Mar 23, 2020
California Governor Gavin Newsom Coronavirus Update March 23
California Governor Gavin Newsom gave an update on COVID-19 for the state March 23. Read the full transcript of his press conference speech here.
Gavin Newsom: (00:00)
Making sure that ship is stocked and ready, and protocols and procedures are being put into place as we speak to make sure that we prioritize the right group of individuals to come on that ship. Right now, it’s working out, it’s balanced. It’s going to take a number of days. I don’t want to over promise when it’s actually going to appear in the LA port, but it’s being outfitted. And it was just wonderful to see the ship leave today. And I just want to thank, on top, the president of the United States. That was a directive from the president to send it to Los Angeles. I also want to thank the leadership of Los Angeles, Mayor Garcetti and others, for their outstanding stewardship, and advocating for the ship, and making sure that the protocols or procedures are well in place before the ship arrives. We, also, are very pleased to see that $100 million in emergency grants finally go out to the cities and counties to start securing those hotels for the homeless… top priority, focusing on the most vulnerable Californians, $ 100 million in emergency grants now being distributed.
Gavin Newsom: (01:04)
I was talking to leaders today in both the Assembly and the state Senate, and remarkable things are happening at the local level in securing and procuring hotel rooms. And I want to congratulate the leadership in San Diego County for doing a magnificent job already identifying 1,900 hotel rooms. And they’re working hand-in-glove with the city there to begin the process of getting people off the streets into facilities and shelters and, to the extent necessary, isolation for COVID-19 ID’d positive homeless individuals. So a lot of progress on the ground and a lot of progress here, in our emergency operations center, over the course of the last few days. Let me update you, specifically, on what I mean by that. We are working through our constant and never ending iteration on looking at what’s actually happening in real time across the state of California.
Gavin Newsom: (01:59)
What is occurring, as it relates to our modeling, not only utilizing data that comes in from the United States and comes from the field within the state of California, but modeling that comes from around the rest of the world. We’re looking at bending the curve. We’re looking at interventions that work. We’re looking at best practices from around the globe. We incorporate that planning exercise by utilizing data systems, utilizing artificial intelligence, and basically laying out strategies on best case, worst case, most likely case of where COVID-19 will spread, and what our resource allocation needs to be, again, at a County bottom up level throughout the state of California. We have updated our models. And as a consequence of updating our models, we are looking to significantly increase our procurement of assets, specifically beds, throughout our healthcare delivery system. And let me give you some specific numbers to bear fruit to that effort.
Gavin Newsom: (02:58)
We currently have 416 hospitals in the state of California. We have just shy of 75,000 licensed beds. We need an additional 50,000 beds in our system. Our new modeling suggests 50,000 is the new target number. Now here’s what’s already underway, some announcements I’ve made, just over the last few days, and leaning in to some announcements we’ll be making over the course of the next few days. The hospital system alone will provide for 30,000 of those beds. It’s important for folks to recognize, and it’s obvious when you hear it, that we’re much better off using the existing resource, and the resourcefulness within the hospital system, by allowing the hospitals more flex, more capacity to provide resources by using existing staff, using existing facilities, looking at some of the outbuildings on the hospital campuses, looking at the parking lots, and getting tents, and providing emergency supplies in and around those facilities. The hospitals already came with a surge plan of anywhere from 15% to 20% of their capacity. They are doubling that surge plan now.
Gavin Newsom: (04:11)
Phase one, that we’re announcing today, is a surge plan of 40% within that hospital system. So that’s what the current hospital system is now working to address internally, and we feel confident in their capacity to deliver that. Externally, outside of the hospital system itself, we are looking to provide 20,000 beds throughout our system. As you know, the last few days we announced the acquisition of three major hospitals in the state of California, Seton Hospital here in Northern California, Long Beach, outstanding leadership, their mayor, Community Hospital, where they’re moving patients much earlier than they otherwise would into that facility, and then, of course, St. Vincent’s down in Los Angeles.
Gavin Newsom: (04:59)
In addition to that, we are in deep negotiations, and we’ll be soon in contract with a number of other facilities throughout the state, again, Northern California and currently negotiating in central part of California. All told, we’ve got about 3,000 beds now that we have lined up and identified in the short term, part of the 20,000 the state will be responsible for identifying, roughly 17,000. I don’t mean to throw too many numbers, confuse folks, but 17,000 we need to start stacking, in terms of resources throughout the state of California. That’s where we’re identifying convention facilities, fairgrounds. We’re identifying specific assets throughout the state, including motels and hotels, again, not just for homeless, but potentially to provide capacity, including skilled nursing facilities, and the like.
