Aug 28, 2020
California Governor Gavin Newsom August 28 Press Conference Transcript
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Gov. Gavin Newsom: (04:21)
Well, good afternoon everybody. I wanted to just jump right in as today is certainly an active and busy day here in the state of California. I’ll begin by focusing, if I can, on the top line concern we have in this state and that’s the issue of the ongoing battle to address these wildfires. Currently, we have some, well, just shy of 15,000 firefighters that we’ve deployed in the state. We have nearly 2,400 engines still deployed to suppress these wildfires and address these fires. 730 now fires across the state representing about 1.4 million acres that have burned just in the latest round of wildfires that we’ve experienced. Reminding you that that round of wildfires included some 14,000 lightning strikes that we’ve experienced over the course of the last 10 or so days. 93 lightning strikes just in the last 24 hours, 30 new fires that occurred overnight.
Gov. Gavin Newsom: (05:28)
Those fires have all substantially been diminished and, or extinguished. It just gives you a sense, again, of the ongoing vigilance that is required of this moment, is required of this time of year as it relates to work currently being done by Cal Fire and others. Some seven individuals have lost tragically their lives and 2,100 plus structures that we have identified as destroyed. And I always caution, I did this on Wednesday, I’ll do it again today. The number of fatalities that we are aware of, familiar with, the number of structures that we’ve been able to identify, there’s still a lot of work to do as people begin to repopulate, go back home, as we continue to assess the damage, the devastation, and potentially the mortality related to these fires. Those numbers that you see on this screen are likely to go up.
Gov. Gavin Newsom: (06:28)
Just to give you a sense of where we are, good news, we are seeing in terms of things going up and the percentage of containment improving in each of these larger fires. 730 fires overall, some two dozen larger fires that are top of mind and taking the vast majority of our resources and our attention. The LNU Complex, the Lake Napa County Complex, 33% contained when I last left you on Wednesday. Today, the containment’s improved modestly 35%. You see the number of acreage relatively contained, modest growth in the last 48 hours, but containment improving. The CZU fire down in the Santa Cruz mountain area, 19% contained on Wednesday. Now, 26% contained. You can see a modest increase in the total number of acreage impacted by that complex of fires. SCU, the Santa Clara area, that’s 25% contained on Wednesday. We’re now up to 35% containment.
Gov. Gavin Newsom: (07:35)
The acreage is, well, relatively stable over the course of the last 48 hours. I’ll remind you, the LNU and the SCU fires, second and third largest fires in terms of total acreage burned in California’s recorded history. The August fire continues to record 11% containment on Wednesday, 17% now recorded containment as of this morning. Roughly 197,000 acres impacted modestly as you can see from Wednesday. The Sheep Fire, I had highlighted that last week. Monday and Wednesday, it was 0%. 3% on Wednesday. We’re seeing some real progress, tenfold progress on the Sheep Fire. A 30% containment, and they’ve held the line in total number of acres burned. And one other fire that we’re monitoring of particular importance and concern, all these fires are important.
Gov. Gavin Newsom: (08:40)
A particular concern though is this Sequoia Fire impacting forest, potentially some of our great majestic Sequoias. 0% contained on Wednesday. You could see 0% contained still today. It’s a very difficult fire to suppress. The acreage has grown by about 5,000 acres in the last 48 hours. But this is up in Tulare County, just important in terms of the potential impact on some of our planet’s most majestic trees. But nonetheless, we are putting a lot of resource on that, we’ll continue to make progress despite those containment numbers, again, being very stubborn. Speaking of stubborn, the containment numbers related to the transmission of COVID continue to be stubborn here in the state. And that’s why it is important just to remind each and every one of you of what you already know. And that is COVID-19 will be with us for a while long time and we need to adapt.
Gov. Gavin Newsom: (09:50)
This idea that it was going to go away in the summer during the warmer months, that somehow it would disappear based upon an assertion, a tweet, or a headline has obviously been substituted by a different reality that not only are we experiencing here in the state of California, but all across the nation. And so it’s a sober reminder that what we will be announcing today in terms of our progress and in terms of our new strategies, in terms of how we begin to modify our stay at home ordered, that we must rebuilt with this reality and live with this fundamental truth until there is a vaccine, until we have the kind of therapeutics that could substantially mitigate the spread and the impact of COVID-19 that we will simply need to adapt our behaviors until that time. We’ve learned a lot over the course, the last number of months on how this virus spreads.
Gov. Gavin Newsom: (10:52)
A lot of focus on moving activities to the extent possible. From indoors to outdoors as a significant contributor to mitigating the spread of this virus, the importance of face coverings, the importance of masks, physical distancing, avoiding out of your household cohort, the kind of mixing, all of those things. We’ve learned with a greater sense of understanding the capacity that we’re trying to bring in to an adjustment that we’ll be making to our sector framework. For the last few weeks, we’ve been previewing that we wanted to make adjustments based upon the input we received from county health officers, input we’ve received from experts, our own experience here in the state of California to adjust the frameworks from the old monitoring list to a more dynamic list that we hope is. Not only more dynamic, but it’s much more simple to understand. Stringent, no. Nonetheless in terms of its application, but statewide in terms of its consequences in terms of what it covers.
Gov. Gavin Newsom: (12:01)
Simple also slow, and I’ll get to that. As we look to a blueprint for safely reopening the economy, pulling in the lessons learned, pulling in our own experience, others experiences, lessons learned in other states and across the country, these are the guidelines that foundationally we are advancing as it relates to this new blueprint. We’re looking now to a uniform framework, one that provides four tiers. You’ll be now hearing a lot about tiers, four tiers. The colors attached to that, we’ll get to that in a moment. Four tiers, not 58 county variations as we’ve seen in the past. Process not only for tightening these restrictions, but also loosening these restrictions, now are based upon these same metrics. The metrics that we assert are the most significant in terms of giving us a leading indicator of how things are taking shape in a particular part of the state, our case rates and test positivity rates.
