Aug 3, 2020
California Governor Gavin Newsom August 3 Press Conference Transcript
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Governor Gavin Newsom: (06:54)
No. That’s not on. Good afternoon. A couple of months back, in fact on June 1st, we announced with some urgency our concerns about what was happening in Imperial County, California. The county had experienced a significant rise in number of transmissions related to COVID-19. Concern was made more paramount as it relates to the overwhelming situation for the hospital system, not only in the ICUs, but the ability to provide for emergency care more broadly, diversion rates for ambulances, health care personnel questions, a lot of stress that was placed because of this pandemic on the county. On June 1st, we committed to a new process, a new protocol to help support the county in their efforts. Began the process of decompressing their hospital system. Over 650 patients were moved out of Imperial County hospitals into surrounding and neighboring communities. And, in some instances, we even brought patients here into Northern California.
Governor Gavin Newsom: (08:33)
We approached our strategy in the county more as a strike team, more as a unified command approach, something you would see more traditionally as it relates to how we organize and construct our approach to dealing with other emergencies like wildfires and the like. That process took shape, again, in the beginning of June, at a time when we had transmission rates, positivity rates, North of 30% in Imperial County. In fact, it peaked at 30.3%.
Governor Gavin Newsom: (09:09)
You could see on this graph the number of cases reflected in Imperial County in the blue line substantially outpacing the number of cases in the rest of the state. This graph certainly presents itself as a spike in cases in Imperial County. That required a new approach, new strategies, and new accountability structures. And that’s exactly what took place. The model now, as we’re referring to it, the Imperial Model was all about providing supports, building capacity at the local level, filling in gaps, meeting needs both on personal protective gear, not just personnel, meeting the needs of the hospital system, providing additional supports, new strategies, and prevention from PSA campaigns, culturally competent messages that were delivered to individuals as well as businesses and, more broadly, the community at large.
Governor Gavin Newsom: (10:07)
In addition to sectoral closures that we made abundantly clear, as it relates to moving forward to address the concerns that were flaring up in certain sectors of the economy in the Valley. You can see on this slide the number of cases as they began to spike. We began to intervene. You can see the medical personnel that we began to send in around June 3rd, where we worked with, not only state, and county, and local officials, but broadened that support by getting a lot of federal supports as well from a number of federal agencies.
Governor Gavin Newsom: (10:47)
You can see, after those interventions were put into place, again, beginning with the decompressing of the hospital system as a foundational principle, more targeted supports, and some additional sectoral changes as it relates to returning to a stay at home order, you could see that line spiked and substantially began its decline. 30.3%, yesterday’s positivity rate. Still high, but at 11.2%. A successful approach, one that requires constant vigilance, one that we’re continuing to engage in, but one that long windedly is now become a model in terms of our approach, the Imperial approach in other parts of the state.
Governor Gavin Newsom: (11:36)
Last week, where we last joined each other, I began the process of announcing strategies in the Central Valley, in eight counties in the Central Valley, for the obvious reason that you could see exampled here on this chart. We’re starting to see, not only an increase in the positivity rates. I mentioned last week where I made some announcements about our interventions in Central Valley, that we saw positivity rates on the lower end in Fresno, at the time at 10.7%, and peaking around Tulare at a 17.7% rate. Not where we were in Imperial, but we don’t want to see it go to where Imperial went. And that’s why we felt it was appropriate to intervene using the information, using the experience, the best practice, the data collection, the approach in Imperial and beginning that approach in the Central Valley.
Governor Gavin Newsom: (12:32)
Why the Central Valley? Well, again, this slide underscores the concerns. You’re starting to see the hospitalization and ICU rates increase, not just positivity rates in the Valley, outpacing the rest of California. And, if you asked me today what our biggest area of concern in a state as large as ours, it is indeed the Central Valley. We’re seeing stabilization in other parts of the state. You’ll see some declines in a moment, when I make presentation, including some stabilization and some modest declines in Southern California. The Central Valley, again, reinforced by this slide, reinforced by our presentation in Stockton last week, in our announcement last week is indeed the area of our most important targeted interventions.
Governor Gavin Newsom: (13:24)
We are, again, doing everything we can to fill in local gaps and working with counties to assess their current dashboard, as it relates to data collection, identifying whatever gaps may exist or persist in their respective communities. But more importantly than anything else, identifying partners, not just partners from governmental agencies, again, federal agencies, five out of the eight Department of Defense medical teams are deployed now in the Central Valley, again federal partnerships, but also developing private partnerships. Critical to develop partnerships with employers. Critical to develop partnerships with nongovernmental organizations, nonprofits, NGOs, to again, build capacity and build our collective response with a unified command approach to addressing the concerns in the Valley.
