Aug 10, 2020
California Governor Gavin Newsom August 10 Press Conference Transcript
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Governor Gavin Newsom: (01:48)
Good afternoon. Wanted to begin today’s presentation by highlighting and responding of sorts to some of the current conversation we’re having across this country as it relates to some executive actions that the President of United States took over the weekend. So many calls, overwhelming number of calls we’ve received inquiring about whether or not the state of California will participate in the new unemployment insurance efforts that the president tried to formalize over the weekend.
Governor Gavin Newsom: (02:07)
Accordingly, questions remain, abundant number of inquiries remain around the issue of evictions here in the state of California, two of the most pressing, two of the most important and consequential issues facing the state and states all across this country. As it relates to California’s specific role and responsibility, as it relates to providing unemployment and the PUA claims that we do on a daily basis, we’ve been talking about for months here as a state, we analyzed the federal proposal that the president has put together and analyzed what the expected costs and associated benefits and liabilities would be of advancing the program.
Governor Gavin Newsom: (02:54)
While we’ve not been shy for many, many months in our desire and our advocacy to see a deal at the federal level, to see an effort of compromise, an effort that has been advocated for months now by Speaker Nancy Pelosi to provide an additional stimulus to this country, individuals, not just states and local governments, the house led in this effort, a number of months ago, over $3 trillion relief package that met our goals and met our expectations. We obviously were left [inaudible 00:03:30] a little disappointed that things did not advance, particularly through the end of next week. As a consequence, the president put forward these presidential memorandum as it relates to an executive order. Clearly, those executive orders do not meet the totality of need and the totality of requests that governors of all political stripes, mayors and the like, advocates and individuals, expected of the federal government.
Governor Gavin Newsom: (03:58)
As it relates though specifically, again, to the unemployment [inaudible 00:04:03] of the state of California, if we picked up, as the president proposed, 25% of the costs associated with an increase of $400… Again, we had a $600, very successful $600 contribution that expired on July 25th. We have been waiting for Congress. We’ve been waiting for the president to respond to that. Unfortunately, there was a disconnect, and as a consequence, that program no longer exists, and there’s been no bridge. The Bridge program, however, we believe or hope, the Bridge program to the future as it relates to restarting these conversations federally is this $400, not $600 additional contribution.
Governor Gavin Newsom: (04:51)
The responsibility under this new executive order, this presidential memorandum is responsibility for the states to pick up 25% of the costs. As you can see from this slide, that cost would [inaudible 00:05:04] to the state of California its taxpayers roughly $700 million per week. If that fund… and it’s a fund that has limited resources, $70 billion currently. If that fund drops to $25 billion or less, then those federal dollars disappear. If the state of California was to absorb those costs, you’re looking at $2.8 billion every week of state resources that we would have to find programs we’d otherwise have to cut or revenue we would have to generate to make up for that gap.
Governor Gavin Newsom: (05:42)
We have already allocated in excess of 75% of our CARES Act’s funding pursuant to the budget that I just signed. We received as a state a little over $15 billion. Incredibly gratified by that support, which has been foundational and instrumental in our ability to address some of the most vaccine and challenging issues 40 million Californians face. Those dollars have been obliged. Those dollars have been deliberated in terms of the efficacy and prudence of where those dollars we felt were best invested according to the federal guidelines of which they are conditioned.
Governor Gavin Newsom: (06:26)
75-plus percent of that, again, has already been obligated and distributed. The rest of the money simply does not exist, meaning that’s a long way of saying this: The state does not have an identified resource of $700 million per week that we haven’t already obliged. There is no money sitting in the piggyback of the previous CARES Act to be reprioritized or reconstituted for this purpose. Simply does not exist. For the state to absorb $ 700 million per week, potentially close to $3 billion per week, when, not if, the identified $70 billion fund the president is looking to draw down from would create a burn in the likes which even a state as large as California can never absorb without, again, massive cuts to important services or further burdening, as we say in this slide, businesses and individuals. Let me take a closer look, or let’s take a closer look at some of the requirements. This is a new program. This program, again, requires unique stipulation of considerations, response from individuals, a consequence. We would have to reprogram a system that is well-defined as hardly perfect at EDD. For those of you that are shaking your head, I recognize the magnitude of the challenge, the burden we already have with our unemployment insurance system. We’ve got a strike team. We have strategies. We have an approach to address this issue, medium and long-term, but the reality of reprogramming that system from $600 down to $400, coming up with an identifiable fund source, eliminating the benefits to those that receive over a hundred dollars or less than a hundred dollars a week, all of those burdens would create time delays and would create enormous consternation for millions of those that would seek those benefits.
Governor Gavin Newsom: (08:33)
I want to remind you this executive order is a very different approach than what has historically been the approach with unemployment insurance. Usually, the federal government, particularly in times of emergency, fronts the money recognizing the state constraints, recognizing the scarcity of resources during an economic crisis. We have unemployment that is worse than we’ve seen since the Great Depression. As a consequence, our underemployment rates, those seeking full-time jobs that only have part-time jobs, those numbers are substantially higher than even the national recorded numbers and the state numbers that we’ll be putting out very, very shortly.
Governor Gavin Newsom: (09:19)
Enormous economic strife, enormous economic stress, a historic amount of unemployment insurance that we have been providing. We need the federal government to front those dollars. We simply do not have the capacity. Again, even a state as large and well-resourced and as well-managed in terms of our reserves and our capacity to borrow, we’re simply just not in that position.