Gov. Gavin Newsom: (13:07)
Case rates, number of individuals per population cohort, be it 1,000 or 100,000 that test positive, the percentage of people that get a test, that test positive, the positivity rate. So case rate and testing positivity will be the new, simple metrics that will determine movement within these tiers that we will be highlighting here today. There’s also, and Dr. Ghaly will be highlighting this, an additional health equity consideration. He can talk more about what we’re exploring in that space, but that’s foundational. Again, always looking at the lens of equity as it relates to the work being done to test cohorts populations, essential workers, but vulnerable workers and vulnerable communities, low income communities. And otherwise it is critical that we’re doing justice as it relates to the kind of testing we’re doing, the specificity in targeted communities that we’re testing because we don’t want to see people game these numbers.
Gov. Gavin Newsom: (14:11)
Here’s what we’re looking at. We’re looking at these four tiers. Color coded, making it a little simpler for folks; purple, red, orange and yellow. We don’t put a green because we don’t believe that there is a green light that says, go back to the way things were or back to the pre-pandemic mindset. Quite the contrary. These are the guidelines, these color coded county guidelines that we’re putting forward to get us through this flu season, to prepare for the upcoming flu season, this twin-demic as sorts as we deal with flu and we deal with COVID-19 to work through the next few months here in the state of California. Again, this is a dynamic process, it’s an iterative process. We are not stubborn in terms of an ideological thrust, it’s the work we’re doing and the considerations that we make in real time with experts and county health officers, and members of respected industries and members of the public that provide guidance and feedback.
Gov. Gavin Newsom: (15:18)
But the guidance and feedback we have received that helped us put this in place, we have advanced and engaging in seeking that guidance and collecting that guidance over the course of many, many weeks to put together the chart that you see in front of us. The purple part of this, the risk level we refer to as the county risk level as would spread is what commonly was referred to in the past as the old monitoring list, the old watch list that you may have seen in the past. Let me give you an example. We had 34 counties that were on the old monitoring list, the old watch list. Now that list broadly, and I’ll be specific about the distinctions, is defined now in this purple category as the width spread as it relates to the impact, the community spread, the background spread of the COVID-19 virus. New cases that are more than seven per 100,000, which by the way, that’s a daily case rate.
Gov. Gavin Newsom: (16:23)
It works out to be roughly exactly the old case rate of 100 per 100, 000. We had for a 14 day period, 98. So that’s what the seven represents. We just want more specificity looking at daily rates, not just that 14 day rates. So no more or rather more than seven rates new cases per 100,000 population. And those with positivity rates North of 8%, you’ll see where the state of California is. We’re closer to 6% over the last two week period. But if you’re in a county with more than 8%, you would be on that purple list. If you have number of new cases that are more than seven per 100,000 population, you would remain on that purple tiered list. Dr. Ghaly will come up in a moment and say what that means from a sectorial perspective, what that means from guidelines as it relates to individual cohorting, group cohorting, the expectations rather we have in terms of individual and group behavior.
Gov. Gavin Newsom: (17:24)
But let me quickly go through just some of these other colors before I bring up Dr. Ghaly. So the purple representing what broadly was defined as the old watch list. The new sectors now, three tiers as we refer to them, these new guidelines. The red tier is substantial spread. That’s reflected four to seven new cases per 100,000 and positivity rates that drop below 8% and put us above 5%, so five to 8%. The moderate represented in orange and there are a number of counties in that category today. I’ll provide that list in just a moment. Those are with new cases, the case rates below four per 100,000, one to 3.9, and you see positivity rates that get up to 4.9%, below 5%. And then of course minimal, that’s the category, that’s yellow category. We have less than one new case per 100,000 and less than 2% of people that test positive for COVID-19.
Gov. Gavin Newsom: (18:32)
As you can see with this purple, again, we are replacing the old county monitoring list and we have criteria and expectations, just sort of a reset, the counties that start in the higher tiers, higher than that purple tier have to be in that tier with criteria within that tier that have met for at least two weeks. One thing we’ve learned from the previous reopening experience, something I’m asked all the time about what is the experience you had in the past? What are you incorporating in terms of new considerations in this new approach? One of the things is making sure that we really hold strongly to these buffers in terms of criteria and data, and holding that criteria and data in line for an extended period of time. You’ll see here in a moment, we want to extend that period of time, even beyond two weeks as it relates to people moving into new tiers, but you at least have to have stability for two weeks. We’ll talk more specifically about, again, what that looks like.
Gov. Gavin Newsom: (19:43)
We’re going to begin our new assessments on a weekly basis every Tuesday and we will be updating every Tuesday, the county monitoring list as we go. Here’s our snapshot where we are today. Number of counties, again, represented in purple, 38 counties. Red counties and-
Gov. Gavin Newsom: (20:03)
… purple 38 counties, red counties and orange you see nine and eight respectfully. Yellow counties, the minimal, is represented by three specific counties. So again, 38’s roughly in that range, 34, the last time member counties come on and come off the old monitoring list, roughly about the same number of counties. With the new criteria, we capture a few counties that were just coming off. They’re likely to come out very, very shortly, and you’ll see that update in a moment. We again expect this to be a dynamic list and continue to see people move into different tiers and certainly move into a different mindset in terms of how we can approach a lot of the activities within the respective counties. Well, 87% rather of people living in the state of California are living in these purple counties. Again, 38 counties representing about 87% of the population.
Gov. Gavin Newsom: (20:59)
12% in red, 1% in orange, 0.1% in yellow. So you get a sense of how stubborn this process is, why we say statewide, stringent, but we also say slow in terms of our ability to move into these different tiers. Again, here are the tiers in the represented colors and in each tier, in order to move out of those tiers, there’s now a 21 day mandatory wait time, 21 days. When we did this the last time, Dr. Ghaly will talk a little bit more specifically about our experience in terms of the health orders we put out. We put out guidelines, they didn’t mean go, but we empowered the counties to make decisions based upon attestations and partnerships that had to form with county health officers signing off with county officials on their ability to move. We’re going to be more stubborn this time and have a mandatory wait time between moves.
Gov. Gavin Newsom: (22:04)
We didn’t do that last time. And that is a significant distinction between what we’ve learned from the past and what we now are advancing in this more stringent, but we believe more steady approach to moving counties within tiers and modifying the activities within those respective counties. We also have a criteria, not just 21 days, on moves between tiers, but also two weeks of some stability and steadiness before you move into those tiers. As well as a recognition that every week we’ll continue to assess and we’ll update the epi-criteria, the epi-data, the epidemiological data, so that we’re sharing it with you, the public, sharing it with the county. And you’ll see in a moment a new website and a much more dynamic, we hope, much easier website in terms of accessing information, providing, we hope, more transparency in this space.
