Apr 2, 2020

California Governor Gavin Newsom COVID-19 Briefing Transcript April 2

California Governor April 2 Press Conference Coronavirus
RevBlogTranscriptsPress Conference TranscriptsCalifornia Governor Gavin Newsom COVID-19 Briefing Transcript April 2

California Governor Gavin Newsom held a news conference today, April 2, 2020, on coronavirus. He announced financial relief and tax reprieve for small businesses. Read the full transcript of his updates.

 

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Governor Gavin Newsom: (00:00)
… Folks, and again go to our website at covid19.ca.gov website. And we’ve got a link right there and we’ll link all the information to folks so they could take advantage of these programs. The reality though is not everyone can take advantage of these programs. While the SBA has debt forgiveness programs and they have other programs that one can avail themselves to, not everybody has the capacity to get an SBA loan. And as a consequence of that, we’re announcing today the state of California is putting $50 million into our IBank, our infrastructure bank, to create micro-lending opportunities for people that otherwise would not be eligible for SBA relief, the PAycheck Protection act and these other disaster, emergency, injury disaster programs. So it’s an additional contribution for the state to address those that may otherwise fall through the crack.

Governor Gavin Newsom: (00:58)
So that’s a overall sense of what we’re trying to do to highlight those federal supports, advance some state relief through sales tax up to $50,000 for a year with no interest, no penalties. And then provide micro lending opportunities through our IBank in the state of California. And we’re encouraging businesses large and small, again up to hundreds and hundreds of employees that are eligible for the status of these benefits to do just that and get prepared because tomorrow again on that Paycheck Protection Program, those applications will start being processed. And so let’s get ahead of the queue and let’s make sure if you know someone that’s a small business person, make them aware of this and if you are a small business person, let’s make sure you get this paperwork done and get those applications in as quickly as possible.

Governor Gavin Newsom: (01:50)
Something else we are announcing today, I’m very proud of. I met with a small group of people in Fresno, California about a year ago. Organization called Bitwise. Remarkable economic story in Fresno and in the Central Valley. One that’s not often highlighted in the news, not just an agricultural community, it’s a vibrant community with remarkable human capital, young people, people young at heart doing incredible things. A good entrepreneurial spirit and a technical expertise that is very present in the Central Valley and Bitwise is the center of this.

Governor Gavin Newsom: (02:26)
Bitwise has partnered with LinkedIn and Salesforce to create a new site called onwardca.org, onward ca.org. And that’s about getting us back up on our feet, not just small businesses now, people that have been laid off that need a job. Bitwise is already created a remarkable website to match open jobs to individuals and their particular skillset. They actually propped 37 questions to specify where you are geographically, what your exact skill set is, what your wage preference may look like. And then they match you with open job listings throughout the state of California already 70,000 open jobs are now listed on their site. We’ll probably have a hundred plus thousand just in the next number of days.

Governor Gavin Newsom: (03:21)
They’ve prioritized four areas that disproportionally now are hiring, remarkably at this moment. Not surprisingly though healthcare being one of those four areas. Agriculture is looking for workforce. Logistics, broadly defined be that transportation, warehousing and the like, the logistics sector is in need of support. And of course grocers, 70,000 plus open jobs today in the state of California. Go to Bitwise new site, it’s onwardca.org site and fill out those applications and see if we can match you with the job just down the road and make sure we get you off unemployment insurance or if you haven’t gone on, make sure you don’t have to go on so that we can get you into the workforce at this time. So I want again, thank our partners in that process and putting together this aggregated job listing website.

Governor Gavin Newsom: (04:18)
We also are very pleased about the work that is being done, the heroic work by some estimates I mentioned on [inaudible 00:04:30] March 12th not surprising, that’s unprecedented and it’s overwhelming the call volume at our department we refer to as EDD. That’s our state department that’s responsible for processing applications for unemployment insurance. They had a 21 day turnaround on those unemployment checks. In the good days, we are struggling to keep up with that. We’re still confident we can do that. We have reorganized our staffing, 200 additional folks to deal with the surge of demand. We have 800 other folks that are now ready to increase that capacity beyond even the surge of supports to make sure we getting these checks out to you as quickly as possible. I’ll remind folks, checks are from the low of $40 to as high as $450 a week for unemployment insurance.

