Apr 4, 2020
California Gov. Gavin Newsom COVID-19 Briefing Transcript April 4
Governor Gavin Newsom of California held an April 4 briefing on coronavirus. He announced increasing testing capacity in the state, and he doesn’t anticipate normal NFL games in the fall. Read the full transcript here.
What is Rev?
Gavin Newsom: (00:00)
… the incremental work we did … Our labs, to improve testing throughout the State. We did more with our commercial labs. We talked about some of the backlog with the commercial lab, and the testing results. We actually peaked about 59,500 individuals that were pending, and waiting test results, many for as … Well, 12 days. All of that frustrating you, and they frustrated me. And as a consequence, in the last week or so, I brought together some consultants. We brought together some private sector expertise, and we formed a now work group. The vernacular well-described by elected officials, a task force, led by private and public sector leaders. And led by folks that are on the front line, in terms of the data collection, the supply chain related to the issue of testing folks. Not just focusing on diagnostics and the test itself, but on testing samples, and people that … We’re trying to figure out ways to get more swabs, and to get more media for the swabs, and the like.
Gavin Newsom: (01:06)
And so, we are now in a position where I can confidently say, it’s a new day. And we are turning the page on our old approach to how we coordinate, how we collaborate, how we organize, and how we distribute information to you and the public around the issue of testing. I have two new co-chairs of that task force. Dr. Charity Dean, and Paul Markovich, who’s the CEO of Blue Shield. They have been convening experts at UC’s, at Stanford, in the private sector, lab expertise. All in organizing a new mind frame, to at least increase by fivefold the number of daily tests in the State of California, over the course of the next few weeks.
Gavin Newsom: (01:50)
I want to be specific, but I want to also be broad, in terms of our expectation. Not numerical yet, because I want to make sure that this new promise, what we’re promoting, can actually materialize. But as I said, I’ve been very proud of this State and its leadership, and how we were first in the nation on the stay-at-home orders. How we were aggressive even before that, by asking all of our seniors to stay at home first. How we stepped up in terms of meeting the moment, in terms of PPE, and doing more to be resourceful, and maintain a resourceful mindset on ventilators. Refurbishing ventilators. Not finger-pointing. But at issue of testing, I own that, and you deserve more and better. And that’s what I’m committed to advancing to you today.
Gavin Newsom: (02:37)
Let me be more specific about what we are promoting. We specifically have a new partnership with UC Davis and UC San Diego, to create a minimum of five to seven hubs, where we have high throughput. Where we will work with different vendors … Not be prescriptive on the exact type of testing … But work with the hubs, to significantly increase our testing capacity, and our collaborative spirit within those hubs. They’ll be geographically based, all up and down the State of California.
Gavin Newsom: (03:14)
We’re pleased to announce Stanford Medicine, they’ve done a remarkable job to become the first in the State of California, now to have the serum test, the serology test. These are the blood-based tests, that will be the first home-grown serum test in the State of California. And we now are in a position where we can announce more point-of-care tests. These are the tests where we can get results back in as early as five minutes, as long as just 15 minutes have it. Laboratories is now committed to 75 testing sites in the State of California, working with 13 of our hospital systems. That’s Sutter, Kaiser, others that now will partner with Abbott on the point-of-care test. So this will allow us, again with the hubs, more throughput testing. Much closer collaboration, more data collection in real time. Not just positives, but negatives. The ability now with the serum test to focus on immunology, the issues related to the immune system, and looking at antibodies and proteins. Moving beyond just the PCR tests, which many of you may be familiar with, which are just those swab tests that try to extract the viral RNA.
Gavin Newsom: (04:30)
Thus, the need for RNA extraction kits on the back end. I don’t mean, again, to confuse people, except to say the approach is a comprehensive one, geographically considered, and much more organized in terms of not just the supply chain, but the data collection. And then the information gathering that we can provide to you in real time, in a much more robust way. We have just now 13,000 tests … Out the 126,700, 13, 000 are waiting for results. So we have substantially reduced that backlog. A lot of that had to do with the commercial labs stepping up, and we congratulate them for their good work. And also as it relates to, again, the frustrating issue around data collection. We had one of our largest counties in the State that was providing that data, but not in the real time that you deserve. And so again, I own that. You deserve better, and more. And we are going to do just that, as we try to meet this moment.