Gov. Gavin Newsom: (23:05)
Again, because you may have seen this for the first time, this may not be as easy to understand perhaps as the old watch list. But the purpose, our emphasis, in terms of how we’re approaching this is we believe this is much more simple, much more transparent, easily monitored by individuals, not just by business representatives, but also by county and state health officers. We have a criteria that also toggles forward, but also toggles back, moving back. If you fail to meet the criteria for at least two straight weeks, you’ll have to move back into the old tier. And Dr. Ghaly in just a brief moment will come up and talk about this emergency break we have because we’re not completely abandoning this notion of ICU capacity, hospitalization capacity. The other criteria that is very, very important. No one is denying the importance of that criteria. We’re just not leading with that criteria. We’re leading with case rates and we’re leading with positivity rates as the two leading indicators as a simple measure to move within tiers.
Gov. Gavin Newsom: (24:17)
But again, the ability, in real-time, to address criteria of conditions that may radically change in one county or another and various factors. We also have proposals and processes in place where we have this so-called emergency brakes. Again, like things that include hospitalizations. I want to provide this slide as a introduction to Dr. Ghaly. He’ll explain what’s on this slide, that 3,142, and the date that’s attached to that and the current number of little over 4,200 and what it represents today. You see it’s number of positive COVID patients within our hospital systems. It’s a sober reminder of what we are announcing today and what we’re not announcing today. We just want to put up clarity or rather slides for clarity, guidelines that provide a little bit more clarity to you of the kind of conversations we’ve been having for weeks and weeks and weeks with local health officers, but also within this frame, some clarity to the business sector.
Gov. Gavin Newsom: (25:20)
But again, it is driven fundamentally all of this very soberly by what’s happening in our hospital system, what’s happening in our ICUs, what’s happening, as they say, on the ground, real life criteria, real life considerations. And I want to bring up Dr. Ghaly to talk a little bit more about that. He’s going to introduce a new website that we hope you use on the COVID-19 site. A much more updated, we hope more dynamic and iterative website, and then I’ll come back and talk a little bit more about additional strategies to strengthen our efforts as we move forward to make sure we’re much more, again, stringent and incorporate some of the lessons learned from our previous experience around these modifications. With that, Dr. Ghaly.
Dr. Ghaly: (26:17)
Thank you, governor. And thank you all for tuning in. I want to pick up where the governor left off and just talk about this slide that’s in front of you. Really today, we’re talking about a framework and moving forward, not about reopening. It really is important to pay attention to the three numbers on this slide. You see the 7,170 number, our really peak of hospitalizations last month, July 21st. And although we have come down nearly 40% or just over 40%, 4,205 today in our hospitals, it’s still higher than we were back in June and at the beginning. And even when we started to have certain business sectors begin to increase their own activities, we were lower than we are today. And so this is just an important message to remind people that we’re not out of the woods.
Dr. Ghaly: (27:15)
Really, the points that the governor made when he began talking about COVID that we need everyone’s efforts still. That 40 million strong came together to really bring the curve down and now we need 40 million to continue to come together to crush this curve, get 4,200 hospitalizations further down as we go forward. And that this is going to require us in this new framework that’s really built around being statewide, being stringent and being slow. So I want to take a moment before I go through this example of how a county can expect to use this tiering system. How the people watching, tuning in, might go to the website that I’m going to introduce in a moment and look and see, well, our county is in this tier. What does that mean for me? What does it mean for the business down the street? But before I go into this example, I want to reiterate a couple of points that the governor made.
Dr. Ghaly: (28:22)
First, counties are going to be slow moving through this. So if you’re assigned a tier today, starting on Monday, you should expect to be in that tier for at least three weeks. And then before you move to the next tier, let’s say you’re in red, and before you move to orange, you will have had to meet the criteria to be in orange for at least two weeks. And so that’s going to allow us to feel confident that the transmission in that County is appropriate to move to that less restrictive tier so we don’t have to move quickly forward only to do move back sooner. And so we’re going to continue to use this 21 day, three weeks standard within a tier, but really look for stability and improvement for at least two weeks to move on. That might mean that a county spends three, four, five weeks, maybe longer, depending on how transmission improves in a specific tier. I also want to say before we get into this specific example about museums, zoos, and aquariums, to talk a bit about schools.
Dr. Ghaly: (29:30)
On July 17th, we put out guidance and said counties that came off the county data monitoring list, really pegged to what is the purple tier, the widespread Tier 1, that they could two weeks later begin to have the conversation about opening schools in that county with districts, families, others, to determine when the right time is. Still today, once a county is off of purple and they’re in red, they would still have to wait two weeks to open up schools and have those important conversations. So this has not changed. We still have you come off what is essentially the data monitoring list and into red with a two week waiting period. So let’s go over this example. So if today, as the governor showed the map of which counties are which color and which tier, you see your county in the purple tier, you know that museums, zoos and aquariums in this example are still only allowed to do outdoor operations with modifications.
Dr. Ghaly: (30:40)
If you’re in a county that is tier 2 in red, you can not only do outdoor, but some indoor activities. Up to 25% capacity of those settings can begin to operate and so forth. Getting into Tier 3, the capacity limit goes up to 50% and then Tier 4, open indoors with those ongoing modifications. What are those modifications? It’s all the things we’ve been talking about for months; physical distancing of at least six feet, control over the requirement to mask while you’re in the presence of others. And to make sure that if you’re one of the industries that requires some symptom screening at the front door, that those things continue to happen. So I wanted to take this opportunity to introduce a new website that will be live shortly. It isn’t up quite yet. That is a refresh of the covid19.ca.gov. And as you can see here, you can go to this page and type in the county Fresno, choose hair salons and barbershops, and then it will pop up and show you what color Fresno is and that sector, whether it’s open or the degree that it’s opened.
