Aug 24, 2020

California Governor Gavin Newsom August 24 Press Conference Transcript

California Governor Gavin Newsom August 24 Press Conference Transcript
RevBlogTranscriptsPress Conference TranscriptsCalifornia Governor Gavin Newsom August 24 Press Conference Transcript
Governor of California Gavin Newsom’s August 24 coronavirus press conference. He gave updates on COVID-19 and the wildfires. Read the full news briefing speech transcript here with all COVID-19 updates for CA.

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Gov. Gavin Newsom: (04:49)
Well, good afternoon, everybody. I wanted to offer you a situational update on the wildfires here in the state of California and give you a sense of where we are, where we’ve been, and where we anticipate going over the course of the next week, in particular, this critical week, as it relates to addressing and suppressing these wildfires here in the state of California. Foundationally and fundamentally, we’re deploying every resource at our disposal, every resource that we have within the state. And you’ll see in a moment, some of the resources we pulled out of state into California to battle these historic wildfires. To put it in perspective, I say historic, I mean it with purpose and intention. Just consider it last year at this stage, this date last year in 2019, we had 4,292 wildfires in the state of California. It burned about 56,000 acres. 4,292 wildfires this time last year. Today, over 7,000 wildfires, 7,002 burning now, north of 1. 4 million acres. 56,000 acres to date last year, over 1.4 million acres this year.

Gov. Gavin Newsom: (06:08)
We’re currently battling some 625 fires across the state. And you’ll see in a moment a number of new fires that appeared overnight. We’ve burned 1.2 million acres since just a week or so ago. Again, 1.4 million acres to date and that’s about 200,000 acres that predated these 13,000-plus lightning strikes that we have experienced. Sadly, we’ve lost seven lives so far to these latest fires and over 1,200 reported structures. And I want to just make a point, that’s the number of structures that have been reported into our Office of Emergency Services. There’s no question there are more structures that have been damaged by this historic wildfire season.

Gov. Gavin Newsom: (07:01)
Here’s the last 24 hours. Close to 300 lightning strikes we experienced the last 24 hours. As I noted, 10 new fires in the last 24 hours. So this challenge continues including the weather today. Particularly up in the Sierras, particularly in the eastern part of the state, we’re still experiencing some weather, including lightning strikes, a little bit of wind. But the bottom line is this lightning strikes have been the most impactful and most challenging. It’s also been impenetrable in terms of identifying fires related to these strikes. And I make the point to say there’s been 10 new fires, but I want to make an additional point, and that is, there are a lot of sleeper fires we expect to discover as our reconnaissance efforts, as our aerial efforts continue particularly as the smoke begins to clear. As weather conditions change, we will be identifying likely additional fires throughout the state, but 289 lightning strikes. We anticipated a busy night last night. The good news is the lightning strikes weren’t as bad as some had anticipated, but nonetheless close to 310 new fires reported in the state.

Gov. Gavin Newsom: (08:16)
Let me give you a sense of progress as it relates to active wildfires in the state. I think it’s also important to note progress, not just focus on the big challenges that we face, but also the challenges that continue to be faced here in the state. Last week, I shared with you an update of the Lake fire, August 19th, last Wednesday. I noted that it was 38% contained. Today, it’s 62% contained. So real progress being made on the Lake fire. The Loyalton fire last week, 35% contained. Today, 93% contained. And I make a point of showing you progress because it’s a testament to the incredible firefighters that are out there on the front lines, the hand crews, and all of the individuals that are responsible for this effort suppression and the progress is demonstrable. The Holser fire, accordingly, 30% contained last week. You’ll see now 80% contained. And the Ranch fire got a lot of attention, 19% now, over 81% contained.

Gov. Gavin Newsom: (09:22)
So it shows what’s possible and it shows what we’re doing over the course of the last five, six days. And I want to frame the next slides in the context of what was achieved over the course of the last number of days because of the professionalism of these frontline heroes. We now have 625 fires in the state, but 17 that we constitute major fires. And within those major fires, these are complex fires. These are the lightning complex fires that you likely have been reading about. Many of you have been experiencing firsthand. The LNU up there in Lake Napa County, CZU down in the Santa Cruz area, and the SCU fire down there in the Santa Clara area.

