the surge numbers, which you’re right to reference and then we have the slack, the availability within the existing footprint of those 75,000 licensed beds. Those numbers change on a daily basis. You referenced Los Angeles County and might as well as the former head of that County Health Department, our HHS secretary to fill in more details about the statewide numbers.
Dr. Mark Ghaly: (22:43)
So again, thank you for raising what is increasingly an important number, which is a slack in the system, meaning those beds that are available now to us that might not have been if the hospitals as a collective hadn’t done a number of the things that the governor has mentioned and that he has urged them to do to prepare for COVID19 surge. We know that in each region that there are hundreds, if not thousands of beds available. We are working closely with the big systems to track that on a regular basis to try to get that number so we can quantify it. We don’t have a clear estimate statewide as to that number. I think you’ve mentioned the LA County number that has hovered between 14 and 1600 on a regular basis and that’s in the collective hospital system within that region. We expect that a number of hospitals are doing the same in terms of collecting that information and that that number will be made available not just to the public, but is very important to us for our planning purposes.
Dr. Mark Ghaly: (23:45)
When the governor speaks about the need for 50,000 total beds to handle surge, we must account for those Slack bed capacity and it’s not just available beds, meaning a bed that’s available in a room. It also has to take into account the staffing that’s available to manage a patient in that bed as well as all of the equipment, including PPE, that goes with it. So all of that must come together to nuance that total bed number in order for us to feel confident that that’s a space of patient can go during our surge planning processes.
Gavin Newsom: (24:23)
Speaker 1: (24:24)
Jeremy White, Politico.
Jeremy White: (24:28)
Governor, thanks as always. I have a question about how this is playing out across the state. Obviously California, very big place, and a lot of different geographical and political regions there. We’re hearing that folks, particularly in more rural parts of the state, Central Valley are more resistant to some of these restrictions. Congressman Nunes was criticizing you again today about this. I’m just curious to know, has that made it more difficult to have a uniformed response across the state and are you seeing sort of pockets of resistance?
Gavin Newsom: (24:57)
I mean, you certainly do. And it doesn’t help if everybody’s not on the same page. We’ve been enlivened by the spirit of collaboration and cooperation broadly across the state of California, and I’ve been impressed, but I’ve also made the point, not only have I been impressed, but it’s demonstrable. It’s exampled in the hospitalization numbers, in the ICU numbers that it has helped us bend the curve. So I want to impress upon people the importance, the imperative of continuing physical distancing and not taking their foot off the pedal, not taking things for granted, not slacking in terms of their own behavior, and not getting cabin fever, which trust me, is the reason we made the announcement today with our surgeon general because we recognize those anxieties that people are facing, but most of the parts of the state are doing a fantastic job. But there are some pockets, not just in rural parts of the state, but some coastal parts of the state. And I will make this crystal clear. The expectation is with the weather now turning and sun beginning to…
Gavin Newsom: (26:03)
… shine more brightly and things warming up, that there’ll be ongoing pressures on our beaches and our state parks, so we’ll have to be vigilant. But all of this is being monitored, and to your question, forgive me again, the long-windedness, yes, we’re seeing some of that, but let me continue to focus on the overwhelming majority of people, regardless of political stripes or geographic considerations, that have really met this moment.
Speaker 3: (26:32)
David Lightman, McClatchy.
David Lightman: (26:35)
Thank you very much. Governor, I know that EDD has been beefing up staffing, and you’ve been trying to help out with staffing, but we are getting calls and texts saying people simply cannot even get through on the phone or email before they can even file for benefits. Phones, for example, are manned only four hours a day, so what specific additional steps can you take to be responsive to people in this situation?
