Dec 29, 2020

Gavin Newsom COVID-19 Press Conference Transcript December 28

Gavin Newsom Press Conference December 28
RevBlogTranscriptsPress Conference TranscriptsGavin Newsom COVID-19 Press Conference Transcript December 28

California Governor Gavin Newsom held a COVID-19 press conference on December 28. Read the transcript of his coronavirus briefing speech here.

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Gavin Newsom: (00:16)
So you’re not going to enforce them. It’s another to have a County policy by their County board of supervisors to move in defiance. And we have a well-established protocol if that’s indeed the case that the distribution of these discretionary COVID dollars will be distributed to counties that are serious about enforcement and are serious about public health.

Gavin Newsom: (00:36)
And we have, as you know sent letters out to a number of different counties over the course of this pandemic. And we have leaned in on that as it relates to the issue of enforcement also leaned in on enforcement, new guidelines, operational guidelines, through OSHA, in new updates, in terms of some of their latest enforcement. I’ll provide you offline some details to back up some of the really recent enforcement, particularly in the food processing industry. We updated last week and I’ll get you some updates on the numbers we provided last week, the ABC, the Alcohol Beverage Control, and their number of visits, tens of thousands of visits over the course of the last number of months to bars and restaurants all throughout the state of California.

Gavin Newsom: (01:21)
I think the remarkable thing is how overwhelming the enforcement… Well, I should rephrase that. I think what’s significant is how overwhelming we have experienced and forgive me for not phrasing this correctly, but people have been in compliance overwhelmingly. So that’s the point I want to make. It’s not just the focus on the bad, it’s the overwhelming number of people that are doing the right thing. And I think you’ll see that we’ll again, provide you an update on the numbers. We socialized last week to sort of prove that point, that the vast majority of these visits, overwhelming majority of the visits, there was no compliance needed because people were in compliance, they were doing the right thing, but there are notable people that are not, and they’re thumbing their nose and they’re putting their business at risk.

Gavin Newsom: (02:13)
And you’re seeing that there’s a lot of local enforcement that is taking shape all up and down the state of California. And there are efforts at the state level, in addition to the Alcohol Beverage Control and OSHA that go to the board of cosmetology and others that are doing exactly the same. So all those numbers we’ll provide you, but I just want to acknowledge those doing the right thing. The vast majority of sheriffs are doing the right thing. The vast majority of counties are doing the right thing. The vast majority of Californians are doing the right thing during this very trying and difficult time.

Speaker 2: (02:48)
Laura Cortez, Sacramento Beach.

Laura Cortez: (02:52)
Hi, thank you for taking our question governor. In regards to, again, getting those COVID dollars to complainant counties, what are you doing in the budget to further incentivize the counties who maybe haven’t been compliant with those state guidelines?

Gavin Newsom: (03:09)
Well, I think we’ve done it. I mean the bottom line is the rules are self-evident. If you refuse to comply, you thumb your nose at the health of your constituency, the health of your community. Then you’re sending two messages, one, you don’t care about the health of your community in that respect. But number two, that you obviously don’t care to get the support from the state as it relates to those dollars. And so we’ve worked with CSAC, that’s our partners, the counties, we developed a framework, a guideline. We worked over month long period to work out the nuances of the language with CSAC on what that enforcement looks like, what the notification looks like. And so we’re look to advance those by the way, those work through formally that partnership in terms of those notification requirements and distribution and redistribution of funds to the end of this calendar month.

Gavin Newsom: (04:04)
And we’ll update those as we move into the new year, pursuant to your question and be as aggressive or more aggressive into the future. Not everyone likes that. And some have been particularly critical, and I understand that good people can disagree. Some people just want to be disagreeable. Bottom line is we’re in the midst of a pandemic. I don’t know what more evidence you need, particularly as highlighted Riverside County that is experiencing what they’re experiencing in ICU’s and hospitals and lives lost. I mean, what more evidence do you need that trying to enforce good behavior that will actually save lives. It’s a noble and right thing to do, to dismiss as many have in the past. And some of the same folks that we don’t believe. Some still holding on this as a hoax or face coverings don’t matter, continue to send miss messages. They’re not helping, we’re not advancing that cause. And so we will be assertive as we have been. We’ll be aggressive as we have been, and we will be proactive into the future in strong partnership with the California legislature.