Governor Gavin Newsom: (09:45)
I wanted to upfront talk about the proposal coming from the president this weekend. We’re looking for all the additional support we possibly can find. If we’re going to land at $400, not 600, that would be advantageous compared to nothing for millions of Californians, but we’re going to need the federal government to provide the support, that 25%, or we are at peril of being in a position where we’re making false commitments, false promises to millions of Californians that ultimately we simply cannot meet.
Governor Gavin Newsom: (10:21)
Accordingly, the question of evictions, as I said, has been top of mind, top of our agenda as an administration. Going back to March, we signed our first executive order on evictions on March 16th providing clarification and guidance to local governments. In the next slide, I’ll show you how many local governments have enacted some moratoria as it relates to evictions and provided some local supports.
Governor Gavin Newsom: (10:44)
We recognize not every municipality, every jurisdiction was going to provide those supports, and a few weeks later, 11 days later, we signed a second of executive order related to evictions providing statewide protections. That was codified by the Judicial Council. We afforded the Judicial Council some autonomy to halt evictions to provide other autonomy in terms of making decisions in realtime. One of them, and we’re very grateful for that leadership, the Judicial Council, was a rule to hold statewide evictions. It codified sorts what I put out on the 27th.
Governor Gavin Newsom: (11:20)
Now, that was done on April 6th. That eviction moratorium that came from the Judicial Council potentially expires this month. There was some suggestion it may expire as early as August 14th, putting a lot of stress and a lot of concern and anxiety around evictions, at least here in the state of California, and real sharp focus. We have been working overtime with our legislative leaders. We’re in meetings, including today, on this topic. We have a legislative session that expires at the end of this month, and we have every hope and expectation that we will organize a collaborative framework to get to a place where we, collectively, the legislature and the executive branch with the broad strokes capacity of the Judicial Council to provide some subsequent clarifications, ultimately we hope potentially expanding into the later part of this month their adopted rule on halting evictions, giving us a little bit more time.
Governor Gavin Newsom: (12:26)
Wanted to be upfront about that. We’ve talked about that last week, previous weeks about these efforts. Just want folks to know we have been working very collaboratively with advocacy groups, not just legislative leaders, to formulate a strategy to address this real concern. Again, this concern only highlighted by the lack of active activity and lack of action in terms of a compromise at the federal level.
Governor Gavin Newsom: (12:54)
Remember though, Speaker Pelosi led with strategies to address this months ago. Unfortunately, we were all put as American citizens in this position because of the inability to formulate a compromise last week. I appreciate there was some extension of consideration to this by the president, but it was more along the lines of studying this issue, providing some capacity at HUD and elsewhere to move on this, but we need something much more specific, much more directed. We, again, are working over time to advance just that.
Governor Gavin Newsom: (13:32)
I should note, I referenced a moment ago, we have roughly 50% of California is currently living in jurisdictions that have some form of moratoria in place related to evictions, 80 cities, as you see, in this slide, some 10 counties, but 10 counties is not 58. 80 cities is not 470-plus cities that exists in this state. We recognize, again, the stress of those living outside of those jurisdictions as it relates to the concern around making ends meet, particularly in relationship to losing that $600, the ambiguity and questions around the additional 400, and the position we’re in with these current executive orders running their course.
Governor Gavin Newsom: (14:19)
It also should be noted and cannot be said enough though we have been very consistent over the course of the last number of months to talk in terms of racial and ethnic issues related to health broadly, social determinants of health. It’s been part of a mantra, I think, of what makes California special, particularly as it relates to its healthcare delivery system is there is a framework of cultural competency, but still, those disparities persist, and they have been exacerbated, clearly, in this crisis.
Governor Gavin Newsom: (14:51)
Just to underscore that, there was a very comprehensive survey done recently of the number of individuals that are at-risk of evictions. You can see in this second bullet point on this slide, about three-quarters of renters in the state that have fallen behind in rent, representing Latino and African American community, the Latinx and Black community. 62% of the Latino community. Close to 10% in the Black community. It underscores this lens of equity, issues of disparity. Three-quarters of renters that have fallen behind in this category. When we talk about the issue of evictions, we need to consider this very jaw-dropping pointed stat that, for many of you, it’s not surprising, for others of you, if it is. It’s important to consider that in the context of this debate, both nationally, statewide, and clearly, locally, again, working with the legislature, address these issues. As soon as we have formation back, we will be providing it.
Governor Gavin Newsom: (15:59)
On the issue of equity, I also want to make case that philanthropy has really begun to step up in a meaningful way. We’re announcing today a new philanthropic effort led by Kaiser that is providing some $63 million in new grant funding to provide community-based supports to partner with the state of California and counties to address the issue of contact tracing, isolation, and quarantine efforts. Now, it is self-evident to all of you as the numbers come down, in terms of the total number of cases, positivity rate, total number of hospitalizations in ICUs, we’ll share that information in a moment, that it becomes even more essential that we focus, in a very focused way, our efforts on addressing issues of isolation and quarantine. What we don’t want are essential workers… We talked about this last week in the-
Governor Gavin Newsom: (17:03)
What we don’t want are essential workers. We talked about this last week and the previous week that essential workforce that has no capacity because they’re not getting supports in terms of sick leave and supports in terms of workers comp that they go to work even if they’ve been exposed to the virus. In some cases, even if they know that they’re positive, putting other people at risk. But they do so out of some desperation for their livelihood. It is foundational in our efforts to ultimately not only bend this curve, but to eliminate this virus. That we support people in times of need, particularly multi-generation families, particularly low income families that simply don’t have the support or capacity to isolate, to quarantine.
