Apr 10, 2020
California Governor Gavin Newsom Briefing Transcript April 10
Gavin Newsom’s coronavirus press briefing today, in which he claimed that California’s peak for COVID-19 may be lower than expected and hinted at a path to “some semblance of normalcy.” Read the full transcript here.
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Gavin Newsom: (00:00)
And 1,145 in our ICU is, let me just pause the ICU number. I see a number at 1,145 represents a 1.1% increase from yesterday. Remember yesterday’s decrease, 1.9%. This is a modest increase of 1.1%, and I said one data point doesn’t make a trend line, certainly not a headline. Again, I caution people, even two data points don’t, either. But when we are in single digits, low single digits, that’s a very good day. Though again, for those that are in the ICU, our hearts go out to you. Let me also express in terms of my heartfelt appreciation of those that are looking forward to spending more time with their family this Easter weekend. Good Friday, today, I just want to express my appreciation for everybody that has different plans than they’ve had perhaps their entire life, on how one really reflects on a day like today, a weekend like we’re going to have this weekend.
Gavin Newsom: (01:06)
Let us continue to stay the course. As I said, these numbers that dr Ghaly laid out in terms of the modeling, that’s a very optimistic model as it relates to the current trend lines. I say this all the time, it’s a mantra, and forgive me, I’ll repeat it. Not only does the past not equal the future, but we also have to recognize that we are not just along for the ride, as it relates to experiencing the future. The future happens inside of us. It’s decisions, not conditions that will determine the fate and future of this modeling. It’s your individual decisions. And I know we all have temptation. I get it, I’ve got four kids. It’s Easter, and outside I think Christmas, this is their favorite weekend of the year. It is also one of the most anxiety inducing as a parent, because like Halloween, there’s some side effects to the kind of things that we provide make available on Easter Sunday to our children.
Gavin Newsom: (02:11)
That said, I know all of us are developing some anxiety and cabin fever and want to get out. The weather is improving throughout the state of California. Let’s continue to hold the line, and let’s just do this together. Give us a few more weeks to see where these trend lines go, and then we’ll be talking a lot more. And I imagine there may be a question or two, I just want to caution you before you ask the question, “Well, what does this mean in terms of when we can go back to some semblance of normalcy?” We have detailed strategies that we’re working on, that we’re very close to making public, so know that we are as deeply eager to provide you that information as you are to receive that information about how we can go back to the way things used to be, with the kind of heightened vigilance that is required of this moment before there is a vaccine and the kind of herd immunity that puts COVID 19 into the record, or rather, history books.
Gavin Newsom: (03:12)
But nonetheless, that will be fundamentally determined on the basis of your individual behavior. No one can impact this more than you. No one can impact this more than you. I’ll repeat that again, your decision will determine what the state and the federal government do in this respect. And so I cannot impress upon you more to continue to do the incredible work that you’ve done. Practice physical distancing, wear appropriate face coverings when you cannot… When you’re out there for essential work or essential grocery shopping or medical supply shopping. And really protect yourself and protect your loved ones this weekend by not going back into environments where you’re mixing with people, and you can’t practice that appropriate physical distancing.
Gavin Newsom: (03:59)
So with that, of course always happy to answer a few questions.
Speaker 1: (04:04)
Alex Michelson, Fox 11.
Alex Michaelson: (04:08)
Hi, Governor Newsom. You have talked a few days ago about the issue of mental health, and I’m wondering if you can talk to us more about what you’ve heard in terms of feedback since having those hotlines open. And also, what advice you found to be particularly helpful for you, in terms of keeping your own mental health up during this extraordinary crisis.
Gavin Newsom: (04:31)
Thank you for the question, and I’m not just saying that blithely and flippantly. Thank you for the question, because it’s incredibly important while we have the stay at home orders to remind people you’re not alone. That we have resources available to you if you want to talk to someone, just want to hear someone else’s voice. We have the resources to do that. We have a covid19.ca.gov website that lays out those resources in a very culturally competent lens, which I mean nothing more than this, for LGBTQ community, we have a resource guide. For seniors, we have resource guides. For our adolescents, we have resource guides. For our teens, teen crisis line, but nothing more important just to answer pointedly your question.