Governor Gavin Newsom: (14:19)
And so, that’s exactly what we highlighted last week. We built that partnership to include 52 million dollars of new resources for disease investigation, for contact tracing, and for our isolation and quarantine efforts. In addition to that, we have been able to… and I want to thank the Sierra Health Foundation in particular. They have been able to organize a collective effort, 6.5 million of additional dollars, resources that philanthropy has brought to the table, to supplement, or increase rather, the 52 million dollar contribution that we announced last week. And this is for rent, supplies, really helping individuals with utility bills, and the like. And focusing-
Governor Gavin Newsom: (15:03)
… individuals utility bills and the like, and focusing on the most vulnerable and the most vulnerable families. And remember, this is, and Dr. Galley has made this abundantly clear in a number of his presentations, we’ve made it abundantly clear over the course of the last number of months as well. Disproportionately, this disease is impacting our diverse communities. Disproportionately impacting the Latino community, disproportionately impacting the community in the Central Valley. And so when we talk about the Central Valley, I hope we can really paint a picture in terms of our consciousness of how impactful this has been on the Latinx community. And that’s why our targeted interventions disproportionately are focusing on essential workforce, on farm workers, on critical workforce and hospitality, retail sector, and the like that is being impacted by this disease.
Governor Gavin Newsom: (15:57)
And so I wanted to begin today as we left off last week, reinforcing the merits of the approach we took in Imperial County, recognizing again, good enough never is, recognizing as I do, as we do, that the effort is ongoing. There’s a constancy to our focus. There’s not just a passing interest in these efforts. They’re not episodic. There’s a full blown commitment to follow through, to bend this curve, to suppress the growth and ultimately extinguish this virus, which is indeed our long term goal, or at least mitigate its impacts through therapeutics and vaccination. As it relates to the efforts statewide to do the same, I want to give you some good news. And that is, our number of positive cases yesterday was 5,739. That is a one day number. And again, I’ve made this point abundant over the past and that is, I don’t look to one day numbers.
Governor Gavin Newsom: (17:01)
They go up, they go down, there’s some weekend reporting often that is example, on Mondays. That’s why the seven day average becomes even more important. And that seven day average you’ll see, it’s 7,764. That seven day average by the way is down roughly 21.2% from the previous seven day average. That’s good news. 21.2% decline. The last time you saw a slide like this, the numbers was North of 9,800 daily average cases, 9,859 to be exact. So from 9,859 cases, seven day average from a week ago, now down 7,764, 21.2% decline from our previous reporting period. Again, that’s case numbers. And I caution folks, look, I’ve said this in the past, others have said this, some for different purposes than the purpose which we reinforce this. As we increase our tests, you’re going to see an increase in case numbers. I caution people not to focus as much on that, but to look at positivity rates and look at hospital rates and ICU rates in the state of California.
Governor Gavin Newsom: (18:21)
They’ve become more profoundly significant from the perspective of mortality, from the perspective of our healthcare, delivery system and our capacity. We want to test as many people as we can, but the purpose of the test is not just to show a number, it’s an effort to have a sense of where the community is spread is, how we can mitigate that spread, how we can help support our contact tracers, isolate, quarantine people, and ultimately mitigate the impact to our hospital system and into our ICUs. And so that’s why the positivity rate, this number, you’ve watched these presentations, you’re very familiar with this slide. This positivity rate is so important. Here is extending on the narrative of some early good signs, 21.2% decline in the seven day average total number of positive cases. But the positivity rate is also seeing a decline as we’ve increased our daily average tests.
Governor Gavin Newsom: (19:21)
And you can see the number 126,000, almost 127,000 daily average test. About 140, just shy of 149,000 tests yesterday. A little bit more than that the day prior. We actually reached 177,000 tests a few days ago. But our average daily tests continue to go up. The good news is the total number of people testing positive is now going down. We have gone down to 7%. This reflected in this slide over a 14 day period shows that 7.5% number that we presented to you on multiple occasions, now again, tracking down to 7%. This is the 14 day number. I often provide you the seven day positivity rate. The last time I was with you, we made a presentation formally with you where I shared slides, which was on the 24th of July, not the presentation in Stockton last week. The seven day positivity rate was 7.8%. Got to about 8% at its peak. The seven day positivity rate is lower now than the 14 days. It’s down to 6.1%.