Gavin Newsom: (05:34)
I want to ask our co-chair. Dr. Dean, to come up, talk a little bit more. Amplify a little bit more about why this is a new day. We have her co-chair, Paul Markovich, on the phone as well, to amplify her words. And then, I’ll move in to some of the work we’re doing on supply chain in the State of California. Doctor?
Dr. Charity Dean: (05:57)
Thank you, Governor. I’m Dr. Charity Dean. I’m the co-chair of California’s new testing task force. What we hope to accomplish is to harness the innovative spirit of California, with the laboratory science expertise that we have. Across the State, there are many experts in our academic centers and our private entities, who have been working hard to come up with innovative solutions to increasing testing in California.
Dr. Charity Dean: (06:22)
Our new task force is going to look across the board at everything that is being done, and where the opportunity is to do more, to both tackle issues around the supply chain, and new, innovative ways that we can do testing in California that really ramps up to a much larger scale than we’ve doing up to this point.
Dr. Charity Dean: (06:40)
This is a private-public partnership. And the partnership from our private entities is incredibly valued, and we’re doing this side-by-side. My co-chair is Paul Markovich from Blue Shield, who has significantly contributed and brought to the table a lot more muscle power and expertise, to partner with the State of California, and all the academic institutions.
Gavin Newsom: (07:03)
Thank you, Doctor. Paul, you’re on the line. Perhaps you can illuminate us further on the work you’ve been doing, and your sense of confidence that we’re going to be able to significantly step up the number of tests we’re doing on a daily basis.
Paul Markovich: (07:18)
Thank you, Governor, and thank you, Charity, for the opportunity to help. We at Blue Shield of California, in addition to me, we have about 30 people who have volunteered as a temporary workforce to help with this issue. And the reason I have optimism is not only the capability of the team that’s been assembled, but the fact that we are managing to gather the data that we need to, to understand what supply is available, because we know it’s scarce. In a worldwide pandemic, there are multiple states and countries that are demanding the same materials at the same time. But be able to know where the scarce supplies are, and then make sure they’re distributed to the hubs, as you mentioned, or the places where the highest throughput can happen in the testing. As well as understand the environment, and scan and understand all the possible new tests that are coming out. Gather the information on them, and let the experts decide which ones hold the most promise, to increase our testing capacity.
Paul Markovich: (08:23)
I feel very privileged to be working with the group, and I think we are starting to get some traction in being able to assemble these facts, and allow the State to make good, informed decisions to improve the throughput on testing.
Gavin Newsom: (08:40)
Thank you, Paul, and thank you, Charity. And thank you to the work group, for your hard work over the last week. Thank you to our teams that have been searching high and low, all across the State, for best practices, and new, innovative ideas. And it’s really in that spirit that I want to transition, and of course we’ll answer any questions on testing, just in a moment.
Gavin Newsom: (09:03)
To the issue of medical supplies. I joke with my staff. The other day I said, “I feel like I’m just a full-time operator, taking incoming emails and text messages from friends that have friends. They all seem to have friends with something in mind to help in this capacity, or that capacity.” And we have been overwhelmed and humbled by the amount of individuals and businesses, that have been willing to support our efforts, particularly on critical medical supplies. In order to make it easier on everybody … And we’ve got a bit team that’s working on this full-time. And we’ve had some wonderful results from those efforts. We want to make it a little bit easier for everybody. So we created a new site, called Covid19Supplies.CA.gov. Covid19Supplies.CA.gov. And it’s a simple website. Not easy to create. I want to thank Salesforce, by the way, for supporting … Helping put this together. But it’s a simple site for individuals and organizations, that can just fill out their names, put their email, best contact number, and what resources they may be offering.