Gavin Newsom: (05:17)
And asking for help, reaching out and saying, “You know what? Can I just spend a little bit of time talking to you? How are you feeling? Listen to me a little bit. Just have a chance to hear me out.” Compare and contrast again, I said this yesterday, the toughest people I know, the strongest people I know, are people that ask for help. The toughest and strongest people I know, the most successful people I know, focus not just on their physical health, but focus on their brain health. Focus on their mental health. They ask for help. Please reach out, ask for help.
Speaker 1: (05:58)
Angela Hart, Kaiser Health News.
Angela Hart: (06:00)
Thank you, Governor. I wanted to ask you about, given the early progress you just discussed, there’s been a lot of discussion across California about how impactful these early shelter in place orders have been. I wanted to ask you how much credit you give to those early shelter in place orders, and specifically those Bay Area health officers who really took that first action across the country.
Gavin Newsom: (06:28)
Huge credit. They’ve been incredible leaders. I give a lot of credit to Dr. Ghaly and his team that put out some early guidelines. First stay at home order for our seniors, 65 and over, all 5.3 million of them. But the county health directors have been fantastic. Local elected officials have been fantastic. Leadership across the spectrum, across the board.
Speaker 1: (06:52)
John Myers, LA times.
John Myers: (06:55)
Governor, I wanted to ask you about Easter Sunday in particular, because there are reports from a few locations, specifically in the Inland Empire, there have been arguments about allowing Easter services to continue, what kind of social distancing can be done. There was a lawsuit threatened against San Bernardino County. Apparently, San Bernardino County now is offering guidance about drive by or drive through kinds of ceremonies. What is your advice to these local leaders in any part of the state about Easter services? And then also, have you been in contact with any local leaders about this, as these issues and these challenges have come up?
Gavin Newsom: (07:36)
Yeah, I mean, practice, physical distancing. It applies to everyone across the spectrum, applies to faith communities, applies to you, me, everybody. So as I said the other day, as you pray, move your feet at least six feet apart from someone else. I think it was John Kennedy has said in his inaugural, God’s work on earth is truly our own…
Gavin Newsom: (08:02)
Faith and works. So practice your faith, but do so in a way that allows you to keep yourself healthy, keep others healthy, and does justice to the teachings of Christ, God and others. And so we maintain that very strongly as our guidance and direction. And forgive me, the cautionary tale, there’s many of them all across the United States, not least of which just nearby where I’m speaking, where members of one church, tragically disproportionate number came down with the virus because they were continuing to practice their faith in a way that did not serve God or each other, and put the entire community at risk.
Speaker 2: (08:53)
Becca Habegger, ABC 10.
Becca Habbeger: (08:58)
Hi. With the number of unemployment rate going up and people applying for unemployment, how is EDD dealing with the huge spike in incoming phone calls? Is there going to be more people on the phone lines to work them? Can EDD open up their phone lines longer than you? What are you suggesting for them to deal with this growing number of people trying to call their phone line to get the money they need to survive during their unemployment period.
Gavin Newsom: (09:26)
Our top priority has been on processing these claims. And it’s a remarkable thing I can still say this. But I caution, I say this and a week later we see a backup. But we’re still within that prescribed period of time that we had before this crisis to get checks out, and that’s within 21 days. They still report in today. Julie Sue said it again. We still believe we can cut those checks within that traditional timeline despite this unprecedented surge of requests and applications, and that’s because she has reprioritized over 550 staff just to focus on that.
Gavin Newsom: (10:07)
We have hundreds more staff that are also now being reprioritized, to answer the second part of your question, and that is to expand the hours of our call center. Since 2013 our call center at EDD has gone from 8:00 AM to just noon. We’re now expanding those hours. I have directed her to do at least till 5:00, 8:00 to 5:00, but we believe we have the capacity to go even further. Until further notice, we at least have the new expanded hours happening very shortly. Hundreds of additional personnel are being redeployed to make that happen.
Gavin Newsom: (10:48)
Also, want to remind you and others, there’s been a lot of questions about this. The $600 federal checks, that four months of additional support from federal government on unemployment insurance, we are able to distribute those checks starting on Easter Sunday. So those first checks will start going out in addition to what you’re entitled to under California’s unemployment claims.
Gavin Newsom: (11:13)
And I’ll remind people that those claims, depending on your income, are as low as $40, as high as $450 a week plus the capacity to earn an additional, or at least receive an additional $600 because of that last stimulus in the federal government. And that’s just for four months and obviously we’re going to need to work more to see with the Congress, with the President, to see if we could get that extended beyond the next four months.
Speaker 2: (11:41)
Ashley Zavala, KRON4.