Governor Gavin Newsom: (05:22)
And in addition to that, people are eligible for the least the next four months for an additional $600 on top of the $40 to $450 a week because of the federal stimulus. And so those that may not have availed themselves to the unemployment insurance, please do so. Again, easiest side is the covid19.ca.gov site. But EDD will process these and we are doing everything we can to make sure we do so in a timely manner because we recognize people are feeling deep anxiety about just paying for basic necessities and food and rent and the like and childcare for so many, et cetera.

Governor Gavin Newsom: (06:08)
So that’s it in broad strokes. We’re leaning in to this economic moment, I should just preview, I’ve got an economic development team focusing on how we can get this state back on its feet sooner than later and what that looks like from an economic stimulus perspective. Some of the best and the brightest from across the country now advising the state of California, our Department of Finance, our GO-Biz, which is our economic development team in advising us which sectors that we should focus on and looking at our regulatory system and looking at ways we can stimulate a real growth in real time when we turn the corner on this virus.

Governor Gavin Newsom: (06:47)
And so I want folks to know that we’re taking this very, very seriously, but we have to deal with the immediate and that’s helping small businesses. And that’s certainly helping individuals that are out of work with these unemployment insurance claims. I want to just also make a few additional points and of course open up as we do to any questions that we may have to make this point. It was just a few days ago that I announced 25,000 people filled out applications, phlebotomists and EMTs, paramedics, nurses, nurse practitioners, doctors, et cetera, to help support their loved ones, their community, the state and our healthcare delivery system by saying, ” I may have just retired, but I’m happy to go back to work as part of this health core site we put up.” Today, we have over 70,000 applications. It’s just extraordinary, the most difficult part for us is going to be triaging all of these applications. But it just gives you a sense of the civic moment and how people are doing this extraordinary amount to try to participate in meeting it head on.

Governor Gavin Newsom: (07:58)
And so I just want to compliment all of those of you that told folks about this website and may have filled out the application and know that we’re going to do our best to get back to you in real time. And like that Bitwise site, we’re going to try to match you up geographically and based on your expertise and work through some details and just know that we are going to respond as quickly as we can. And in terms of response, let me just continue to make this point. I really want to thank all of you for practicing, not just sitting there promoting or preaching what we could or should do, pointing fingers. It’s the individual acts of tens of millions of Californians that allow me to say the following.

Governor Gavin Newsom: (08:41)
The numbers in the state of California are growing. The number of positives certainly are growing. And tragically, yes, the number of deaths 203 have grown, but the ICU numbers and the hospitalization numbers while they’re growing are not growing as significantly as you’re seeing in other parts of the country. We’re not out of the woods by any stretch of the imagination and we showed folks what we mean by that when we showed you our modeling yesterday. The reality is that we are buying time. For every individual that’s in the ICU, my heart goes out to them. 816 individuals are currently in the ICU, representative of 5.4% increase from yesterday. 1,922 people are in our hospital system with COVID-19 that are positively identified. Those are big numbers but well within our modeling and well within our capacity to serve and meet this moment.

Governor Gavin Newsom: (09:43)
But again, it’s the physical distancing that people are doing. It’s taking this moment seriously that is allowing me to make that statement that we have the capacity currently to meet the moment. We still need to do more on personal protective gear. The N95 masks and I could tell you, you can write a book about all the stories of how that process is unfolding in real time. And I know a lot of attention has been placed on that and much of what you’re hearing is true in terms of it being the wild, wild West out there in terms of procuring those masks, the shields, the glove sets and the like. But currently in California, at least as of this morning, we’ve already distributed 35.9 million masks. And while we’ve gotten 1,089,000 from the national stockpile and apparently we’re going to get another 176,000 masks, we were just told about that this morning, we recognize we have to do more as a state. And so for the caregivers out there and for our grocers and police and fire people on the front lines broadly defined, we recognize our obligation to you to continue to find this personal protective gear and to do more to source not just N95 masks but surgical masks and the gowns and the coveralls that all of you do deserve. So our hospital system was slack, not just surge. Every day we’re bringing on more beds. Every day we’re building capacity.