Governor Gavin Newsom: (20:39)
So 14 day positivity rate reflected in the slide, 7%. The seven day positivity rate now down to 6.1%. It’s not where it needs to be and is still too high. But again, it is good to see this number trending down, not trending up. Not surprisingly, as we see positivity rate begin to trend down, increased number of people being tested, percentage of people being tested relative to the numbers. Being tested, lower. We are now not surprisingly seeing hospitalizations go down modestly. 10% decrease in the total number of positive cases in our hospitals over a 14 day period, 10% decrease. The last time I shared slides with you, we had seen a 9% increase. Remember, it was much as 50% a few weeks back over a 14 day period. So 50%, 50% growth. Now we’re seeing 10% decline. Last slide set, we shared with you over a week ago, showed a 9% increase. So again, a decline in total hospitalizations, not surprisingly. You’ll see the healthcare system capacity with total number of patients declining. It’s just shy of 9% of our total capacity.
Governor Gavin Newsom: (22:07)
It’s holding relatively steady, not increasing as you’ve seen in some previous slides. Hospitalizations go down, we encourage to see ICU admissions also trending down. Last slide deck, we provided 11% increase in ICU admissions. You’ll see reflected in this slide, 5% decrease in ICU admissions. So again, these are statewide numbers. It does not reflect the reality in the Central Valley, doesn’t necessarily reflect the reality where you are living in a particular county, a particular part of the state, but the overall trend, both again, positivity rates, hospitalizations, now ICU is showing a decrease from where we were over a week ago. Encouraging signs, but one week does not make a kind of trend that gives us confidence to generate headlines. We are looking forward to that and we’ll need to see another few weeks of this kind of data to come in, to feel more confident about where we are as a state.
Governor Gavin Newsom: (23:14)
The good news is we do feel confident in our critical care capacity. The ICU numbers declining. The total number of ICU patients reflected here in this graph to our capacity dropped modestly from 23% to 9% hospitalizations, about 9%. But did not decline, still within a percentage point here, we were able to see modest decline over the last reporting period when we presented the slide deck. 38 counties are now on our monitoring list. You’ll recall 37 counties when we announced that Santa Clara County was added to our list when we were in Stockton last week. Now 38 counties, this includes San Mateo County on low list. 58 counties in the state of California though, again, these 38 counties represent the vast majority of the population in the state. And this county monitoring, this is profoundly important to all of you that live in those counties as it relates to the sectorial guidelines we put out more restrictive in these counties than in other counties, and certainly more restrictive as it relates to reopening our schools.
Governor Gavin Newsom: (24:34)
Goal ultimately is to get off this list for two weeks. And that gives us some confidence based on CDC guidelines, our own experience here in the state of California to consider making modifications. And certainly along the guidelines that we put out, as it relates to our public education system and private school system as well. That 14 day period is foundational in terms of any subsequent modifications to distance learning, which is foundationally required in these 38 counties. I’ll conclude as always to encourage people. If you are living with an individual who’s tested positive for COVID-19, it’s incredibly important because of mixed families, multigenerational families. We’re seeing a lot of spread now in people’s backyards, their front yards as well is in their living rooms. And that’s why we thought important to reinforce, remind people of the importance.
Governor Gavin Newsom: (25:38)
If you are living with someone who’s tested positive or has come into contact with someone who’s tested positive, please stay at home. Don’t share items, do the kind of disinfecting that is foundational in terms of mitigating the spread of this disease. We’ll continue to highlight this area of focus as it continues to be one of the more challenging in vaccine areas in terms of mitigating the spread of the coronavirus. Accordingly, we remind you as always, the most important non-pharmaceutical intervention you can make is wearing these masks, again, doing everything in your power to physically distance yourself from people that are not part of that cohort and your household. Continue to wash your hands more broadly and minimize mixing. I just want to reinforce this. It needs to be reinforced even more. Minimize mixing to the extent possible.
Governor Gavin Newsom: (26:36)
Again, that mixing could occur in your brain backyard, your front yard, but also again, in your living room, when you bring people outside, your immediate household, overextended family members, or just generationally, you are connecting with loved ones and mixing in a way that can increase the likelihood of the spread of the virus. And so that’s the update for the day. I want to just make one final point reference, and it’s an important, and that is total number of deaths in this state has increased over the course of the last few weeks. This, again, for us is a point of obvious concern. And for the family members, each and every life lost is devastating and our heart goes out. Including a young person in Fresno that lost their lives, a teenager. And this is a sober reminder of how deadly this disease is and how it can impact anybody. And while it’s absolutely true, and I don’t want to be an alarmist, it’s absolutely true that number of people that contact this disease that are in their late teens, even early teens, the likelihood of deaths is very, very low.