Dr. Ghaly: (32:01)
And as you can see here, that hair salons in barbershops in the purple widespread will be allowed to operate starting as soon as Monday. I want to remind you one other factor that not only these are the state guidelines, county guidelines may be more stringent than what the state says. The state’s order cannot be at the county level, made less stringent, but if a county sees conditions that cause them to be even more stringent than the state, that has always been the way California worked, it’s been the way California has worked throughout this pandemic, and that will continue moving forward. So with that, I’ll turn it back over to the governor. Thank you.
Gov. Gavin Newsom: (32:48)
Thank you. So again, four tiers, four different colors, very simple way of finding out more information by sector, by county, by going to the covid19.ca.gov website, covid19.ca.gov website. This example of Fresno is just one of many examples. This example, specifically, to barbershops is one, again, many industries where people want to get information, want to know what is allowable, pursuant to these guidelines based upon these tiers and was an important, it wasn’t just an aside. It is an important note that barbershops based upon these new tiers, even in this widespread, this purple category, can reopen. But all of this always subject to if indeed local health authorities, local health obviously want to be more stringent subject to their attestation as well.
Gov. Gavin Newsom: (33:47)
So we’re trying, in the spirit of collaboration, to allow for localism if there are certain criteria where local officers feel there needs to be more stringency. But as far as we’re concerned in 58 counties in the state of California, regardless of what tier you’re in, as an example, hair salons and barbershops can be reopened. We also are very mindful on the experience that we had going back, now, a number of months. That it’s one thing to put out guidelines. It’s one thing to have a website. It’s one thing to have information that may be universally, or at least, well, broadly shared within sectors within industries, within the health care profession. But for people, for you, for me, for folks that are going about your day to day lives, oftentimes it’s much more difficult.
Gov. Gavin Newsom: (34:44)
One of the other lessons that we learned from the previous reopening was not only the importance of time between sectorial moves. And we, again, addressing that with the 21 day process now. But also getting the information out, not just within sectors, not just within the healthcare space, but more broadly to the public and doing so in a way that captures the cultural competency that finds the best of this state. And so I wanted to provide two ads that we put together, two PSAs that we put together that are very targeted and are also highlighting in that target a demographic and highlighting an age cohort that we continue to need to spread the word about the dangers of the spread in these social gatherings of this disease. So let’s take a look at these two PSAs.
Oh, yeah. Now this is my kind of jam. Look at these close-talkers. Thanks for not wearing masks. Party over here, Rona right here. Raise your hands if you think I’m a hoax. Good. Give Nanna a big hug for me.
Make it hard for The Rona. Wear a mask, maintain physical distance, wash your hands to stop the spread. It couldn’t be easier to save a life.
[foreign language 00:16:22]
Gov. Gavin Newsom: (36:53)
You can see from those two ads, we very intentionally focused on young folks that may not feel the impact of their decision making and social gatherings and having an impact, not only in terms of increasing the chance that they themselves will contract COVID-19, but the possibility of significantly spreading COVID in those social settings. And then number two, clearly multi-generation families. People coming together, maybe letting their guard down. I think those scenes are very familiar to many of you that may be watching. And those scenes are exactly the kind of scenes we want to at least mitigate in terms of the impact of those gatherings and they’re having in terms of the spread of this disease. And that’s why you’ll see a lot more in this space, more bilingual ads, more PSAs, more outreach to individuals, as well as empowering individuals more access to information in the business sector as well.
Gov. Gavin Newsom: (38:01)
And what I mean by that is we want to empower individuals to know as customers, what is happening in terms of the safety that is being provided as relates to any particular protective measures that may or may not be occurring within different sectors in different industries in our economy. So we’ve been working with a number of digital platforms, a number of well known brands as it were here in the state of California, asking what they can do to take it to the next level in terms of empowering individuals with more information and make it more navigable for people to provide themselves information. And what I mean by that, Yelp being a perfect example of a platform where you can provide the kind of information to validate what is asserted by, for example, a restaurant or a retail establishment. What are their health and safety measures. And provided that information now by individuals that have that experience, we can highlight that not only with general customer reviews, which you’re very familiar with on a platform like Yelp, but now the customer validation as it relates to health and safety, not just the quality of an experience or a particular product. Accordingly, Facebook, to their credit, has been working in the same space and they are providing, again, more information, but with more explicit label to update posts that are COVID positive, or COVID rather 19 related posts that will help as it relates to businesses that want to describe what they’re doing and what they’re offering in terms of mitigation. OpenTable, another wonderful platform that now allows businesses even more prescriptively to list all of the safety precautions. You’ll see examples right here on this slide, in that dashboard, so people can really get a much more prescriptive sense of what may or may not be-
Gov. Gavin Newsom: (40:03)
… a much more prescriptive sense on what may or may not be happening as it relates to a particular business and their operation, and of course Google, they have search engine capacity and the mapping capacity. They are also providing more information working in partnership with the state and I imagine many other states, but to provide more information related to things like does business have curbside pickup, what is the delivery prospects in terms of safety protocols and what exactly is happening with temperature checks and the like.
Gov. Gavin Newsom: (40:36)
Those are the platforms of partnership that we are engaging in a much more forthright way than we did in the past in effort to educate individuals, empower individuals, keep people safe, [inaudible 00:40:50] healthy to make sure that we’re working with the counties, but yes, that we have more stringent guidelines as it relates to epi data, that we can see some more stability, criteria for stability that allows people to move in to these next tiers.
Gov. Gavin Newsom: (41:06)
Here’s all I’ll say as it relates to this process, and then I’ll get into daily updates, numbers. This process, again, may seem more confusing because it may be the first time you’ve seen it, but this process is again, quite simple. You have four tiers, four colors, those tiers attach to specific capacity within sectors where those sectors can open up with modifications. That information’s available on the covid19.ca.gov website, covid19.ca.gov website. But if you’re a County representative, you’re a county health officer, you’re a local leader, the two things that you should pick up from this presentation that are the most impactful, the most important is getting that positivity rate down and getting that case rate down.
Gov. Gavin Newsom: (41:56)
Those are the two measurements, the criteria that could move your community forward, and so it’s incumbent upon all of us, business leaders, elected officials, people in leadership in every conceivable capacity as parents, we need to see the same, all of us as individuals doing everything we can to lower the case rates, to lower the positivity rates. We do that, we start moving, but we do so in a safe way, and we do so with some confidence in the new guidelines that will allow us to measure progress in a more extended period of time, a 21-day window.