Gavin Newsom: (05:50)
So we’re well under way in terms of identifying those individual assets. And we’re well under way of making sure that once the assets are identified that we can resource them. And what I mean by that is, staff them, and staff them with the appropriate levels of support on protective gear, PPE, as we’re commonly referring to that. So let me break that down a little bit. Our staffing is going to require more flex, it’s going to require more capacity, as it relates to existing ratios, as it relates to existing current scope of practice. We’re going to have to do more on rules and regulations well within our capacity to deliver and, I think, for the system to absorb. We are in advanced negotiations on more prescriptive issues around scope of practice. And as it relates to staffing ratios, we put out an omnibus executive order that already has begun the process of making changes to those protocols.
Gavin Newsom: (06:49)
We believe the ability to get fourth year medical students into the system, in that fourth year, or getting someone that’s almost finished getting their nursing degree, get them licensed earlier, bringing people annuitants back, retirees back, all of that. You start adding those resources, and we believe we can meet the moment to provide for the human resources, the staffing of those additional beds. We are, in addition to that though, making a case, and we need to make this case very soberly. That it’s one thing to provide the physical space, it’s another to provide the human resources. But you’ve got to keep people healthy, you’ve got to keep people safe. And that’s why the issue of protected gear is so important to our healthcare workers, more broadly to our frontline workers, all throughout the state, defined in many different categories.
Gavin Newsom: (07:39)
We are significantly expanding our efforts. We have been expanding them, but now significantly expanding our efforts to procure additional shields, and gloves, and gowns, and coveralls, and the like. So much so that we have formerly scoped the capacity to go out on the open market across the country, for that matter around the world, to scope out and, by the way, I’m going to be literal in these numbers, 1 billion gloves to procure, 500 million N95 masks, some 200 million shields. You get the picture. We’re talking in the magnitude of tens of millions, in some cases hundreds of millions, of units of this personal protective gear. Let me tell you why. A three month surge, and let’s just assume for argument’s sake, a three months’ surge capacity within our hospital system alone, which is just one part of the larger healthcare delivery system, would require that 125,000 beds, 75,000 baseline, plus the 50,000 surge. That would require, just in three months, 200 million sets of PPE. That’s, again, gloves, and gowns, and masks, and shields. And that would just exhaust itself in three months.
Gavin Newsom: (09:07)
So it puts things in perspective when you’re watching the news or you’re reading something online about a few 100,000 N95 masks that come in, a couple 100,000 gowns, how quickly one goes through that. For every patient, you throw that PPE off. For every room, you throw that PPE off. You can go to a specific hospital, they’ll go through hundreds of thousands, just in one hospital in just a week. And so in order to procure that, it’s going to take a heroic effort. And so we have identified specific asks, we have specific strategies, in terms of that procurement and logistics. And we recognize that we, as a nation, need to reconcile the following. And that is, many of us are competing for the same limited supplies. And as a consequence of that, people are tripping over themselves to make deals that ultimately are raising the cost of the supplies. I was very pleased to just watch President Trump’s press conference, and I applaud him and our attorney general for going after hoarding and going after price gouging.
Gavin Newsom: (10:11)
And, by the way, that must be done, not just by the federal government, it must be done by the state, as it is, and also local government. I’ll just give you an example. The outstanding leadership, the district attorney in San Diego that’s already been on this filing cases, not just being aggrieved but actually moving on this. You’re seeing that with other municipalities and, obviously, our outstanding Attorney General Becerra, who’s on this, as well. But it was wonderful to see the federal government take this seriously. But it is incumbent upon governors, not just mayors, not just county leaders, but upon all of us, to start aligning our purchasing strategies to recognize that states like California that are uniquely positioned to make large purchases, and get the volume discounts that are necessary, creates a crowding out of the market that hurts some of the smaller states. And I don’t want to be in a position as a Californian deeply committed to the people I represent, but also as an American citizen, to take advantage of our purchasing power, our market power, without addressing the legitimate anxiety and needs of some of these smaller state leaders.
Gavin Newsom: (11:19)
It’s incumbent to begin the process of centralizing the procurement. It is incumbent upon us to address this issue in a much more systemic way. We’ll continue in the state of California to punch way above our weight. We’re going to be sending, literally, chartered flights from China into the state of California. We’re already working with some of the largest logistics firms in the world, FedEx, UPS, to do just that. We are working all our supply chains, and suppliers, and brokers, and dealers from around the world, substantively though, into factories into China. And we’re doing our part domestically. We, by the way, have now six California companies, six, that want to repurpose their facilities to manufacture gowns. We just had a conversation with 25 providers that want to start 3D printing masks in the state of California.