Speaker 2: (05:22)
Angela Hart, Kaiser Health Natives.

Angela Hart: (05:26)
Thank you, governor. Two-part question for you. First, can you give us any indication of whether people largely heated the orders to not travel, to stay home during the holiday, or I guess we’re in the middle of it. So are they heating these orders or are these orders going ignored right now? What’s their understanding of that? And second part is looking really at this, the impact of local governments and the men’s responsibility that local governments have. I wanted to ask if you’re going to do anything more on your January budget for local health departments, given the federal COVID relief package includes no new money for local governments, and that’s going to complicate their public health efforts.

Gavin Newsom: (06:12)
We’ve got a lot of resources that we’ll drive through directly down to the County and local level that come from this COVID relief. May not be spelled out as local support or even state support for that matter. But substantially we’ll draw down in terms of the partnerships and the capacity building that had been well-established since the beginning of this pandemic efforts in terms of logistics and operational challenges associated with administration of doses of vaccine, as well as other testing protocols, those supports are not insignificant. And those supports will be spelled out in the January budget as they have been spelled out in this new COVID relief package. That includes by the way, substantial support for public education across the spectrum, that will provide a lot of relief to communities that have large school districts and other relief that obviously will directly impact local communities from childcare relief and food stamp relief and other relief that otherwise would have fallen as a burden on County budgets on city budgets and obviously on state budgets.

Gavin Newsom: (07:19)
And by the way, that also includes rental relief. So all of that reduces the stress and burden on these governmental agencies and certainly something that we celebrate and something that I think should be acknowledged with these federal support. While we’re disappointed, they didn’t provide discretionary funds as it relates to state and local support.

Gavin Newsom: (07:45)
There’s certainly a lot of state and local support that is as being provided in the Cares Act in this now new stimulus. As it relates to the data on movement, this is help advisor travel advisories come from health agencies all across the country from the CDC on down every state is providing the same. We’ll get you updates and I’ll make sure my team gets you offline the updates we provided this, I think it was 10 or so days ago. It’s actually, you’re prompting. It’s an opportunity to provide some of that cell phone data, that’s public data, open source data. That gives us a sense some of the movement, and we’ll get that data to you, but obviously, look, you need nothing more to example than the total number of passengers on airplanes nationwide, that only suggest that we are going to see an increase in cases across this country, not just in the state of California, as it relates to these travel advisories that were not heated clearly by everybody.

Speaker 2: (08:52)
John Thompson, Associated Press.

John Thompson: (08:54)
Good afternoon governor. One of the first check on your status, have you been tested since your possible exposure. And as far as you mentioned on the traveling cell phone data, but do you have any more specifics at this point, what we’re seeing here locally, even if you don’t have at your fingertips, is there data to suggest that people did or did not comply? And can you go into any more details as far as where will you be putting some of these people you mentioned or generally about surge beds and state facilities, but any specific plans for how to handle what you expect to be, or has it expected to be a doubling of hospitalizations? Thank you.

Gavin Newsom: (09:38)
So just on that front, we’ll get you the update. And I promise you, my team is already working on providing that travel update and we’ll get you more specific, more granular response in terms of whatever evidence at this stage that we can share, or that tells a real story. So we’re not just working through conjecture and just loose observation as it relates to the planning. Over the course, last number of months, you’ve seen going back at the beginning of this pandemic in early March, April, May you saw some of the plans that we put out as it relates to capacity building within the existing a hospital system. Looking at existing hospital footprints, looking at surge capacity, getting thousands and thousands of additional hospital beds on the same footprint by getting tents and providing opportunities to reconstitute and repurpose different rooms within the existing hospital and healthcare delivery system.

Gavin Newsom: (10:36)
In addition to that, we also have been updating you pretty consistently, including a little bit today on those alternative care site facilities. Five that are no longer in warm status that have been stood up and another, well, eight specific or seven rather specific sites that are in warm status that could be turned on very, very quickly. I’ll update you and we’ll make sure our team provides you that list of those seven additional sites plus the five…

Gavin Newsom: (11:03)
… provides you that list of those seven additional sites, plus the five and more details on their total capacity, which I suggested was around 1,872. But with our capacity building in the last couple of weeks, we think it will go well north of 2000 beds. Just, again, that’s the alternative care site footprint. You’ve got the existing surge plans, within hospital systems, that get you tens of thousands of additional beds, all total, that is a direct response to your question in terms of the immediate. Staffing is the bigger issue. Physical, less of an issue, though an issue. Depending on the hospital. Again, each hospital tells a totally different story.