Gov. Gavin Newsom: (42:37)
Here’s where we are as it relates to a seven-day window. Average number of cases [inaudible 00:42:42] you’re very familiar with, and today’s updated number and total number of positive cases here in the state. This number should sober all of us. That’s why today is not an announcement that we’re reopening the economy in the state of California. Again, vast majority of sectors are open with modifications, essential workers, and the like. We were just talking about as we move forward how we could be more mindful of your health and safety so we don’t have to continue to go back and forth, particularly as we move into flu season where we have even heighten our vigilance and do even more to mitigate the spread.
Gov. Gavin Newsom: (43:19)
These numbers, again, are just a reminder this disease has not gone away. COVID is still with us. 5,320 roughly in that range of the seven-day average that we’ve experienced here in the state. Again, our testing’s a little down a little, shy of 100,00, 92,000 yesterday of where it’s been. It was up to 135,000 tests average a day pre these fires. You’ll start to see those numbers come back up as we get a lot of these testing sites back up as we continue to do everything in our power to mitigate the spread of those wildfires.
Gov. Gavin Newsom: (43:59)
But that positivity rate has also gone down, and that’s encouraging. Down to 6%. You haven’t seen that in some time. This is a 14-day positivity rate, 6% statewide. Remember, 8% is that threshold for the purple. You get into the six, five, get below five, all of a sudden, we’re moving in a much more… well, in a direction allows us to do much more as it relates to reopening certain sectors in our economy. The seven-day rate is even more encouraging, 5.7%, so 14-day, it’s 6%, and a seven-day positivity rate at 5.7%.
Gov. Gavin Newsom: (44:40)
Continues to also be encouraging, the number of hospitalizations down 18% over the last two weeks, and in terms of total number of positive patients with COVID-19, about 6% of the total capacity, rather, total number of people with COVID-19 as it relates to total number of beds within our hospital system represents about 6%, holding consistent where we were on Monday and Wednesdays as it relates to ICU admissions. Not dissimilarly, hospitalization numbers decline. We tend to see the same with ICU admissions. 19% increase, in that case, over a 14-day period. People ask me, and forgive me, it could be confusing, but total number of patients with COVID-19 represented within our ICU is about 16%. Again, that’s dropped from about 23% just a few weeks ago so progress in that space.
Gov. Gavin Newsom: (45:39)
Always progress, and most importantly, exists and resides within you and in the space that you create, the space between cohorts, the space between people outside of your households, the space between strangers that will fundamentally matter more than anything that we are asserting and advancing here today. Your actions matter. Good behavior is also contagious, not just COVID-19, and so we want to model good behavior, continue to wear those face coverings and masks and continue to consider the impact, particularly as we move closer to Labor Day, the impact of multigenerational events, household events where you bring your neighbors, friends, your cousin you haven’t seen in months, your aunt, your extended family members, even second cousins that are just driving through that want to drop by.
Gov. Gavin Newsom: (46:35)
Those events highlighted in that PSA or those two PSAs should be cautionary tales in terms of just making sure you’re protecting them and protecting yourself with face coverings and doing what you can to physically distance, even in those environments where we are bringing people into the backyards, even into the living rooms. Your actions matter more than anything health officer can say or an elected official can say. That’s why nothing substitutes for wearing those masks, doing that physical distancing, continuing to mind your mother and grandmother by washing your hands and sanitizing and doing what you can in that spirit of those PSAs, minimizing that mixing.
Gov. Gavin Newsom: (47:21)
That’s the update today. We continue, in closing, to be working next 72 hours with California legislature, working at the end of what we refer to as our session, which ends on midnight on Monday. Many dynamic things occurring at least of which we did land on an agreement on evictions. I’m very pleased to announce that. Look forward to talking more about that in detail as the details present themselves in what we refer to as print, meaning in the bill language that will cross both houses of the Assembly and the Senate and land on my desk for signature.
Gov. Gavin Newsom: (48:08)
I just want to expend appreciation to all those leaders that worked hard, bring parties together. I just want folks to know broad strokes that we were able to accommodate each other’s points of view. Not everybody pleased with every detail. That’s the nature of negotiation, but we did get an eviction deal done. I look forward to signing it very, very shortly with that. Happy to answer any questions.
Speaker 1: (48:35)
Katie Orr, KQED.
Katie Orr: (48:38)
Hi, governor, thanks for taking our questions. As it relates to the eviction moratorium deal, can you tell us a little bit more? Does it just include renters? Does it include homeowners? What are the requirements going to be for people to obtain this relief?
Gov. Gavin Newsom: (48:53)
Yeah, I want to be respectful of what is going into print and respectful of the request from legislative leaders to not talk about the details until things are in print and they will be socialized. All I can say, and I try to lead with that anticipation appropriately to the questions, is how pleased I am and how grateful I am that people that don’t always see eye to eye, don’t always agree on many fundamental policy issues came together, crossed those differences, and including legislative leaders that worked very hard over a long period of weeks, not just days, and certainly nights in the last few nights to work out some of the details to accommodate not only for tenants, millions of people who are at risk of eviction, but to accommodate for timing as it relates to when those evictions may occur, accommodate for small landlords that rightfully are concerned about not being able to pay their mortgages if they don’t collect any rents issues related to your credit rating, if you’re not paying your rent and the like, and things that are not COVID-induced, how do you still accommodate for people’s legal rights and legal protections outside of the COVID issues in that same process.
Gov. Gavin Newsom: (50:17)
All of that was considered. All of that was put together in a blended package where we incorporated those considerations and quite literally may already be in print as I speak. We are putting that in to writing and certainly become public momentarily.
Speaker 1: (50:40)
Jeremy White, Politico.
Jeremy White: (50:43)
Hey, governor, I guess I’m not going to get you to confirm any details of the evictions deal, so I will ask you on this new framework, you have consistently said that hospitalization and ICU data is the more accurate metric for COVID given testing labs and whatnot. Why leave that out of the reopening framework and instead look to testing metrics?
