Jan 11, 2021
California Gov. Gavin Newsom Press Conference Transcript January 11
California Governor Gavin Newsom held a COVID-19 news conference on January 11. Read the transcript of his coronavirus briefing speech here.
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Gavin Newsom: (01:21)
Well, good afternoon, everybody. I’ll just jump right in to today’s update. 39,839 individuals in our latest reporting period have tested positive for COVID-19. You could see the seven day average at a little over 40,000, 41,415 to be precise. Our test positivity rate in the state has fluctuated anywhere between 13.5% and 14%. Today on the 14 day positivity average, we’re officially at 13.7%, this based upon a seven day average test, just over 290,000 tests. I should note we had 473,000 tests on Saturday, about 343,000 tests yesterday. So we’re seeing, after a little bit of restriction of testing during the holidays, we’re starting to see those testing numbers ramp back up rather substantially. As it relates to that 14 day positivity rate as I noted, we’re seeing that fluctuation in the last week or so, but over the last two weeks, you can see we went from over 2.5% percent, 2.6% positivity, to that 13.7% you see today.
Gavin Newsom: (02:36)
Now here’s the two slides I wanted to update you with that are important and relevant. You’ll see a six percent increase in the total number of hospitalizations over the last 14 days, patients with COVID-19. That’s among the smallest increases we’ve seen over a two week period in some time. It’s just a point of some optimism, a little bit of light. And I’ll express why we’re not overly enthusiastic about that as it relates to the reality and expectation of the reality that is manifesting and the expectations that we believe will manifest as it relates to the post-holiday bump. But the hospitalization rate, the growth rate at six percent over a two week period, and a 0.3% over a seven day period. So almost flat, new hospitalizations over the last week and six percent increase over the last two weeks, substantially lower rate of growth in terms of new COVID identified positives into our hospital system. Accordingly with ICUs, 13% over a two week period, increase five percent over a seven day. So 0.3% seven day increase in hospitalizations, five percent increase in ICUs.
Gavin Newsom: (04:01)
So both the hospitals and the ICUs experiencing a rate of increase that is more modest than what we have expressed and we have seen over the course of the last many, many weeks, for that matter many, many months. As it relates to ICU capacity, nonetheless, and this is the point of being sober about this reality. You can look at this capacity. This again, it does not mean no one has access to ICUs. Quite the contrary. It just means we’re now in the surge phase of our ICU planning. But you could see with the exception of the greater Sacramento region around 10% and Northern California, which is holding steady over 30%, 35% in this case. That Southern California, San Joaquin Valley continue to be the hotspots for the state, typically Southern California in the San Bernardino, Riverside and notably LA areas.
Gavin Newsom: (04:56)
Bay Area expressing obviously deeper concern around ICU capacity. Again, with the flex plans well-established you could see those numbers beginning to decline in the Bay Area. And that likely will lead, though there’s no formal adjudication of the data that’s happening, happened over the weekend. Friday being the last day in the Bay Area, the Greater Bay Area region on the stay-at-home. That those numbers are being crunched. And we should expect Dr. Ghaly in his update tomorrow to update that determination. But based upon ICU capacity currently, unless those projections are radically different, then we can expect that stay-at-home to continue.
Gavin Newsom: (05:38)
As relates to deaths, we continue to see a substantial number of people losing their lives to this pandemic, averaging 476 individuals over the last seven days, 264 individuals the last reporting period. So just a sober reminder of the deadliness of this disease, how deadly this pandemic remains. I noted a few weeks back and it got a little bit of attention understandably so, these mobile morgues that we sent out across the state. Some suggested perhaps that was overly indulgent, meaning a bit hyperbolic. Now it appears more pressing in the context of reposition of these mobile morgues has been essential in typical parts of the state that are simply overwhelmed and just don’t have capacity. So we continue to monitor that and continue to work with our county partners and our local partners to address those issues as well.
Gavin Newsom: (06:37)
As it relates to the issue of staffing the state, we have roughly 1,900 state and federal staff that have been deployed. You can see the myriad of support that we’re providing, the most significant now being contract staff. Our emphasis now is on contract staff. I’ll talk more about that in a moment. We continue to work with the federal government, Department of Defense and others, HHS, to request additional resources. That’s a top priority and will remain over the course of next nine, 10 days with the current administration and will be among the most essential and top priorities as it relates to the new administration coming in next week. So 1,878 state and federal staff now deployed across the state of California, disproportionate number in Southern California.