Gov. Gavin Newsom: (10:10)
The LNU is the second-largest fire so far reported in modern California history. Currently, 350,000 acres in that complex, 22% contained. The CZU, 78,000 acres. What is remarkable about the CZU, and I was down there again yesterday, is this is a coastal fire, primarily along the coast near the Santa Cruz Mountains, in forests, a lot of redwoods that have simply never seen forest fires because of the weather conditions and the like. Again, proof point that we are in a different climate and we are dealing with different climate conditions that are precipitating in fires the likes of which we haven’t seen in modern recorded history in dense forests that are well-covered and have been historically immune from significant fires along our coast. Though 13% contained, not where we need to be. I just want folks to know down in the Santa Cruz area, I made this point after visiting a number of shelters down there and meeting with folks that were evacuated, we are getting more personnel on that fire, have over the course of the last 48 hours in particularly the last 24 hours, more engines, more dozers, more aerial equipment in and around that area.

Gov. Gavin Newsom: (11:36)
The SCU fire is now the third-largest fire in California’s history. While the LNU is 350,000 acres as of this morning, the SCU is 347,000 acres as of this morning. We are also battling fires that persist, the August fire, and the Carmel fire, and the Sheep fire. You’ll see the containment there, 11, 15, and 0%. The Sheep fire is about 26,000 active acres as we speak. Carmel, about 6,700 acres active. August fire is primarily a grass fire, larger, 178,000 acres, primarily though, a grass fire, 11% contained, but one that we constituted as a major fire that we are currently battling.

Gov. Gavin Newsom: (12:28)
We secured over the weekend, a Presidential Disaster Declaration. It had to be approved by the President himself. I want to thank the President for his support of that disaster declaration. We had anticipated he would be supportive, and indeed he was supportive. That declaration included some flexibility on including additional counties in the state. One of those counties that was included in the last 24 hours is Monterey County. I want to thank Congressman Panetta and others for their advocacy and their stewardship and support of that effort now included in the major disaster declaration. This will provide resources and more flexibility resourcefulness, as it relates to battling these wildfires, as well as direct aid to individuals, not just direct access to the state of California and its mutual aid system in terms of equipment, personnel, and other support.

Gov. Gavin Newsom: (13:24)
Currently, speaking of personnel, we have actively 14,000 firefighters working on these wildfires. Over 2,400 engines now have been deployed throughout the state of California. We have in-state mutual aid, which is just mesmerizing and a point of deep pride. I saw it firsthand on Saturday. I saw it firsthand on Sunday as we’re up there the Livermore area and all of a sudden, some Santa Monica fire engines come up. We saw some Tulare fire engines as well on Saturday. Santa Cruz, you’re seeing the same thing from many Southern California-

Gov. Gavin Newsom: (14:02)
… Santa Cruz, you’re seeing the same thing from many Southern California, new Southern California engines coming up from almost every department in the state providing firefighters 2,827, as of this morning, in-state Mutual Aid supporting the statewide efforts. 709 engines now have been deployed from the six major Mutual Aid regions in the state of California.

Gov. Gavin Newsom: (14:27)
We also have been beneficiary of out-of-state Mutual Aid. I updated you on some of those efforts last week. We added a number of states, including Kansas that’s been helpful with National Guard support. We call this [TAG 00:14:39] process where we’re getting helicopter, type I helicopter support from Idaho, Utah, Arizona now, and Kansas. We have 91 engines that have come in from New Mexico, Texas, Oregon, Utah, Washington, as well as Arizona and Idaho. Governor Bullock I was on the call with just two days ago also sending eight engines they should arrive momentarily into the state of California, so 375 total engines have been requested from many other states as well, and we’re in the process of getting those assets delivered.

Gov. Gavin Newsom: (15:13)
We continue to battle historic wildfires, but we’re also battling this historic pandemic COVID-19 that has not gone away. That makes some of our wildfire efforts a little bit more challenging, but we are up to the task. We had prepared new protocols, processes, and procedures in anticipation of meeting this moment. We had highlighted and socialized a number of those strategies a number of months ago when we highlighted a supplemental appropriation to get some 858 new CAL FIRE personnel hired, 830 that already now are out on the lines. But we had put together new sheltering protocols. We put together new protocols in terms of taking care of our first responders as well. Let me give you just a brief example of some of those efforts.