Ashley Zavala: (11:44)
Hey governor, I imagine being at the State Operation Center this is in the back of your mind always because you’re typically there for a natural disaster or the power shutoffs recently in the fall. I’m just curious what the state’s plan is, as is with other COVID-19 conditions with hospitals, in the event that a natural disaster does happen, or if we’re in a weather situation that would require a power shutoff. And I know the weather’s been favorable across the state for that, but just seeing what the plan would be there.
Gavin Newsom: (12:11)
Well, look, we have the best and the brightest. That’s not my assessment, I think by any objective measure. There is no organizational structure more effective and efficient than the one Mark Gilladucci has put together at the Office of Mercy Services. These guys have been at the issue of mutual aid at scale, unlike any other state in America, unlike perhaps just a few other nations. The fires in 2015 and ’18, ’19, and obviously the complications related to PSPS and these power shutoffs just last year, the hand-in-glove approach to supporting local first responders and then having the support of other states and their first responders.
Gavin Newsom: (12:55)
So all that planning continues. That’s part of our daily brief and update not just on COVID-19 but all of those plans. I mentioned yesterday, may not have been picked up by many individuals, that we have National Guard men and women focusing now on vegetation management and forest management in anticipation of this fire season.
Gavin Newsom: (13:18)
So we are deeply, trust me, I’m very focused on the upcoming fire season. So is our entire team. And as you know the last few years we’ve been able to significantly increase the total amount of assets, not just the human assets as it relates to firefighting capacity, but new suppression technologies. And that’s the ability to get new radar and LIDAR support, satellite support from the federal government, additional suppression through the procurement of new technology. These new C130s that are finally starting to come in, these new helicopters that are coming in that ultimately will allow us a nighttime suppression capacity. All those new cameras that we put in place all throughout the state of California.
Gavin Newsom: (14:04)
And remember, forgive me for extending a response to your important question. Remember that all the work we did with PG&E and this bankruptcy was predicated on completely re-imagining a safety first culture. And all of that work was predicated on prescriptive responsibilities that PG&E has to substantially increase their public safety efforts, and do so before June 30th, if indeed they are going to emerge from bankruptcy. All of those things we are monitoring through the Public Utilities Commission. We will hold them to account and we hold ourselves accountable to do what we do every year at this time. And that is to prepare for all hazard response. That includes not just fires, floods, but yes, earthquakes.
Speaker 2: (14:58)
Kathleen Ronayne, AP.
Kathleen Ronayne: (15:02)
Hi Governor, two questions for you. So first of all, Apple and Google today have announced a joint effort to help public health officials contain the virus by using Bluetooth technology so that people can know if they have been in the vicinity of someone that is positive for coronavirus. We’re already using some mobility data that I believe comes from cell phones. Do we have plans to use these new digital contract tracing tools as a means of deciding who can go back to work? And then the second question would be, you talked a little bit today about how our situation is improving in the state, obviously with caveats, but if this trend continues, when does the planning begin for a gradual reopening of things?
Gavin Newsom: (15:53)
Yeah, as I said in my opening comments, I anticipated that question, the latter part of your question. And know that we are putting together detailed plans to architect what that-
Gavin Newsom: (16:03)
looks like, and those will be made public very, very soon. Just know that that work is being done but work continues to need to be done by you, and others to allow that work to be meaningful. Meaning this is all predicated on individual behavior. Continuing to bend that curve, mitigating this peak, and the acuity of a peak, and making sure that we reduce the transmission of the virus. Which goes to the first part of your question. Not only we well aware of the announcement that came today already. We have engaged those companies that we were on the phone just this morning, for example, with Apple specifically on that tracing technology. So, the answer is yes, and we look forward to continuing to build that capacity, and partnership and that is also part of the planning exercise as we see some light, and we see a future where we’re not all permanently in this current state, a stay at home order.
Speaker 3: (17:03)
Elizabeth Aguilera, CalMatters.
Hi governor. I also have a two part question for you. The first one being that nursing homes, which you talked to a lot about today, nursing home leaders have asked the administration to avoid sending recovering COVID patients back to their nursing homes to free up hospital beds. So, can you explain a little bit what your plan is related to what you talked about today to open recovery centers, or designate certain nursing facilities to protect the other residents in those homes who have not tested positive? And then secondly, if there’s any information you have regarding once you have bodies, cadavers, do they carry the virus, and is that changing how bodies are dealt with, or guidance for a funeral homes who are then in charge of working with families?