Governor Gavin Newsom: (17:47)
And so while the state is doing more, we announced, you may recall, $150 million commitment using CDC funding over a week or so ago. We are already reaching out to the philanthropic community to do even more. And today, again, we’re announcing a $63 million commitment in grant funding from Kaiser. And this support will support CBOs to focus on cultural competency, to focus on cultural humility in terms of our efforts to train our contact tracers. I want to thank the Skol Foundation, for example, providing just shy of $700,000 specifically for that to supplement the efforts at UCSF and UCLA to focus even more granularly on cultural humility, on cultural competency efforts. That’s part of the philanthropic thrust that is an addition to the $63 million Kaiser is providing. That’s represented in the $18.8 million additional philanthropic commitment that we have received. We have a goal by the way, internal goal, 25 million. Already 18.8 million has been provided.
Governor Gavin Newsom: (18:54)
These dollars go, in addition to the $63 million, go to help pay utilities. Go to help pay for move-in costs if someone needs to move into a temporary location. We’ve talked about our efforts to provide hotel rooms and vouchers and other supports, but there’s the intangible costs that sometimes are barriers. That’s food, broader social services. And so that’s the purpose, the bucket that’s represented in this slide and these efforts. Again, in the lens of cultural competency and the lens that we must look through as it relates to this crisis, disproportionately impacting the Latino community and the black community.
Governor Gavin Newsom: (19:37)
By the way, I’ll in a moment be talking about the new case numbers that came out today. But just consider the numbers that I will share in a moment after Dr. Galli comes up. Those numbers of positive cases, 58.8% of them that we’ll announce today, close to 60% positive numbers that impacted the Latino community directly, underscoring the disparity, underscoring the purpose of these resources and these broader efforts on UI, on evictions, on the issue of quarantining people and isolating people, tracing people, and as always testing individuals. With all of that, let me, before I bring up Dr. Galli, make some comments about information. It is clear based upon what has been reported over the last week that we have had a little bit of trouble in what we refer to as our Cal ready system.
Governor Gavin Newsom: (20:40)
I can regale you about large scale IT here in the state of California. And I can assure you we haven’t been passive about addressing the concerns of large scale information technology systems here in the state of California that are decades and decades old, simply incapable of meeting this moment, let alone a pre COVID moment in terms of efficacy, efficiency, and capacity. That by the way, transcends EDD, the DMV, it impacts our courts, it impacts your day to day engagement with the state of California. We started last year when I first got into office to address the issue, created a new office of digital innovation, began to assess our capacity and personnel.
Governor Gavin Newsom: (21:31)
That office of digital innovations purpose is to really get under the hood and focus on these issues that candidly, and it’s not an indictment, and I want to be fair and respectful, that predate many administrations. It’s just not been an area of deep focus. Large scale IT procurement in the state, I would argue, and you saw this few years back at scale as it relates to healthcare even nationwide. And so we’ve been bringing in advisors and experts, people from the private sector, also people more familiar with public sector processes and protocols to try to fix this. Accordingly. We have been working overtime, Dr. Galli last Tuesday, when he first presented the concerns around data and accuracy related to our case rate here in the state of California and our system that we inherited and this relates to our data collection here in the state of California.
Governor Gavin Newsom: (22:32)
He lamented about some of the problems we’ve had over the course of roughly 14 days. Followed up on Friday with some additional information in that space. Dr. Galli is going to talk about what has happened over the last week and moreover, what happened over the weekend to address about 295,000 cases. And finally ensure that kind of accuracy that all of deserve. My long winded preamble there though is not only just to talk about this immediate issue, which Dr. Galli will talk a little bit more about in a moment, but it’s to make sure that you appreciate that we’re not going to just use this as an episodic issue, bandaid this, fix this for the moment. I recognize again, across the spectrum, the magnitude of the challenges with IT here in this state that are going to acquire a stubborn longterm grinding of effort.
Governor Gavin Newsom: (23:27)
I don’t want to over promise in this space. It took us decades, quite literally decades, to get into this place, but we’re now accountable. And in that accountability comes a responsibility to be transparent about these things, to be forthright with you about these things. Dr. Galli began that process on Tuesday and will continue that process here today. I want to extend that as well, but to assure you that we are committed to the medium and long term to address these foundational data issues so that we can improve our performance and most importantly, our customer service to you in terms of the interactions you have with government and your expectation that the information being provided to you is timely, is manageable, meaning it’s transparent, and it’s an accessible form and the like. We did that in terms of some of our open data efforts related to some of our modeling.
Governor Gavin Newsom: (24:25)
I’m looking forward in that spirit to be doing a lot more, but the good news is as difficult as the last few weeks have been, and let me acknowledge difficult for our team, but also for county health officers. Let me thank them in particular for their patience and their counsel in this process. I know how difficult it has been for you as well, the public, in terms of generating the kind of clarity that you deserve. So with that, let’s ask Dr. Galli to come up. He can talk a little bit more about what happened over the weekend, where we’ve been, and then I’ll mark where we are and where we’re going in just a moment.
Dr. Galli: (25:14)
Thank you, Governor. Let me begin by just picking up where I left off on Friday and just thanking all Californians for their patience as we continue to be committed to ensuring this accurate COVID-19 data. We know how critical it is for planning at the local level for all Californians to feel confident about the trends and where we’ve been and where we’re heading. I want to take a moment to thank our team. We also are announcing some change in leadership at the California Department of Public Health. I want to thank Dr. Sonya Angel for her tremendous work over the past many months and into late last year where we joined forces to do tremendous things for Californians and really raise awareness around health, raise health talk, and begin to think about ways to close disparities. And then just the last seven months of responding to COVID-19 and all of the different impacts for California, our counties, our state as a whole. Her smarts around disparities and thinking about inequities, something that really will support and mark the state in many important, long lasting ways.