Governor Gavin Newsom: (27:54)
The reality is we tragically lost a teenager to this virus. And it’s just sober reminder of how powerful and impactful and deadly this disease remains to be and how important it is to do the kind of work we all must do as a society, as a community and as individuals to do what we can to mitigate that spread, to wear those masks, to physically distance, to avoid the kind of mixing large crowds and outside your immediate household as much as you possibly can. 32 additional lives were lost in our last reporting period yesterday. But I want to just caution you, 32 is a lower number than you’ve seen in the past. The average numbers now well North of 100, and with the increase we’ve experienced over the last few weeks, the lagging number, lagging indicator always in term of the deaths, this number is reflected as a lagging indicator, meaning we’re likely to see those numbers remain stubbornly high over the course of the next number of days, potentially next week or so.
Governor Gavin Newsom: (29:06)
We’re going to monitor that closely. We’ll talk openly and honestly as much as we can about it. I don’t want you to be misled into feeling some more confidence about that 32 numbers. Again, look at those seven and 14 day averages, not just one day over another day. 121 lives on average we’ve lost a day as an example, just over the 14 day period as it relates to the deaths associated with COVID-19. So that’s an update on where we are. I again want to remind everybody of the importance of targeting our focus and continuing to build capacity and build partnerships. We continue to do that county by county, health director by health director, and business by business. And I will be remiss. I’ll just close on this. I want to thank the business community. We’ve been out, alcohol beverage control-
Governor Gavin Newsom: (30:03)
-community. We’ve been out, alcohol beverage control and been out in bars and restaurants and thousands of in-person visits. OSHA has been out in tens of thousands of visits. I just want to mark this as a point of consideration and thought. The vast majority of businesses are doing everything in their power, doing their best under these very difficult circumstances, and the vast majority that are not 100% in compliance come into compliance very, very quickly. I want to just acknowledge that and recognize that perfect rarely is on the menu. People are doing their best under extraordinary circumstances both as individuals, as customers, as employers, their employees. It’s exampled in all the outreach that’s been done and the incredible compliance that we’ve seen. We haven’t seen it everywhere, and we are putting out citations. Obviously, this is being advanced at the local level as well, substantially from an enforcement frame, including enforcing on mask mandates as well, local government taking the lead in that space and amplifying some of the efforts that are happening at the state level.
Governor Gavin Newsom: (31:20)
But I do want to acknowledge how the business sector is doing, and under incredible circumstances, how grateful we are to all of you that are represented in that respect and to all of the employees and customers that are doing their best as well under very trying and difficult circumstances. With that, of course, we’re happy to answer any questions.
Katie Orr, KQED.
Katie Orr: (31:48)
Hi, Governor. Thank you for taking my question. As schools get ready to reopen, distance learning at the vast majority of them, there are some districts that are requiring teachers to actually go into their classroom and teach their distance learning from those schools. That has some teachers upset. They cite safety concerns, also childcare issues. What is your take on that? Do you think teachers should be required to go to schools to teach?
Governor Gavin Newsom: (32:13)
No, I think that has to be done. First of all, we give a lot of discretion to local what we call LEAs. These are local education agencies, authorities, local capacity to make those decisions, but based upon bargaining, based upon working with labor and making those decisions in a collaborative frame. I don’t believe anyone should be forced to put their life and health at risk, period, full stop. If people feel their lives are being put at risk and their health is being put at risk, it is incumbent upon us to call that out.
Governor Gavin Newsom: (32:53)
We have been working very closely with organized labor. We are very grateful for their support and guidance of a lot of the information that we put out and the formal guidelines that we’ve put out and the announcement we made a few weeks ago, as it relates to the upcoming school year. It’s been done in the spirit of collaboration and cooperation, and I expect and really demand respectfully that that spirit of collaboration and cooperation manifests at the local level and people not be put into harm’s way as caregivers, as teachers, as support staff from janitors to bus drivers, as secretaries to maintenance workers, as well, obviously, as our children.
Yomara Lopez, Univision Sacramento.
Yomara Lopez: (33:44)
Hello, Governor. Some legislators are presenting different bills at the Capitol right now that have to do with protecting the tenants who haven’t been able to pay rent because of the pandemic. Assembly Member Chiu with coauthor Senator [inaudible 00:33:55] presented a bill that will provide rental and mortgage relief. Are you going to support this bill, or what bills are you going to support to help those who, for a fifth month in a row, won’t be able to pay rent? Thank you.