Gov. Gavin Newsom: (16:08)
We now have health screening that is done, an assessment, before entering any of our congregate shelters throughout our systems, part and parcel of the evacuation protocols, mask requirements, social distancing. You’ll see not just [inaudible 00:16:25] cots and mats, but not just cots and mats any longer. You’ll see tents inside of these facilities that allow us to cohort families and individuals so that they can be more appropriately socially distanced as well as physically distance from others in these congregate facilities, also getting as many air purifiers as we can.

Gov. Gavin Newsom: (16:46)
I want to thank our partners at CARB and others in Bay area, our quality management district that have been working overtime to get more air purifiers into these shelters. We still have work to do in that space, but progress has been made. But no longer are we just bringing people into congregate facilities. We’re also bringing people into non-congregate settings. In fact, the majority of people that have been evacuated are no longer being evacuated into those congregate shelters. They’re being evacuated into hotels. We now have 31 hotels, close to 1,500 people that are in those hotel rooms.

Gov. Gavin Newsom: (17:26)
This is part and parcel of what we built off of through the pandemic. We built new protocols to process these pandemic protocols into our evacuation protocols for these wildfires. In addition, though, of course, to the non-congregate shelters, we do have more traditional shelters in seven counties, 17 specific shelters, about 731 people in those shelters, but over 2,200, 2,211 evacuees as of this morning in our shelter system, a multiple of that, many more that had been evacuated including into trailer parks. I visited one of those trailer parks in the Santa Cruz area yesterday and others with family, with friends that may be in need of shelter, so we continue to build our capacity, build our protocols in terms of procuring more hotel rooms to provide as many people access in a timely way that we possibly can.

Gov. Gavin Newsom: (18:29)
Look, speaking of timely, it is of course, always timely to remind everybody of the challenges we continue to face in terms of pandemic itself and the case numbers related to COVID-19. I want to provide you an update you’ll see in this screen of some of the new numbers that have come in, a seven-day average that is continuing to trend downwards. 5,798 is the seven-day average of total positive cases. Yesterday, we report in the August 24th number, some 4,946 individuals. Let me highlight what that means with slides, those you check in are very familiar with.

Gov. Gavin Newsom: (19:14)
We have about a 6.5% positivity rate in the state of California over the last 14 days, 5.6% over the last seven days, 5.6% positivity over a seven-day period, 6.5% positivity over 14-day period. We tested a little over 111,000 people yesterday. You’ll see that the seven-day average of daily tests is a little over a 102,000, close to 103,000, which is slightly down, not surprisingly, if interested, not surprisingly the query of why. We’re experiencing some disruption related to the wildfires throughout the state. In fact, we have seven, or rather, 11 of our own state labs are Verily and OptumServe labs that have been impacted very directly by the wildfires, but nonetheless, we’re still stubbornly getting over 100,000 tests a day, 111,000 that reported in yesterday.

Gov. Gavin Newsom: (20:16)
Hospitalizations on the report that came in yesterday showed a 20% decrease over a 14-day period, continuing to trend in a very encouraging direction, down – 2.1% in this last 24-hour reporting period. Hospitalizations now, COVID-positive hospitalized patients, that is, represent in our hospital system 6% of the healthcare capacity. ICUs, we are down 19% over a 14-day period. Actually dropped 3.1% in the last 24-hour period. Again, trending, not dissimilar to the hospital numbers, over 14-day period down 19% over 14 days, and total number of ICU-positive patients in our system now you recall was 23, 22, 20 now represent 17% of the entire ICU capacity within the entire ICU, well, entire system.

Gov. Gavin Newsom: (21:25)
You see this slide. It’s a familiar slide, number of counties on the monitoring list for three days. What is not as familiar is that we are seeing a decline in the total number of counties on the monitoring list. Picking up a little bit on the trend, we saw last week from 42 counties down to 40 counties. Today, you see there are 35 counties on our monitoring list. The counties that came off the list include Calaveras, Mono, Napa County, Orange County, and Sierra County. Sierra and Calaveras you may recall just recently, I think it was on August 13th and August 15th, Calaveras and Sierra came on the list. Now they’re off. You can see the dynamic nature, again, of these monitoring lists.

Gov. Gavin Newsom: (22:14)
I’ll go back. You still see on these 35 lists some of the larger counties in the state of California, but encouraged by San Diego, encouraged by Orange County, encouraged San Francisco has made some progress. We got update… some more updates would be forthcoming on these slides as we present subsequent information to you over the course of the next few days. But again, progress being made across the spectrum on hospitalizations, ICUs, positivity rate, particularly over the seven-day period and continuing vigilance in this very difficult period where we’re battling this pandemic as we’re battling these wildfires all up and down the state of California.