Dr. Galli: (26:38)
And to her, I’m grateful for her service. And as we move forward with acting leaders like Ms. Sandra Sheree, who’s coming back to state government to help be our acting director of the California Department of Public Health. I look forward to working with her on all of these hard issues, important issues, and to improve our ongoing response to be the state that learns a great deal about how to do better for all citizens and to Dr. Erica Pon, who will become our state’s acting state health officer. Her tremendous work are ready for this state and stepping into this new, but very important role for her. So as the Governor mentioned, we did a number of things over the weekend. I spoke to you on Friday about the various aspects of what we’d already discovered about some of the data challenges, some of those technical issues that we learned about and began to correct immediately. Certain other things like renewing certificates to make sure that the data flows in properly to the state. Those things taking care of, we then moved on to making sure we’re shoring up our systems adequately and sufficiently.
Dr. Galli: (28:01)
So what did we do? We added system capacity to better handle record volume. We went from processing certain number of tests per day to almost quadrupling that in the course of a weekend. So really want to thank Amy Tang from the California Department of Technology, her entire team who worked with the set of the consultants that the Governor mentioned to really help support the system and to be able to work through the backlog records. We augmented the supports and oversight to ensure data is timely and high quality. Not just getting through those records, but making sure the positives are really positives, the negatives are really negative. That they get routed to the right place and ultimately end up in the hands of the correct county so they can do the work that I’m going to talk about in a moment. And then we initiated an effort to create a new lab reporting system that will take a little bit of time as the Governor mentioned. Procurement of big statewide IT systems is no small task.
Dr. Galli: (29:07)
We don’t take it lightly. We want to make sure we start out right to end up right. And so all of that is underway all in an urgent but thoughtful way so we can make sure we support that commitment to data and science to continue to guide our way. Specifically, I talked to you about 250 to 300,000 backlog cases in the Cal Ready System. We were able to process all of these cases over the weekend, as well as do all of the normal weekend work to ensure that we ended the weekend with really very few records in our Cal Ready System. So we have eliminated that Cal Ready backlog. I told you we would work hard over the weekend to get that done and we have.
Dr. Galli: (29:52)
So what happens next to these cases that have been processed through Cal Ready are now available to the locals to be processed? What do I mean exactly? When we’re done processing a case through the Cal Ready System, we send it back to the counties to allow the counties to take a positive test and attached all of the relevant information, race, age, whether somebody was a worker in a healthcare environment. So we have that important demographic information, race and ethnicity information, some of the information about where individuals work so that we can be smarter and wiser about our interventions at the state level.
Dr. Galli: (30:32)
And so as those cases are processed by the locals, they will come back to the state over the next handful of days and become part of our final case count. I just want to take a moment to thank the local health officers and echo what the Governor said. We heard from them. We understood some of the challenges with the data and they immediately, as they often do, went into problem solving mode together, discussing what some of the challenges were and how to quickly resolve them so that we can continue to have up to date data. Our team at CDPH just concluded a call with the local health officers this morning discussing some of these data challenges. And although there’s always more work to do, we’re reassured by the level of collaboration and work and that we have the right way forward. Thank you.
Governor Gavin Newsom: (31:26)
Thank you, Dr. Galli. And so we expect within the next 48, worst case 72 hours to have those updates back from the County. And as a consequence, we’ll be able to plug in the actual dates going back a few weeks and make a determination of exactly what happened when in terms of total number of positive cases that we can report and then provide an update as it relates to the positivity rate, both on a seven day basis and a 14 day basis. But one thing we are confident of when we look at these trend lines is the trend lines continue to look favorable. We are not seeing anything in the data to date, particularly looking back at those 295,000 backlog cases that suggests that those trend lines that we advanced last Monday are not actually in play. In fact, the numbers I’ll provide you in a moment will just reinforce that you’re hearing that from counties as well, but the numbers at the statewide basis and the aggregate will only reinforce that as well.
Governor Gavin Newsom: (32:35)
But the number we have here, this 7,751 represents an accurate number of cases that came through our system. Came through yesterday. We announced on a day on Mondays these are Sunday numbers. We had 172,000 tests that we were able to collect in distributing those numbers that you see up there. 172,000 on Sunday, about 111,000 on Saturday. Just giving you a sense of the testing volume that’s come in. I say that because we reached a milestone 8.99. So 9 million tests have been conducted here in the state. I’m, again, not naive about the need to increase testing here in the state to target that testing with more precision, but progress continues to be made there. 172,000 tests reported yesterday, 7, 751 individuals not related to the backlog. New numbers, confident in these numbers, August 9th numbers. Accordingly, absolutely confident with conviction on the numbers that we’re providing you here today, which are profoundly important. We’ve said this from day one, the importance of hospitalizations and ICUs as trends to make determinations of where we allocate resources and really generating a laser like focus in terms of our healthcare delivery capacity.
Governor Gavin Newsom: (34:03)
Laser like focus in terms of our healthcare delivery capacity, a system writ large. You’ll see in this chart hospitalizations, last week on Monday, we referenced about 6,300 individuals hospitalized. Now, below 6,000 represents a 19% decrease over a 14 day period. Last week we put out numbers, accurate numbers represented by a 10% decrease over the prior 14 days, now, 19%. So we’re seeing an acceleration of decline, encouraging, but nonetheless, all of these numbers sobering, and I’ll remind you as I always do, these are statewide California numbers, these by no stretch of the imagination reflect different realities, different experiences by County, by hospitals, depending on where you live in the State of California. And that’s the purpose of the watch list, that’s the purpose of the strike teams that we have been talking about for some time, and some of those renewed efforts we announced last Monday, building on what we continued to be doing down in Imperial County as a framework of reference.