Gavin Newsom: (07:29)
As it relates to the next week or so, in fact, we expect within seven days more LVNs, more RNs, more respiratory specialists, about 1,000 contract staff will hit the ground. So we’re already right now in the process of identifying exactly where they go. But we have 1,000 members, that team that will be deployed supplementing the close to 2,000 that we’ve already deployed. So again, real emphasis, real focus on contract staff now in terms of addressing our staffing need. And I should note, and this is important, we anticipate an equivalent amount in the next few weeks as well. So this is an area where we’re starting to see some availability of staff, some loosening of opportunities to, again, to bring in, not just RNs, but LVNs, respiratory specialists, among many other essential workers.
Gavin Newsom: (08:28)
Here’s an update on those alternative care sites, six that we’ve included on this slide that are active in Sacramento, Porterville, Fairview. Some that you’re well familiar in Southern California, in San Diego, as well as Los Angeles. About 117 patients currently are in these what we refer to often as decompression sites. These are the sites that we stood up. Many others are on warm status. These the ones that we’ve stood up that will allow us to decompress, take off a little bit of the pressure the census total number of people at the hospital system itself has to support.
Gavin Newsom: (09:08)
As it relates to support, we continue to do more to support the needs of getting these vaccines delivered, not only to our partners all up and down the state of California, thousands of them, but administered into people’s arms. We talk now often about the last mile and the last inch. I’ll talk about both here briefly, but you could see a little over 2.4 million, just shy of 2.5 million doses we’ve received today and getting close to 800,000 that have been administered, 783,000 administered. This is our last reporting period and we will be updating this as we do daily with a goal, very explicit goal that we established last week to have an additional, this is additive. This is not just getting to one million. This is getting well in excess of a million, but one million more vaccines.
Gavin Newsom: (10:03)
We had this 10 day goal. We announced it last week and the goal has a deadline this weekend, when dust settles and those that data comes in and there’s always a day or two lag on the data. So I want folks to be aware of that. We should have all of that information in by this weekend. And the reason we set a goal of one million is that we are sending an urgent call across the spectrum, our healthcare partners, our legislative partners, as well as labor and business partners up and down the state, this notion of an all hands on deck approach to accelerate the equitable and safe distribution of vaccines. Again, we’re not losing sight of the issue of equity. We’re not losing sight of the imperative to prioritize the most vulnerable and the most essential. So that’s why we talk about our special efforts to vaccinate the vaccinators. We talk about those long-term settings and those notion of congregate focus, our focus on congregate facilities, residential assisted care facilities.
Gavin Newsom: (11:08)
But we now have created, and we’ve talked about this last week on multiple occasions, I’ll repeat today this expanded pool, the loosening of our tiers, or rather phases. And within those phases, the tiers to allow the administration, more smooth administration and more expedited administration of the vaccinations. We’ve also expanded the pool of those that can administer the vaccines. I’ve received a lot of calls, a lot of emails, a lot of texts with people saying, “You should really allow nurse midwives the ability to vaccinate. You should allow vocational nurses and psych techs.” Well, the reality is we have. And I just wanted to put up here as part of our all hands on deck, the slide that represents the number of categories of individuals and groups that can currently vaccinate.
Gavin Newsom: (12:04)
And you can see the myriad of different registered nurses, physician assistants, and the like. But we recognize more folks need to have that ability. And that’s why you recall a week or so ago, we talked about our efforts on pharmacists and pharm techs. Last week at the end of the week, we talked about the work with CDA, our dental association, CMA, and the work we’re doing there to get more and more folks, including our dentists, to be able to administer the vaccines.
Gavin Newsom: (12:34)
We have 15 National Guard strike teams all up and down the state. People said, “Well, what about the National Guard?” Well, we have deployed the National Guard for some time now, and it’s just a reminder that they have now been deployed. And they’re out there working with the office of emergency services, working with clinics and health providers directly. We just now today more socialized, oh, this happened over the course last number of days, but just socializing EMTs and paramedics.
Gavin Newsom: (13:04)
We’re seeing more and more paramedics partnering with the counties. Local health officers are encouraging this and we are very supportive in EMTs this local option for additional vaccinators to help administer these vaccines faster, again, with the eye on equity, risk, exposure, and with age as the overlay. Using every dose, we don’t want to see any dose wasted and that’s why we created more flexibility. If there’s a dose that’s sitting there and there’s no one queued up that’s in line based upon the existing tiers, we want to be able to move to other priority groups, other priority phases and tiers within those phases. And so we want to make sure none of these expire, none of these doses go unused. I’ll remind you that the current focus of the vaccinations is healthcare workers, those frontline essential workers. That’s why we want to vaccinate the vaccinators. So many of them are in those categories, the vaccinators themselves.
Gavin Newsom: (14:03)
So many of them are in those categories of vaccinators themselves, and then those residents that are most vulnerable in these congregate facilities. We partnered not only with those you’ve seen up on screen, as it relates to those previous slides, but CVS and Walgreens that are doing the lion’s share. Not in every county, LA County is a big exception, but notably and substantively in all of those other congregate care facilities, Walgreens and CVS are administering as a partner with the state and the federal government, to administer the needs within those facilities.