Gov. Gavin Newsom: (51:04)
It’s a conversation we’ve had throughout this process for many, many months. Dr. Ghaly is literally 6.1 feet away from me already standing up. Let me give him first shot at answering that from a health perspective. It’s exactly the dynamic of the conversations that we’ve been having, not just amongst ourselves, but with local health officers as well. I’ll get back to you with my thoughts after he gets it back with his.
Dr. Ghaly: (51:33)
Thanks, governor, and Jeremy, thanks for the question. I want to say a couple things about the focus on really just two metrics. These are not the earliest metrics, but they’re pretty early metrics depending on testing in some rate and our ability to find cases and case identification. We that when you find a case today that it has a chance to end up in the house, three, four weeks down the road. If we really want to be focused on catching early indicators of transmission, these are the right indicators to focus.
Dr. Ghaly: (52:10)
We still maintain that those hospital numbers are very reliable. I often say hospital numbers don’t lie. People who are very sick, thankfully in California, have largely been able to get to the hospital and get the care they need, so those are accurate and good numbers, but we want to aspire as we should to be as early as we can, and with the testing supplies improving California’s moves to really control our own testing destiny, working to get turnaround times down, and looking at the data differently, looking at daily case rates rather than just over 14 days, looking at those as a seven-day average and introducing something that we call the seven-day lag, which gives us another bit of time to wait for the data to come back, some test results that might not come in right away, we’re giving ourselves another seven days to be able to have all that information come in.
Dr. Ghaly: (53:07)
That gives us a degree of confidence working with our county partners that those will be increasingly more reliable numbers and a way to help us guide the future path. That said, I want to remind you what the governor talked about, this emergency break, that if we see hospital numbers starting to really increase, that the ICU is in a neighborhood in a community are becoming overwhelmed and that county is experiencing that across many communities, we will work with that county to make more immediate changes and pause and maybe even take a step back. We feel confident that this is the right way to move forward.
Dr. Ghaly: (53:45)
I also want to mention that we’ve talked a lot about testing, contact tracing, isolation, these important tools to get that case rate down, your test positivity down, those things are also still being tracked. We’re working closely with our counties on those so that we can make sure that those tools are optimized and used well so that counties have the best chance to keep their positivity rate down, their case numbers down.
Dr. Ghaly: (54:13)
In the vein of being simple, we chose these two metrics as early enough indicators but that really do take into account so much of what is happening with transmission in those communities. We also know that it allows us to continue to emphasize these important harm reduction, risk reduction approaches of making sure that we’re focusing on wearing that mask, physically distancing, washing hands, looking out to what you do when you’re with family members just as we showed in the new PSA videos. It allows us to continue to focus on those more upstream activities and not so much only look at hospitalizations in ICUs. That said, we will never take our eye off those numbers, and we are proud and continue to build on our surge capacity and making sure we’re ready if and when it’s needed in the future.
Gov. Gavin Newsom: (55:10)
I’ll just reinforce. Dr. Ghaly answered it comprehensively. That emergency brake is foundational. Again, we’re not throwing out any consideration of the other criteria that you’re very familiar with and all of us should continue to be very soberly familiar with on ICUs as relates to hospitalizations, as well as Dr. Ghaly said, the importance of continuing our work on contact tracing, continue to substantially improve our access to testing and targeted testing. Our ability to continue to monitor all of that, and the dynamic engagement will be a big part of the next few months. Those ongoing efforts will continue.
Gov. Gavin Newsom: (55:51)
One final point. It’s not only those criteria, those two leading criteria as it relates to case rates and positivity rate, but it’s also hand-in-hand now with a 21-day process that is more stringent that gives us a real sense of that epi data, that epidemiological data as it relates to what that means from a leading indicator, what that looks like in terms of really giving us a sense of where the stage is and where we are heading over the course of almost a month.
Speaker 1: (56:22)
Kathleen Ronayne, AP.
Kathleen Ronayne: (56:25)
Hi, governor. I don’t see amusement parks on the sector guidance list that your office put out. What does this mean for Disney? Then is it still your belief that sports with fans, live theater, and concerts won’t be allowed in the state until we have a vaccine?
Gov. Gavin Newsom: (56:41)
Well, not through this process. We’re still maintaining our current status as it relates to those large events, those large sporting events. Specific to the issue of many, not just the one group that you mentioned, the one brand, but at other amusement park operators, we are working with them. We set our discussions aside on that. They’re forthcoming. It is a very dynamic conversation, and so we didn’t include it in the update today. That is a separate conversation. It’s an easier to want to have, frankly, with some of the larger ones. We’re trying to accommodate for some of the other amusement activities in this state, and so you’ll be getting that as soon as we work through that. One of my afternoon meetings is in this space, and we’re actively looking to see where we land on that.
Speaker 1: (57:34)
Mederios Babb, KSEE.
Mederios Babb: (57:37)
Hi, governor. This is Mederios just speaking about Immanuel schools in Reedley. They recently filed a lawsuit with the California Supreme Court specifically against you talking about private schools and reopening. Just to give a little bit of background, they’ve been open since the 13th of this month, and so I was wondering if you could address this and if you guys have filed the court asking that it be filed by 3:00 p.m. today.
Gov. Gavin Newsom: (58:07)
No, I’m not going to opine or getting merits or demerits or details of any ongoing litigation or the specifics about when or how or why we would file a brief, but I appreciate this ongoing dialectic as it relates to those that want to move quickly, but we continue to commit and are fully resolved to moving safely. That’s our foundational principle. That one is universal. It’s been consistent. As it relates to schools, we put out guidelines on July 17th, and those guidelines [inaudible 00:58:46] safely reopening our schools remain in effect.
Speaker 1: (58:49)
[inaudible 00:58:49] New York Times.
Christine Mai-Duc: (58:54)
Hi, governor. Thanks so much for your time. I was wondering if you could talk a little bit more about enforcement of the guidelines. One of the things we’ve seen over the last couple of months is a lot of workplaces, particularly larger congregate workplaces like factories and warehouses and meat processing plants and agricultural workplaces, that’s where a lot of cases have been tied to people who work in those facilities. Whether or not they got them at work is not always clear. Can you talk, I guess, a little bit more about how these restrictions will be enforced, particularly in larger workplaces and in the Central Valley?