Gavin Newsom: (10:17)
You can see just from this specific sheet, we have 13 critical areas for medical supplies that we’re looking for. Obviously ventilators, N95 masks, surgical masks, coveralls. Exam gowns, face shields, goggles. Examination gloves, hand sanitizer, wipes, test kits, swabs, and testing media. So that’s the panoply of what we need, and what we’re looking for. But we’ve also done one better. We’re also asking for manufacturers that are willing to ship, to give us more specific data on what it is that they believe they could ship … Supply chain, time to get these units procured, or produced. And also letting us know if they’re FDA approved.
Gavin Newsom: (11:03)
Or produced and also letting us know if they’re FDA approved, if they have CAD drawings so we could provide the specs for individuals that are offering that support. So this is a brand new website just went live. We’re already getting, we haven’t even promoted it. We’re already getting a lot of people that are responding to meet that moment. Again, all of that in the spirit of California, and by the way, speaking of that spirit, just yesterday we had those rocket scientists up here in the State Operation Center that were showing us some of these new bridge ventilators, which they quite literally were able to organize and procure with old windshield wiper kits that are readily available. Just shows the ingenuity of what people are putting together that may make it look a little less significant than it is. These are incredibly professional units, remarkably well-designed and manufactured, but they were able to get the specs along the lines of what I’m suggesting and be able to turn those around quite literally in a few days.
Gavin Newsom: (12:05)
And so that’s why we think the site could be very helpful on being a little bit more prescriptive on what we’re looking for and being a little bit more organized in terms of the regulatory challenges that many of us continue to have to work around or through in terms of getting these supplies procured and into people’s hands. I should note as I do on a daily basis as it relates to supplies, N95 has always been a proxy of consideration and concern for all of us, particularly our health officials and frontline workforce. We have already distributed 41.2 million N95 masks to date. We’ve delivered 41.2 million, so gives you a sense as soon as it comes in, we get those millions. That’s just millions in the last few days of those N95s that we’re getting out in real time. In addition to the coveralls and the gowns and all of the other medical supplies that we were referring to.
Gavin Newsom: (13:08)
Briefly, let me update you on the new numbers that have come in ,number of hospitalized in the state system now at 2300, a number of people on ICU, 1008. That represents a 10.9% increase in ICU beds versus the previous day. Some 12, 026 individuals now have tested positive for covid-19 in the state of California and that represents a 12.4% increase over the previous day and that’s important for many reasons. It’s also important for another reason, you saw the significant increase day over day in the total number of tests in the state. Again still inadequate to do what we must do for the kind of community surveillance and other testing that you deserve but the total number of positives by reducing that backlog from 59,500 down to 13,000. The total number of positives, not the exact cohort, it’s not apple to apple, but there is some cross pollinization there in terms of those cohorts and that data, but that 12.4% I think gives you a sense it’s pretty consistent where it’s been plus or minus over the last few weeks.
Gavin Newsom: (14:32)
It gives you a sense that obviously not all of those individuals that are waiting for results tested positive, quite the contrary. And we’re working to get an apple to apple because I imagine you may have questions, well what percentage specifically came back in terms of their positive results? We’re going to get that data and get the apple to apple data so that we are absolutely confident in those numbers. Again, as some tests come back in 12 days, others tests, rapid point of care tests come back in five minutes. We’ve got to obviously disaggregate all of that so that we can provide that information. We also have new numbers that have come in on that healthcorp.ca.gov website.
Gavin Newsom: (15:12)
Over 79,000 individuals now signed up, provided their licenses to contribute to the need to surge our system. I should note as we vet all of those, again, it’s such an overwhelming number that there are thousands of individuals that already work in the healthcare system that I think are looking for other opportunities and so we’re working through those numbers. It’s just still a staggering number of individuals that have gone to that site offering their specific expertise as radiologists and EMTS, paramedics, nurse practitioners, skilled nursing, I mean you cross the board. All the workforce you can imagine, pharmacists, not just doctors. All of them are represented in that 79,000 number and very proudly so.