Gavin Newsom: (14:36)
The flexibility into the different phases includes the following. And so again, this is already established. We’ve created these phases and these tiers within the phases, but we want folks to know that we now have flexibility, where we can move in to these phases and these tiers, which include people 75 and over, includes people 65 and over, if those folks are not present and available. So there’s no waste, more flexibility, more capacity.
Gavin Newsom: (15:10)
So people in the education system can expect to start getting vaccinated. Childcare, so it’s teachers and paraprofessionals across the board, those essential workers and all the support staff, all those key members of our support staff, not just teachers, that are essential as well, to making sure that we safely are taking care of the needs of our children.
Gavin Newsom: (15:34)
For what it’s worth, we talked last week about Phase 1C. This is that extended phase where many of you, could be myself, this is the phase that we would be in and you might be in, and this phase is now established. It’s up. It’s up on our covid19.ca.gov website, covid19.ca.gov website. I’ll just remind you that site to learn about all of these things, about the availability and updates in terms of the availability of doses and the percentage of doses that have been administered. And what are our time to goal is, and the million plus new doses, and where you may be within these phases.
Gavin Newsom: (16:15)
And we will fill out details as we start to get more doses in, again, just a little over two and half million doses. And that’s just doses. We obviously are going to need substantially more doses to get into this next phase. And we hope to learn more with the new administration soon, was their intent to release a lot of the stockpile of doses, and we’ll start to see a greater clarity and then meet your expectation to start to put some timelines or at least expected timelines, so that we can deal with the anxiety that I know is palpable out there, about when we have that availability. When will we see it.
Gavin Newsom: (16:57)
This relates to vaccinations as well. We recognize that the current strategy is not going to get us to where we need to go as quickly as we all need to go. And so that’s why we’re speeding up the administration, not just for priority groups, but also now opening up large sites to do so. Meaning Dodger Stadium, Padre Stadium, Cal Expo, these large mass vaccination sites. You’ll start to see those coming up as early as this week. You’ll see many, many more, but these are just three sites that will be coming up this week. So this is encouraging, and this is, again, part of that flywheel. I know it can’t go fast enough that all of us should anticipate and expect, as it relates to increasing that last mile for administration. Get it out of the freezer, into people’s arms, these vaccines.
Gavin Newsom: (17:50)
$372 million is the budget that we submitted to the legislature on Friday. This is $372 million for IT upgrades, and we’re going to have more on that later this week, logistics, commodities, public education campaign. More on that in a moment.
Gavin Newsom: (18:09)
In addition to this, we mentioned on Friday, we anticipate $350 million. We’re going to get the details of that and the rules attached to it from the latest stimulus. That’s just on vaccines. That’s not the money available, 1.7 billion for testing and for tracing and other supports related to this pandemic, but specifically for vaccines.
Gavin Newsom: (18:33)
So that money we want to move. It’s building on the existing supports that the legislature has provided us. With gratitude, we extend that support as well from the federal government that was identified not only for the state, but also for counties like LA in particular, with direct appropriations.
Gavin Newsom: (18:55)
Public education campaign, I mentioned just a moment ago. We’re focusing on the key message of safety and efficacy. We’re also focusing on this query that we get all the time, which is how much is it going to cost? And it does not cost you to get this administered. Information is private, it’s protected.
Gavin Newsom: (19:14)
And then this encouraging message around the importance and imperatives of continuing to wear a mask and wear a face covering, even after you’ve gotten that first dose, that first shot. And the whole predicate, the whole foundation, the value proposition we bring into the campaign is meeting people where they are and more on that right here. We want to make sure we build on our engaged and trusted messenger strategy that is well established through previous programs, particularly around the census.
Gavin Newsom: (19:45)
So we’re going to build on the past campaign, this is more of the… You got the air campaign. This is more the bottom up campaign, and we’re partnering with 150 CBOs. These are community-based organizations, non-governmental organizations, with philanthropy, 40 ethnic media outlets, 18 different languages. This gives you a sense, I hope, of how we are looking at our messaging strategies, our public outreach strategies, very comprehensively, not just top-down.
Gavin Newsom: (20:18)
But with that, let me go to a PSA, two PSAs actually, that highlight a little bit of some of the new messaging. They build on the existing messaging package we put out. Many, many different PSAs. These are just some of the PSAs related to the vaccine that you should be seeing very, very shortly.