Gov. Gavin Newsom: (59:38)
The way that we’ve set up in the past is a number, now over months ago, we put out some very detailed information about some of the enforcement activity that has substantially ramped up in this state, particularly with Cal/OSHA, but we also looked at teams we refer to as enforcement strike teams that had many different-
Gov. Gavin Newsom: (01:00:03)
Strike teams that had many different state agencies as well as partners at the local level going out and doing spot monitoring checks on a much more aggressive dynamic way, specifically the alcohol beverage control, but also in the beauty sector. We have put out accordingly efforts rather we have strengthened those efforts and put out additional guidelines and working including with the legislature to expand our enforcement capacity. And that’s currently being negotiated with the legislature. We put out new recommendations in the space, not only in terms of strengthening our own efforts, but also working with local government to strengthen theirs. I’ve been very impressed with many local government leaders, many different agencies that have been very proactive that haven’t just been out there enforcing to educate, but where there’s been stubbornness and people just disavowing any of the rules or regulations or considerations for people’s public health or safety, including employees, not just customers, they move forward to more aggressive fines.
Gov. Gavin Newsom: (01:01:14)
And so it’s a combination of local and state, state now working in a much more collaborative environment with other state agencies, more proactively, OSHA in particular in the Central Valley and the larger essential workforce in the sector in the meat processing plants and alike where it’s been a more dynamic process and as I said more in additional work that we hope were able to do pursuant to some legislative work that is almost concluded, which we hope in the next three days will allow some of our state agencies to be even more targeted and more aggressive on educating, not just enforcing for fines.
Speaker 2: (01:01:59)
Patrick Healy, KNBC.
Patrick Healy: (01:02:05)
Governor does the creation of these new tiers reset the clock for counties, which had moved into the territory where they could apply for waivers for schools? And also if you could amplify on these categories, will any counties be affected on Monday so that they can do or cannot do the things that are permitted now? Thank you.
Gov. Gavin Newsom: (01:02:31)
Yeah, I can’t anticipate what happens on Monday and what happens on Monday is determined on the epidata that comes in tomorrow which I don’t have, Sunday, which I don’t have and Monday morning, so specifically what happens over the next three days or at least two days of collected data, we’ll make that determination. Again, this criteria is very explicit in terms of the 8% or below criteria as it relates to case rate, seven case rate or below. And that will make a determination as to when and how they could consider modifications as it relates to the issue of coming on and coming off and when people are on. I want Dr. Ghaly to talk a little bit more about this, because I mentioned a moment ago, this 14… We talked about the 21 day period, but you have to have stability within a 14 day period. And that becomes very, very important, and I think very specific to your question is also a way of answering your more specific question as to what we anticipate with many counties with our schools, but also in other business sectors.
Dr. Ghaly: (01:03:37)
Thank you again for the question. It’s an opportunity to clarify around the K through six waivers that I think you’re discussing. Again, remember the waiver process in districts and in counties that decided to pursue it, that they could pursue it within a range while still on the County data and monitoring this. So even though you weren’t off the list, there was a sort of range at which maybe you were about to come off the list and going back for the youngest students with some level of in person education could be planned and permitted under the waiver process, that still is available to counties, even if you’re on purple, the widespread tier one that within a range of roughly case numbers of seven on the daily case per 100,000 up to 14 ability to still pursue the waiver.
Dr. Ghaly: (01:04:33)
I think part of your question also is, well, what happens to a County that has been moving through with the school reopening plans? And as we’ve said before, once off the County data monitoring list into now the red tier or tier two, that with 14 days or two weeks of waiting in that red tier, that they can pursue opening schools at the discretion of the local health officers and the counties and all of the local school districts in that planning.
Gov. Gavin Newsom: (01:05:11)
And again, I just want to remind everybody what you know well and that is the dynamic nature of these lists where people moving in the right direction and there’s issues and challenges and we’re on the list off the list, but this should provide some clarity. And again, guidance everybody, encourage you, go to that covid19.ca.gov website to see for yourself and get the benefit of this updated website that I think provides a lot more detail as relates to clarity within your particular County.
Speaker 2: (01:05:47)
Christine Mai-Duc, Wall Street Journal.
Christine Mai-Duc: (01:05:52)
Governor, thanks for taking our questions today. IC 793, the flavored tobacco bill just passed the Senate floor earlier. Do you have any comment on whether you’re going to sign that? I know that you previously had said that you support the measure. And then my second question is there’s a number of tenants rights groups who have been reacting to what they say are coming out of the negotiations for the eviction release bill that you discussed without necessarily going into the details of those provisions. Can you react to this idea that this doesn’t go far enough, that the provisions as they stood last night and this morning are still going to see a wave of evictions in California?
Gov. Gavin Newsom: (01:06:38)
Well, I don’t know. There’s another state leaning in and doing more to protect tenants than the state of California. I’ll put up these efforts and what we agreed to with legislative leaders through a very difficult period of negotiations up against any other state in this nation. I think California truly is leading the way. Absolutely you’ll hear from some, not just representing tenants. I imagine others that will express that we could have done more, done better, and that’s the nature of negotiations, the nature of a dynamic, but the totality and the consequence of what we were able to achieve in terms of mitigating the prospects of millions, literally millions of people being evicted, or at least subject to eviction substantially was mitigated because of this effort. This relates to the broader issue of the bill that you referenced on flavored tobacco. I’ve long been an advocate for a ban.
Gov. Gavin Newsom: (01:07:42)
I’d be remiss because it’s just passed, it’s easier to express point of view because it doesn’t require the dynamic process of engagement that is more deserving of private conversations in the midst of those negotiations. But I look forward absolutely to signing it. I have been very, very expressive in terms of my absolute condemnation of this tobacco industry that continues to find ways to target our youth. And it will be a point of deep pride and personal privilege as a father of four. And as someone who has had many, many family members die at the hands of the tobacco industry to sign that bill. So I can’t be more explicit. Yes, I will sign it. And I look forward to coming law in the state of California.
Speaker 2: (01:08:34)
Paul Sission, San Diego Union-Tribune.
Paul Sission: (01:08:39)
Thank you so much for taking my question. I’ve been looking through the new website while we’ve been waiting here and for San Diego County going down the list I see restaurants dine in now that we’re in the red category could open indoors at max 25% capacity. I see bars remaining closed, aquariums opening indoor 25% capacity, hair salons and barbershops open indoors with modifications that seems to indicate to me that they can do it with a hundred percent capacity gyms and fitness centers open at 10% capacity-
Gov. Gavin Newsom: (01:09:15)
I should’ve included you in press conference.