Governor Gavin Newsom: (11:16)
And every day I continue to be mesmerized by the incredible leadership within our hospital system, our assisted living facilities, our skilled nursing homes where they are anticipating the need to do more and better, providing more points of access and more spaces they re-constitute, repurpose existing space in order to prepare for our peak in the next number of weeks. Every hour, every day, we must take advantage of keeping this curve in a modest trajectory so we don’t experience what other parts of our for that matter, other parts of the globe have. And every day, none of us will regret doing our part to do more to bend that curve.

Governor Gavin Newsom: (12:02)
Final point I want to make is we continue to appreciate and completely embrace the civic spirit that defines this moment even beyond just the Health Corp site. I want to thank all the countless volunteers through our Cal Volunteers Program that have gone to their site to contribute their time and energy at our food banks. Over 2 million meals have been delivered just in the last few weeks, just at our food banks. Unprecedented surge of need. To all the folks that reached out a few days ago when we asked you to make five phone calls to connect with your neighbors and seniors and actually did so, thank you. That’s an extraordinary and heroic effort and we’re seeing that on social media in terms of the partnership with Nextdoor. We’re seeing that in terms of the work that’s being done with the Heart Association, the Alzheimer’s Association, and others, AARP, that are helping amplify that sense of community, the common wealth all throughout the state of California. And I just, I can’t-

Governor Gavin Newsom: (13:03)
And wealth all throughout the state of California and I just can’t impress upon you. Let’s keep doing more of that. Let’s stick together and let’s be defined by our capacity to seize this moment as so many of you are seizing every single day to do the right thing, including making sure that we are protecting our most vulnerable Californians, our seniors, and our homeless. So that’s broad strokes. The update for today of course here to answer any questions that anybody may have.

Speaker 1: (13:32)
Carla Marinucci, Politico.

Carla Marinucci: (13:36)
Yes. Governor, thank you very much. Two part question. Governor Cuomo of New York made the move to cancel construction sites in his state and this week the Bay Area health officers appeared to do the same when they issued new stay at home restrictions that prohibit most construction. There looks to be patchwork in California and the mayor of LA has taken a different take. If the building sites are safe and the construction is [inaudible 00:14:03] they’re enforcing and adhering to some very strict guidelines, are you comfortable allowing construction to continue in California rather than doing what they did in New York and Boston?

Carla Marinucci: (14:16)
The other question I just have really quickly is April 10 is coming with the second half of property taxes due. Is there any suggestion that people can defer or waive those payments? So those are the two questions. Thank you.

Governor Gavin Newsom: (14:27)
Thanks. So the conditions in New York are very different than the conditions in the state of California. We’ve been working very closely with the building construction trades, specifically long conversations with Robbie Hunter, their leader. And I want to just acknowledge and applaud them for their strict workforce efforts and making sure that their own members are protected and make sure their members are protecting their community and those that they serve. We put out guidelines a few weeks ago that we think are appropriate as baseline guidelines as it relates to construction in the state of California.

Governor Gavin Newsom: (15:03)
I’m well aware of what the Bay Area did and they have a legal right, the health directors, locally to go even further. But the answer to your question is we’re not in New York and we’re going to do everything we can to bend our curve. We’re not naive about the magnitude of our challenge ahead of us. All of this is subject to change, but currently I’m satisfied with those state directives. As it relates to and now I’ve once again forgotten the second question. Carla, I’ll go back and answer that offline.

Speaker 1: (15:36)
John Myers, Los Angeles Times.

John Myers: (15:41)
Governor, thank you. Can you hear me?

Governor Gavin Newsom: (15:42)
Perfectly. John, you may need to ask me one question. I seemingly have a capacity only for one, but you guys can circle back. I know you have a lot to ask and I want to be able to be responsive as possible.

John Myers: (15:55)
I want to specifically ask you about the issue of people wearing masks in public because some of this came up yesterday, but I think there’s still a little bit of confusion out there. Your guidance pretty much leaves it up to people doing whatever they think is best, it seems like from what we’ve seen. And that’s not exactly what we’ve seen in Riverside, where they’re being much more specific, and even LA Mayor Eric Garcetti who was much more specific last night. So are you not comfortable with issuing a little bit more strong guidance on this because it’s not the same everywhere in the state?

John Myers: (16:28)
Do you think those locals are doing the right thing and people should just listen to that? And what is the message about wearing a mask from your words?

