Mar 15, 2020

California Governor Gavin Newsom Coronavirus Press Conference: Announces Closure of Bars Across State

Gavin Newsom Coronavirus Update California
RevBlogTranscriptsPress Conference TranscriptsCalifornia Governor Gavin Newsom Coronavirus Press Conference: Announces Closure of Bars Across State

Governor Newsom held a press conference today announcing the closure of bars and night clubs across the state due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Read the full transcript of his speech here.

Gavin Newsom: (00:07)
So we’ll update you on the latest numbers in the State of California. We will walk through some new announcements and then of course here to catch up, answer any questions that you may have. The current number of people have tested positive in the State of California is 335, that’s a 14% increase from the prior day. Tragically, we now have six individuals that have passed away from COVID-19, the novel Coronavirus. The State of California has conducted some 8,316 tests, that includes our 19 labs of which 2,665 of those tests were done by our labs, but those labs, as I noted a few days ago, had been supplemented by hospitals from Stanford to a number of UC [inaudible 00:01:05] as well as our private lab Quest in San Juan Capistrano. I’ll remind you that Quest currently is operating just one lab in the State of California and conducting roughly 1,200 tests on a daily basis.

Gavin Newsom: (01:18)
That will substantially ramp up in the next week or so with the two additional labs that will come online. We’ll get those tests just from that commercial lab up to 5,000 as much as 5,500 a day. But the total number North of 8,000, and we are increasing our capacity on an hourly basis, not just a daily basis. Accordingly, we have advanced a partnership that was initiated well over a week ago with Verily, the health and life science subsidiary of Alphabet. We advanced that partnership with the idea of bringing to market the capacity for individuals that have developed mild symptoms or are concerned about their status from the perspective of being a vulnerable population, being our seniors or higher risk of contracting the disease to give them the opportunity to go on this portal, to answer specific questions, to be scored in terms of their likelihood to be needed to be tested, and then be allowed and directed the opportunity to be tested at what will be at launch to specific sites, one in Santa Clara County, one in San Mateo County.

Gavin Newsom: (02:45)
That portal, that page that allows people to interface will go align tomorrow and we will then begin to make reservations, and people throughout the course of next week will be in the opportunity to get the mobile testing that so many are discussing and so many have promoted. We expect that those two pilots, one in Santa Clara County, one in San Mateo County will significantly expand other parts of the state. We have a deep eye and consciousness on the Central Valley, other parts of the state. We want to make sure, from not just a density of concern, Santa Clara being one of our top priorities as a county, that’s the answer of why we’re starting there, but more broadly that we look at the issues of social economics and access as a big part of the advancement of the Verily partnership. We hope that this partnership can scale and we believe it will be a national model.

Gavin Newsom: (03:44)
There’s simply no other interface that exists in the United States that allows people a portal that has questions and the capacity to geospatially identify where people are so we can identify the closest areas for mobile testing that we’re aware of in the country. And so we are very encouraged by this partnership, very enthusiastic to finally announce it. I know there’s been some conversations about it in the media, but it is going live this week in the next 48 hours, fully operational in the first two piloted areas in our state. We have the capacity currently through the assets in hand, be it swabs, [inaudible 00:04:32] issue that I will discuss in a moment, the issue of swabs. Not just the issue of reagents, not just the issue of RNA extraction kits that are part of our testing regime, but also the availability of swabs.

Gavin Newsom: (04:44)
But the first troche we have over 9,000 test capacity with the swabs and we will partner with Quest in terms of the diagnostics of those tests. The turnaround is typical at Quest, anywhere from two days, some cases three days, is roughly the estimate. People will be automatically notified based upon that screening criteria and based upon that interface on that portal of their test results. If people have severe symptoms, this is not where we want you to be tested. This is just a test. If you have severe symptoms, you need to engage the medical community directly. So we want to remind people, this is not to substitute that interface, but to supplement our capacity to get people that have some mild concerns and or people that are higher risks to remove them from overburdening our healthcare delivery system, to get them out of that setting and to allow people with the kind of portability that mobile testing provides to get answers quickly.