Gavin Newsom: (11:43)
But in the aggregate, the physical space is less of an issue. It’s an issue, but it’s less of an issue, than staffing. And staffing remains our top priority. That’s why we highlighted a little bit of our staffing efforts, today. But long-winded, Don. Sorry for being long-winded. We have plans, we are engaged with the hospitals directly on those efforts by system, by provider, not just the hospital association. But with that, let me just ask perhaps more cogently, Dr. Ghaly could also amplify and answer that question. And then, I think this is an opportunity for Dr. Ghaly, as I turn it over to you, for us to update some of those older plans so we can socialize what we’ve been talking privately, to our providers about.

Dr. Ghaly: (12:36)
Yeah. Governor, thank you. And thanks for the question. I’ll sort of provide, three types of responses.

Dr. Ghaly: (12:42)
First, as it regards to travel and the impact of the regional stay-at-home orders and other things that… We always knew we were going into a tough time with the holidays, and the interest and the eagerness. We’ve talked about fatigue, to actually meet and mix and travel. And, in most of this state, we are seeing a subtle but important trend, where the slope of our increase that we’ve been very worried about, that rate of rise, has come down a little bit in some parts of the state. And that’s reassuring news.

Dr. Ghaly: (13:18)
But as the governor has clearly stated, we’re worried, not just about what’s happened over the past couple of weeks, that piece of good news, but really what’s going to happen as we see the cases from the Christmas holiday, Hanukkah, coming up now with the New Year’s celebration. And I’ll just reiterate, it’s not too late to make a change in plans. I think people, Californians, have been paying attention. We saw maybe a month ago, that only about 30% of Californians that were surveyed by some of our partners, were going to make a change in their plans. To not gather, to not travel. Now, more recent surveys show, that that is somewhere between 50 and 60% of Californians making that decision.

Dr. Ghaly: (14:03)
So we really hope that, as we enter one of these last worrying periods for the foreseeable future with New Year’s, that people do make the decision to stay local, stay at home. Don’t mix outside of their household, because everything that we’re seeing today, is that things that were a month ago or two months ago, a low risk activity, today are really high risks, because of the level of COVID that’s circulating in our communities.

Dr. Ghaly: (14:31)
As it relates to our surge planning, Governor has it exactly right. We are less worried about the space in some of our facilities, although it’s true, some hospitals are using every inch and area of space to take care of patients, and we commend that important use of those spaces. But certainly, our bigger worry right now, is staffing. A lot of folks look to the alternative care sites, which indeed are an important part of our response. But more than that, is identifying staff, working with hospitals across impacted regions to make sure that they have the staff. Either through registry and traveling staff, nurses and physicians and other providers, respiratory therapists. Or, some facilities bringing their outpatient staff to come help, and serve in the inpatient environment. So all of those strategies help us ramp up our ability to take care of patients, both in regular hospital beds, in emergency room bays, and also in ICUs.

Dr. Ghaly: (15:34)
So, those collective efforts, working directly with counties, as the governor mentioned. Efforts focused specifically in Southern California, in Los Angeles County, to not just bring the staff, address issues of oxygen and ventilators, but also working to make sure that everything is as well coordinated as possible. Working with the California Hospital Association, our nursing partners, our other staffing partners, the California Medical Association, a number of these typical partners that you’ve seen us mention, really coming together now, to make sure we put California’s best foot forward.

Dr. Ghaly: (16:12)
So that, it’s not just every hospital on their own, but really bringing together these regions, the efforts of big systems with smaller hospitals, to partner, to make sure that no matter where every California goes, they can get high quality care, care from staff that is as supported as they can be, anywhere in the state, so that we can ultimately save as many lives as we can.