Governor Gavin Newsom: (16:34)
We were very clear in our message, no ambiguity, absolute clarity. First state to put out guidance saying that the masks are additive, not a substitute. I’ll repeat that. Masks are not a substitute for physical distancing. That’s crystal clear. It’s incredibly important message to express. It’s a very consistent message with Mayor Garcetti and I think the message that was sent in Riverside as well. So there’s continuity and clarity in terms of that message. Here’s an additional point I want to make. We believe and we put out guidelines that if individuals want to have face coverings that that is a good thing and a preferable thing in addition to the physical distancing and the stay at home order.

Governor Gavin Newsom: (17:22)
And we put out guidelines of what that looks like. The concern that we have about mandating it is referenced in my comments just a moment ago. We are still trying to protect our healthcare workers, provide them the appropriate not N95 masks and surgical masks and gowns and coveralls. The testing capacity in the state is also impacted by masks and personal protective gear. And as a consequence, we want to make sure that that’s prioritized in the state of California. But we have been very clear that if you are going into an environment where physical distancing is all been impossible, for example into a grocery store with small aisles in a long queue, that we do believe it would be additive and beneficial to have a face covering.

Speaker 1: (18:16)
Sophia Bollag, Sac Bee.

Sophia Bollag: (18:20)
Hi, Governor. I want to ask about some reports related to churches and other religious organizations that are staying open despite the stay at home orders. Earlier today, The Bee reported on a church in Rancho Cordova that’s continuing apparently to meet. I’m wondering, is your office looking into that church or any other churches that are reported to be staying open and do you have a message for religious leaders who are arguing that the services that they provide are essential?

Governor Gavin Newsom: (18:54)
Well, with all due respect, it’s essential that we practice physical distancing everywhere, period, full stop. And so I would highly encourage anyone that is not practicing physical distancing to reconsider it. And to the extent they refuse, we will apply social pressure and to the extent possible we will advance additional enforcement. Specific to your question about this specific site, I am not aware of any ongoing enforcement. As you know, the protocols for enforcement are bottom up, not top down.

Governor Gavin Newsom: (19:29)
And so we would look to local leaders to enforce those policies first and to the extent they need support from the state of California, we would avail ourselves to supporting additional enforcement.

Speaker 1: (19:42)
Angela Hart, Kaiser Health News.

Angela Hart: (19:47)
Hey, Governor. Thank you. I wanted to ask you, we’re getting some reports about tents being use by the state, by the administration at California State Hospital. But I wanted to ask if that is happening, if so, to what degree and is that part of your broader effort and caring for COVID positive homeless people as well as perhaps homeless people who don’t have the virus?

Governor Gavin Newsom: (20:16)
So tomorrow we’re going to make some very specific announcements and update everybody on our efforts around homeless and the current status of our trailers that we announced a number of weeks ago and the number of hotel rooms we’re procuring, how we’re prioritizing. We’re going to lay out in detail our regional strategies, our regional partners, county by county and then we’ll be able to provide you clarity in terms of your question. Again, this time tomorrow we will specifically be laying those things out.

Speaker 1: (20:50)
Laurel Rosenhall CalMatters.

Laurel Rosenhall: (20:54)
Hi. Thanks so much. I was wondering generally how you are preparing for the state budget that’s upcoming you may revise and specifically whether you intend to continue advancing the idea of providing health insurance to undocumented Californians who are over age 65 as you had proposed in January?

Governor Gavin Newsom: (21:16)
Well, we have a workload budget which suggest everything’s on the table. The January budget is no longer operable in terms of the conversations I’m having with staff and conversations I’m having with legislative leaders. They recognize the enormity of this moment. 1.9 million unemployment insurance claims just since March 12th. The world has radically changed since the January budget was proposed. So everything is on the table. That’s an honest and sober reflection of that reality. We certainly are being benefited modestly by the federal stimulus in terms of the state block grants.

Governor Gavin Newsom: (21:51)
Cities and counties though will continue to struggle and suffer. And that’s Carla’s question and now it’s come back to me on the issue of property tax, which they disproportionately rely on and is the one source of funding that does not come to the state of California, local property taxes. CSAC, the county association, we had a call and they have requested that we not impose upon them any mandate or dictate from on high unless we are prepared to backfill the impacts of that mandate. And so, Carla, that’s the answer to that question, but it’s part and parcel of a totality of considerations including the announcements I made today on deferral for one year of up to $50,000 in sales taxes.