Gov. Gavin Newsom: (23:04)
Just briefly, I want to continue to remind you how deadly this disease is, and while we reported, Monday’s reporting is always lower than it actually is because the reporting delays over the weekends. Never as accurate as they could be, but 18 deaths. I said this last week. I said it the prior week. Look at the averages, 128 individuals over a 14-day period, on average, 128 on average losing their lives to COVID-19. Don’t be misled by that 18 number that came out today. That’s why it’s absolutely essential for no other reason than to protect you from air quality, but to also protect you and others from the spread of this virus.

Gov. Gavin Newsom: (23:52)
This pandemic has not gone away. It may be out of the headlines in the state of California because the wildfires have moved into that current occupation role of running the daily news feeds, but wearing a mask is foundational in terms of continuing to mitigate the spread of this disease, mitigating the damage to your health as well associated with the smoke. Encourage you to physically distance as always, wash your hands, and of course, minimize the extent possible… Forgive the redundancy… the mixing we’re seeing around the state.

Gov. Gavin Newsom: (24:28)
Let me just conclude by making one final point, and that is I am really proud and honored just to see firsthand the incredible work that’s being done by volunteers all across the state of California by all of those selfless individuals from the American Red Cross and elsewhere that come from all over the country with their heart on their sleeve, there to take care of evacuees, take care of strangers.

Gov. Gavin Newsom: (25:01)
I want to thank the deputy sheriffs that I have spent time with that are doing extraordinary work in communities all across the state of California, particularly Northern California with the evacuations. I want to just upfront condemn in no uncertain words how disgraceful it is, how disgusting it is to learn about people that in some instances have been taking advantage of these evacuees by going in their homes, breaking in their homes, looting their properties. That’s repugnant. I’m going to just want to thank the deputy sheriffs and local law enforcement for their outstanding job to hold these individuals to account. They’ll be held to a higher account. The morality and ethics besides the legality of that is self-evident. But I just want to thank, again, local law enforcement for all of their good work during these trying times.

Gov. Gavin Newsom: (25:57)
I want to thank all the shelter operators, including all the faith- based operators out there representing every conceivable spectrum within our faith-based community, opening up their facilities, in many cases, their homes to strangers. I also want to thank Eloy Oakley and others, the community colleges that have been made available, the dormitories that are being made available throughout the state, the CSU system and the UC system, again, just the heroic effort across the spectrum of people really doing incredible work at this very, very difficult and challenging time, including, by the way, taking care of a lot of pets. Any you love pets and horses and… Met a gentleman yesterday down at the county fairground in Santa Cruz that was taking care of a pig and two dogs and was very pleased by how well Christian… Thank you, Christian for your great leadership on that shelter operation… how well you’re taking care of the animals, not just taking care of people.

Gov. Gavin Newsom: (27:03)
A lot of pieces of this puzzle, but a lot of good progress has been made on some of these stubborn, larger fires. We’re making a little bit of progress on these big lightening complex fires. This is a important week. The weather, again, continues to be a little unfavorable, primarily around the Sierras in Eastern part of the state with some potential lightening through this evening, but by and large, the weather system over the course of the next week, it’s a little cooler, a lot cooler, by contrast, where we were 10 days ago, a little bit cooler where we were a week ago. Still hot in the state, but the winds can change on a moment’s notice, but the winds will be very determinative in terms of our ability to suppress these fires, mitigate the spread of these fires. That’s why I say this week is going to be a profoundly important week in terms of our efforts, and we are going to put everything that we have-

Gov. Gavin Newsom: (28:03)
… efforts and we are going to put everything that we have to do what we can, because this weekend we’ve got some wind conditions that may be shifting, maybe changing that can make things a little bit more challenging. Certainly make things a little bit more complex. So that’s the presentation. Today I wanted to be succinct and focused. We’ve got our teams here at the State Operation Center all throughout Northern California, including head of Cal Fire, OES and the general of National Guard, Baldwin, all just left the SOC after briefing and heading down to the CCU complex. And we continue, again, to be monitoring activity all throughout the state.