Gavin Newsom: (17:54)
I pride myself on being briefed on many things, but I’ve had body bag conversation but not cadaver transmission conversations. And that’s why I’m very proud to have my doctor to my left who now will come, and talk to you about that.
Speaker 4: (18:13)
So, it’s a great question, and I think one that we don’t have an answer to yet. We are, obviously, working to make sure that any deceased bodies can be appropriately handled so we don’t have bodies at hospitals longer than we need, or typically, that they can move to morgues, and families can have the appropriate, or typical ceremonies to celebrate, and honor those who have passed away. We know that this is a very important issue. We know that a lot of our mortuaries are asking the same question, and we’re working with our laboratories with our coroners, coroners, excuse me, to determine whether the cadavers carry the or not, but we do not have that information at this time.
Gavin Newsom: (19:05)
Thanks. Maybe that’s why I wasn’t briefed on that. Let me also just make a point that I neglected to make a moment ago. In fact I was anticipating that’s where you’re going, the first part of your question on the decompression strategies related to the skilled nursing facilities or nursing homes. I talked about specifically USNS Mercy, and how that will be part of that decompression strategy. We also have identified seven specific facilities that will also aid in that effort. Again, in addition to the USNS Mercy, and so that’s I hope, a little bit more specific response to the first party question.
Gavin Newsom: (19:43)
I also want you to know that we just sent an additional 200,000 gloves sets, and 200,000 sets of masks to our nursing homes in these hotspot areas to address some of the PPE anxiety that we know is very real as well. Just in addition to the larger cash that we send out there, we recognize still many of these facilities are running short of what they deserve as we again anticipate the arrival of tens of millions of N95 masks, and other surgical masks over the course of the next few weeks from the purchase orders that we have placed based on the announcement we made a couple of days ago.
Speaker 3: (20:26)
Final question, Marissa Perlman, CBS 13.
Hi governor, two questions for you [crosstalk 00:20:33]
Gavin Newsom: (20:34)
You’re all getting smarter. Everybody’s got two questions. I’m onto you guys, but I appreciate it.
Well, with more than two million an unemployment claim. How many people have gotten money so far? And then second we’ve heard about plans for adding patient beds. We’re only aware of about the 400 beds in the Sacramento area that have been added. When it comes to our hospital systems, like UC Davis, Sutter, Dignity, and Kaiser can you say yet, where else the thousands of beds you’ve been talking about will go in this area?
Gavin Newsom: (21:04)
Well, we put out the detailed plans on Porterville, Fairview. We’ll put out the plans and send Carlos, we put out the plans here at the sleep train arena, and the 400 beds specifically there. As you know, I put out detailed plans of where the 2000 beds, and those eight FMS sites are all throughout the state of California, including North of Sacramento, around Butte, and Shasta County, Fresno, Riverside, all throughout the state of California, not just along the coast in the larger urban centers. Again, we specifically identified in addition to those beds and those alternative care facilities. What we’re doing at St. Vincent, and Seton here in Northern California and what we are doing to identify additional surge capacity with our dormitories, the UCs, and CSUs, which include some that have been identified specifically in this region in Northern California, in the Sacramento County area, in addition to all the hotels by the way, 8,858 now hotels also have operating agreements in place that also part of those strategies just giving you an update on the efforts around homeless individuals.
Gavin Newsom: (22:21)
So, all of that is part of the portfolio, but I’m happy to provide you that in more detail, and also provide you the first part of your question, the answer on how many of the 2.5 plus million now, 2.5 plus million unemployment insurance claims that had been done just since March 12th how many checks have been cut? I’ll make sure a member of our team gets back to you on that as well. Let me just continue to remind all of you to practice physical distancing, and you continue to do the extraordinary work you have done. We collectively, as a state to, yes, forgive me, meet this moment.
Gavin Newsom: (22:59)
Let me encourage those of you that in the spirit of Good Friday, and the spirit of this weekend, and Easter that want to contribute a time and energy to our food banks to reach out to our Cal volunteers team to continue to consider whether, or not you are in a position to contribute a little bit of energy, and time beyond and just our food banks to volunteer and to help those in needs to check in on our seniors, and to provide the kind of mental support so that are needed of this moment. We have all those websites up, but none more important than just remembering this one, covid19.ca.gov, take care of everybody, and Happy Easter.