Governor Gavin Newsom: (35:11)
As it relates to hospitalizations, that’s encouraging to see a 19% decrease. We also have to always look at it in the context of our total healthcare system and capacity. Right now it’s a little over a 7.6%, so we rounded up 8% of total capacity. You’ve seen 9% in the previous few weeks. Again, an encouraging sign, 5,596 COVID-19 patients now in the system, total system capacity, you see referenced here in the slide. ICU admissions continued to decrease as well, it is an encouraging signed, 5% decrease was the last slide I showed you last Monday, representing the previous 14 days, you’ll see a 13% decrease in ICU admissions over this cohort of 14 days. So like hospitalizations, you’re seeing a decrease in the total number of ICU admissions over a consistent period last few weeks. Again, an encouraging signs, but not the kind of stability and longterm decline that we ultimately need to get to where everybody wants to go.
Governor Gavin Newsom: (36:26)
Critical care capacity, always represented in this slide. You could see modification downward and total number of ICU patients compared to our critical care capacity or ICU capacity in the State. And you also notice which is encouraging the ventilators that are available. They’ve been consistently around 11,000, 11,500. Those total number of ventilators increased over 13,000 in terms of our capacity of available ventilators in the system. As always, we are sober and we are mindful about how deadly this disease is. We are reporting today 66 human beings lost their lives to COVID-19. That average is when you look at a 14 day period, 137 individuals on average losing their lives over a 14 day period.
Governor Gavin Newsom: (37:19)
I always caution you on the Monday numbers in particular related to the death numbers, not just look at one data point, look at the larger seven, 14 day trends. And so again, want to lead with the accurate number 66, but give you a sense that we have seen an increase over the last few weeks. Again, lagging indicator, that means nothing to a loved one that has lost his or her life, and a family torn asunder. So our hearts go out to each and every day, a family that has suffered through this process endemic. And it’s just a reminder, I don’t know what more reminder we need of how deadly this disease is, and just considering 137 human beings losing their lives on an average day, just on a daily basis, over the course of the last two weeks.
Governor Gavin Newsom: (38:11)
So as always, we remind you, as we conclude these presentations, of the power and potency of individual decision-making wearing masks being foundational. And I just want to acknowledge, I’ve been working with a lot of mayors, a lot of County representatives. There is a lot of renewed focus on enforcement related to mask wearing. You’re seeing many, many different counties become more aggressive as it relates enforcement related to a mask. And I say this, and I say this respectfully, that’s an encouraging sign, that’s a good sign. It is still remarkable to me when you go out and you see folks out there that are not socially distanced, that are not in the same household cohort, that are mixing without a mask. I cannot impress upon you more to protect yourself and mitigate the spread to others, the power and potency of that decision. And let me again just recognize the power and potency of enforcement at the local level related to mask ordinance. There’s many counties putting together strategies. Those counties, I believe, should be applauded for taking seriously the mask mandate statewide.
Governor Gavin Newsom: (39:27)
As always I encourage physical distancing, wash your hands, the kind of activities that you do engage in outside, and we are encouraging, I would say activities outside that otherwise would occur with more mixing inside, minimize the mixing to the extent possible, and that runs the gamut of activities. And we encourage that minimization if for no other reason to protect you and your loved ones, your friends, your families, your households, and more broadly the community, the State and the larger effort that we are advancing in this nation.
Governor Gavin Newsom: (40:03)
So with that, we’re happy as always to answer any questions. And again, let me thank everybody for their patients through a very challenging and ambiguous time last week, without the clarity of those backlog numbers. And we look forward to presenting those numbers in real time when they come in, we believe today, tomorrow, and through Wednesday. With that, I’m happy to take any questions.
Speaker 1: (40:29)
Josh Haskell ABC Seven.
Josh Haskell: (40:33)
Governor Newsom, did you ask for Dr. Angel to resign, and did she resign on her own? Why did she resign, did it have anything to do with the data reporting issues?
Governor Gavin Newsom: (40:43)
We have a good team in place, we made decision. I try, and I hope you respect this, and certainly has been the case in other instances, I try not to have personnel conversations in public. I don’t know that it serves a larger good. At the end of the day the buck stops with me, I’m accountable, and I recognize that as Governor of the State of California. As it relates to my responsibility, it extends to my team, and it extends to our efforts to keep you safe, to keep you healthy, and to mitigate the spread of this disease. I want to thank Dr. Angel for her leadership, her stewardship. And it’s one of those difficult things when someone leaves that you consider a friend, someone I respect, someone who was a real champion of racial justice and social justice, and it’s the reason she was brought into the administration.
Governor Gavin Newsom: (41:31)
The decisions made were moving on. Dr. Ghaly was clear in terms of what we’re doing in the interim. Dr. Pann now is the health officer in the interim as well. In terms of making the decisions we are making and moving forward with the kind of focus that you deserve your Governor and as a State.
Speaker 1: (41:51)
[inaudible 00:41:51] L.A. Times.
Speaker 2: (41:54)
Hi Governor. When you held your briefing last week on Monday, did you know there was a computer glitch or computer problems that was corrupting the Coronavirus testing data, and when did you know that there was a problem, when did you first share there was a problem, and how far back does the problem go?