Gavin Newsom: (16:01)
Also want to just update the good work of our team, Karen Johnson and others. We have now another number, hundreds of new hotel rooms were brought online just overnight for the homeless. We’re now at 7,178 that we now have under our occupancy agreements and we’re getting people off the streets in real time. That can’t happen soon enough. I announced the details of that effort yesterday. We want to continue to get those numbers up and I want to continue to update you on those efforts to procure those non-congregate sites so we can isolate the most vulnerable Californians. And speaking of vulnerable, we are very focused on our seniors, our adult gay care in the state of California, not just our assisted living and sniffs, our skilled nursing facilities. They continue to be a top priority of focus and working with the CDC, not just our own health and human service representatives at the state and local level to focus on hotspots that are clearly clustering in the state of California for that matter across the rest of the country to do everything we can to protect our seniors.
Gavin Newsom: (17:12)
So that’s it in broad strokes update on where we are on testing, where we want to go with the testing regimes, where we are currently on our supply chain as relates to critical materials in these 13 categories that I just set forth. On Monday we’ll talk more about our total assets that we’ve procured from our bed perspective and our acute care system and delivery system perspective. We continue to work on a myriad of other issues, on small business needs, on issues related to the challenges cities and counties are having to meet this moment, continue to work with the school system districts, large and small on making sure we get those wifi hotspots up and running to make sure our kids are continuing to learn. Despite the fact that schools are closing, classes are still in and I’ll continue to remind all of you.
Gavin Newsom: (18:10)
The most important thing you can do is continue to practice the physical distancing that you have. I know there’s enforcement going on all up and down the state. Some have been more high profile than others. I want to thank all the local elected officials for their outstanding work to do the appropriate level of enforcement. The state’s always prepared to do more. And I just want to encourage people, don’t force our hand in that respect. Continue to encourage your friends and colleagues. And I had two this morning. I got a text this morning from a good friend of mine whose son says he’s going to a party this weekend with friends. And she was literally in tears when she called saying, “What do I do?” And I said, “Well, first you give me his cell phone number and I’ll call him and disabuse of this.” But I imagine you’re seeing that just as parents, we’re seeing now teenage kids and others that say, “Hey, we’ve been doing this for a month. Enough’s enough.” Or even just a few weeks.
Gavin Newsom: (19:07)
We cannot allow cabin fever to come in. We cannot allow people to start congregating again and big queues around the beaches and our parks. Let’s hold the line. Let’s keep doing the good work that we’ve done so far in the state of California. Keep those numbers below those worst-case projections as we so far are but recognize we’re not out of the woods. We still, there’s death rates now over 237. 12 plus thousand people have tested positive. We’re seeing double digit increases in many of these areas including in terms of the ICU beds and you do the math on that.
Gavin Newsom: (19:45)
This is serious. This is real and I appreciate a lot of attention that California is doing well in some areas, but there are other areas where we can do better and that is incumbent upon all of us as individuals to recognize our own role and responsibility just as I am on the testing. I ask you to do in terms of practicing physical distancing and as always this is the first state that put out broad stroke guidelines on face coverings. Do the same when you go to the grocery store and make sure that you’re practicing not just physical distancing, but also practicing the appropriate hygiene and the appropriate consideration to others as it relates to the appropriate face coverings as we continue to go after masks for our first responders and our healthcare professionals as the top priority. So I want to thank you all for opportunity to update and of course we’re here to answer any question on any of these topics. And as I always expect, even topics we haven’t brought up.
Speaker 2: (20:49)
Adam Beam, Associated Press.
Speaker 3: (20:54)
What’s adequate testing look like to you? How many tests per day should California be performing?