Paul Sission: (01:09:18)
Open with modifications, max 25% capacity. So on and so forth. It’s a long list. Am I reading this right?
Gov. Gavin Newsom: (01:09:25)
Paul Sission: (01:09:26)
Are you guys saying that as of Monday, that all of these different things will be able to open in one fashion or another?
Gov. Gavin Newsom: (01:09:32)
I should’ve included you in the list of speakers. The answer is yes. Thank you for illuminating all of us. And again, that’s exactly why I encourage all of you to go to the covid19.ca.gov website. Take a look where your County stands, where the industries within that County, how they’ll be packed and infected but everything you said appreciate the illumination what you highlighted is accurate and is well represented on that site.
Speaker 2: (01:10:00)
[ inaudible 00:01:09:59].
Speaker 3: (01:10:02)
Hi governor, thank you so much for taking this call. I just want to follow up about the Immanuel School that earlier this week, a judge here in Fresno denied the county’s request to close it down. I just want to get your reaction to that. This essence the judge ruled the school can stay open.
Gov. Gavin Newsom: (01:10:18)
Well, I appreciate the county’s efforts. We’ve been very clear in terms of the guidelines on to keep people safe, not just our kids, but keep a pair of professionals, keep our teachers safe. There’s a reason the County health officers are in alignment broadly with the state guidelines. The reason we all worked so hard over the course of many, many months, is a reason, people have expressed concern all across the state and around the world around opening where you don’t have a safety capacities front and center, the impact that can have on the spread of this virus. So we stand by what we have assertive, what we are promoting, what we are doing here in the state of California. And we specifically applaud in this case, the work in partnership with that County and its leadership in advancing our collective goals.
Speaker 2: (01:11:12)
Final question. [inaudible 00:11:13].
Speaker 4: (01:11:17)
Hi governor. Thanks for taking my call. First off, we had a evening of protest in Sacramento that that were mostly peaceful, but there were some violent activity, windows broken, businesses that struggle to reopen even as the COVID epidemic moves on, and then you’ve got protesters that come in. So wondering if you could weigh in on the protests and the theory that some of these people are coming in from out of town to sort of create chaos as well as protests. And my second question involves the EDD in terms of benefits being paid out. And we’ve been seeing dozens and dozens, if not hundreds of letters kind of coming to the same addresses in what EDD says is a scam investigation, but we can’t get any more information. I’m wondering if you had any details on that, or if you’d been informed about that.
Gov. Gavin Newsom: (01:12:13)
Trust me we’re monitoring dozens of examples of people trying to take advantage of taxpayers, trying to take advantage of systems. And so let’s leave it at that. Many ongoing investigations and partnerships in terms of those investigations that are led by the local authorities, not just the state in some cases, federal authorities. So that is very real, unfortunately people continue to try to take advantage of others and take advantage of these situations. And it’s certainly the case as it relates to some of these checks, by the way, thank you for prompting this. The $300, we no longer have that $600 contribution that’s coming from the federal government, as it relates to unemployment insurance benefit the supplement, but we will have that 300. It will be out in the next few weeks. Just want to remind people that this state did apply for the $300 from the federal government.
Gov. Gavin Newsom: (01:13:10)
It was approved by the federal government. We are putting it in to the unemployment insurance system and those checks should be coming out within the next few weeks. I currently was briefed today, anywhere from September 6th to 10th. And so that’s roughly the period of time to which those checks will be made available. It’s a process that goes back and forth with the federal government, but it looks to be progressing very favorably and our system will be capable of distributing those checks within roughly that period of time. So thank you for prompting that. Number two, this relates to specific protests that may have occurred last night, I’ve been monitoring as governor of California, 58 counties. There are protests of every different stripe in size, quite literally happening all across our state, including some others in the Bay area, not just in Sacramento. So I don’t with respect of the details of the concerns that you’re raising around what happened specifically in one city last night, all I can say is this I respect and revere people that express their point of view.
Gov. Gavin Newsom: (01:14:31)
What I don’t respect, what I don’t revere, what I condemn is people doing it in a way that puts other people’s lives at risk or destroys other people’s livelihoods and or property. I don’t think that’s constructive. I don’t think it adds to the conversation. I think it gets in the way of a purity of many people’s causes and that’s to bring to light it has been the case in many protests not all, many protests is the issues of racial justice to the fore and American’s consciousness. I applaud that and I respect that, but I don’t respect I don’t know how anyone could someone coming in and destroying someone else’s property, particularly small businesses that are already struggling. And that just has no place and always should be called out and condemned. So that’s broadly my response to your question, not specifically, because I don’t have the benefit of the specific example that you cite.
Gov. Gavin Newsom: (01:15:35)
More broadly though let me just express my appreciation to everybody that put together this presentation here today. Rather, put together this new process that we have unveiled today. These four tiers, four colors, the 21 day buffers between moving into respective tiers a much more simpler, much more specific criteria for moving into tiers, case rates and positivity rates. Thank to all of the County, our local health officers that work with us to business community that worked with us. I recognize in closing that when you put out something that’s detailed and that was obviously represented by that one individual that commented about the specific sectors within a specific County, with the details that are present on this COVID-19. ca.gov website, that people will have opinions. And I want everyone to know we value those opinions and we are not, as I say, often, ideologues, open argument, interested in evidence led by data, led by science, but more important than anything else led by core fundamental principle.
Gov. Gavin Newsom: (01:16:49)
And that is to keep you healthy and keep you safe and to do everything in our power to reopen this economy. And that foundationally will not be advanced until we mitigate the spread of this disease. There is nothing more potent and powerful and impactful to reopening the economy in the state of California, than ending the spread of COVID-19. And so let’s continue the thrust of focus. Get these schools reopened, get our businesses reopened, particularly our small businesses by doing everything in our power to mitigate the spread of this disease. And that must be and continue to be our top priority here in the state. So as you move into the weekend continue to do all you’ve done to practice the physical distancing wear a mask and be safe yourselves, take care of everybody we’ll be back next week.