Gavin Newsom: (05:56)
But again, it’s just a test, and so I just want to remind people of that framework and not promote it for something that it isn’t. So we’re moving into next phase as it relates to testing in the State of California. Broadly, I think in the United States, there’s still some capacity concerns. Not only on the diagnostic side, on the back end with the labs, both private, public, commercial, but as it relates to suppliers and one must be honest about that and forthright about it. But significant increases nonetheless in the testing protocols are being advanced, again, I think quite substantively with this new partnership. As it relates to the purpose of developing these partnerships, the purpose of our testing that is to identify through community surveillance where we are so that we could begin to process how we need to manage the status quo and how we need to anticipate the growth and spread of the virus and look at allocating resources across the state accordingly.

Gavin Newsom: (06:59)
I mentioned this a few days ago. I’ll remind folks, we have about 74,000 hospital beds in the state at 416 different hospitals. We have surge capacity in our state just shy of 9,000 beds, that’s 8,661 beds to be exact, and that is on the basis of current survey that’s very contemporary of the existing hospital system. We have about 11,500 ICU beds in our system, but that’s not just for adults. That also includes pediatric ICUs. It’s just shy of 11,500 when you add the two numbers up. We have new and detailed information about access to ventilators over 7,587. Not over. 7,587 ventilators currently reside in our hospitals and we have procured new ventilators, a few hundred that we were able to purchase, and we also have our own cash both through our MSA and our CDPH sites that include an additional roughly 900 ventilators, in addition to the 7,587 that I referenced.

Gavin Newsom: (08:17)
So I give you those numbers because a lot of people have asked about that information. Those are the most up-to-date and contemporary numbers. I also make that point as a point of consideration and segue to the subsequent announcement, and that is as we manage this disease and the dynamic nature of this moment, we need to anticipate spread but we also need to prioritize our focus. The purpose of today’s announcement is to focus on specifically what we mean by that. Most important thing again is to protect the most vulnerable, protect our seniors. In the State of California, we estimate we 5.3 million Californians that are 65 years or older. Of those 5.3 million 65 years and over, we are prioritizing their safety because of their unique vulnerabilities to this virus. We also are prioritizing those with chronic conditions and prioritizing our homeless, and it’s in those three areas that I want to advance some new considerations for the public, a new direction for the people of the State of California.

Gavin Newsom: (09:27)
We are calling for the home isolation of all seniors in the State of California. We are calling for the home isolation of all of those 65 years and older and those with chronic conditions. We are doing so with our eyes wide open at the magnitude of what that means and the need to provide wraparound services to support our seniors in need of medical supplies and need of meals and the like. The team assembled behind me and the people in this, what we refer to as soccer state operation center, of where we reside at the moment currently have 13 task forces that are working on a panoply of issues from logistics, from things as basic as not just food but water, fuel and basic supplies to more complex issues related to workforce and the like. So we are looking at this from a very holistic perspective and holistic lens.

Gavin Newsom: (10:28)
We recognize that social isolation for millions of Californians is anxiety inducing, but we recognize what all of the science bears out and what we recognize around the rest of the world that we need to meet this moment head on and lean in, not isolate ourselves to this moment, but lean in and own this moment and take actions that we think are commensurate with the need to protect the most vulnerable Californians. Number two, we are directing at all bars, nightclubs, wineries, brewpubs and the like be closed in the State of California. We believe that this is a non essential function in our state, and we believe that is appropriate under the circumstances to move in that direction. As it relates to restaurants, we have more nuanced concerns and considerations. Some have suggested just shutting down all of our restaurants. We don’t believe ultimately that is necessary at this moment.

Gavin Newsom: (11:34)
Consideration nonetheless is to socially distance patrons within these establishment, and as a consequence, we are directing that we reduce the current occupancy within these establishments by half, and we require social distancing within those establishments. We have quite some flexibility in that space and we could talk more about what that may look like, but in broad strokes, that is the current directive and we will in real time absorb the capacity to potentially do more but also try to reflect on the enforcement side of this, which I’m not concerned about because as you had noted with all of our directives, we are seeing a socialization in real time and strong and broad support, not only from public health officials up and down the state, but the private sector that has done a remarkable job meeting this moment. So that’s on the restaurant side. Let me just briefly make this point.