Gavin Newsom: (21:00)
Well, I want to see hundreds and hundreds of thousands of tests. I want everybody tested that needs to be tested. Appropriate community surveillance so we can do testing that is strategic. We’re going to need to do substantially more testing to get people back in the workforce, to focus on those through the serum tests and serology that have had covid in the past moving beyond just the PCR tests. So all of that needs to take shape. And so the numbers need to multiply exponentially. And I know this has been a frustration for all of us across this country. And again, I think it was my mom who said this, maybe it was my dad, said, “Don’t complain and don’t explain.” We can do that for another day. I’m not going to explain away why we didn’t do more and better. All I can say is we’re going to do more and better, and we own that, I own that and we’re going to work with all of these different testing modalities and not pick and choose and see which one works. So we can-
Gavin Newsom: (22:03)
And not pick and choose and see which one works, so we could truly scale to get the kind of coverage across the state that everybody deserves.
Speaker 4: (22:09)
Meloday Gutierrez, LA Times.
Melody Gutierrez: (22:15)
Yes, Governor, can you talk a little bit about the PPE and fraud related to some of the purchases of those supplies? That has a lot to do with even some of the testing supplies. What is the state doing to ensure that these fraudulent purchases are not going through?
Gavin Newsom: (22:33)
Well. Some of the friends of our friends aren’t always above board. Let’s just acknowledge that. There’s a lot of fraud in this place. A few weeks ago we talked about a lot of cyber fraud that was happening across the board and how even individuals are being fished and how it’s important for all of us to practice not just physical distancing, but to not provide your social security number, your mom’s maiden name, and the name of your first pet to any stranger that somehow gets attached to your inbox. But you’re seeing that, not surprisingly, where people are taking advantage of all of us at this moment and saying they’re going to deliver something quite literally that they’re not capable of delivering or never intended to deliver. That’s been highlighted in your newspaper, the LA times, as it relates to some of those things are happening within the hospital system. And others, individuals that stepped up that even want to make personal contributions, have been defrauded in that respect. We are working with the FBI in terms of a number of investigations in that space. We’ve procured some masks, for example, that came in and were sent back that were moldy. So it’s not only not receiving the product, it’s getting inadequate product or product that was identified and labeled as one thing comes in as another. Or the units that were agreed to don’t arrive. And so this has been described, I think appropriately, as a wild, wild west. We’re trying to organize in a more deliberative manner. That’s the COVID-19 supply.ca.gov website that we’re advancing. And we are, as a nation state, working with FEMA as our principal partner to make sure that we are really following through on protocols and procedures where we can guarantee supplies because we are purchasing supplies at scale. Again, 41 plus million N95 masks we’ve already delivered. We are committed to procuring hundreds of millions more, and that requires diligence. It requires a level of expertise, and we can never make speed become the enemy of real results that ultimately deliver on our promise. I hope to be making some announcements as early as Monday and Tuesday more specifically about some of these larger supply chain issues to give you even more confidence that your tax dollars are being well invested and that we have appropriate security protocols that are now in place.
Melody Gutierrez: (25:10)
Ron Brownstein, The Atlantic.
Ron Brownstein: (25:13)
Governor, good afternoon. I know this isn’t the most immediate issue you are dealing with, but the president today was meeting with the heads of the sports leagues. And all the reports are that he is urging them to resume playing as soon as possible, including starting the NFL season on time late this summer with fans in the stands. Do you believe that California will be in a position where you will feel comfortable with 80,000 people going to football games in California in August and September?
Gavin Newsom: (25:40)
I’m not anticipating that happening in this state. Let me tell you why Ron. We all have seen the headlines over the last couple of days in Asia where they were opening up certain businesses. Now they’re starting to roll back those openings because they’re starting to see some spread. There’s a boomerang. One has to be very cautious here. One has to be careful not to over promise. It’s interesting. I have a lot of friends that work in major league baseball and then in the NFL. They’ve been asking me… In fact, a well-known athlete just asked me, football player, if he expects to come back. I said, I would move very cautiously in that expectation.