Dr. Nadine Burke Harris: (20:36)
COVID-19 vaccines have arrived. They’ve been recommended by California’s top medical experts because they’ve been proven to be highly effective and will build your immunity against COVID-19. They will be available at no cost. The COVID-19 vaccine can help protect you and your family and end the pandemic. And remember, keep wearing your mask, even after you’ve been vaccinated. To learn more, visit vaccinateall58.com.
Dr. Tomas Aragon: (21:35)
[foreign language 00:07:11].
Gavin Newsom: (21:39)
So that’s just an example of two of the new pieces that we’re putting out. This will compliment, again, a lot of what we’ve already been doing, and you’ll be seeing a lot more. We hope to invest, with the support of legislature, $40 million in this campaign. In addition to that, we want to build even more investment into our partnership program with CBOs, ethnic media, and the likes. So substantial and significant effort in this space. A lot of the resources that we hope to be investing over the course of the next number of months, we will look to be supported and advanced with the collaborative spirit that we’ve already received well over a year with the California legislature. And in addition to that, just the ongoing support we seek from philanthropy.
Gavin Newsom: (22:33)
That’s been essential, in terms of a lot of the creative work that’s been provided, and a lot of creative thinking that has also been advanced throughout this process and a lot of the social media side, not just the more broadcast side of the equation.
Gavin Newsom: (22:47)
Speaking of, something that is… Well, I don’t know it’s creative, but it’s interesting, at least to me. And I’ll tell you, it certainly was this morning with my household, my four kids, that… And excuse them and forgive me, that seem more intrigued by this slide that we were working on than anything else or related to this pandemic, because of their love for animals. We have two gorillas at the San Diego Zoo that now have tested positive for COVID-19. Two that have been tested positive. We have another that’s symptomatic. We are currently confirming the source of the infection and the strain. There is some question that had come human, animal, that’s being determined. And one has to respect that process and the adjudication of the facts, but nonetheless, the [inaudible 00:23:42] area that’s long been of concern, human to animal transmission. But our beloved gorillas, obviously, we are concerned about. And San Diego zoo, best of the best, they’ve tested now formally the two positive, but three are symptomatic. And we are likely to see more information about this in real time in the next hours, not just days. But I thought I’d just bring it up because as I say often to all of you, what tends to resonate in my house, I want to make public to you in real time. And that’s the update in terms of the status of these gorillas in the San Diego Zoo.
Gavin Newsom: (24:23)
So with that, we’re happy now to take any questions. And for what it’s worth, I’m not only joined today by Dr. [Galli 00:10:31], but by Yolanda Richardson, runs our gov ops, who is also key partner in our logistics and operations around the vaccinations as well. And so all three of us are available to answer any questions.
Speaker 1: (24:52)
[inaudible 00:24:52] Sierra KGO.
Dustin Gardner: (24:56)
Hi governor, we’ve been in touch with the California board of registered nursing, who has been in contact with the state, with hopes to allow 30,000 nursing students who have just been trained and certified to administer vaccines, to help aid the backlog. And I know you alluded to 1000 other workers that will be assisting with that effort in the coming week, but I was curious if you’ve specifically heard about nursing students, and would you consider that?
Gavin Newsom: (25:22)
Yeah, in fact, enthusiastically so. Our fire agencies and our nursing schools will be essential and critical, and we are engaging them, in terms of the vaccination protocols moving forward. I want to just distinguish, and I’m going to turn this over to Yolanda and Dr. Galli, to talk more about those efforts, and I appreciate the query. I just want to distinguish, the 1000 staff is specific to the surge in the ICU and hospitals, as it relates to the vaccinators and expanding the scope and expanding the practice of administration. That’s separate, and nursing schools and fire agencies, among many, many others, you saw that list, are being sought to secure that last mile distribution and administration of the vaccine.
Gavin Newsom: (26:09)
Dr. Galli and Yolanda, perhaps you can amplify that a little bit more in terms of the status of our nursing school conversations in particular.
Dr. Galli: (26:22)
Yolanda, you may have certainly more updated information, but throughout this whole pandemic, we’ve looked to the potential use of our nursing students, as well as other folks, some retired nurses, others who have been out of practice for some time, but who might want to lend a hand. So that idea of using the nursing students first came up as a potential resource to support our surge efforts very, very early on. And now with vaccines, seems like a great fit. So I know we’re deep into some of those conversations. Yolanda, you may want to add more, but it is certainly a large resource. I know that students in healthcare are often eager and interested to give back and contribute. So this is a perfect way to match both that experience, as well as a way to support this state in its fight against COVID.
Yolanda Richardson: (27:21)
Agree, Dr. Galli. Just as the governor said, in addition to nursing students, we’re looking at retired providers, firefighters. Just as the governor said, all hands on deck to provide as much staffing to the vaccination effort as possible.
Gavin Newsom: (27:36)
Thank you, guys.