Gavin Newsom: (12:38)
There is a concern around access to food for those that cannot prepare their own food. Not everybody has kind of kitchen you or I may have, not everybody is capable of heating their food. Now we’re talking about home isolation. Not everybody is able now to go out to grocery store to get that food. Some may have limited capacities relates to deliveries, but we want to expand the points of access to get those deliveries. Restaurants by definition provide those points of access. So having an organized construct that allows delivery of hot, prepared and nutritious food within an existing infrastructure we think is appropriate again to this moment with the additional steps on bars, nightclubs, wineries, brew pubs and the like. Number three, in relationship to seniors as our top priority and home isolation, as it relates to bars and new guidelines on restaurants, I referenced the issue of homelessness.

Gavin Newsom: (13:36)
This is a top concern in the State of California in the abstract. We have 108,000 unsheltered homeless individuals in the State of California. We need to meet this moment aggressively, and I can assure you, I mentioned 13 of our task force teams that are residing in this building, they are our teams just working 24/7 on this issue to get people out of encampments and get people into environments where we can address their growing anxiety and our growing concern about the health of some of our most vulnerable Californians out in the streets and sidewalks. We are in real time procuring hotels and motels to convert to appropriate sites. We have just identified as … Just an example, this is not even close to the magnitude of what we are proposing, but it’s just a point of consideration and a proof point to give you a sense of what we’re doing. We have additional 450 trailers that we’ve identified that will be dispersing to critical points across this state.

Gavin Newsom: (14:40)
We’re working to address the needs within the shelters so that again we have appropriate distancing and we are appropriating ourselves as relates to social mixing for those vulnerable communities as well. So that’s another area of deep and disproportionate emphasis that also we are advancing as a directive. As it relates to, again, vulnerable populations, you saw yesterday we put out guidance as it relates to an executive order directing along the lines of what the CDC and others have been recommending. We codified that in the State of California on visitation in our senior facilities, our skilled nursing facilities, our assisted living facilities. We now are tightening those directives to just end of life visitation, and that includes hospitals, not just congregate living facilities in the state. That is also a part of what we’re advancing here today.

Gavin Newsom: (15:38)
So that gives you a sense of some of the current thinking of our healthcare professionals. Again, a number of them behind me. We have our finance team here and others in this building. We are gaming out the financial impacts, not just to the state’s budget, but with disproportionate focus on families and individual budgets. This is a very different challenge, a very different crisis, and we need to meet this moment even different than we did in the 2008, 2009 years. We have to really focus on individual, so looking at our unemployment insurance or disability insurance, looking at how we can compliment what was done at the federal level. We’re also sharpening our focus on what we request of the federal government going forward as we believe the extraordinary work that has been done by Speaker Pelosi and her colleagues, and we hope soon by the United States Senate can be complimented with even more support that we think is necessary to meet this moment.

Gavin Newsom: (16:35)
In more parochial, for some more pedestrian issues related to our work with the California legislature, we’re in real time conversations with the legislature about our current budget and how we’ll process the concerns and anxieties people have about “business as usual” and environment where business cannot be as usual and we’ll be making announcements on that in the next number of days, probably the next number of hours potentially, and certainly tomorrow. On the issue, finally, before I open it up to questions, of schools, I want to say this, current number of schools in the State of California that have already shut down is 51% of all of the districts in the state. That is somewhat misleading number, 51%, because about 80% to 85% of these numbers are dynamic, and we’ll get you the real numbers. But we’re in that range of 80% to 85% of all of our kids are no longer going to school starting tomorrow on the basis of 51% of the districts shutting down, meaning the largest districts in the state.

Gavin Newsom: (17:42)
24 out of 25 of the largest districts in the State of California have already shut down. The one remaining in that group is current high school district which has remained open. Many smaller districts remain open and for reasons that are perfectly understandable. This is something we also want folks to know. On Tuesday, we will be putting out very detailed guidelines for those schools that remained open and continue to remain and are likely to remain open and those that have closed. We are vetting and curating and validating all kinds of private and public sector solutions to address the following and obvious real problems. How you feed people that cannot be fed otherwise because they’re on free or reduced, not just lunch but also free or reduced breakfast. Some districts, 80%, some districts even higher, of their children meet that criteria 60% throughout our entire educational system.