Governor Gavin Newsom: (22:38)
That’s money that people need in counties and cities and at the state level. The magnitude of the impact of all of this is just coming into, I think, full light of day and I think we should be prepared for substantial adjustments in our budget.

Speaker 1: (22:56)
Kathleen Ronayne, AP.

Kathleen Ronayne: (23:01)
Hi, Governor. I want to talk about testing. So it’s my understanding that California has a testing backlog of somewhere around 59 or 60,000 tests that we just haven’t yet processed. And yesterday LA County health director was saying that some people are waiting up to 12 days for the results. So what are some of the specific things that we’re doing to reduce this backlog as we ramp up testing? Are we adding capacity to analyze tests? How are we making sure that this backlog doesn’t just grow as we ramp up testing and further has the state sent guidelines to counties about what data they should be collecting and sharing with the public when it comes to testing?

Governor Gavin Newsom: (23:40)
Well, very specific guidelines have been sent out the county some time ago, not just the counties. I’ll remind you, there’s really four buckets of testing in the state of California. You have academic institutions that are testing, you have the state labs that are testing, you have the commercial labs that are testing and then you have all of these private sector point of care labs that are popping up everywhere. And so we have sent out detailed requests that not only we get the number of positives once those diagnostic results come back, but the number of negatives.

Governor Gavin Newsom: (24:16)
We had protocols in the past where the commercial labs and others were only providing certain information, not the totality of the information. And that’s why, as you know well, a few weeks ago we’ve been very transparent about this, we said those numbers would change. And they did. You’re correct. It’s 59,500 test results are still pending. This is a national problem. Just one lab in the United States has over a hundred plus thousand backlogged tests. Those large commercial labs are overwhelmed by the demand.

Governor Gavin Newsom: (24:49)
And you talk about LabCorp and Quest, this is what they do 24/7. Even this moment is overwhelming for them. Here’s the good news. Every day we’re increasing the number of tests that are being conducted. But we do recognize the time delay. Yesterday, I mentioned up to 12 days, so I’ve heard that. The day before, we had heard up to eight to 10 days. The backlogs are not necessarily getting better in real time, but we’re hopeful as these protocols and procedures and the new serology tests, those are the blood based tests that look for proteins related to your immune system and antibodies begin to supplement just the PCR tests, which are the dominant tests that have current backlog that will be able to substantially fast track those test results.

Governor Gavin Newsom: (25:36)
Let me add to that a specific. You know, because I think we’ve all written about it, Abbott announced their testing capacity five to 15 minutes to get back results. Those are point of care tests. But I want to caution people. The state of California received only 100 cassettes, 15 different labs sets. Do the math. I mean, it’s an irrelevant or rather, no, it’s relevant to the individual. It’s an insignificant total-

Governor Gavin Newsom: (26:03)
… Irrelevant or rather no, it’s relevant to the individual. It’s an insignificant total amount of tests that we can produce in five to 15 minutes in the state of California. So before people rush to, well what about this I read about, or what but about that? It’s all about scale and the scale is impacted not just about the time for diagnostics, but it’s also impacted by the ability to get the samples. That’s swabs, that’s the media, and still it’s about reagents, the RNA extraction, that’s the PCR test that binds the RNA virus in the nasal cavity, and you need the extraction kit, which is part of the reagents. Those supplies also continue to be scarce for many.

Governor Gavin Newsom: (26:43)
So I could … That could sound very confusing, but I hope it gives you a sense of the totality of what we are looking to organize more deliberatively around, in terms of our testing regimes and know we have a new task force on tests and in the next couple of days we’re going to provide some, I think, very good news about our capacity to substantially increase our tests in the state of California. There’s a reason I spoke about serology, blood-based tests, and the PCR tests, and these labs and academia. We have a remarkable collection of individuals now advising us to get to the next level, which we think potentially could be best in class from even an international perspective, not just a national perspective, in terms of improving the time to diagnostics and the ability to get more samples and to provide the appropriate level of supplies, including PPE.