Gov. Gavin Newsom: (28:44)
There are many other fires I didn’t highlight from Butte Fire. Progress has been made on the Jones Fire, other fires, but I just want to thank every single member of not only law enforcement, but these incredible firefighters that are out there on the front lines. Those hand crews from the Conservation Corps, including from CDCR that are out there, which we saw near Pleasanton on Saturday, doing an incredible job under very difficult and strenuous circumstances or straining circumstances. So with that, happy now to take any questions.

Speaker 1: (29:20)
Tarryn Mento, KPBS.

Tarryn Mento: (29:26)
Hi governor, thanks for taking my question. You have many challenges going on, I don’t doubt that, but I wanted to ask about the guidance for reopening. That’s something a lot of people are looking for. And you said that there would be public health officers reviewing some suggestions over the weekend and wondering when we’ll see the final product.

Gov. Gavin Newsom: (29:44)
You’ll see them this week. Real progress was made over the weekend. We had some good dialogue. We’re making some adjustments based upon the feedback we received on Saturday, Sunday. We had a meeting this morning on those guidelines and we will be working with others, not only in industry, but outside our local health officers and our state health authorities to socialize these guidelines and we look forward to having them out this week.

Speaker 1: (30:13)
Adam Beam, Associated Press.

Adam Beam: (30:18)
Hi, governor. Two of the three largest counties are among the eight that are off the monitoring list and a number of other counties are getting close. I know you’ve said in-person classroom instruction is best for children. So if these counties stay off the list for 14 days, do you think their school districts should immediately move to classroom learning? And how soon will you allow for the reopening of the businesses you closed or restricted last month, as well as allowing inside religious services?

Gov. Gavin Newsom: (30:44)
So the guidelines that I was just referencing in the last question will be out later this week and that answers the latter part of your question specifically. As it relates to the first part of your question, as you know, and remind folks that may not be as familiar, as you move off the monitoring list, over a 14 day period you’re off that list. Then working with local health officers, working with labor management, working with local school districts and superintendents and local leaders in concert with parents and with advocates, we look forward to advancing the opportunity for those districts to determine on the basis of local conditions what they believe is in the best interest for their kids and moving back to in-person learning, they have that option. And that option is afforded, pursuant to guidelines that we put out over the course of the last number of weeks.

Gov. Gavin Newsom: (31:38)
Yes, my personal point of view is the default should be in-person education as long as it’s safe and as long as we can guarantee the safety of not only our children, but the safety of paraprofessionals, the safety of our teachers, the safety of so many others that make the school system, this ecosystem work. And so on that basis, the way the state has been designed for decades, where localism is a big part of the thrust of our framework, what we’ve decentralized our education system into a thousand school districts, our health guidelines have been clear. We worked in partnership with superintendents, school leaders, CDE, the California Department of Education on those guidelines. They will make that determination of what’s in their best interests.

Speaker 1: (32:27)
Brody Levesque, Los Angeles Blade.

Brody Levesque: (32:32)
Question, and also props to law enforcement. I actually live in that area where that happened. So hats off to them. And I am one of the evacuees actually. One of the things I was wondering, governor, is that as you’re going through these guidelines of reopening, I’ve been hearing from a lot of LGBTQI people in the beauty cosmetology and hair salon industry. And they argue that they take a stronger measure of protocol standards than a lot of other people and they’re still not understanding why they’re not allowed to fully reopen. Some of them are basically operating on the sidewalk, if you will. And the second part of the question is, and many of those are actually part of California’s greater gig economy, and there’s been no real redress in terms of doing something with AB 5.

Brody Levesque: (33:25)
And I’ve gotten a lot of questions and emails and texts sent to me after the last time you and I spoke about this back in April. Is there anything that you can do as governor to kind of work with the legislature, understanding where the session is right now that can probably bring specific relief to the gig economy, people that are so negatively impacted by the [inaudible 00:33:48]. So that’s a two-parter.

Gov. Gavin Newsom: (33:51)
So on the issue of employment status, W-2 earners versus independent contractors, there is a legislative effort specifically on that, that is in the process. Legislative session ends in a week or so and I anticipate that landing on my desk. Specific to your question, will there be a new clarifications, new exemptions under AB 5 for certain work classifications? The answer is yes, very likely. And I anticipate again, having the opportunity to sign that bill very, very shortly. As it relates to individuals, particularly the beauty and hair industry and the like, they absolutely are a big part of the conversation we’ve been having for weeks now and specifically their concerns, their critiques are part and parcel of the conversations that we have advanced with local health officers over the weekend.