Gavin Newsom: (27:01)
Well, specifically to benefits, we’ve done surge staffing. Our UI benefits now total 2.3 million people filed unemployment insurance claims. They did immediate re-staffing by adding an additional 200 personnel. They have now 800 on top of that that are available to be redeployed. They’re still within the framework of being able to turn those UI benefits around within the old three week framework, and that continues to be our goal, despite this unprecedented surge. As it relates to other forms or other areas where people are contacting state government, to the extent someone’s open just four hours a day for critical services, I’ll have to learn more about that. There are federal programs where we’re hearing that claims management is being overwhelmed. Websites are collapsing. Certainly within the state, we’re trying in real time to improve our capacity to deliver, but I know just on the small business side of things, those systems have been substantially impacted by call volume, and obviously we all have to do more and do better to meet the increased inquiries and the increased applications.
Speaker 3: (28:15)
Alexei Koseff, SF Chronicle.
Alexei Koseff: (28:19)
Hey, governor. I wanted to return to your announcement from Friday about the hotel rooms for unsheltered people. You had previously spoken about wanting to get everyone who’s unsheltered into a hotel room in the state, but on Friday you spoke about only 15,000 hotel rooms. Is your goal still to get every unsheltered person into a hotel room during this pandemic, and if not, what has the plan shifted to?
Gavin Newsom: (28:56)
Alexei, respectfully, I don’t recall saying we had a plan to get 108,000 people. That’s the current census of people that are unsheltered in the state of California, immediately off the streets. That’s again the number of unsheltered. The total number of homeless in the last census count that was done last January is 151,000 individuals. What we did say is there’s a subset of vulnerable Californians out on the streets and sidewalks. That would be our top priority, and that total number was in the 50,000 to 60,000 range. That’s when we launched this effort to prioritize our homeless. We talked about those trailers, and we talked about the program to begin to get occupancy agreements for motels and hotels all up and down the state of California.
Gavin Newsom: (29:44)
As you may have seen, when we announced Project Room Key, that was a subset of our overall homeless strategy. It was specific and prescriptive to a FEMA reimbursed program for 15,000 units. I can say this. We are over halfway there in terms of signing up those rooms. 7,643 of those rooms now have been secured, and we’re bringing people in on a daily basis, an hourly basis, and it can’t happen soon enough. But again, we need to do that with county participation and county partners. That was the specific subset, the 15,000. The total overlay of goals that has been encouraged through the good work of our local partners is in that 50 plus thousand range.
Gavin Newsom: (30:36)
Let me now tell you why I expect that number to be met. We provided $800 million in emergency aid to our cities, counties and our CACs. The award letters have gone out on over $800 million of, A, the $150 million the legislature just approved, and the $650 million that finally is getting out from last year’s budget. That should substantially aid local efforts above and beyond Project Room Key to secure sites, to get people out of their encampments, to get people off the streets, and to get people out of congregate settings where they may be vulnerable, both because staff may be impacted by COVID-19 or individual clients and those shelter systems.
Gavin Newsom: (31:26)
Look, it’s a stretch goal. No one’s naive. This is unprecedented, and let me say this as a point of pride. There’s not a state in America that’s even put a plan together to get 15,000 rooms. There’s not a state that’s gotten the support of FEMA to reimburse 75% of that, and I’m very proud of those efforts. Very proud of the work that’s being done at the county level, and you’re absolutely right. We need to do more, and we need to see this happen with a deeper sense of urgency. I get it, and there’s only so much that we can do from the state. We have to manifest this at the local level, and local partnerships are critical to make this happen.
Speaker 3: (32:07)
Tanu Henry, California Black Media.
Tanu Henry: (32:10)
Thank you, Governor. Thank you, Attorney General. Early signs are showing or indicating that the pandemic is actually affecting African Americans more in cities like Detroit, Chicago, now D.C., and even Milwaukee. I’m checking to see if there’s anything you can do to start collecting racial data. I know there have been some calls in Los Angeles, and there’s also been calls from Elizabeth Warren, Senator Warren and Congresswoman Presley. Is there anything we can do to start to collect racial data and to see if that’s the case here in California, and probably there are broader implications around the country?