Speaker 1: (27:36)
Speaker 2: (27:47)
Hi, governor. Last week, you mentioned that the state was conducting a survey of healthcare workers who are declining the vaccine, to try to get a handle on how many people were doing that. So has the state completed that? And what have you learned? And then just to be clear, are we opening the vaccine to-
Speaker 2: (28:03)
… Learned. And then just to be clear, are we opening the vaccine to tiers 1B and 1C across the board or at this point is that only if there are extra available doses that are risk of going to waste?
Gavin Newsom: (28:13)
Yeah, it’s the latter. It’s only if and Dr. Ghaly can pull that out a little bit more. So the survey was not just about people that are saying yes or no. It was more comprehensive about what are the issues on the last mile? What are the issues on that last inch as it relates to people that may refuse? I want to provide this slide if you could take a look here. This is interesting. Just some of the preliminary data that’s come back to your question. And Dr. Ghaly can talk more about this.
Gavin Newsom: (28:41)
At UC, just at the UC system, only 2% of our healthcare workers have declined or postponed receiving a vaccine. This sort of flies in the face of some of the national data that’s come out that there’s a large percentage of people declining at least in our system based upon this current survey and this information updates consistently. That’s the case. And just for what it’s worth, CalVet, five out of our eight homes and clinics, 81% of the eligible residents have received vaccine and over half the staff has received vaccines.
Gavin Newsom: (29:14)
That gives you a sense of the magnitude of people that are happy to accept the vaccines and gives you a sense that perhaps we are more successful in terms of that last inch than some had feared. That said, Dr. Ghaly, perhaps you can fill in some blanks in terms of that survey and some of the results that have come back.
Dr. Galli: (29:41)
Yeah, Governor, absolutely. This survey was pretty comprehensive. It reached out to many of the counties that are doing work. Not just do vaccines, but manage surge, keep up the work with testing and contact tracing. And we learned quite a bit there what the various counties need by way of support. Some of this here, what are we hearing about different individuals accepting the vaccine, declining and differing? We’re learning that not just to people decline, but they say, “We want to wait a little longer.” They want to see how this all comes together. So there’s all of that information.
Dr. Galli: (30:16)
Some of the top things that we heard were additional support on staffing, the things that governor just mentioned around nursing students, EMTs, paramedics, others who can help on the vaccination front. Our various associations, California Medical Association, dental association, pharmacy association. All of these as vital resources to help meet those needs at the local level, the mass vaccine sites to make sure that we’re able to get as many people vaccinated.
Dr. Galli: (30:47)
I think that what we knew all along was different healthcare settings, different counties we’re going to experience differently. Wherein the UCs might have a very low level declining vaccine among their staff and their patients. Other communities might have higher rates of declination. So working to get that, not just in one or two spots, but throughout the state is one of the key goals in making sure that we address that effectively. Not just through additional resources to help provide the vaccine, but the messaging, the PSA campaign. You saw a little bit of it today. I think that goes hand in hand with this concept of making sure the message around safety and efficacy go hand in hand.
Dr. Galli: (31:31)
The last thing I would say is absolutely our goal is to increase the availability of vaccine to as many Californians as possible, but while making sure that we pay attention to this primary important responsibility to make sure California’s vaccinators do get vaccinated themselves, that we support the 1A priority or phase and make sure that that does get taken care of as we move forward into other populations and sectors that are equally at risk and vulnerable as well.
Speaker 3: (32:10)
Jeong Park, Sacramento Bee.
Jeong Park: (32:15)
Hi governor, thank you for taking my question. I have one that’s more the philosophical and an other that’s more technical so I can ask them at once. If the States fine tune reports [inaudible 00:32:28] of age, but occupations and other factors is there something [inaudible 00:32:33] slowing the process down compared to what we’ve seen other States like Florida and Texas? And one of the other technical questions that I have is some of the States have set up the appointment system for vaccinations. I’m wondering if that’s something in the cards for the state going forward and when that may be.
Gavin Newsom: (32:52)
All right. Dr. Ghaly, you want to take that?
Dr. Galli: (32:58)
Sure. As we’ve said some last week, the idea that our tiering and phases has slowed us down, we have certainly begun to address that working closely with our providers and our counties to make sure the message that all individuals in that tier 1A can be vaccinated immediately. There shouldn’t be a difference between the first tier and the third tier in 1A. And then ensuring that counties that have successfully and health providers who have successfully made an effort and move through their 1A are able to begin planning and moving towards the 1B.
Dr. Galli: (33:43)
So really trying to communicate both on the level of prioritization and then this ever important issue around enforcement. We’ve talked very clearly about the fact that we don’t want people profiting from use of the vaccine, selling the vaccine, providing it to the highest bidder. But also that we can’t afford with this scarce resource to have any waste. So really working over the last many days, weeks with our direct partners who are the vaccinators sending the message that we need to make sure that we use what we have in our freezers, that we get them out.