Gavin Newsom: (16:38)
And Doctor, just, if I may. And, forgive me, I shouldn’t be the one answering, asking questions. But, you and I had, we’ve had a number of conversations about staffing. Particularly expectations on opportunities to see a modest increase in staff, that first week of January, from where we are today, just on the natural. Perhaps you can amplify that, just socialize a little bit of that, of what we’re seeing in terms of the prospects of actually being able to access some more staff in the next a week or so.

Dr. Ghaly: (17:12)
Yeah, Governor, really, really important point to amplify. We have been working with both our own efforts to get staff into the state, at the state level. But also the various hospitals that, very routinely during this time, expect hundreds, if not thousands of what they call traveling nurses, traveling health professionals, who go from place to place across the nation, across the globe, to help support hospitals that are affected. We have not been able to get that reliable number, up until now, into the state.

Dr. Ghaly: (17:44)
And, just surveying a number of the hospitals, both big and small, our own state efforts, really looking at that first week of January, starting January 4th. Where, we’ve been told, a number of traveling nurses, traveling health professionals, will be arriving in the state. Some going directly to hospitals, others coming through the state, and moving to various facilities that are deeply impacted. That will absolutely, as that comes through, help us not just make sure that we’re able to staff some of the beds that today are available, but also, open up additional beds so that our ability to surge, is indeed as great as we anticipated.

Gavin Newsom: (18:25)
Thanks, Doctor.

Speaker 3: (18:28)
Kathy Novak. KCBS Radio.

Kathy Novak: (18:33)
Hi, Governor. Thanks for taking my question. COVID outbreaks are continuing at California prisons, with about 7500 cases confirmed in the last 14 days, according to the latest CDCR tracker. Are you satisfied with the steps that are being taken, to address these outbreaks? And what’s your response to the continued calls for prison populations to be reduced through more releases, because of these outbreaks?

Gavin Newsom: (18:57)
Yeah, I appreciate it. Let me go to a slide here, just to give you the current focused efforts. And I’ll back up, we have 9421 current cases, population plus or minus 100,000, just to put it in perspective. And obviously, we’re not just monitoring CDCR, which, the California Department Corrections, obviously monitoring the Division of Juvenile Justice. We’re doing a lot better there. We have active cases that include not just inmates, but obviously, concern around prison guards themselves.

Gavin Newsom: (19:31)
Here’s the area that we’ve focused most of our attention. And these are the top facilities, top in terms of their being high risk facilities, top of mind facilities, in terms of our efforts. San Quentin, it goes without saying, a lot of focus there. And we’ve seen cases range from anywhere from two to six, in the last number of weeks. I think we, it went to nine, at one point. But currently, four cases.

Gavin Newsom: (19:56)
You can see the other high risk facilities, and the number of current active cases. And this is where we are particularly focused. As it relates to the work on decompressing the system, and this goes to your specific question, we have reduced the census, the total population since March, by over 21,000 individuals. Over 21,000. This is almost without precedent, in California’s history. And you could see some of the work we’ve done, to do that. That meeting. We have looked on early release, for what we refer to as [non non nons 00:09:28], people that have X number of weeks, months, left on their sentences. And those that are not serving non non nons, meaning not violent, not DV related, not sex offended. So there is a triage component, to that. There’s a coordinated focus, in terms of risk assessment, in that space.

Gavin Newsom: (20:51)
But there’s also a suspension on the County intakes, which put a lot of pressure on the counties, put a lot of pressure on the Sheriffs. And I want to just acknowledge that pressure, and acknowledged their partnership. I respect and appreciate the challenges that are presented, when you effectively look to suspension of intake. It’s happened on multiple occasions, since the beginning of this pandemic.

Gavin Newsom: (21:16)
We’re also testing. We have substantially increased our testing protocols of staff and institutions, as well as our new aggressive mask mandates, with now higher level of masks, meaning N95 not just surgical procedure masks, of inmates and staff, if there’s any even modest outbreaks. Again, we’re looking at assessing medical risk, and I on a weekly basis without exception, spend hours and hours and hours, going through the cases of each and every individual. I simply will not, en masse, release people without looking individual by individual, at an assessment and protocol and process. And that’s the latter part of your question. And so, while I respect-

Gavin Newsom: (22:03)
… process, and that’s the latter part of your question. And so, while I respect those that want to bypass protocols, sentences, victim notification, processes, procedures, and analysis, we are moving in a different direction than that, and we have been deliberative, and we have protocols in terms of capacity building within the system, in terms of isolation and quarantine, in terms of surge capacity, that have come from the experience of San Quentin, that we have pre-positioned and we have pre-planned at particularly those high-risk facilities, in order to address any subsequent outbreaks as we move forward.