Governor Gavin Newsom: (42:13)
Monday evening, and Dr. Ghaly came out Tuesday, and laid out how far back it went. Friday we reinforced that, roughly 14 days. We learned about it after the presentation. I think over a period of time, we’ve spent time, [inaudible 00:08:28], myself, but members of the public that we would not have put out those data points had we known that, and so by definition, we weren’t aware I was unaware, and it was made aware of later that evening. And we had Dr. Ghaly come out that next morning because of his capacity of understanding the details and the nuance working with his team to understand exactly what went wrong with the background, with the backlog.
Governor Gavin Newsom: (42:56)
Let me just say this though. I think this is really important, it’s one thing the nature of things you’re dealing with totality of a response, historic challenges in terms of data collection, databases that were never designed for the world that we’re living in, that something there may be a glitch, there may be an issue with a server. I don’t think that’s novel new to anybody, but the key is to own up to it, the key is to address it, the key is to be transparent, which Dr. Ghaly and others in the administration’s been since we learned of it, since he learned of it, since I learned of it, and move forward, make decisions so that we don’t repeat the mistakes of the past, try to fix these systems, not just short term, but as I said, a moment ago, longterm.
Governor Gavin Newsom: (43:42)
But the good news, and I think again, this is incredibly important, you see those hospitalization numbers, you see those ICU numbers, and we have systems in place, we’re making personal phone calls in terms of reaching out to those hospital systems. Those, we have absolute confidence in those numbers. The hospitalizations don’t lie, ICU numbers don’t mislead. Those are factual, and those are grounding in terms of our efforts in this State. And I believe over the course of the next day or two, when we assess the total number of positives, based on that backlog, that you will see exactly what we said was occurring a week ago. You’ll see that reflected in the positivity rates in this State, that were conceived a decline, not just in hospitalizations and ICU, but also in our positivity rates in the State.
Governor Gavin Newsom: (44:32)
And I remind you, positivity rates are foundational. This State is testing as much or more than any other State in the country. This is where I do subscribe some affinity to those that suggest the more you test, the more positives you have, that’s absolutely true. We want to test more because we want a better sense of where the community spread is the background infection rate in our State. But positivity rates provide a real sense of where that community spread is, and whether or not it’s growing or declining. We’re confident that when those numbers come out, you’ll see these trend lines that we asserted last Monday are consistent.
Speaker 1: (45:09)
Marissa Perlman, CBS13.
Marissa Perlaman: (45:13)
Governor, thank you. We’re hearing the Department of Public Health knew that there was a computer glitch issue, but never reported it to your administration. Is there truth to that, and if so, why weren’t you notified right away?
Governor Gavin Newsom: (45:24)
Well, we made adjustments to our team, made approach, new approach, to how we address the issues as it relates to CalREDIE, and how we address these issues going forward. It’s absolutely true, and that’s why we’re here, as transparent as we can be in terms of the announcements we made today. Dr. Ghaly making some of those personnel announcements. My answering your questions, reinforcing a fact that we are moving in a direction with some confidence, having cleared backlog of 295,000 cases. Working now with the counties to get their numbers updated so that we can present them to you. These things are unfortunate, but we are moving forward. And as I said, the good news hospitalization numbers continue to trend down, ICU numbers continue to trend down, 172,000 tests were conducted, at least reported rather. Yesterday, those positivity numbers you represented, are represented in that slide, suggest that the trend also looks favorable as relates to positivity right in the State.
Speaker 1: (46:29)
Kathleen Ronayne, AP.
Kathleen Ronayne: (46:33)
Hi Governor. So I just want to ask a little bit more about this data issue. So at the beginning you were talking about our aging IT infrastructure, and I guess I’m wondering if it’s fair and appropriate to blame this on aging infrastructure, because from what we know, it seems to be a result of human error. And then you’re being a little bit vague on the circumstances of Dr. Angel’s departure, but she was a State top public health officers. So I do feel there’s public interest in why she left prior to the data of glitch. Where there are other issues with her performance or her leadership of the State’s public health response?
Governor Gavin Newsom: (47:11)
Forgive me for being human here. I’m Governor, the buck stops with me. You want accountability, it’s with the State, it’s with the Governor. I’m used to that across the spectrum. It’s a large States, its a nation State in terms of size, scope. Largest State in the union, a lot of moving parts. On any given day there’s a lot of information that comes in that I assure you should not enliven people that were meeting expectations in every way, shape or form in terms of how the business of the State is conducted. Every day, we work to improve upon that, every day we own up to our responsibility and accountability in these roles to do more and do better, and to seek to improve, to make progress.
Governor Gavin Newsom: (47:53)
And ultimately, I can only assure you it’s my responsibility to make that progress. But one thing I to do as a human being is getting into detailed personnel conversations with you out of respect and a deeper responsibility not to go into a back and forth. The decision was made, I applaud Dr. Angel for making the decisions she made. I’ve made it crystal clear, we built a new team. Dr. Ghaly has as well. We have fixed the backlog, we’re moving in a direction, not only to address the short term issues, but as I said, the medium term issues with the system. And that includes, by the way, building a system capacity that is an IT focused solution, to address COVID-19 specifically.
Governor Gavin Newsom: (48:39)
CalREDIE in the past was dealing with a couple hundred cases a day, not the magnitude of the cases that we’re experiencing as a State as large at the moment. And so we need to isolate, it’s why we had Amy Tong as part of our IT team in there. This was IT in many respects, there was some personnel judgment questions as well. But at the end of the day, it was a combination of factors, servers, redundancies, issues that could have been addressed [inaudible 00:15:04], and decisions were made and we’re moving forward. No one’s trying to hide that, no one’s trying to mask that. We’re owning that. We’re moving forward to address those issues, have as it relates to the backlog. That information will be forthcoming, and we’ll address these issues, as I said, over the next few weeks in the medium term, and then deal with these larger IT questions, which I do believe are foundational in this State, across the spectrum of State agencies.