Gov. Gavin Newsom: (34:47)
And they are part of the guidelines that we’ll be putting out later this week. As it relates to individuals operating out on the sidewalk, as you know, we do allow for outdoor work to be done. Working with local health officers, we clarified that a number of weeks ago. Specific to the industry you are referencing and to you as an individual, I’m sorry that you’ve been evacuated and I imagine this puts the totality of the work you’re doing as a reporter into perspective as we talk about the hundreds and hundreds of thousands of people across the state also have been directly impacted like yourself.

Speaker 1: (35:32)
Dustin Gardiner, San Francisco Chronicle. Dustin Gardiner SF Chronicle.

Speaker 1: (35:45)
Jeremy White, POLITICO. [inaudible 00:35:53] Jeremy?

Gov. Gavin Newsom: (35:56)
The awkward silence of live TV. Forgive us. Jeremy there you are.

Jeremy White: (36:01)
Hi, can you hear me?

Gov. Gavin Newsom: (36:01)
Perfectly. Thank you.

Jeremy White: (36:04)
Okay, great. I have a similar question to the previous one. Last week, Uber and Lyft were on the verge of pulling their cars off the road in California because of a court order that would have caused them to reclassify their drivers. At the time, the mayors of San Diego and San Jose pleaded for a state that would provide an opportunity for parties to come together with state leaders to negotiate a resolution. The gig companies got that court reprieve, so they are not pulling their cars off the road. Is there any space to find some sort of political solution to this issue or is it going to come down to the voters with Prop 22? And if so, what is your plan?

Gov. Gavin Newsom: (36:42)
Well, you know it well because you reported on our efforts last year, where we tried to do just that, tried to bring the parties together, tried to accommodate the different perspectives. We tried with the legislature and with those in particular, but other companies that also participate in those conversation and we fell short of finding an area of common ground. As a consequence, the law went into effect. We are now not a year, but we’re into a latter part of the year and the AG and pursuant to the courts, the Dynamex decision two years old, were in a position [inaudible 00:37:19] needs to enforce it. But you’re right to note, there was a reprieve and there is a ballot initiative that would look to provide a different approach than AB 5 specifically for these gig companies.

Gov. Gavin Newsom: (37:34)
I want to just make this crystal clear, the reason I engaged in the conversations a year ago, the reason I did was because I believe there’s an opportunity to find common ground and I’m committed to the long haul of finding common ground. So that’s an answer directly to your question. I also want to just make this point, that I value the dynamism of innovation, value companies that come into markets with a disruptive mindset to create more competition and to create more choices and a better experience for customers. It’s a point of deep pride that I’ve had the privilege of growing up in a state where we have innovation running through our veins. It’s what makes California truly great. We have to embrace innovation. We have to harness innovation. We have to create the conditions were innovators can flourish. At the same time, we have to respect and protect workers.

Gov. Gavin Newsom: (38:27)
And I don’t think it’s an either or, I’m absolutely convinced we can do both. And my commitment is to do both. As you know well, we have had an economic recovery task force. The foundational principle of that task force is growth and inclusion. And so as we grow our economy, we must make it an inclusive economy. And so those are the tenants which we engaged a year ago. Those the tenants that I’m committed to advancing a cause, I’m [inaudible 00:38:56] advance not only for gig companies, but for others throughout the state of California, but mindful, always that our innovative spirit is foundational in terms of our fate and future in this state. And that must be harnessed and respected. At the same time, we must respect workers and we must respect workers’ rights as well.

Speaker 1: (39:16)
David Baker, Bloomberg News.

David Baker: (39:20)
Yes, governor. Wanted to ask two connected questions about essentially the coronavirus and evacuating people from the fires. First of all, I wondered if you could sort of walk us through the steps that are being taken to check to see if people that are checking into these evacuation centers, have the virus, whether they’re actually being fully tested or just temperature screened. And then second, I wanted to ask whether or not you’re worried that these evacuations could spark yet another little wave of infections in the state.