Gavin Newsom: (22:49)
A lot has been done in this space. We’re very vigilant in terms of our focus and the monitoring of what is occurring in the prisons. And as you may have noted in the plan 1C, or rather, plan 1B, forgive me, Tier 2 recommendations, there is some consideration for high-risk staff, rather high-risk inmates, particularly in skilled nursing facilities, and those that are particularly medically vulnerable that are in these settings that we will look as well to prioritize in terms of access for the vaccine.

Gavin Newsom: (23:31)
That’s broad strokes, an update, and I’m very pleased with our new CDCR Director and the partnership with Clark Kelso, our Health Administrator meeting the federal oversight, remind you that the health of our prison system is being monitored by the federal government. It was taken away from the state many, many, many years ago, and we are continuing to build stronger partnership in terms of our efforts to advance our safety protocols within the system and to mitigate, to the best of our ability, the spread and ultimately get us through this third wave.

Speaker 4: (24:15)
Jeremy White, Politico.

Jeremy White: (24:18)
Hey governor, thank you again for giving us some time, for taking my question. A lot of curiosity out there about the state’s role in sort of enforcing this vaccine hierarchy, as we get into the more complex, out of concentrated healthcare facilities, into this more diffused process with all these categories.

Jeremy White: (24:37)
So can you tell us more about what role the state is going to play in sort of monitoring that and ensuring people don’t skip the line? You alluded to staffing shortages and sort of working with pharmacies to regulate the process. So how can we be sure that this is proceeding in an orderly way and people aren’t sort of gaming the system in terms of the vaccine hierarchy?

Gavin Newsom: (24:58)
No, I appreciate the question, Jeremy. And we’ve been asking that ourselves for weeks and weeks. I think on at least two or three previous occasions during these presentations, I’ve highlighted this point of consideration and concern. And I also highlighted just a number of days ago, right before Christmas, our specific efforts working with the California Medical Association and others to look at protocols and processes, to enforce, and ultimately to hold folks accountable that skipped the line.

Gavin Newsom: (25:27)
I just want to make this crystal clear. If you skip the line or you intend to skip the line, you will be sanctioned, you will lose your license. You will not only lose your license. We will be very aggressive in terms of highlighting the reputational impacts as well. We are going to be aggressive here, but you are not wrong in the way you framed your question.

Gavin Newsom: (25:50)
As you move into the subsequent phases, as you’re dealing with millions and millions of doses, and you’re dealing with hundreds and hundreds of points of contact and thousands of individuals, not every individual may hold themselves to those higher ethical standards of the Hippocratic oath, which they’ve taken, and we are mindful of that.

Gavin Newsom: (26:12)
And so I’m not naive to the prospects that there are going to be some issues, and we’re going to have to work not just as a state, but with our county partners to monitor that behavior at the local level, even at the clinic level, and to make sure that someone’s not passing a few vials over to their cousin or aunt or uncle, or God forbid, making a buck or two on the backs of a vaccine that should be distributed to someone who is at high risk or at higher need.

Gavin Newsom: (26:42)
And so we are looking forward to putting out details of what that enforcement package looks like, but I can assure you over the course of the last number of weeks, we’ve been working aggressively behind the scenes with a lot of our partners, as I say, including the California Medical Association, that is very, very desirous of making sure that their profession is not impacted by bad behavior and wants to encourage and process good behavior.

Gavin Newsom: (27:10)
We look forward to talking more about that when we finalize the details of that enforcement strategy. With that, that was a long answer, Jeremy, let me just ask Dr. Galley, because I know he cares deeply about this as well, and has been front and center in these negotiations and discussions. Maybe he can amplify on a point or two as well. Doctor?

Dr. Ghaly: (27:29)
Yeah, Governor. You hit the major points. I would just say that included in some of the states’ opportunities is obviously through our ability to look at licenses, professional licenses, but then also CDPH has the responsibility of enrolling every provider through our state system, into the federal system that allows you to receive vaccine to distribute.