Governor Gavin Newsom: (34:08)
Yeah, thank you. Thank you for the important question. As you know, the judicial council has an order that currently expires on August 14th. You may be very familiar. Others are certainly familiar with the executive orders that I’ve put out going back many, many months and the support we provide, the clarification, the guidance we put out to encourage local government to make decisions as it relates to evictions and the like themselves.
Governor Gavin Newsom: (34:37)
This is specific to your question. We are actively engaged with legislative leadership, actively engaged on a number of these specific bills, and we are working, have been for a number of weeks, my team and representative staffs in the legislature, to see where we can find common ground to move forward with the kind of acuity and focus and determination that’s required at the moment. We deeply recognize people’s anxiety. We deeply recognize what’s at stake. As a consequence, the spirit of collaboration, I assure you, is alive and well with not only the authors that you referenced, but their respective leadership that demonstrably is committed and focused to this.
Governor Gavin Newsom: (35:26)
So we are engaged, the legislature’s back in session, and we are working in real time. We’re working against that clock, that August 14th clock, as it relates to the judicial council’s decision to put this back in the hands of the legislature and the executive branch. We’ll be up to that task.
Adam Beam, AP.
Adam Beam: (35:49)
Governor, you had said that there would be a process for elementary schools to apply for a waiver so that they can have classroom instruction, even if they are in a county on the state’s monitoring list, but there’s still no process, and some schools that are interested in applying say that time is running out. So when will the details of this waiver process be revealed?
Governor Gavin Newsom: (36:10)
This afternoon, and we’ve been working very closely with many of those same officials that had expressed concern. We have been engaged in a very collaborative process, over the last week in particular. There were some modifications that were made last week based upon the input from many in the educational field, not just our health field as well. So this afternoon.
Jim Rupe, Westwood One News.
Jim Rupe: (36:40)
Thank you very much. Good afternoon, Governor. A question for Dr. Ghaly, too. But first of all, for you, we hear that contact tracing is very, very important in helping to slow or stop the spread, but yet we don’t hear much about contact tracing here in the States. So could you update us on what is happening with that process of contact tracing?
Then, for Dr. Ghaly, if he could clear up when people need to get tested if they believe they might have been exposed. If you are in a gathering or you find yourself you may have been exposed on Sunday because there were people that were around you, wouldn’t Monday’s test show that you’re positive? When are you actually infected that a test would show whether you’re positive or negative accurately? We’ve been hearing also about vitamin D to boost the immune system. That’s resurfacing again. So if we can clear up if that means anything, I’d appreciate that. Thank you.
Governor Gavin Newsom: (37:34)
No, I appreciate the questions. Dr. Ghaly will be up here in just a moment. Let me just say a number of things, and we’ve made number of presentations over the course of the last number of months as it relates to our partnership with UCSF, our partnership with UCLA to train a cohort of contact tracers. We announced a few weeks back that we have trained over 10,000, meeting our Phase 1 goals of contact tracers.
Governor Gavin Newsom: (38:01)
We made additional modifications to our approach and the protocols relating to contact tracing based upon the increase in the total number of positive cases statewide that required a modification of some of our original strategies related to contact tracing, including, by the way, making available contact tracers. This is fundamental in terms of keeping our children and teachers safe in the upcoming school years when we do reopen for in-person learning, which is foundational and is ultimately our goal and our commitment, if we can mitigate the spread and see a decline in the spread of this disease.
Governor Gavin Newsom: (38:43)
But to make available to the school districts, in partnership with local health officials, these same contact tracers, we have a new database system. We’ve been very fortunate to have the opting-in of the vast majority of counties into the statewide database system. It’s a system that is also being utilized and deployed in some other states, including Massachusetts, and that provides the ability in real time to share information in this space.
Governor Gavin Newsom: (39:11)
With that, let me ask Dr. Ghaly to provide you a little bit more information about the contact tracing, talk a little bit about vitamin D, and talk about when indeed someone who may have been exposed, what is that gestation period for determining if indeed they have tested positive or indeed are a carrier, even asymptomatic carrier, of COVID-19. Dr. Ghaly.
Dr. Ghaly: (39:42)
Thank you, Governor. So with contact tracing, as we’ve talked about over the last couple of weeks, as we build up our contact tracing workforce across the state, really building upon what our counties had in place pre-COVID and really building upon their own efforts to increase their contact tracing workforce, coupled with that important disease investigation part, where people with trained skills in public health and epidemiology try to understand where the case originated from, not just identifying those close contacts so that we can make sure people who need testing, who need to quarantine or isolate do so in a safe, supported way for the appropriate amount of time.
Dr. Ghaly: (40:30)
So we continue to build up that workforce in anticipation that as we continue to do the things we know reduce our case counts, we build up that workforce so that we match them and we can begin to identify all new cases and support those so that they don’t become big outbreaks as we try to reduce transmission.