Speaker 1: (49:34)
Theresa Harrington, EdSource.
Theresa Harrington: (49:37)
Hi, I’m wondering about the County monitoring list, and how this will affect that, and when the County monitoring list will be unfrozen, and when it is unfrozen, will the 14 days start from that point, or will you look back to see if counties could have been removed earlier in terms of schools being able to be eligible for the elementary waivers? And then finally, we were also wondering why it’s okay to open childcare centers, but not schools in the County that are on these lists?
Governor Gavin Newsom: (50:08)
For many months, we’ve talked about the unique guidelines that we put forth as it relates to childcare centers, those smaller cohorts that are a big part of our childcare efforts, the work we did on PPE, the work we did addressing sanitation. And so the guidelines are distinctive, the guidelines are unique, and I’m happy to provide. In fact, we’ll encourage my team to provide you specific details to bear fruit to that assertion, at least an assertion, but also what we’ve been promoting over the course of many, many months, as it relates to childcare for essential workers, childcare to meet the needs of our workforce, particularly our healthcare workers during the peak of this pandemic. So I separate those two, but the question I think is a very warranted one. Accordingly, thank you for your question, which I do appreciate as it relates to looking back at these 38 counties that we last left you that were on the monitoring list. So what.
Governor Gavin Newsom: (51:03)
… counties that we last left you that were on the monitoring list. So what we’re doing, this is an opportunity to clarify, we’re going back to the dates. That’s why I want to get the county by county dates, not just for aggregate numbers, but for the purposes in particular of understanding at the county level the approaches and strategies for contact tracing and understand the mitigation and spread in a more dynamic way. County by county is foundational but also as it relates to reopening our schools. And so we’re going to go back, we’re going to plug in on the basis of those dates. We’ll update on the basis of those dates the county monitoring list. I should just say this. I don’t expect dramatic changes in the monitoring list. There will be some modifications, but I don’t expect dramatic changes. So that’s a little bit of a preview, but the reality is we want to have a day to day construct that is advanced and that’s exactly what’s being done with the counties over the next 48, 72 hours.
Speaker 3: (52:08)
Victoria Colliver, Politico.
Theresa Harrington: (52:12)
Hi, Governor. Thank you for taking the call. Two questions here. One is, looking at the fixes from the state, you talked about longterm and medium term, how can we immediately in term be confident that we won’t have this kind of outage again? And then secondly, I want to push back on this with Dr. Angel. I feel like we as the public deserve a little bit clearer explanation. Most of this has been focused on the data problems. So why should the State Health Officer have to go in the middle of this? Or why is she leaving? I think we need to know more. Thank you.
Governor Gavin Newsom: (52:48)
Well, she resigned. She wrote a resignation letter and I accepted her resignation. We’re all accountable in our respective roles for what happens underneath us. I don’t want to air any more than that. But if it’s not obvious, then I encourage you to consider the fact that we accepted the resignation. We appreciated her work. We all have a role and responsibility as relates to what happens within our respective departments. None of this is easy. Technology is always stubborn and challenging and all of these things being assessed, all of these things being considered in relationship to what we’re doing going forward with our acting Interim DPH Director and as it relates to our longterm strategies, and so that’s what I can say on this. That’s what I think is appropriate to say on it and I think that’s very clear. And the extent that someone does resign, we accept that resignation if we feel it appropriate. I accepted that resignation.
Speaker 3: (53:54)
[inaudible 00:53:54], Voice of OC.
Speaker 2: (53:58)
Hi, Governor. Thanks for taking our questions. This one’s about schools. I know, for instance, Orange County is on the watch list. It depends on the backlog of cases coming in if it will stay on that watch list. But if it does stay, there’s two different reasons in the county. North County is particularly hit hard whereas South County doesn’t see the transmission rate. In the waiver process, would there be a chance for, say, some of the cities in South County, some of the school districts that may fall way short of the 200 cases per 100, 000 people, would they be able to move forward and open schools.
Governor Gavin Newsom: (54:33)
Speaker 2: (54:34)
Or would the whole county have to pull back on school reopening?
Governor Gavin Newsom: (54:38)
No, I think that’s a wonderful question. And the answer is, yes, there’s nuances as relates to local health officer’s, local health conditions, within districts within counties that we did consider as it relates to the waiver process. But let me ask Dr. Galley talk about that a little bit more in terms of what you can expect from that waiver process within a county as large in particular as Orange County. I think a perfect poster child for exactly the kind of nuance that needs to be considered as it relates to that waiver strategy.
Dr. Galli: (55:14)
Thank you, Governor and thanks for the question. Indeed, as the Governor said, the waiver process really allows when a county, so that’s the entire county, meets our threshold. A conversation between those schools in a school district and the county health officer and the public health leaders there to make the decision as to whether that district will move forward. We know that county health officials, health officers, are looking broadly at their entire county trying to understand what the transmission is throughout the county to make these decisions. But the first threshold test is really at the county level and we hope as the new backlog data gets assimilated into our last two weeks of records and we move forward and we see the trends in hospitalizations in ICU levels, we expect and hope continue to come down as they are, that more and more counties will have an opportunity to consider the waiver process and determine if it is the right thing for the districts in those counties, Orange County, other counties, all included.
Governor Gavin Newsom: (56:27)
Speaker 3: (56:29)
Final question. Sophia [Balog 00:56:30], [inaudible 00:05:30].