Dr. Ghaly: (27:57)
And we also have the ability to disenroll providers when in fact, any of these violations are flagrant enough that no longer can that provider, that place that’s distributing vaccine, continued distributing vaccine based on those issues. So we have those steps. As the governor said, putting that together in a package that’s transparent, clear, working with our local partners. Already there’s been some conversations with local partners where questions have been raised.

Dr. Ghaly: (28:27)
I think the media has picked up on some of these issues already and working hard to make sure that one issue doesn’t snowball into more issues because we know that if it happens in one place, it could happen again in another, and we need to be very serious about this because many people are looking closely, not just how we do it, but they want to know when they are rightfully due to get the vaccine and that fair and equitable distribution. In California, all across our government, all across local governments as well, take this very seriously and expect this to be an area of increasing activity in the days to come.

Gavin Newsom: (29:04)
And Jeremy, at peril of belaboring, our, what I hope is a comprehensive response and preview of those details being made public very shortly, I also just want to highlight, it’s one thing to be concerned, and we all should be concerned about a high-profile individual or celebrity that cuts in the line. I want to make sure that this frame on equity is also foundational and the fact that we put together this scientific safety review committee, this drafting work group, and then this advisory committee, three committees, was advanced with the intention of a real commitment, not a passing interest, but a firm commitment, looking at safety, efficacy, and equity.

Gavin Newsom: (29:52)
And that’s the three-legged stool here, and we have to make sure that equity component includes that distribution as intended, and that we are all held to a higher level of responsibility and in turn accountability in terms of not only rhetorically advancing that frame, but demonstrating that. And again, you make the point, I think, very, very well. It’s one thing when you have a few hundred thousand doses and you are focusing on a limited supply in a limited frame with healthcare workers and skilled nursing facilities. It’s another when you’re in January, February, March, and millions of doses are now distributed and locally available, and that distribution points increase and that accountability now is spread more broadly, and the challenge of being more transparent becomes self-evident. So that registry is a big part of it, as Dr. Galley said, but these partnerships are going to be critical, and good faith. And, again, just holding ourselves to a higher level of ethical conduct is also human nature, has to also be part of any successful enforcement in this space as well.

Speaker 4: (31:15)
Final question, Aiden Vazeery, SF Chronicle.

Aiden Vazeery: (31:20)
Hi, Governor Newsom. I was wondering when you look at this plateauing of numbers, is that an encouraging sign that the stay-at-home orders are working? And a follow-up to that is, as we move past the holidays and vaccines become more widely available, how bad are things going to get before they get better?

Gavin Newsom: (31:44)
Well, it’s a sobering question and an honest question, and I think one has to be honest in response. I think, it was wonderful, at least, for me to hear this from the president-elect, when Joe Biden last week, right before the holidays, assessed things, I think, correctly, that unfortunately, it will get worse before it gets better.

Gavin Newsom: (32:07)
And I think demonstrably, that’s the case. And not only as a nation, but clearly as we work through the next 60 to 90 days here in the state of California and anticipate this surge on top of a surge, arguably on top of a surge as it relates to the holiday movement and the travel that we’ve experienced all across this country, based upon the data that has been reported.

Gavin Newsom: (32:35)
And so we are gearing for that. We’re preparing for that. We’re not wasting a minute, not wasting an hour, not wasting a day, not wasting a weekend. No time off on Christmas. There’s no New Year’s celebration in terms of that planning. It’s very sober and we’re being very proactive in looking to build more capacity, more partnerships, and leveraging existing resources, which I hope broke through today.

Gavin Newsom: (33:03)
And leveraging existing resources which I hope broke through today in this presentation with the teams that we are inserting in LA County in particular, and looking at load capacity between hospitals. Not just systems, not just within counties, not just within regions, in a different way to be more prescriptive and supportive in terms of our preparation and our planning. As it relates to the first part of your question, I’m going to have Dr. Galley answer that. But my sense is yes, that people have taken seriously this call. And I say this all the time, in our line of work, unlike baseball, you don’t get credit for saves. Meaning we don’t talk about what could have otherwise been.