Dr. Ghaly: (40:51)
Your excellent question about when somebody should be tested, about three weeks ago, we unveiled a new testing prioritization criteria, not just who should be tested, but which labs should be run first. We’ve been experiencing increased turnaround times for our labs in California as a result of widespread testing across the nation. Those big national labs, we’re seeing their turnaround times go up pretty high. So we wanted to make sure that we had the sickest people, the people with the most clear and obvious COVID symptoms get their tests run first.
Dr. Ghaly: (41:29)
So the first thing to say is if you are at all symptomatic with COVID-19-like symptoms, we encourage you to get tested immediately. Reach out to a provider, if you have one. Go to the covid19.ca.gov website. Go to our testing page and sign up for a test there. We think that should happen immediately. If you are a close contact, that means somebody who spent 15 or more minutes six or so feet closer to somebody who’s known COVID-positive, let’s say in an indoor gathering where you’re not, unfortunately, using a mask, we know that the masks protect quite a bit in reducing transmission. If you’re experiencing symptoms, you should go immediately and get tested. If you’re not and you’re a close contact, waiting about two days roughly after that contact I think is probably the best time to go get tested.
Dr. Ghaly: (42:20)
But what we always say is a test, a negative test today tells you that you were negative at this moment. It doesn’t mean that you aren’t going to be positive the next day or even the next hour. So we encourage you if you’re a close contact to somebody who’s positive and you’ve been exposed that you do what we’ve recommended in terms of quarantining, self-quarantining for that period of 14 days. It’s very absolutely important.
Dr. Ghaly: (42:48)
As it relates to vitamin D and other things to enhance your immune system, as a physician, we always want people to practice good, healthy behaviors. Make sure that you get your rest, that you eat well, that if your doctor or somebody has recommended vitamins, that you take those in order that we make sure that everyone is as well-positioned and suited to fight off not just COVID-19, but anything else that might be mixing around the community.
Dr. Ghaly: (43:16)
This is especially an important message, and yes, it’s not too early to start talking about flu. I know a number of our healthcare partners across the state are thinking about the upcoming flu season as we prepare to have flu vaccines made available in a number of a number of our clinics and our workplaces. As we think about COVID-19 on the one hand and flu on the other, we’re really trying to make sure that everybody is as healthy as they can be to be able to fend off either one of these important infectious diseases.
Governor Gavin Newsom: (43:50)
Thank you, Dr. Ghaly. Next question.
David Baker, Bloomberg News.
David Baker: (43:56)
Yes, Governor, I wanted to ask, now that we are seeing some progress in the positivity rates and the hospitalizations, what do you think is making the difference here? Is it enforcement actions at the local and the state level, as you were talking about? Is it people taking mask mandates more seriously or the advice not to gather more seriously? What is helping us out here?
Governor Gavin Newsom: (44:20)
Yeah, I think you answered your own question, and I say that with deep respect, because I think it’s a good question, an important question. I think it is all of the above and growing recognition in a state where we flattened the curve, we never experienced the spikes other parts of the country experienced, in our own capacity to manifest, meaning our own individual capacity to make better decisions, to physically distance, to wash our hands, to avoid mixing, as well as the modifications. Let’s be candid, these sectoral modifications that have been very, very difficult and very trying for small businesses in particular that have just beared a huge brunt of the-
Governor Gavin Newsom: (45:03)
… That have just beared a huge brunt of the impact. All of these things in total have made the impact, at least as it relates to what we’re experiencing recently. That said, these are just a few days, five out of six days. We’ve seen a decline in ICUs. We’ve seen some stabilization in most parts of the state, though not in every part of the state, Central Valley being the obvious area of concern and hospitalizations is encouraging. At the same time, we can quickly find ourselves back to where we were just a few weeks ago, a month ago, with significant increases if we do not maintain our vigilance, if we do not maintain our focus and our commitment.
Governor Gavin Newsom: (45:48)
Again, this virus is not going away. It’s not just going to take Labor Day weekend off. It’s not going to take Halloween off or the holidays off until we have quality of therapeutics, until we have a vaccine, we are going to be living with this virus. And I think if there’s any lesson that we’ve learned from the California experience, while it is true the positivity rates in this state have never manifested as they have in other parts of this country, the reality is our first effort, we made tremendous progress because 40 million strong really met that moment and did everything in their power to mitigate the growth and spread of this virus.