Gavin Newsom: (26:20)
So look, I’m not here to second guess anybody, but I am here to say this. Our decision on that basis, at least here in the state of California, will be determined by the facts, will be determined by the health experts, will be determined by our capacity to meet this moment, bend the curve, and have the appropriate community surveillance and testing to confidently determine whether or not that’s appropriate. And right now I’m just focusing on the media, but that’s not something I anticipate happening in the next few months.
Speaker 4: (26:54)
Angela Hart, Kaiser Health News.
Angela Hart: (26:57)
Thank you, Governor. I wanted to ask you. We’re hearing a lot that California’s efforts and your efforts to really bolster response and recovery for COVID is still so deeply intertwined with the really robust healthcare agenda that you outlined earlier this year. So I just wanted to ask you specifically on things like CalAIM and your prescription drug overhaul and even your Healthcare Affordability Office. I mean do those fit into your category of going on the back burner in terms of the budget this year, or do you think that they’re still possible?
Gavin Newsom: (27:31)
Remember those days, Angela. It just was weeks ago, we were laying out one of the most comprehensive reforms of the Medicaid system, Medi-Cal here in the state of California, and the nation. We talked about this once in a generation opportunity to do so, to integrate physical and brain health. We committed over… well, close to $700 million just in this fiscal year in our budget proposal to advance that. Obviously, you know we’re doing a lot more on single purchasing capacity in the pharmaceutical space, and we’ve got a new office. You just represent that we’re promoting all of that and more, cross panoply of budget asks and considerations and categories. All of that is being reviewed. All of that is being recalibrated.
Gavin Newsom: (28:14)
That’s the direct answer to your question. All of that has been recalibrated in relationship to the budgetary crisis that is starting to manifest and the economic crisis that’s self-evident by the way, in the fact that now 2.1 million Californians since March 12th… 2.1 million Californians have filed for unemployment insurance already and so that’s sobering. And as a consequence to the budgetary requests that I advanced of the legislature in January, all of that is being reconsidered, but healthcare always will be a top priority, and I assure you we will do everything in our power to lean into the future despite these circumstances and not just walk away from reforms because reforms can happen on a good day or a bad day, and we are certainly committed to advancing them.
Speaker 4: (29:10)
Jeremy White, Politico.
Jeremy White: (29:13)
Governor, thanks as always. The governor of Oregon has committed today to sending some more medical supplies to New York, noting that they’re in a worse place in Oregon. Is that something that you’ve contemplated, California sending medical supplies to other states like New York that are having a worse time of it than we are right now?
Gavin Newsom: (29:29)
Yeah, to the extent we have the resources, resourceful folks, including people, not just PPE, we would consider doing that, but let me just make this clear. We are preparing for a scenario where we need 50,000 beds. We need hundreds of millions of line items of PPE. We are working day and night to find new ventilators. We talked about what Virgin Orbit’s doing in terms of recalibrating their lines here in California and providing us bridge ventilators. We’re working on the open market to procure even more.
Gavin Newsom: (30:04)
But if we’re in a position to do that, absolutely, unequivocally, we will do that, and I just want to remind you of what we already started doing, and that is starting to line up our procurement strategies by working with other procurement czars and other states. So we’re trying to avoid the competition in this space with each other and seeing if we can utilize our purchasing power. We hope, again, in just a few days, Jeremy, to make some announcements about substantial efforts to procure at scale PPE. That would then also provide different resources for other states we hope, not just the state of California. So the answer’s, yes, if we’re positioned to do so.
Speaker 4: (30:45)
Mike Rowe, KPCC.
Speaker 4: (30:53)
Mike Rowe, KPCC
Mike Rowe: (30:56)
Hello, can you hear me?
Gavin Newsom: (30:57)
Speaker 4: (31:00)
Thank you so much, governor. In Sacramento County, the head of health services there said that dozens of people from a mega church had been infected with COVID-19. What have been your communications with the faith community, and are they heeding stay at home orders?