Gavin Newsom: (12:10)
Elon Musk, how about this? I told you a few days ago that he was likely to have 1,000 ventilators. This week, they arrived. They arrived in Los Angeles. And Elon Musk is already working with the Hospital Association, and others, to get those ventilators out in real time. It’s a heroic effort. Bloom Energy, we talked about that a couple of days ago, re-purposing the ventilators, things that would take a month are taking days, because people are stepping up, and stepping in, in a meaningful and very direct way. But the magnitude of what we have to accomplish, we must do together as a nation. And in the absence of our capacity to centralize it nationally, governors, we need to start aligning ourselves to our purchasing protocols in a way where we can bring down the cost curve and also address the anxiety about access. And so I just want other governors to know we are committed to working with you, collaborative in that.
Gavin Newsom: (13:03)
I just want other governors to know we are committed to working with you collaborative in that. We’ve already had a number of conversations and we’ll work through the NGA, the National Governors Association and others to really formalize that process, those protocols and procedures. We are moving on all cylinders. We are very pleased and I want to thank the administration of President Trump called me yesterday and told me that we already should expect and he was right those field medical stations to come into the state of California. Two arrived, one in Riverside and one in Santa Clara, already now have arrived. We’ll be putting them up in the Convention Center in Santa Clara and down in the fairgrounds and Riverside. That was part of the eight that he committed to the state of California and we’re grateful for that. Remember that’s 2000 beds when all eight arrive, but two already did arrive and we’re already in the process beginning to resource and ultimately get those things up as we can.
Gavin Newsom: (13:58)
And I say as we can, but I also mean as we should, which is we don’t rush to do everything overnight, to have assets sitting there waiting for the surge. This is done in a very sequential way and a very methodical way, and a very deliberative way. Again, all what we’re referring to now is phase one, in terms of our acquisition and procurement planning as we bring these units, these numbers to life so that we could keep people healthy and address the anxiety many of us are fearing or feeling. Let me just speak to that. I had a little anxiety, as all of you did watching the news of all those folks and crowds in our parks out there on the beautiful California coast. Normally, that would light up my heart to see tens of thousands of people congregating down in Malibu and other parts of our beautiful state.
Gavin Newsom: (14:48)
And it’s understandable, people’s desire, their first weekend now with the new stay at home order, some folks testing it. And know that one cannot condemn that but one can criticize it. We need to practice common sense and socially distance. And that means we need to help you help yourself. A little bit more of those folks that were making their way out there to recognize when you’re on a single track trail out in our beautiful wilderness, that single track means going up the mountain and down the mountain, which means it’s almost impossible to socially distance. When you’re out there and you can’t even find parking at a beach, it suggests you’re not going to practice social distancing and it may suggest you may want to find a new location. But to make it easier for you, we’re going to shut down all state parking lots and that will go into effective immediately.
Gavin Newsom: (15:44)
Counties, to their credit already doing, I talked to a number of mayors last night that moved for their city and their county assets, particularly in the stressed areas at San Diego, Los Angeles, San Mateo County, up into Marine County and Sonoma County. And so we are going to substantially advance what we call these soft closures. There’ll be some hard closures, but these are soft closures to reduce the stress on those beaches. I don’t want to close big, beautiful open spaces, not when we’re encouraging people to go outside with intention and purpose. Not linger, but to deal with the health needs that we all have of being outdoors and taking a deep breath, practicing common sense and social distancing. And we want to provide a forum for that, but we can’t see what we saw over the weekend happen again. Local leaders are leading on this. I congratulate them. The state of California will now shut down all these state parks.
Gavin Newsom: (16:45)
What does that mean? The parking lots. And what does that mean? It means nine of our parking lot facilities in LA County. It means, for example, all the way down in San Diego, Torrey Pines parking lot now shut down all the way up to Sonoma with the Armstrong Redwoods site is going to be shut down. And we’re going to be updating our efforts to keep people from over loading and ultimately overburdening the system. That means I encourage people that want to go to parks in the state of California to go to our parks.ca.gov website to get more information. It will constantly update and provide that information to people that are seeking an appropriate time outside of their home but not seeking to do what we did this last weekend. So wanted to make that clear. We are stepping up that enforcement and we are stepping up our efforts to advance closures that will indicate the importance of that enforcement.
Gavin Newsom: (17:48)
By the way, just on a personal note, I had a friend of mine, he said, “Boy, I’m out here in Malibu you, it’s just incredible. It’s so packed. I don’t know who all these people are.” I asked him, I said, “But aren’t you one of those people?” And it reminded me of that all billboard up in Washington state on a crowded freeway. It says you’re not stuck in traffic and you’re on a crowded freeway and about 10 minutes go by and you get about 20 feet closer to the billboard and you realize that billboard doesn’t just say you’re not stuck in traffic. In parentheses, underneath that blazing headline it says “You are traffic.” Think about that. Society becomes how we behave. You’re not stuck in traffic. You are traffic. We are our behaviors. And in order to meet this moment, we need to improve our behaviors.