Governor Gavin Newsom: (46:35)
As we began to modify our stay at home orders, people began to mix, as people began to put down, well, some cases put down their mask, literally not just figuratively. We started to see that case rate grow. We started to see the background rates begin to grow, the community spread begin to grow. And so we had to tighten that back up. So let us not make that, well, let’s not relive that experience again, as we work again, our way through the first wave of this pandemic. We anticipate the second wave in the fall. And that second wave also challenged by what Dr. Ghaly just said, as it relates to flu season on top of COVID-19 likely having a resurgence in that second wave around the same time and the impact that can have, and the stress that can have on our system. And so all of this is just a reminder of the vigilance that is required at the moment.
Speaker 1: (47:37)
[inaudible 00:47:42], SF Chronicle.
Speaker 2: (47:42)
Thank you, Governor. Several states from Hawaii to New York, states with lower case rates have implemented orders to require visitors to quarantine for two weeks. Why has California not done that? Can the state really get a handle on this and keep it if you’re not quarantining people that are coming in from hotspots?
Governor Gavin Newsom: (48:01)
Well, I think the numbers we presented today prove that we can get a handle on it. The numbers that we experienced, the ability over the course of the pandemic, going back many, many months. We never did a statewide moratorium on people coming into the state, and yet we were able to mitigate the growth of the spread early on. And you’re now seeing this modest decline that we’ve exampled here today. So to the extent, and again, I’ve been very honest about this, open about it in previous questions, and I appreciate yours. We will consider that if we feel it’s necessary, critical and important, but at the moment, based upon the progress we have made, we feel we can’t get our arms around this in a judicious way.
Governor Gavin Newsom: (48:48)
Again, the key is when you do come in to the state, that you abide by all the rules and regulations that our health officers have put forth, the rules and regulations that many of you are very familiar with. And that is incumbent upon all of us to exercise that kind of vigilance and promote an educational environment. And that’s what you’re seeing with our PSA campaign, increased efforts around raising awareness. So everybody is made more familiar with the rules and regulations and practices accordingly.
Speaker 1: (49:24)
Roz Plater, NBC Bay Area.
Roz Plater: (49:28)
Yes, thank you. Governor, what do you tell the businesses that have said to us they feel like they’re in a bad ping pong match. Santa Clara County, for example, they opened up and two days later, they shut down. San Mateo County, they opened up, two weeks later they had to shut back down. They hire people, they got to lay people off. They’re not certain, some of them, that they can survive. What do you say to those people, and is there any kind of help available to them?
Governor Gavin Newsom: (49:52)
Yeah, well we’ve provided an account we have in the State of California, we put up tens of millions of dollars for small businesses that otherwise would fall through the cracks on the PPP program, as well as SBA programs that many small businesses avail themselves to, many others are simply unable to access those resources. And the state through our IBank has created a micro loan program that we want to not only socialize and make more visible, but make available for those that are working through this incredibly challenging time.
Governor Gavin Newsom: (50:31)
And you’re absolutely right. Look, I know a thing or two about small business. It’s been a point of pride, point of privilege in my life, to have started many, many small businesses. I deeply, and I can assure you deeply, appreciate the stress that many of these small business men and women are going through. Families that are literally on the line and the impact it’s having in terms of their dreams and their future and their health.
Governor Gavin Newsom: (50:56)
And I can only express deep empathy as well as gratitude and a resolve for all of us to do what we can to mitigate the spread of this disease. The sooner we do that, we can get our kids back to school. The sooner we do that, we can get back to some semblance of modified normalcy as it relates to being able to open up our businesses with some expectation that they can remain open, so they don’t have to go through this whipsaw back and forth, back and forth. And so deep respect, deep empathy.
Governor Gavin Newsom: (51:29)
And let me just in terms of being a little bit more prescriptive, offer this COVID-19.ca.gov. COVID-19.ca.gov is our resource site. And if you are one of those business representatives that has just been exampled, please go to that site, avail yourself to the resources on that site, learn about what we are making available in our state through our IBank, what GO-Biz, which is our business wing of our state, GO-Biz, what they avail in terms of supports to help mitigate your stress and anxiety. There are all kinds, there’s a suite of resources beyond just the direct business loans that the state has. There’s also a lot of local resources on top of that, clearly, in addition to the federal resources. We’re trying to supplement that through philanthropy. And so we want to make sure that you at least take a look at that site, try to get in touch with some of our key personnel, and we can see what we can do to address your unique, because every business is unique, unique circumstance.
Speaker 1: (52:40)
Jeremy White, Politico.