Gavin Newsom: (32:55)
No, I appreciate that question and I think it’s one of the most important questions that we’ve been asked in the last few weeks. That is we see the world through a different lens. One size does not fit all. We see the world through a bottom up lens, culturally competent lens. We need to meet people where they are, and as a consequence the answer to your question is yes. We’re disaggregating the data to break things down, both on hospitalizations, ICUs, and in terms of death rates. We have gotten preliminary data back on that. We’re still waiting for all of the data before I make it public and present it. I want it to be accurate, but that is being broken down in real time.
Gavin Newsom: (33:38)
Let me then extend a point of consideration. We need to do the same as it relates to testing, because the disparities on testing are a point of obvious and real concern to make sure that all communities in the state of California are being tested, not just some. Not just people that have a capacity to fill out an online application and get triaged at one of these drive-by testing sites or someone that has a primary care physician and outstanding health plan that is prioritized into that system to get a PCR test, but to make sure we’re in East Palo Alto, East LA, East Oakland, and other parts of this state and making sure that we do justice to the prism as it relates to race, ethnicity, as well as making sure geographic considerations are met. I don’t know if the surgeon general wants to fill in the blank a little bit more, but this has been quite literally the cause of her life.
Nadine Burke Harris: (34:41)
Thank you, Governor. The thing that I would add is a recognition that a couple of things. Number one, there was unfortunately a terrible rumor circulating that for some reason African Americans don’t get coronavirus. That rumor is completely false, and it’s really important for all of us to get out there in debunking that rumor.
Nadine Burke Harris: (35:04)
One of the pieces that we also recognize is that because of the true and unfortunate history of medical maltreatment of different groups of people but especially African Americans in the United States, there are real issues of trust between the African American community and the healthcare system. That’s why it’s really important for all of us in all of our communities to distribute these messages through our trusted elders, through our trusted messengers within the communities, our faith communities, our pastors, whomever folks recognize can be trusted messengers to make sure that folks truly are heeding the life-saving message that we need to stay home, save lives, and practice physical distancing. This is true in our communities of color, in our tribal communities, and other communities where we recognize that some of the messaging that’s coming, specifically from our public health infrastructure, needs the help and support of our trusted messengers within our communities. Thank you.
Gavin Newsom: (36:15)
Speaker 3: (36:16)
Sophia Bollag, Sacramento Bee.
Sophia Bollag: (36:22)
Hi, Governor. I’m wondering if you could give us an update on your efforts that you announced over the weekend on testing. Have you guys been able to dramatically ramp up testing as you said you wanted to, and are there plans to start using that antibody test more widely?
Gavin Newsom: (36:42)
Yeah. So we’re at 157,800 tests that we have conducted in the state. We’re starting to see these things ramp up. As I said, it won’t be a couple of days where we’ll be getting to 25,000 tests on a daily basis. It will be over the course of the next few weeks, so I feel confident in what we announced and what is being advanced, what is happening all across the state with our task force and the good work that they’re doing. Part of that work includes, as you suggest, the partnership with Stanford University, serology tests and moving to blood-based tests, and those now are continuing on pace. I don’t want to over-promise. We’re going to start small, but you’ll see incremental improvements in that testing modality as well. So not just PCR swab-based tests, but blood-based tests are now part of the protocols that are being advanced within the state of California. And yes, Stanford did get the FDA approval for that homegrown state of California Stanford medicine test.
Speaker 3: (37:45)
Angela Hart, Kaiser Health News.
Angela Hart: (37:49)
Thank you, Governor. I wanted to ask a question about inequality. There’s great concern, I think across California, that nothing, not faith or relief efforts that have been taken thus far have really done enough to help people who are forced to work. I just wanted to ask you, what is your message to the working poor and working class people across California, many of whom are more vulnerable today, who don’t really have the option to not go to work?