Gavin Newsom: (31:14)
Yeah, I mean, broadly. In that specific circumstance, no. And the consequences of that are devastating. I can’t be more clear in my admonition, practice physical distancing. Be it tribal nations, be it faith-based leaders, be it small… I don’t know. Fill in the blank. Everybody in the state of California, 40 million strong, practice physical distancing. Period. Full stop. Don’t dream of regretting. Don’t put other people’s lives on the line. Faith-based community is all about love. If you love thy neighbor, you will practice physical distancing. You won’t put them in a congregate setting to put their lives at risk. It’s faith and works. As we pray, let’s move our feet, and let’s move our feet six feet apart from one another.
Speaker 4: (32:13)
Rachel Becker, Cal Matters.
Rachel Becker: (32:16)
Hi, Governor, thanks for taking my question. You mentioned an antibody test from Stanford? I’m not seeing it listed as having received emergency use authorization from the FDA. Has it? What’s the timeline for rolling out these antibody tests? At what scale? How do you anticipate the antibody test be used and what is the false positive and false negative rate that we know of?
Gavin Newsom: (32:40)
That’s why we have Dr. Charity Dean here, but as it relates to Stanford Medicine, that test is about to be approved. In fact, I thought that we would be able to formally announce the approval, but it’s literally forthcoming and that means within hours, not just days as it relates to the serum test specifically, that is the homegrown California-based Stanford Medicine test, but Dr. Dean will-
Gavin Newsom: (33:03)
… California-based Stanford Medicine tests, but Dr. Dean will answer the other specifics of your question.
Dr. Dean: (33:09)
Thank you for that question. We are very pleased to have Stanford Medicine included on the testing task force. Their laboratory, led by Dr. Christina Kong, has developed an antibody test, so that’s a serology test, through a laboratory developed testing mechanism. The importance of the serology test in the larger picture of COVID-19 is that helps determine who may be immune, who has been infected and then developed antibodies. Stanford Medicine will be coming out with more information about that test, so I don’t want to get ahead of that information, but we’re very excited that this is a California homegrown test that is going to be rolled out in the next week for actual use on Californians. Stanford’s partnership is critical in looking at that innovative technology to scale up testing across the state.
Gavin Newsom: (34:02)
Stanford’s ingenuity also includes current testing of new 3D printing protocols for swabs from more the traditional PCR tests as well. We’re just blessed to have all of these academic institutions and medical labs in the state of California, Lawrence Livermore, Lawrence Berkeley Labs, Sandia Labs, the incredible work being done at Cedars and folks down there at Scripps, not just our UCs and Stanford and USCs. It’s just an extraordinarily resourced state in that respect. Next question.
Speaker 5: (34:39)
Tiffany Stecker, Bloomberg News.
Tiffany Stecker: (34:42)
Hi, governor. My question is on testing. Are there any efforts or directives coming to prioritize healthcare workers, other essential workers, who are most likely to contract the coronavirus and also very likely to pass it on? Is that something that’s more done on the county level?
Gavin Newsom: (35:03)
No, in fact, the task force has very prescriptive recommendations in terms of the prioritization. Obviously, always individuals that are hospitalized for clinical purposes to make the determination of the best clinical response and approach. Healthcare workers, frontline workers, including extracting broadly to first responders, broadly defined. And healthcare workers are not just in our hospital systems and our community clinics, but also in our skilled nursing facilities and in our adult facilities. We have broadly then put together additional protocols of prioritization that ultimately go to the community surveillance that we’ve described, that ultimately will lead to our capacity, identify a strategy to get people back to work, and get people back in to a more community-minded set of protocols as we turn the corner here.
Speaker 5: (35:58)
Megan Cassidy, SF Chronicle.
Megan Cassidy: (36:01)
Hi. I wanted to see, in light of all of the cases that we’ve seen at the nursing home in Orinda, what can be done to stop or slow the spread in those facilities?