Gavin Newsom: (18:35)
All of us young and healthy, not just the most vulnerable citizens of this state. And the young and healthy, have a unique obligation to the seniors to keep them safe. And you keep them safe by practicing safe social distancing. You can’t do that at a pickup basketball game. You can’t do that when you’re recreating as you have in the past. So please, please let us all step up our game and recognize our obligation not just to ourselves, but to each other to meet this moment. That 50,000 bed number that I just gave you, assumes that we’re doing that. We have numbers that are substantially higher, if we don’t. I don’t mean that threatening way. Quite the contrary. I just mean that in a very sober and honest way in the purpose of just letting you know we want to bend that curve. We can’t bend the curve if everybody’s out on a beautiful Thursday, Friday, Saturday, or Sunday.
Gavin Newsom: (19:36)
Let me just close on one additional point. There’s been a lot of talk about when this will end. Been a lot of national conversations about that. I’ve tried to be as transparent as I can based on the expertise that we brought around us and the expertise we source on an hourly, not just daily basis here in the state. One thing I know, when you have a country that just had a hundred deaths, that we have some trend lines that are becoming headlines that make us very sober about meeting this moment. The reason we did the stay at home order and the reason I’m pleased that so many other governors across this country have done the same is, we are trying to bend that curve in real time. We could talk about South Korea and China and it is remarkable. I was just talking to one of the largest retailers in the world.
Gavin Newsom: (20:21)
They’re opening back up their stores in China, which is very, very … That’s a wonderful point of optimism. It’s a very good thing, but remember what they did. Remember what they did in South Korea, testing everybody. Remember what they did in China that make what we’re doing pale in comparison. If you want to bend the curve, we have got to bend to a deeper understanding and meet this moment head on, that we have to act differently. And it’s a sum total of quite literally hundreds of millions of people acting differently to meet this moment, maximizing a little bit of their inconvenience in the short term, to minimize the extraordinary inconvenience over the longterm. And so we are looking at the next eight weeks and our curve maybe the next eight to 12 weeks, to address this surge. And again, do it in a thoughtful and pragmatic way, looking at physical resources and beds, looking at protective gear, including new ventilators, to make sure we meet the needs in our ICU’s.
Gavin Newsom: (21:25)
And of course the human resources that are so critical to continue to function as we should and you all demand and expect. So some progress and a little bit of promotion for some better behavior from some folks, all of us. And a recognition that the next week or two, we’ve got a lot of work to do and we’re going to have to get very, very serious and lean in and hit this moment head on. And so that’s broad strokes updates for the evening and of course here always to answer any questions from members of the media.
Speaker 1: (22:06)
Angela Heart, Kaiser Health News.
Angela Heart: (22:10)
Governor, thank you for taking the time to take our questions today. Can you hear me okay?
Gavin Newsom: (22:14)
Angela Heart: (22:17)
I’m curious, have you had conversations looking at the enforcement mechanism with local health officers, with mayors or local supervisors, for example, or you yourself. Have you thought about taking additional steps to increase enforcement, looking at this weekend, some still aren’t getting it. I’m wondering if you’re thinking about increasing enforcement, if so, how? Or if you continue to believe that social pressure is enough.
Gavin Newsom: (22:45)
Yeah, so a couple of observations. Look, the vast majority, vast majority of the 40 million Californians did the right thing. They didn’t need to be told to do the right thing. They are practicing social distancing and they are in many cases operating in ways that are inspiring in very, very realtime. So I want to acknowledge that. There are some businesses that are abusing this and we can enforce to your question through licensing, we can enforce through regulation. We don’t just have to enforce their traditional law enforcement. To answer your question specifically, last night I had conversation with two mayors, specifically about their enforcement thoughts and strategies and they at the local level are significantly enhancing that. Let me be specific about what I told them last night. I’ll tell you this evening, just as it relates to state parks in particular that raised some concerns and our beaches, we are significantly increasing our state park patrol efforts.
Gavin Newsom: (23:52)
We’re not only increasing those efforts in a formal way to conduct a kind of collaborative approach to enforcement, which is, ma’am, sir, this group, can you please? We’ve got to move on. We’ve got to recognize this moment. That’s social encouragement. But they also have the capacity to fine if necessary. We are also doing more PSA’s, more public announcements. We’re handing out flyers and we’re doing more in real time with messaging boards to remind people at these locations of what should be expected of them. And we’ll be doing a lot more in this space more broadly.