Gov. Gavin Newsom: (39:53)
I visited most of these shelters over the last four days. And so we have 17 congregate shelters in our system. So I’m not as concerned as you are because of the firsthand experience of going into these shelters, where I was subject to health screenings. I was subject to assessments before I was allowed to enter. Let me give you an example. Yesterday down in Santa Cruz at a community college facility that was being managed by the local Red Cross. There was a nurse there that screened me. She didn’t just take my temperature, but she also asked me a series of questions. Before I could go in to the actual shelter, there was another assessment that was done. There were specific protocols on physical distancing. There was a requirement that I had a mask and there was instructions around social distancing that was provided before I even got to tour the facility.

Gov. Gavin Newsom: (40:51)
When I went inside the facility, we saw, in this case, they we’re not the tents that you see in some other facilities, but you saw cots that were well in excess of 10 feet apart. You saw tape protocols going into the restroom. You saw protocols as well, well established. The air purifiers. Long-windedly, we’re taking this very, very seriously. I was also yesterday morning, well, I guess it was Saturday morning and in Vacaville working to have an opportunity rather to see the work that was being done around food preparation. Accordingly, the food protocols have radically changed. You don’t see the kind of lines that you would typically see in the past. People have individualized boxes. I saw how they were prepared. I saw the protocols and processes that were in place to prepare those boxes. World Central Kitchen have been a leader in this space, incredible work they were doing, seeing that firsthand. So I couldn’t be more pleased, more proud of the work that I saw personally firsthand. I’ve seen it in writing. I was part of delivering those protocols though working in partnership with-

Gov. Gavin Newsom: (42:03)
Calls too, though working in partnership with local officers, making those public rather, but I am very pleased to see them in action. Let me also make this point. I’m also humbled by the nature and the dynamism. I was on Thursday at a shelter where at one in the morning, a shelter had no one in the shelter and they got a call that 200 plus seniors were coming in, and they did describe respectfully a more challenging environment where all the seniors did put on the masks but the social distancing was a little more challenging as they were trying to get seniors out of a senior facility into this facility. So, nothing’s perfect. Everybody’s human, trying to do their absolute best but what I saw, I was very impressed and very gratified of the seriousness to which people were taking this effort.

Speaker 2: (42:54)
John Myers, LA Times.

John Myers: (42:58)
Go back to the issue about the counties that have come off the watch list, because I mean, there’s several million Californians who live in the Counties that have been removed from that watch list now, waiting for this guidance. You talked about it a little bit earlier, but I want to clarify something here. You said we don’t know when the rules are coming out, or if you said this week, I’d like you to clarify that, but are you looking to craft something that’s going to be individualized to the county or is it a uniform process? I mean, one of those maybe is why it’s taking so long? There’s some real frustration out there, so I’m hoping you can address what people should expect here. If there’s going to be a uniform process for these counties, or it’s going to go case by case or county by county that you’re crafting here.

Gov. Gavin Newsom: (43:37)
Yeah. We’re doing it this week. We’ve made tremendous progress last week. We had some very constructive, more specific, and prescriptive conversations this weekend, and that will be forthcoming. None of this delays this fundamental fact. There has to be a 14-day period between the application implementation of not only schools, but reopening any sector of the economy, so there’s no delay in that respect for these counties moving forward but we are moving forward this week. You will see the fruits of those efforts, and I want to respect the process that we’re engaged in with many of those individuals that may be reaching out to you and expressing a desire to see those things come to light. They, I think, were very pleased by the progress we’ve made yesterday. More progress will be made in the next couple of days. We’ll be getting that out there very publicly, very shortly.

Speaker 2: (44:33)
Angela Hart, Kaiser Health News.

Angela Hart: (44:37)
Thank you, governor. A quick safety question. What masks should people wear to protect against wildfire smoke as well as COVID just because you urged people to wear masks to protect against both? So, wondering what’s out there for that? And then the more pressing question I have for you today is there’s a growing push by the CTA, by CMA, by public health groups, to call on you to call a special session, and I just wanted to find out where you are on that as it relates to the state’s ability to handle some of these pressing pandemic issues, as you just talked about COVID, testing, tracing, et cetera?

Gov. Gavin Newsom: (45:16)
I’m very pleased of the work that our testing task force is doing. A very focused effort and continue to make progress in that space, and we’ll be socializing some new strategies very, very shortly in that space as well. As it relates to kind of mask, that is left in the hands I think more appropriately of our doctor, your doctor, my doctor, the head of health and human services, pediatrician, in addition, just to having the title doctor who can answer that more specifically what’s appropriate for smoke as well as COVID mitigation.