Gavin Newsom: (38:22)
Well, look. This has been the cause, I think, of all of our lives. Those that I have assembled around me as part of the team, they all have one thing in common, and that’s a deep desire to make real our promotion and promised to take care of people that are desperate and take care of people in need. It’s the lens through which we see the world. It’s the top priority of this administration to address the issue of poverty in all of its forms and manifestations. We have, over the course of the last year that I’ve been in office, gone to great lengths to support our safety net and enhance it with our earned income tax credit-
Gavin Newsom: (39:03)
… and other proposals to make work pay and to make sure that people have quality health care and that continues even at this moment to make sure those working poor that are essential workers that still have to be out there being protected in the workplace. We have Julie SU in Department of Labor that comes from an advocacy perspective that came into this position who is always looking at abuses of workers and people that are being mistreated as a top priority of enforcement.
Gavin Newsom: (39:36)
She’s not walking away from enforcement despite this crisis. She wants to continue aggressively to enforce and by the way, that also goes to the issue that we led with today and that is making sure that people that are in vulnerable households, vulnerable to violence, child abuse, domestic violence, that we’re not giving up even on making sure we do home visits. Not just tele-health, which is a big part of our overall guidance and efforts, but to make sure that we protect the most vulnerable in those conditions as well. So it extends across the panoply.
Gavin Newsom: (40:14)
Good enough never is, but no, that’s deeply a part of our agency focus and deeply a part of this administration’s priority.
Speaker 4: (40:24)
Marissa Kendall, Bay Area News Group.
Marissa Kendall: (40:27)
Thank you. I wanted to ask another question about testing. I was hoping you could give us a little bit more details on your overarching strategy in terms of who you’re trying to get tested. Are you hoping to test everyone who meets a certain criteria, for example, or universal testing of everyone or is there another group of people you’re hoping to prioritize for testing?
Gavin Newsom: (40:49)
And forgive me and I’ll ask Dr. Angela come up in a moment to talk more specifically. We laid out in detail exactly the prioritization for testing in the state. We talked about the existing partnerships and how we prioritize those from a clinical care perspective that are hospitalized, how we prioritize by extension our healthcare workers and first responders, how we prioritize in the next iteration and phase, the kind of community surveillance that can teach us more about antibodies and immunities issues. And so that was the framework.
Gavin Newsom: (41:26)
But I’ll ask Dr. Angela and I only refer to that because you can see those guidelines as part of the task force we put out. But Dr. Angela happens to be here and she can fill in the blanks a little bit more as well.
Dr. Angela: (41:42)
Thank you, Governor. Testing is an essential part of the provider’s needs to understand patients and make critical decision making decisions at the time of treatment. Because right now we do have limitations on testing, we need to make sure that that testing is used in most effective way to save lives and to help prevent those that may be working in our care delivery system from having further problems with their own health or potentially spreading disease to other people. So in short, when we talk about testing at this time, we recommend that the testing goes to those who are in the hospital who may be ill.
Dr. Angela: (42:21)
We recommend prioritizing those who perhaps are considering the need that for entering the hospital to make sure that their care is managed best. And then also making sure that those individuals who are frontline responders, those who we all rely upon to take care of us when we get ill, making sure that the tests get to them. As tests become more available, of course, we want to make them available more broadly. But in general, if you at home have symptoms, if you are not in a high risk group, meaning that you are not older, do not have comorbidities or if your symptoms are just mild, like a little bit of shortness of breath, perhaps a cough, then we recommend you call your provider first, talk to them about it.
Dr. Angela: (43:05)
And in general, many of you may not need a test. Many of you will do quite well at home, certainly in contact with your care provider until your symptoms resolve. So at this time, prioritization of testing is going to those for whom it can make the greatest change or influence in their outcomes. And as we open up testing more broadly, we’ll make sure that they’re available to Californians across the country, particularly through the important task force that we’re developing to help really make tests more broadly available.