Gavin Newsom: (24:35)
Again, I don’t want folks to think we’re going out there having checkpoints every part of the state. As you know, we put the 500 national guard men and women out there over the weekend. They did a magnificent job. That’s not hyperbole, that’s the feedback I got from the food banks for the humanitarian mission. We have California Highway Patrol, they’re prepped part of our mutual aid strategy. We have protocols and procedures to help, but law enforcement at the local level through the mechanism of stepped up enforcement persuasion and then licensing and then issues of information. And then to the extent we must, we have the ability to cite.
Speaker 1: (25:18)
Jeremy White, Politico.
Jeremy White: (25:21)
Hey governor, thanks as always, you’ve told us day over day about the large increase in unemployment insurance claims we’re seeing. I’m wondering if you have any concerns about the state exhausting its funds? Are we inevitably looking at a scenario in which we’re just going to incur some federal debt to make sure those workers are made whole?
Gavin Newsom: (25:39)
Yeah, Jeremy, let me be precise. The seven day average, I think it’s important to be honest with you about these numbers. The seven day average for unemployment insurance claims in the state of California is 106,000. Before this crisis began to manifest as it currently have, we averaged about 2,500. So 2,500 to 106,000…
Gavin Newsom: (26:02)
500 so 2,500 to 106,000 and that’s just week one. And so yes is the answer to your question. That’s why it is absolutely incumbent upon Mitch McConnell, Republicans in the Senate leadership that is just extraordinary and demonstrably and our speaker, Nancy Pelosi, that the states get these block grants and the states have the capacity to meet this moment without exhausting their unemployment insurance fund. We’re talking about potentially tens of billions of dollars and incur debt that will come from those funds if left unabated. What I mean by that, without the support of the federal government. This is one of the areas where the president and I had a conversation about this yesterday. We’ve really reinforced the importance and urgency of making sure that the states are on the front line of this, have that support.
Speaker 2: (26:54)
Kathleen Ronayne, AP.
Kathleen Ronayne: (26:59)
Hi Governor. Thanks for doing this. So I just want to talk homelessness. So earlier today, some officials in San Francisco were saying that CDC guidance is not to move people from the streets into housing unless they have symptoms. And also today at a press conference in San Diego, officials there were saying that among those 1,900 rooms, they’re not exclusively for the homeless. So there just seems to be a little bit of mixed messaging from the state and from the locals. And so I’d like you to clarify, is it your expectation that all homeless individuals will be moved into hotels or just those showing symptoms and what efforts are being done to identify homeless individuals with symptoms and to get them tested?
Gavin Newsom: (27:42)
So we’ve been working with local health officials and one thing we all know about California, those that cover it, those that live here, one size does not fit all. And particularly as it relates to the issue of homelessness, that’s a bottom up issue. It is defined very individually in a very culturally competent way, meeting people where they are, even outside of a crisis like this. So within that frame, within that construct, within that mindset, we are working with local leaders. I talked to Pro Tem Atkins today. She was working very collaborative with the County. Nathan Fletcher, the supervisor there, city, leaders about how they’re going to use the convention facilities there and the hotel rooms a little bit differently than in other parts of the state. So it is a work in progress and most important thing for me is that we see real progress in terms of the number of available units and rooms that we procure and bring online.
Gavin Newsom: (28:36)
But working with local health officials, we have provided guidelines as it relates to triaging seniors as a priority off the street. Those with chronic conditions as priorities off the streets and certainly isolating as the top health priority. Isolating and that’s the purpose of the hotel rooms in particular. Those that test positive for COVID-19. We have 2,400 units as you know from seven counties that have been procured. 1,900 in San Diego area. And you’re correct. These hundreds and hundreds of additional hotel assets will be made available for homeless and we are looking to procure them more broadly for general population, but we’ll be advancing more specific guidelines and we’ll got a team led by Jason Elliot in my office that’s working in real time with all the local leaders to address their best practices and share them or address the concerns in the ambiguity that may persist between counties in real time. We’re just a couple of days into this.
Speaker 2: (29:40)
Nigel Duara, CalMatters
Nigel Duara: (29:44)
Hi Governor. Thanks for doing this. Two quick questions. One, on Sunday, March 15th, you mentioned they plan to get hot food to seniors and to people who are self-isolating, possibly working with private companies to do that. Second question, are you satisfied with the jails in the state are doing enough to reduce inmate population? I know they’ve done some stuff. I’m wondering if you think they’ve done enough.