Gavin Newsom: (18:49)
It’s one thing to say you have a plan, it’s another to actually deliver on that plan and with respect, not everybody that closed had that plan. So we are making sure we supplement that, take responsibility to meet that moment. That’s transportation issue, that’s a logistics issue, that’s a siting issue, parks, libraries where we provide those supports. We also work with the private sector, and I must call out a Chef Jose who was there at the Grand Princess and is here in this conversation working with his organization to provide nutritious meal alternatives as well and to help us with the logistics and the distribution of food sites throughout the State of California. But we have particular concern, in addition to that, for special needs children, and this is something personal that I know all of us that have any empathy and capacity, as someone whose mother worked for Aid to Adoption of Special Kids, this is how I grew up with a deep consciousness and mindset for those with physical as well as cognitive disabilities.

Gavin Newsom: (19:53)
Many those children don’t have places to go. We take for granted that so many of these kids are going to be taken care of, when in fact they’re not going to be taken care of to the degree they should be, and so we are paying particular emphasis on those with special needs and making sure we meet this moment in the community childcare more broadly, defined, and we believe in quality childcare, not just access to childcare, what that really looks like. So that’s what this planning process has been about. You may have noted just a few days ago we initiated, right? Put some information out in the initiation of that planning process. On Tuesday, we will lay out in detailed terms what that vetted and curated process and the protocols we want to establish look like from a very bottom up, not top down perspective, meaning districts and rural parts of the state operate very differently as it relates to community assets than some on the coast with large social safety nets.

Gavin Newsom: (21:00)
So we have to meet the needs of all of our diverse communities [inaudible 00:21:04] in a nation state with six plus million children, and I should just note the first six states that announced they were shutting down their education system combined didn’t even have as many children as we do in the State of California. It gives you a sense of the magnitude of the number of children that we are needing to address, that again puts a real burden on trying to orient an appropriate response to meet this moment. The superintendent of public education, I’ve been working very collaborative with us, our health and human service agencies and our logistics teams that also are represented in those 13 task forces that are included upstairs and in that total package in those numbers that I just referenced. So that’s it on the schools, a little bit on our new advisories on bars and restaurants on social isolation … home isolation for our 65 and older population and those with chronic disease.

Gavin Newsom: (22:02)
The fairly partnership that we’re advancing, which we’re very enthusiastic about and we hope is a model to this country, and then of course an update on the numbers of people that currently have tested positive. In closing, we anticipate as these tests significantly ramp up, the number of those by definition change the numerator, denominator, number of people will test positive. Again, we are just trying to break down how we prioritize those on the basis of need, seniors, homeless, and addressing the healthcare delivery systems capacity to meet the inevitable surge, and on that, I will just make this final statement. We have been in detailed negotiations and we will be bringing online, in the next few days, significant assets to help increase the surge capacity of our healthcare delivery system beyond the numbers I just laid out.

Gavin Newsom: (23:01)
We have already identified some very large hospitals that we can bring online that currently are not operational, and we could bring online in real time. We are in deep negotiations, and forgive me when you ask which specific sites are there, we are in deep negotiations to secure those sites. As soon as they’re secured and the negotiations are complete, within the next number of days, we will announce those publicly. We’re also looking on the basis of the work we’re doing to triage the situation, not looking at the world in the aggregate but looking at the world as it exists within our diverse communities, meaning we may have a system that includes some 74,000 hospital beds but not every community has adequate number of beds. So we are looking to site our focus and our energies to increase capacity in those communities that need it the most. So it’s, yes, North and South, but it’s also from a regional basis, looking at other parts of the state to the inland part of the state, not just in Coastal California.

Gavin Newsom: (24:07)
But we are very encouraged. I am in particular, and I think I can say this on behalf of Mark [inaudible 00:24:12] and others by the advanced negotiations on sizable assets that could be brought on line. Hundreds and hundreds, in fact, I can say this. A minimum 750 beds that will get up if these negotiations are successful just by the end of the week in world-class settings, and we have identified many other additional sites that we’re also initiating conversations. I will conclude on that frame to also acknowledge philanthropy that’s been incredibly supportive, some of the largest businesses as well, that are helping us identify those assets and are procuring resources in a resourceful mindset to help us with the formalized leases and potential purchases of some of these assets in real time to meet this moment. That’s where we are in broad strokes and-