Jeremy White: (52:43)
Hi Governor, as I’m sure you’ve seen, various interest groups, labor, healthcare and environmental groups are pushing for a tax on the highest earners, the California Teachers’ Association among them saying they need more revenue to be able to get back to school safely. I am curious to know if you would be willing to entertain an increase in taxes on California’s top earners, including potentially in a special session.
Governor Gavin Newsom: (53:08)
Yeah. Right now, as I’ve said around special sessions, if it’s necessary to have a special session, you referenced a special session in terms of revenue. There’s been other requests of consideration for special session related to health and other needs. We’ll consider a special session for a suite of considerations if that becomes necessary. As it relates to the broader issue, there are many different proposals. Many that may be coming to my desk, many that are being negotiated in the legislature. Many that may end up on the ballot.
Governor Gavin Newsom: (53:41)
As Jeremy, you become familiar with me and perhaps every recent governor, I don’t want to necessarily opine on the process in the legislature with hundreds of bills still pending consideration, reconsideration, and are currently being debated, discussed and negotiated, not only among the two houses, but also with the administration. I don’t want to get into those details. But as it relates to revenue, we’ll have ample opportunity this November to consider a number of things that likely will end up on the November ballot, in addition to a number of legislative proposals, not least of which the one that you just referenced.
Speaker 1: (54:25)
Final question. Elex Michaelson, FOX 11.
Elex Michaelson: (54:30)
Thank you Governor. I’m wondering, in terms of congratulations on the progress that you announced. I know you said we’ve got a long ways to go, but is there a specific measurable that you’re looking at to achieve in order to maybe get rid of some of the restrictions we’ve seen? And more broadly, bigger picture question, California’s been dealing with this in a vacuum, I’m wondering what are the key lessons you’ve learned from governors of other states that have done this well, and other states that maybe haven’t done it as well?
Governor Gavin Newsom: (54:58)
We’re constantly engaged. And we’re really blessed to have a very robust National Governors’ Association and bipartisanship that has been manifest. Governor Hogan, the current chair, soon to be the ex-chair, a new chair will be coming in this month, a Republican governor from Maryland, who’s just been an outstanding partner to governors all across the state, making that organization available, sharing best practices in real time, providing resources to really drill down on the merit of your question. Looking at procurement strategies, looking at testing protocols, looking at contact tracing and the like. And so across the spectrum, we’ve been able to resource one another, pick the brains of our respective colleagues, as well as connect as we have more formally, as you recall with our Western States approach, where they have the ability now in real time, we have the ability in real time through that partnership to engage.
Governor Gavin Newsom: (56:05)
Our chiefs of staff have consistent, I think it’s a weekly now, calls, where they’re comparing and contrasting best practices, discussing things that they’re considering, their respective governors and administrations are considering in terms of announcements or approaches and really getting feedback in real time. It’s turned out to be an extraordinarily robust partnership and turned out partnership is working in ways that perhaps people did not anticipate in the beginning. And so it’s just an example to give you a sense of the kind of work that we’re doing in the spirit of collaboration and sharing of best practices. And practices, frankly, that all of us want to push to the dustbin.
Governor Gavin Newsom: (56:48)
That said, the broader issue around what we’re looking for is a consistent decline or consistent stabilization. Now, I caution, we had consistent stabilization in our ICUs, in hospitalizations and positivity rates in the state early on in this pandemic. And so it’s not just stabilizations we’re looking for, is we want to see some marked decline stabilization and a commensurate effort, which is critical of education about any modification, subsequent modifications, to our guidance and stay at home orders and sectoral strategies.
Governor Gavin Newsom: (57:31)
What I think is the most important thing that I’ve reflected on the last number of months, I’ve made this comment in the past, is that when we began to modify our state home orders, we were focused, as understandably we needed to be, with industry and employers. And we needed to be equally focused in educating the public about what these modifications were and were not. And so a big and focused education campaign around mitigating the spread of this virus and transmission of this virus after we’ve seen a decline, stabilization is foundational in terms of any subsequent efforts to reopen.
Governor Gavin Newsom: (58:17)
And so that’s, we’re looking forward to, and based on this last week, we believe we will once again experience that stabilization, as long as people continue to practice the physical distancing that they’re so familiar with. Wear a mask, do what you can on sanitation, avoid, or at least minimize as much mixing as you possibly can.
Governor Gavin Newsom: (58:40)
I appreciate everybody’s good work. I thank them for the well, everything we presented here today is because of you and your commitment, your resolve, and your hard work. And so I just want to extend appreciation for your patience, your perseverance and your faith and devotion to this cause of mitigating this disease, ending this pandemic here in the state. Look forward to catching back up, sharing some updated information in the next day or two. Thank you everybody.