Gavin Newsom: (30:06)
Well, let’s… As you know, I’m a fierce advocate for reform of our criminal justice system and laid out new benchmarks of expectation in my January budget of what I think that looks like. Not just looking at the work that we’ve done in the past decade here in the state, led by former governor, Jerry Brown, but one thing is certain that we need to meet the issue of COVID-19 and our prison and correction system head-on. I’ve had conversations back to back with our secretary of CDCR, Ralph Diaz, about the protocols and procedures we’ve been preparing and anticipating that some of our staff members may be tested positive. That’s happened as you know and potentially some of our inmates and we had our first positive test. That has happened as well. The good news about our corrections facilities, and I’m talking now at the state level, one needs to amplify a broader mindset as it relates to the County level at the jail level as well is we have very strong isolation protocols.
Gavin Newsom: (31:12)
We have programs and procedures around infectious disease that have more broadly defined around isolation and testing protocols and the like. But the scale and magnitude, if this spreads quickly, certainly creates a pause and that’s why we created a work group, a task force around this a few weeks ago. That was established. We are also working very closely with our sheriffs at the County level to do a number of things, look at intake protocols and looking at augmenting them and looking at transfer protocols between prisons and augmenting them. Those are happening in real time. That then goes, forgive me for the long-windedness, I want to do justice to your question. That goes to your about releasing. I have no interest in, I want to make this crystal clear, in releasing violent criminals from our system and I won’t use a crisis as an excuse to create another crisis.
Gavin Newsom: (32:10)
I don’t see the criminal justice system and corrections in isolation. I see it as a California issue. Let me give you specifically what I mean. If we start to release prisoners that are not prepared with their parole plans, they may end up out on the streets and sidewalks in a homeless shelter. If we don’t prepare people to get back on their feet, they may end up in the emergency rooms clogging the system that we were trying to address in the first place. We have to be very thoughtful about this. So we’re working through those protocols and procedures. There’s a lot of advocacy in this space saying, “Let’s just let out tens of thousands of prisoners,” and that’s not the way we will go about this. We will do it in a very deliberative way. And to the extent we have to have a release valve, which at the local level you’ve been reporting about and people have been discussing all across the country, not just here in the state of California.
Gavin Newsom: (33:06)
It will be for those nonviolent offenses. And we will do it in a very systemic way. And we are working in real time with our sheriffs to see what that looks like and with our folks at the state system. We’re also looking to share best practices though I’m pleased some of those best practices are well established here in the state of California. And we have counterparts reaching out to us to learn more about our own protocols. But I have confidence right now in the protocols and procedures but know this is one of our top points of concern and focus as an administration, homelessness, seniors getting people to understand they have to meet this moment and social distancing and corrections.
Speaker 2: (33:50)
Taryn Luna, LA Times.
Taryn Luna: (33:54)
Governor, we know that there’ve been 26,000 tests conducted in state of California according to CDPH and we’ve seen in New York there’s 80,000 tests that have been done. So can you explain why California is lagging behind New York in terms of its ability to test?
Gavin Newsom: (34:11)
Well, we have a number of different tests, new protocols that are underway that are not part of that 26,400 number that you received this morning. In fact, on Wednesday, we will be providing a reset on the total test and that will go deeply to explain that ambiguity and deeply answer your question. All I can say is as a proof point to this and conversation I have with the LA mayor, he yesterday announced a new testing protocol that’s not now been run into the new system. So we are putting this system in place in real time. We had the system for our 22 labs. We had the system in place for the four original hospitals that were part of the original testing protocols. We had the system in place for Quest, the commercial provider, and LabCorp, the commercial provider. We now have three additional hospitals have come online. Now they’re getting into this new testing regime and we are getting more information from the hospitals. So you’re going to get a reset of that number and you should rest assured those numbers will substantially increase.
Speaker 2: (35:17)
Kim Tobin, KNBC.
Kim Tobin: (35:20)
Hi Governor. Thank you so much. Just wanted to specifically speak about the National Guard being here in California and wanted to see if you could specifically speak about what they will be assigned to do and maybe perhaps the last time something this serious brought the National Guard here to work.
Gavin Newsom: (35:38)
Well, I want to acknowledge another point that was brought up last night in President Trump’s press conference. He has afforded three states, California being one of those three states, the ability not to direct the National Guard that’s afforded under our rules and regulations at the gubernatorial level, but to allow full reimbursement of the cost of those deployments. That was a significant announcement yesterday. Some may have missed it, but it didn’t change how we organize our National Guard. He was not federalizing the National Guard. It’s under the command of the governor of respective states. I did an executive order a number of days ago that outlined prioritization on food supply and logistics related to food supply and one of the areas of concern was the significant decrease in volunteers at our food banks and as a consequence we made the determination through a letter and an order to send 500 of our National Guards, men and women, to help support the efforts at our food banks.