Gavin Newsom: (33:45)
We just talk about what is, and we assess that versus maybe this would have been much, much worse had we not introduced some of these interventions. I think some they say, “Well, those interventions were in a place and it didn’t work.” I completely reject that, and I suggest that there is evidence they have worked, substantially so, and that’s encouraging. And I think that’s certainly the case as it relates to these plateau of these numbers that are plateauing to him. But Dr. Galley is a doctor for a reason, and he’s more prepared to answer that I think more substantively than I am.

Dr. Ghaly: (34:22)
Well, governor, as usual, you did a fantastic job of answering it, but I will amplify a couple of points. Absolutely, we have seen this plateau. It’s what we’d hoped for. We weren’t sure that we were going to see it, because of some of the concerns around the movement, mobility data, our sense of where this was being effective and where it wasn’t. And frankly, we’re pleased to see a little bit of a plateau, because the governor has it exactly right. If we continued to see the rate of rise through the last couple of weeks in the cases that we’re seeing today, the impact that we anticipate coming from Christmas, New Years would be even worse. And I’ll remind you that we’ve learned so much about taking care of patients with COVID. We’ve learned how to treat them in hospitals. But when those hospital beds and those staff aren’t available to provide care, then people don’t get that care, and we have the worst outcome and more deaths than we anticipated.

Dr. Ghaly: (35:24)
So the ability to continue over the next week to do, make the decisions, decide not to mix, decide not to travel, decide to celebrate virtually with others, or with your household alone. Those are going to be the things that help us keep this slight decrease downward or flattening. Not even a decrease downward, just a flattening of the upward trends that help us anticipate a slightly reduced impact on our hospitals. All of that said, you asked where this is heading. We certainly anticipate that the middle of January is going to be a pretty difficult time in our hospitals, where the cases from this week and next week really start to stack on top of one another impacting the emergency rooms, our hospital wards, and our ICU spaces. And then when I speak to hospital leaders throughout the Southern part of the state, they are worried about the middle part of January, the second part of January as being the major areas of impact.

Dr. Ghaly: (36:27)
And although we hope to get more staff in, as we talk about next week, and that we have these beds prepared, we also know that a number of Californians are worried. We’ve seen that in their behavior. It’s both the regional stay-at-home order impact, but also impact from the fact that I think people are worried about what they’re seeing in our hospitals. They believe more than ever that that could be them. That could be their family member. Hospitals not just with 60, 70, 80 year olds on ventilators, but hospitals with 25, 35 year olds on ventilators who aren’t doing well. So this is a really a call to everybody not to say, “Well, what’s happened in the last couple of weeks? Has that regional stay-at-home order been as effective as you thought?” Like the governor said, “We’ve gotten something out of that.”

Dr. Ghaly: (37:17)
The trends have started to come down a little bit, but it’s not enough. We need people not to let up their guard to take this as seriously as possible so that we can get through the middle of January, the end of January. And continue to get the vaccine out into our communities. Get the most vulnerable vaccinated first with a lot of our high risk front line workers. And then into those first couple of months of the new year, and really feeling more confident then. But right now, it’s time to stay laser focused on what we can do in the next days to come. Because as the governor has said many, many times, “We’re in charge of the future. We make decisions today to not just save the lives of our family members, but our communities at large.” So, I think that’s what we see on the horizon. It isn’t already set in stone. We actually have some decisions to make that are critical over the days to come, each and every one of us.

Gavin Newsom: (38:14)
Yeah, yeah. I appreciate that response, I appreciate the question. I appreciate all of you for tuning in, and taking the time. And we look forward to making updates tomorrow, Wednesday, the rest of the week. And obviously work our way through, well, next very challenging month as Dr. Galley summed up, I think quite, quite, quite well. Final point, just a point of clarification. Yeah, I think Don you asked and I didn’t answer, forgive me. I tested multiple times, negative, negative, negative. I can’t even recall how many. And so, that’s my testing status to the extent anyone cares. Anyway, look forward to updating you very shortly. Again, I hope everybody stays safe, and does what they can to mitigate the spread of this virus during this very, very challenging time. Some encouraging early signs that we may be plateauing in many parts of the state. Very, very sober reality in certain parts of the state, particularly Los Angeles, Riverside and San Bernardino County. Well, take care of everybody and we look forward to circling back and updating you in the next day.