Dr. Galli: (34:20)
That’s part of the reason we have the million dose vial dose goal that we set last week and making sure that we really do create an ability for a number of our vaccinators to work through that as quickly as possible. We recognize that the focus on risk and exposure is an important one. We have plenty of populations, our oldest Californians who by virtue of what we’ve seen over the past 10 months faced some of the greatest risks when they do become infected. So ensuring that we stay focused, not just on those in our general population, but first and foremost, on our oldest Californians in congregate care facilities working with our pharmacy partners and a number of others to make sure that that happens.
Dr. Galli: (35:09)
And then secondly, focusing on exposure. We’ve talked about from the beginning the role of the essential workers, those on the front lines of whether it’s in our hospital and health care facilities, whether it’s on our food industry or other key places that keep California going. Making sure that that unavoidable potential exposure is protected with some vaccines. So the goal of making sure that the state and our counties, and many, many others in fact clear the ways so that we can get vaccine out as soon as it comes into this state is a key goal. And we’ve made a great deal of progress on that in the last week.
Gavin Newsom: (35:47)
And just a reminder, the third leg of that stool risk exposure equity. So risk exposure equity with that age overlay. That’s the foundation. Flexibility now within the tier that we’re currently in, just a reminder, current focus on vaccination, healthcare workers, residents in long-term settings. But now flexibility with that sort of prong of focus, equity, exposure, risk, and age allowing more flexibility within phase 1B, tier one, phase 1B, tier two. So anyway, thank you for the opportunity to clarify.
Speaker 3: (36:31)
Taryn Luna, LA Times.
Taryn Luna: (36:34)
Governor, in light of the potential for armed protests at the California Capitol in the coming days, what extra security precautions have you ordered to prepare for that? And then separately, do you plan to activate the National Guard to support law enforcement?
Gavin Newsom: (36:49)
We as needed on the ladder and the answer is pretty self-evident for anyone who’s been around the Capitol that everybody is on I think a high alert in terms of just making sure that everybody is safe and protected. People’s free speech can be advanced, but there’s no violence. And so those operational decisions are with the California Highway Patrol and I’m happy to encourage them to talk to you a little more detail the extent we can socialize some of the operational plans appropriately. But I can assure you, we have heightened, heightened level of security as it relates to some concerns.
Speaker 3: (37:32)
Dustin Gardner, SF Chronicle.
Dustin Gardner: (37:36)
Thank you, governor. Governor, this was asked the other day and I just wanted to revisit it. What is your current stance on the call for impeachment or invocation of the 25th Amendment?
Gavin Newsom: (37:45)
I’m all for it. So you got it. But I’m trying to get 291 folks in the Department of Defense trying to get more support from all levels to bring down. I’m just being candid with you. I’m focused on this vaccine distribution, I’m focused on the surge. I’m trying to drive to get us through this extraordinarily challenging period. And I appreciate that focus and I support it, clarified.
Gavin Newsom: (38:18)
But that’s not my focus right now. My focus candidly is on you and your family, and your safety as it relates to issues associated with getting us through this very challenging wave in this pandemic. And so that’s where my energy flows right now.
Speaker 3: (38:39)
Brody Levesque, LA Blade.
Brody Levesque: (38:43)
Hey governor, good afternoon. Actually my questions for Dr. Ghaly, Dr. Ghaly in a press conference last week, your wife indicated the Los Angeles is basically at a crippled point in terms of oxygen supplies. Governor Newsom I believe you ordered more and more trucks for the LA County Medical Examiner’s Office.
Brody Levesque: (39:06)
Where are we sitting in terms to address that also with the minority populations, I’ve been trying to get the breakdowns on the numbers to see how the Black, Asians, Latino, and even our own LGBTQ community are being impacted as all of this is going on in the background. Where are we actually at with that because this is getting a little scarier in Los Angeles?
Gavin Newsom: (39:34)
Doctor, you want to take that?
Dr. Galli: (39:36)
Yeah. Sure. Thanks Brody for the question and I’ll tell you that a lot has come together in the past many days as it relates to oxygen. I mean, these are many weeks in the making working with specific facilities, working along the region. Lots of progress in terms of addressing the specific needs of certain facilities, certain hospitals that have a need and issues with oxygen. But even more working on making sure oxygen is available to those who are maybe able to be discharged into the community and go back home with home oxygen.