Gavin Newsom: (36:15)
It’s Orinda, it’s San Diego, San Bernardino. This is why we’re here at the State Operations Center. We have teams of people assembled around specifically answering in real-time that question. Each and every location requires a different approach, a different response. But we are seeing hotspots. I obliquely referenced the CDC. Working with the CDC to bring personnel here into the state or take existing CDC personnel within the state and bringing them to these hotspots. Providing technical expertise and providing the resources to help isolate individuals from these congregate settings, and then dealing with tracing, and the issue of forensically trying to figure out how people…
Gavin Newsom: (37:02)
Was is a staff member? Was it an individual that was in the facility that’s contracted this? When did they contract it? When were they asymptomatic and could have spread it without knowing they were positive? When they were determined positive. So in each and every one of these circumstances, up in Tulare County working on that today. As I said, San Diego, not just Orinda, and San Bernardino. We’re monitoring hundreds of these facilities.
Gavin Newsom: (37:27)
Let me be more specific, for the purposes of advancing an appreciation for the magnitude of what we’re up against in this state. We have currently an inventory of over 8,832 sites that we are monitoring. Literally, over 8,800 sites that we’re monitoring throughout the state of California. So this task is huge. Again, the nation state of California, we’re doing everything in our power to try to address this, but this is a top… As I said, homelessness and this issue is of top concern, because you’re seeing some of these SNIFs, some of these facilities where two-thirds of the patients, two-thirds, are testing positive.
Gavin Newsom: (38:12)
People losing their lives, people losing their loved ones, and staff having to deal with the consequences of being tested positive themselves or just the magnitude of the human condition. So thank you for this question, and know this is a focus disproportionate to so many others of the efforts that we are currently advancing every hour of every day.
Speaker 5: (38:36)
Final question. Brody Levesque, LA Blade.
Brody Levesque: (38:40)
Good afternoon, Governor. As I’m sure you’re aware, California’s got the largest LGBTQ community in the United States, and over 100 health and advocacy organizations are warning that the state’s LGBTQ population are more vulnerable, both to the health, as well as the economic impacts of this outbreak of COVID-19, I think the question is, is the state giving considerations to these unique needs of this community in respect to relief efforts and services, particularly since many are on the gig economy?
Gavin Newsom: (39:15)
Yeah. Across the spectrum, from addressing homeless youth, particularly in LA County. So the answer is yes, from an LGBTQ perspective, but also from a geographic perspective and from an age perspective as it relates to finding more federal resources for housing opportunities for LGBTQ youth and adults. Look, I come from San Francisco, fifth generation. It’s a point of deep pride when we talk in terms of cultural competency, neighborhood by neighborhood, the history of the HIV and AIDS epidemic, searing a consciousness of our healthcare delivery focus. Again, a bottom-up focus.
Gavin Newsom: (39:55)
And of course, that extended to Dr. Fauci, who was very familiar to the folks in San Francisco and within the LGBTQ community as being one of our heroes, decades ago, in terms of how he met that moment and he spoke truth in that moment. And so the answer is absolutely yes. Point of pride for me, as a former Mayor of San Francisco and someone who’s deeply attached to the needs and desires and aspirations and the health of our LGBTQ community.
Gavin Newsom: (40:24)
With that… I think that was the last question… I just want to thank everybody for their continued attention to practicing safe physical distancing, to make sure that we continue to encourage others to do the same. Again, social persuasion being the best enforcement of our stay-at-home order. I continue to be mesmerized by the extraordinary heroism of not just our frontline employees and those in law enforcement and those in our healthcare system, but our teachers and our parents that are struggling to raise their kids and have to do kind of work that we never imagined at home as home care, as needs continued to mount.
Gavin Newsom: (41:10)
I want to just thank all of those of you that have participated in not only our Health Corps website, but also the serve.ca.gov website, serve.ca.gov website, where people are signing up to help volunteer for food banks to help support the homeless, and providing their own blood to help our blood banks or supplies. Continue to do those things, continue to practice good hygiene, and continue to be safe. Thank you all very much.