Sophia Balog: (56:34)
HI, Governor. We’re hearing from some people who have been trying to get tests that they are still a bit confused about who is eligible to get tests. Can you give us an update on the testing turnaround time, which is one of the factors that your administration has laid out as determining who is able to get a task? So would you or Dr. Ghaly be able to give us an update on that and clarify whether it’s still the case that asymptomatic people who don’t fall into one of the higher priority categories can’t get tests right now?
Governor Gavin Newsom: (57:11)
Right. And that’s certainly the case with our update on the Testing Task Force that we made a few weeks ago, our augmentation in terms of the prioritization as relates to symptomatic, asymptomatic, and then other criteria that were laid out specifically by the Task Force, co-chaired by Dr. Chavez, who’s made a number of presentations. Let me ask Dr. Ghaly, who convened that new task force and is leading this effort, to answer that more specifically.
Dr. Galli: (57:42)
Thank you for the question, Sophia. So indeed a few weeks ago now we announced two things, both a prioritization of who should be tested and then a prioritization of which test the lab should run first. So they both go hand in hand. And on the first part, we did not say, and I want to be clear about this, that people who are lower risk, asymptomatic cannot get tested. We only said in our tiered prioritizations that our top priority is to get those people with the most clear symptoms of COVID-19, who are the sickest, who may be in hospitals to make sure that their test isn’t only completed, but that we get the result most quickly. And that is to ensure that we can provide the appropriate level of care, implement the right treatment modalities, and work as a clinical team to support that individual’s care.
Dr. Galli: (58:39)
We also prioritize those who are close contacts of people who are known to be COVID positive. They may or may not be as sick as someone who needs hospitalization but they, if they are indeed infected with COVID-19, become perfect vectors for transmission throughout our communities. We’ve talked about contact tracing as an important part of supporting people to isolate and quarantine. So that’s why that testing prioritization is there. We’ve talked about some of the different workers and workplaces in our state, whether those are in skilled nursing facilities or other places that are really congregate, more concentrated, working places where COVID-19 might spread rapidly among dozens if not hundreds of people who are working side by side.
Dr. Galli: (59:28)
So we have set a set of priorities, not to exclude others from being tested entirely, only to say we know who should get tested first and try to make sure that it’s available there. As it relates to turnaround time, we have ongoing conversations with local labs here in California whose turnaround time has been quite good throughout. 24, 48, 72 hours for many of our smaller labs. The larger labs, which faced turnaround time challenges because of the national swell of testing, have started to see that come down a couple of weeks ago. A few weeks ago, it was hovering around seven to nine days. It’s started to come down closer to five to seven days, and through some conversations with the largest labs we’re feeling confident per their report that, that time will continue to come down. So together, the local labs plus the bigger national labs, we see this coming down.
Dr. Galli: (01:00:27)
All of that said, as we look forward to testing even more and being more strategic with tracking transmission throughout the state that we will be looking to not just improve that test turnaround time, but make sure as we expand testing that, that turnaround time doesn’t go up because we add other laboratories, other collection sites, so more and more Californians can get tested and we can see where those trends are actually happening.
Governor Gavin Newsom: (01:00:55)
And I’ll also remind you the continuing work to be creative and innovative in this space and [inaudible 01:01:05] has been put out in this space. Also, the work that’s being done on pooled testing where some of the top universities in the United States that happen to be here in the state of California. You’ll be hearing more from Dr. Ghaly and the Testing Task Force in the upcoming weeks some new novel strategies on testing as well to improve our performance. And, again, it’s not just the total number of tests, 172,000 that we report today that were brought in yesterday, nine million tests total so far here in the state of California, but it is the rapidity of response, meaning the foundational point you make in your question and that is the time delay associated with getting that test result. It makes often the test irrelevant if it comes in 10, 11, 12 days later.
Governor Gavin Newsom: (01:01:54)
And so, foundationally, our efforts are focused on that not just the total number of tests, equity as it relates to access to the test. And in conclusion, so I know that was the last question, it also connects to the presentation we made today related to the request to the President that we provide 25% of the costs of an increase in unemployment contribution. Those dollars, those Cares Act dollars, that we have already obliged foundationally are critical in answering your question as well, because a big part of the Cares Act went to improve and enhance testing for states and those dollars we don’t want to see reprioritized into another category as we are finally turning the corner, turning the page as Dr. Ghaly said, in terms of making real progress in the testing turnaround testing timelines.
Governor Gavin Newsom: (01:02:58)
With that, as always, let me thank each and every one of you for your time and for allowing us to turn around this conversation a little bit later, a few minutes later, than we normally do, 12:30 instead of 12:00. We’ll look forward to later this week, by the way, to be making some subsequent announcements on economic and workforce development, some other areas. We’ll be making announcements later this week. Look forward to that conversation, that engagement. And once we have those new positivity numbers, again, trending, we believe in the right direction, hospitalizations, ICUs, total number of cases trending in an encouraging direction. We’ll present that to you. And, as always, we present to you our encouragement, and that is to wear masks, to continue to practice social distancing, physical distancing, minimize mixing where possible, and continue to what we can to mitigate the spread of this disease, this pandemic, allow us to open up our schools, reopen our economy.
Governor Gavin Newsom: (01:03:59)
Let’s work hard in the next few weeks. This is the most critical, I believe this, the most critical time for this state to assert the collective resolve that is required of a state as large as ours, 40 million strong, in meeting this moment, mitigating the spread, and getting us back to some modified semblance of normalcy. With that, take care everybody.