Dr. Galli: (40:16)
So at three levels, addressing the supply within the specific hospital systems, making sure that the county broadly has access to additional oxygen. So that if a facility reaches internal disaster from the point of view of oxygen need that we’re able to circumvent that and make sure that they have enough. And then ensuring that the home oxygen delivery systems that we often rely on often depend on to support people to go home that that isn’t delayed in any way. So all three of those efforts are well underway.
Dr. Galli: (40:55)
A lot of engagement with the Army Corps of Engineers, identifying specific facilities not just in LA County, but in Southern California proudly that could benefit from some improved upgrades to their oxygen delivery systems. So all of that is in place. And at this moment, the capability to address facility by facility, those needs is real working closely with the county and making sure that those are addressed. So I think a lot of progress in the last week, I think some encouraging news on that front and really proud of the work that the teams of the state did with our local partners, a lot of private partners and federal partners to make this situation better.
Gavin Newsom: (41:38)
I always remind folks, we created this oxygen work group many, many weeks ago to address the issue related to demand. And last week, we put out a deck of slides socializing some of the improvements we’ve made in terms of supporting our efforts at the local level and expanding our reach nationally in terms of getting more assets, more resources. So these mobile oxygen systems have been leased-
Gavin Newsom: (42:03)
More resources, so these mobile oxygen systems have been leased. We’ve increased access to this home oxygen strategy, which Dr. Galley’s talked about in the past. We’ve got these response teams, specific oxygen response teams, down in the LA region, and we have these oxygen concentrators that are already deployed. So we laid out a lot more details than this slide provides, but it gives you a sense of the urgency of focus in this area. And while things are materially better, that is not shared equally, meaning there are issues. And we acknowledge that, but it’s a dynamic process. And so, we recognize the importance and the imperative of staying on top of this issue and continue to do what we can to be supportive, addressing the needs down there.
Speaker 4: (42:51)
Patrick Healy, NBC Four.
Governor, with the added capacity of these new large venues, like Dodger stadium and [inaudible 00:43:04], would you like to move into 1B and some of the lower categories more quickly, before 1A is done? And for Dr. Galley, if you could comment on the decline and the increase of hospitalization, is that due to, in fact, the holiday surge not being as bad as feared, or is it more due to hospitals transferring out the less critical patients? Thank you.
Gavin Newsom: (43:30)
It’s the right question. Just because you asked the doctor, I’ll let him answer. I have strong thoughts on that as well, and I’ll turn it over to Dr. Galley. Look, as it relates to the first part of your question, equity. Focus on vaccinating the vaccinators, making sure we’re taking care of our most vulnerable and congregate facilities remains our top priority. We’re not abandoning equity, we’re not abandoning exposure. We’re not abandoning issue of risk. We’re not abandoning the issue of age. So no is the answer, but we can do both. It’s an and, not an or. As we get more vaccines, meaning we get more doses and we anticipate many more doses, that will allow us with the flexibility of the rules that we put forward, the ability to provide the resources and support at these mass vaccination centers that still allow us to maintain that thrust of focus. Dr. Galley, perhaps you can build on that first, and then answer more specifically on the second part of that question.
Dr. Galli: (44:39)
Yeah, and governor, you hit it right. The focus on equity, the ability to use these mass vaccination sites, is additional touch points where people can get vaccinated in these early groups is going to allow us to reach that goal. We want to get out vaccine as quickly as we can in California, starting with those who are going to be in charge of vaccinating the rest of us, making sure that they’re protected and safe on the front lines of the surge, on the front lines of the vaccine sites, on the front lines of the testing centers. But then, also that key focus really driven by equity. We know who’s shouldered the brunt of this pandemic. We’ve been tracking that in our data for many, many months, sharing it with you, and making sure that we don’t overlook them and do all that we can do to engage them in our vaccine efforts, while keeping an eye on the ability to move forward into those other phases and those other tiers, so that more Californians can get that reach.
Dr. Galli: (45:39)
So not just really focusing on these phases and tiers, but setting up a number of vaccination sites under the excellent, amazing leadership of secretary Richardson, working with our local partners to get that set up. I think that’s going to deliver on this risk exposure and equity framework that the governor laid out a moment ago. As it relates to the hospital numbers, we did know and expected that if the regional stay-at-home order, certain aspects of our own behaviors, some of the communication about the severity of the situation, that if people made some different decisions in the last half of December, that we would begin to see some flattening of those hospital numbers.
Dr. Galli: (46:22)
First, it comes with a slight dip in plateau in the case numbers, and then you’ll see the hospital numbers followed later with the ICU numbers, begin to plateau. That said, we are still concerned that over the last week, we’ve seen some high case numbers, and those will end up in our hospital five, 10 days from now, so I don’t want to think that we’re out of the woods in any measure. We are still focused on the middle of this month, the end of this month, as really peak times for our hospital numbers, but we are grateful, and expected, given the choices we made, the policy decisions, that we would see a slight flattening now, buy a little breathing room, get into this period when registry staff are more available, that we’re able to bring them into the California health care delivery system to meet the needs of patients, and we’re beginning to see some of that right now.