Gavin Newsom: (36:45)
And that has happened and it has been quite successful. We have the capacity to do thousands and thousands and thousands more as needed in real time to make sure the supply chains are operating efficiently and effectively to make sure all essential services are being provided so that the public has confidence that we have their back at this moment. And they are organizing to make sure when they’re needed that they’re able to be dispersed in real time. Let me also punctuate that by saying this. As we procure all of these things are interrelated. As we procure more hotels and motels, more sites for our homeless, we’re able to transition our winter shelter program, which exists in some of our armories, and bring back and repurpose the original construct around armories and that was predeployment and asset resourcing for our national guard, so they’re beginning to take back some of those facilities and allows them to preposition so they’re able to move on a regional basis and a much more efficient and effective way.
Speaker 2: (37:52)
Hannah Wiley, Sac Bee.
Hannah Wiley: (37:56)
Hi Governor. Thanks for taking the time. Can you walk us through, you mentioned the remodeling of how many beds would be needed in the hospital systems and we heard 20,000 additional beds just a couple of days ago. Can you walk us through how we’re now saying that we need 50,000 additional beds? Can you talk about the change of modeling that led to such a big increase?
Gavin Newsom: (38:20)
Yeah. As I said in the outset, we are every day adding to the arsenal of data that we have at our disposal, and let me be specific about what that data includes. And it’s not only the health data that’s provided by the CDC, it’s not only patterns that we’re seeing developed within the state and also outside the state, but what’s happened around the rest of the country. John Hopkins, very significantly put out their own frame. We incorporate all of these things. We stack these data sets up and we use artificial intelligence to run scenarios based on travel patterns within the state, within regions utilizing open source. We have partnered with Esri. We have partnered with-
Gavin Newsom: (39:03)
… source. We have partnered with Esri. We have partnered with Blue Dot. We have partnered with Facebook and others to get open source data and we mine that data based upon, again, these changing conditions. So in real time, every day I wake up, I get a dashboard with those data sets evolving based on what happened today, last night, and what’s happening around other parts of our state and around the rest of the country. And so that’s where we were yesterday, we sat down based upon the new model that came in this weekend and we said we needed to update those numbers. We immediately went to work working with our hospital association and said, “Can we go from that 10,000 bed surge and triple it to 30,000?” And they said, “You’ve got it. We can get that done within our system.” And then we went to work. We’d already gone to work on looking for at least 10,000 beds in our system. We said, “You know what? We’ve got to double that to 20,000.”
Gavin Newsom: (39:54)
The good news came on the USS Mercy, that helped. Good news came with those eight federal medical units. That’s 2000 units that helped. The Seton announcement helped. St. Vincent announcement helped. Community hospital helped. The conversations we’re having with Sutter affiliates. CCPMC, forgive me, that’s my old hospital in San Francisco where my kids were born and I can’t even say the hospital. It just shut down. We’re trying to reopen it. We’re going to take it back. Forgive me to my wife especially who struggled four births in that beautiful hospital. We’re going to try to get that back as well. So we’re doing our part to get all those assets and we feel we’ve got that under control in terms of our current pacing. Again, looking at making sure we bend the curve and making sure that we’re prepared over the course of the next few weeks in what we refer to as phase one of this pandemic.
Speaker 3: (40:56)
Carla Marinucci, Politico.
Carla Marinucci: (41:02)
Suggested in his briefing today that he is strongly considering scaling back steps to contain COVID-19. He said it’s too severe an impact on the economy. He tweeted that the 15 day period, he’s going to make a decision after that. Have you talked to him specifically on this and are you prepared to go along with him if he eases those controls in the next few weeks?
Gavin Newsom: (41:25)
I think you heard also reflected in the President’s comment, I won’t speak for him and his intention, he’s looking at a different playing field than I am, looking from the prism of the state of California, but the nation’s largest state population, larger than dozens of states combined and the world’s fifth largest economy. So we clearly are operating under a different set of assumptions. All the announcements I made today, every answer that I’ve tried to clearly advance today suggests we are moving in a different direction, so that’s where the state of California is. Also, want to just make this point, in the conversations, which have been many with the President of the United States, the significant support of resources to these three states, New York, Washington, and California suggest an understanding very directly by the President himself of the unique challenges we face in our states.
Gavin Newsom: (42:19)
And I have no trepidation that whatever he decides to do from a national prism will get in the way of our efforts here at the state level to do what we need to do to hit this head on, bend the curve, get people back to work as quickly as we can but by doing what we need to do in order to get them back to work sooner than we otherwise would.
Speaker 3: (42:41)
Donald Judd, CNN.
Donald Judd: (42:46)
Hi there. Thanks for taking my question. Governor Newsom, you talked about sort of the increased capacity from private sector in regards to producing PPE. How much from your request from the federal stockpile of PPE have you guys received? I know you’ve talked about how quickly you’ve burned through them.