Gavin Newsom: (43:36)
I’ll remind everybody as well, we’ve got those 75 sites from Abbott Laboratories working with 13 of our hospital systems. These are the point of care tests that now are finally being distributed across the country, but also here in the state of California that allow five to 15 minute results. So, that’s good news as well as we turn the corner. And I’ll also remind you that has not changed anything in terms of our approach to meeting our responsibility to provide for the surge plan to provide the appropriate level of personal protective equipment and secure as much as we can find and addition to that, make sure that we have the appropriate level of staffing in terms of our broader pandemic planning.
Gavin Newsom: (44:23)
So we’re looking forward to those tests increasing exponentially and I have confidence in the task force work that will meet those goals that were stated just a few days ago.
Speaker 4: (44:35)
Marissa Perlman, CBS 13.
Marissa Perlman: (44:39)
Hi, Governor. How are you? With one million Californians out of work, how many people have been placed or applied for jobs through Onward California at this point?
Gavin Newsom: (44:49)
Yeah, it’s interesting. I asked that question this morning and they’re getting me that data and now they’re all listening this, so they’re going to get it for both of us sooner than you can imagine. And I thank you for bringing that up. Onwardca.gov was put together in partnership with Salesforce, LinkedIn and Bitwise to match in four key categories, open job listings with those that recently lost work or are actively looking for work primarily in the healthcare industry, logistics and the grocery industry. And we had last count just shy of 100,000 job openings that were available.
Gavin Newsom: (45:32)
They prompt questions so people could figure out their wage preferences, their geographic desire in terms of proximity to where those jobs are open and other skillsets that are part of that larger website. It’s one of many and I just want to make this point. It’s one of many job matching sites that are part of the overall California strategy of local efforts, county efforts. You’ve got regional and statewide efforts. All of those are being organized, so that’s not the exclusive site. It’s just the most aggregated site and one that we’re encouraging people to access, but we’ll get you those numbers.
Gavin Newsom: (46:13)
They should be coming back very, very soon.
Speaker 4: (46:16)
Final question. Adrian Florido, NPR.
Adrian Florido: (46:21)
Thank you. Governor, a number of state legislators are calling on you to establish an emergency fund to provide a direct payments to undocumented immigrants who were obviously left out of the federal relief bill. What do you think of that request and is that something you’re going to do?
Gavin Newsom: (46:37)
We’ve been talking to the legislature. We’ve been working over time on our budget. I’ve got this what we call in California the May Revise that is on my desk and we are working through those issues, I-10 issues, those in mixed status families that are not beneficiaries of some of the federal stimulus dollars, the CARES Act dollars. That also is a criteria of real concern for us and obviously as Californians caring deeply about undocumented residents in this state to provide supports for those individuals as well.
Gavin Newsom: (47:14)
So the answer is yes, all of that is being considered all part of a broader package where I’ll be making some significant adjustments to the January budget proposal and advancing at the same time some economic stimulus strategies at a state level, not just waiting for the federal government to do that for us.
Gavin Newsom: (47:36)
Well, with that, thank you all as always for your spirited questions. Thank you everybody for your patience and thank you all for availing yourselves to the resources we announced today. If you are feeling lonely, if you are feeling sad, if you’re feeling depressed and anxious, if you are fearful, if you know somebody that is, please check out our covid19.ca.gov website. Please take a look at the resources we have put out, the checklist that we have put out. Please consider sharing that information to people you care about and loved ones and as always, reach out to people.
Gavin Newsom: (48:18)
If there was ever a time when you wanted to call Aunt Margie, you hadn’t called her in two years, this is the time. If ever you want to introduce yourself to one of your neighbors, make yourself available and get in contact. I had a beautiful letter. I’m not even making this up. I’ll close with this. It was sitting there at the gate of my home right outside and there was this little note attached from a neighbor down the block who just wanted to put in a good word. Just dropping a note by made my day. Look at me, made my week. You can do the same.
Gavin Newsom: (48:55)
Reach out to your neighbors, reach out to loved ones, reach out to strangers, continue to do great work, practice physical distancing. Let’s bend this curve and let’s get beyond this light at the end of the tunnel. Thank you all.