Gov. Gavin Newsom: (45:51)
Then, as it relates to the special session, I’ve said this in the past, I’ll hold to it again today, if we feel it’s necessary, I’m not ideological about it. If it’s necessary, if it actually solves a problem, then, of course, we’re open to considering the same but with that, let’s ask Dr. Ghaly for his advice on what specific kind of mask he would recommend under this environment.

Dr. Ghaly: (46:23)
Thank you, governor. Thank you for the question. It’s an excellent question. We’re sort of at this crossroads where we’ve been talking about surgical masks and N95s and face coverings and cloth face coverings, which really do a wonderful job with COVID, reducing our risk of transmission when we’re out and about in communities and near others. The evidence there is pretty strong that a cloth face covering is very useful. On the other hand, though, it doesn’t help with smoke and smoke inhalation, so we’re at this crossroads where we have two different issues. Similarly, on the smoke inhalation side, you’ll see filtered air masks, which allow you to breathe out, but not necessarily breathe the contents in and those help in wildfires or with smoke inhalation. So, what we have done, and as the governor has mentioned, I’ll tell you what we’ve done with our shelters, the congregate shelters, we have sent surgical masks and N95s to those shelters. That’s probably the best solution to allow us to both reduce COVID transmission on the one hand and make sure that we don’t have people suffering from the smoke issues and the air quality in our communities.

Dr. Ghaly: (47:49)
So, it’s a tough, tough issue, but we’re working to get supplies of what the state has in terms of surgical masks and N95s into communities so we’re not just left with what we had been with the cloth face coverings given the air quality that we see now.

Gov. Gavin Newsom: (48:10)
Thank you, doctor. Next question?

Speaker 2: (48:13)
Final question. Dustin Gardiner, San Francisco Chronicle.

David Baker: (48:17)
Hi. Thank you, governor. With respect to the final week of the legislative session, lawmakers have put out a pretty ambitious outline of a stimulus plan, and in that plan, there is discussion of funding for bonds that would focus on climate projects. What is the status of your talks with the legislature on infrastructure stimulus plans? Do you have any hopes that something could be done in the last week here?

Gov. Gavin Newsom: (48:43)
Yeah. Absolutely. A couple of weeks back, about 10 days or so, we put out our guidelines of what we are committed to doing on economic recovery in this state, economic growth. We put out specific recommendations and I also updated you in public on where the legislature and our recommendations align in areas of agreement, areas that we were working towards advancing. All I can say in the middle of this process, where we are in a dynamic phase of conversation, by the way, including on the eviction question, we’re making real progress in that space, that progress is being made across the spectrum in terms of economic recovery, workforce development, and we hope over the course of the next day, two, three to be making more public some of those efforts. Certainly, we will have a very busy week this week in terms of accommodating everybody’s needs and landing where we hope to collectively land on fundamentally addressing the economic anxiety that exists and persists in this state, particularly the need to embrace our small businesses and to make sure that we’re doing everything in our power to jumpstart the recovery in the state.

Gov. Gavin Newsom: (49:57)
I was encouraged by the last jobs report. On any other moment, 140,000 jobs over a month would be a point celebration, but we are still very sober about a 13.3% unemployment rate in this state, and we recognize the magnitude of the work that we have in front of us. I just want to conclude on the point that this issue of jobs and economic growth is a top agenda item of this administration, and I’m very gratified in the spirit of your question of leadership of a number of individuals in our California legislature, particularly the leadership of the assembly and the Senate, for their commitment to advancing the same. So, while it doesn’t get the kind of attention a lot of other things do, it’s certainly a big part of our focus and our commitment and our resolve over the course of the next seven or so days at end of this legislative session.

Gov. Gavin Newsom: (50:52)
With that, this is the end of this session, this update. I want to thank everybody again for your time and attention. We continue to do everything in our power to mitigate the spread of these wildfires, as well as the spread of COVID-19. I just want to thank all of you for your resilience, for your commitment to this collective cause, and let us, as we must always, just extend a brushing of appreciation to the 10 plus thousand, 14,000 now, firefighters that are on the front lines battling these fires, in addition to the tens of thousands of healthcare officials doing the same to mitigate the spread of this disease. We owe them a deep debt of gratitude. Expressing that, let me express my gratitude to all of you, and look forward to updating you over the course of the next few days on where we are in wildfires and this pandemic. Take care, everybody.