Gavin Newsom: (43:07)
Yeah. Let me just give you one specific example without going through the entire list. We received 358,000 N95 masks in the latest transfer from the national stockpile. That was the first of four shipments, 25%, 25%, 25, 25. That arrived down in our Riverside facility and now that has been dispersed in real time. So, that’s specific just as an example on the N95s. We are told within the next few days, the second traunch will arrive. But I want to just be sober and direct to you and those that may be watching. We are not counting on the strategical stockpile to solve this problem. I made the point that we need 200 million, 200 million sets. That includes gowns, gloves, masks and shields. 200 million just to address the needs of our hospital system alone over the course of a 90 day period if we are successful getting 125,000 beds up and running. So you do the math.
Gavin Newsom: (44:26)
If that was the first down payment and there’s four of them, we are not near where we are going to need to be. And that’s why the President, Vice President, other Governors have recognized and have directed or been self-directed as we have, we didn’t wait to be told, we’re out there procuring the PPE from sources domestically within the state of California, already re-purposing businesses that are already stepping up to meet this need, and going across the world to address our supply chains. And I will say this, it’s a point of pride I live in a state where 27% of us are foreign born. I was mayor of a city with the first and largest Chinatown in the United States. Our relationships in China are special and unique and I can assure you as a Californian that’s a good thing in terms of meeting this moment that allows us points of contact and the ability to facilitate brokers and distributors all throughout mainland China that will help us in accessing and procuring the hundreds and hundreds of millions of additional PPE that is required.
Gavin Newsom: (45:36)
I said a billion gloves we have authorized our director to procure. That was not a made up number. That was not a typo. One billion gloves, shields, gowns in the hundreds of millions. I’m trying to go get 20 million swabs right now. I told you about the incredible contribution that happened overnight from Elon Musk, 1000 ventilators. We just got another 1000 and 10 ventilators in I forgot to mention a moment ago from a recent purchase. So we’re starting to stack up those ventilators. We’re starting to stack up those resources. If you’re interested, you didn’t ask this, but I’m just going to offer it, since this crisis started to manifest, 20.7 million, 27,000,095 masks, have been distributed in our system. We currently have 2.5 million as of an hour ago. These numbers change on an hourly basis. 2.5 million still in storage. We’re getting out in real time. We have 14.2 million that we have already identified and ordered that we’re drawing down, supposed to come in on 3/27.
Gavin Newsom: (46:50)
Those are specific numbers. Those numbers are subject to change and fluctuate, but it gives you a sense of how dynamic this is. So 358,095 masks is helpful, but look at the magnitude and recognize we’re going to be working to supplement that in quite a significant way.
Speaker 3: (47:11)
Final question, Alexei Koseff, SF Chronicle.
Alexei Koseff: (47:16)
Hi, Governor. Understanding that the stay at home order obviously does not have an end date on it, what is the criteria that you’re using to evaluate when you can lift it? We haven’t heard you specifically speak about how you’re making that decision, so is there some specific number of cases per day that you’ll be looking for? How are you deciding that? And separately, could you just clarify this order about closing state parking lot and is that all beaches and parks and is that everyday going forward?
Gavin Newsom: (47:55)
Yeah, in fact, we will be laying it out in moments, perhaps you may check your email in your inbox right now, putting out the specific sites throughout the state of California. Just offered an example, nine in L.A. County alone. It gave some specific examples. Torrey Pines, San Diego, and Armstrong Redwoods up in Sonoma. But that is a dynamic list, which means I encourage people to go to parks.ca.gov to check in if they’re interested in going to one of these parks to learn about the changes that will be happening in real time. And it goes to the beginning of your question, this is a dynamic situation. We deal with circumstances as they appear. This is not an academic exercise. It certainly is not an ideological exercise. One must be open to argument, interested in evidence. Every day we have an evidence based approach to beginning to plan for this and to practice in real time the application of those plans.
Gavin Newsom: (48:57)
And so the answer to your question is when we bend the curve and we see that we’re getting our arms around this, that people are practicing social distancing in a very dynamic way, when we exponentially increase the number of tests, so we’re driven not just by positives but by negatives, when we have the kind of community surveillance that I referenced we’d done in three parts of the state, but we do that throughout the state of California, so we are more dynamically attached to what’s going on, not just people that are submitting to the test voluntarily, then we will be able to answer that question. But I’ve been very honest with you about the school system. I’ve been very honest to you about my expectation of what we are going to be challenged with over the course of the next eight weeks as we prepare, and trust me, as soon as I have more clarity on all of that, I will share with you as is my obligation what I share it to my wife and children. Take care, everybody. Thanks for being here tonight.