Gavin Newsom: (47:20)
So Dr. Galley, and perhaps let me expand on the question and just offer you a chance to illuminate us further in the conversations we have almost hourly as it relates to the fundamental question of, are we experiencing that holiday surge that so many of us feared? Christmas, Hanukkah, Christmas, 25th Christmas, now we’re in getting in the second week of January. You should start experiencing some of that side. You’ve got obviously New Year’s. What’s your sense of when should we really start to see or not see that surge in terms of just days and the upcoming weeks?
Dr. Galli: (48:06)
Yeah, so if you look at where California was on January 5th, which would be right in the middle where you’d expect those admissions coming in from maybe Christmas gatherings, or late Hanukkah gatherings, we saw a pretty high number of day over day net increase in hospital numbers of about 3,500 total admissions. Over the last day or two, we’ve seen that number come down, 2,500 admissions yesterday. That’s a significant difference. Now, I share that trend in part to say, yes, we’re hopeful that we’re seeing the surge now, and it isn’t as significant as we’d anticipated, but we still have a few more days before we can confidently say that it isn’t as high as we had feared, but we’re hopeful that that will be the case, even though, I’ll just emphasize, that we do see some numbers in cases over the last few days that we expect will continue to impact our hospitals.
Dr. Galli: (49:07)
And that’s why, as the governor put out, we continue to reach out to get additional staff for the hospitals. We’re continuing to assess the oxygen situation, making sure that the 911 systems are robust and able to go to the places with capacity. That really hand to hand work with our counties and our hospitals at the local level is going to carry us through the next couple of weeks. But absolutely think we’re in the early parts of that holiday surge, and it looks encouraging at the moment and we’ll keep watching the numbers over the next many days.
Gavin Newsom: (49:42)
The moment. Emphasis at the moment, but this week in so many ways will be determinative, and we look forward to those updates, but I appreciate that additional clarification, doctor. And again, I don’t want folks to run with anything until we really have the benefit of all of this data. But I remind people, just in closing out this question, that the Monday data, we really want to see. That’s why Dr. Galley updates you on Tuesday. We’ll know a little bit more as dust settles over the weekend data and the reporting lags that we often receive. As I said, this week will be profoundly significant in terms of being able to definitively answer that question.
Speaker 4: (50:23)
Final question, Lisa Gonzales, KCRA.
Dustin Gardner: (50:28)
Governor, when it comes to the educational approach to businesses, some are just not heeding that. Some counties that I’ve spoken to have received an increase in complaints that a business is operating when they shouldn’t be operating. Are you seeing this statewide? I would imagine, is it concerning? And realistically, how can you respond to individual businesses that are continuing to operate?
Gavin Newsom: (50:52)
The vast majority of businesses are doing the right thing. We had updated you and others a week ago. I’ll provide you additional information, make sure you receive it, you should be receiving it momentarily, about the enforcement that we’ve done over the course of last number of months, and the fact that through those enforcement check-ins, the alcohol beverage control, board of cosmetology and others, the overwhelming majority of businesses are doing the right thing and are holding strong against all of the headwinds in terms of their own economic reality and vulnerabilities. And so, we’re seeing more and more people doing the right thing than we are people that are simply thumbing their nose. We also see that also in terms of local enforcement and the partnerships and in counties, large and small, and working with sheriffs up and down the state of California.
Gavin Newsom: (51:45)
But there are areas where there’s stubborn pushback, and as those things are called out, we are doing direct contacts and we are enforcing those rules and regulations, not just in terms of retail operations units, but also larger manufacturers up and down the state, and so we will provide you that enforcement information as we put out last week. We’ll have an update for you as well on the basis of what’s occurred over this last reporting period, give you a sense of all the warnings we put out, the compliance that was immediate after those warnings, and in those few cases where we unfortunately had to move forward with more aggressive enforcement action. There are outliers, unquestionably, and working with our local partners as the tip of the spear in terms of that enforcement. We try to do our best to address those head on, as it relates to your questions.
Gavin Newsom: (52:44)
Thank you, all of you for the opportunity to give this update and to answer those questions. We’ll provide that information that we promised to a number of you that asked for it, or at least provide you more detail and information. We look forward to tomorrow’s update from Dr. Galley, and we look forward to updating you in real time over the course of this week as it relates to resources, as it relates to the surge, as it relates to our vaccination efforts, and of course, all of our efforts to work through this very challenging economic period, particularly for our small businesses up and down the state. With that, look forward to reconvening very, very shortly.