Speaker 3: (27:42)
Ashley Ozwella, Crown Four.

Ashley Ozwella: (27:46)
Hey governor, I’m curious about any possible travel restrictions that California might put in place. Just given that you said that we’re buying time here and just looking at some constant travel from the east coast and here. I just wanted to get your thoughts on that.

Governor Gavin Newsom: (28:02)
Yeah, look, if someone travels for essential reasons into the state of California, they have to practice … You come into the state of California, you have to practice physical distancing. We have a stay-at-home order if you’re not essential. So anybody that comes into this state is subject to those same rules and same regulations. So that’s where we are currently. We haven’t thought beyond that. As long as our strong stay-at-home orders are enforced and into effect, the physical distancing is constant. If you’re a visitor in this state or you’re a resident in state, you are required, appropriate for each of us to recognize that we all have a responsibility once in this state to be … Well, to have the application of those rules equally applied to everybody.

Speaker 3: (28:51)
Emily Duley, Bloomberg Law.

Emily Duley: (28:54)
Hey governor. Thanks for taking these questions. Some safe water advocates asked for a moratorium on water shut off during this. Can you comment a little bit on that?

Governor Gavin Newsom: (29:05)
Not only can I comment, we appreciate their leadership, their advocacy. I was very proud to work with the legislature this year on a safe drinking water strategy that struggled for a few years in this state. Very controversial. We were very proud that we were able to meet that moment last year and those same advocates have made it crystal clear, not just to you, to me, that they want to protect not just residents from having their water shut off, but also small businesses. I signed an executive order today to do just that.

Speaker 3: (29:35)
Al Dolterro, Mercury News.

Al Dolterro: (29:40)
Hi governor. Thank you so much for taking my question. I’m wondering if yesterday during your schools update whether it was you and Tony Thurman’s intention to close all schools, despite not being able to order to do so?

Governor Gavin Newsom: (29:55)
Yes.

Al Dolterro: (29:55)
As a state unilaterally.

Governor Gavin Newsom: (29:57)
Look, kids are not going to go back to their classrooms. They, however, are going to have a lot of work to do at home and we’ll continue to educate our kids through distance learning. I can’t be more clear about this, superintendent can’t be more clear about this. The modeling we provided yesterday I think provides more clarity in terms of where we expect to be in a number of weeks, another month. I think the worst decision we could make is, I’ve said this in the past is cutting our parachute when we’re way above the ground. And I don’t think there’d be anything more impactful that would example or manifest that metaphor than sending six plus million children back into our public schools as vectors to come back home with their grandpa and grandma and family members, and potentially when we’re so close to turning the page and getting into the summer months and getting into a different phase of this virus, to see it flare back up.

Governor Gavin Newsom: (30:58)
So the superintendent’s been clear, our president of our state school board has been clear, I’ve been as clear as I possibly can, and I hope that the school districts start to approach the distance learning application of the school-based meal application and really get to work on making sure our kids are working at home, despite the deep anxiety and stress that places on our parents, particularly our mothers and those teachers that I met with yesterday on a Zoom call that are not only educating their kids through distance learning, but also having to take care of their own at home. So deep respect and empathy, once again, and admiration for those that are bearing an even greater burden to meet this moment with the call for those schools to shut down.

Speaker 3: (31:51)
Dustin Gardner, SF Chronicle.

Dustin Gardner: (31:56)
Hi governor, we’ve heard stories about nurses having to cut up trash bags to use this protective equipment and taking other kinds of extreme measures because they don’t have equipment. You’ve mentioned the state has made a deal to obtain more than 100 million N95 masks. I’m wondering, can you tell us anything about how soon nurses and healthcare workers might expect to receive those supplies and how long the state expects they might last?

Governor Gavin Newsom: (32:24)
So every day I’m updating you. Today, I updated you with a number 35.9 million N95 masks we have distributed. That number has changed substantially from even a week ago, because in real time we’re answering that question even though it’s not posed. As soon as we get a shipment in, even if it’s 10,000, 100,000 a million, we do our best to get it out as quickly as possible. I use the N95s as a proxy. Again, we could go through that list of shields and coveralls and gowns and gloves sets, all of them equally important for many.

Governor Gavin Newsom: (32:56)
I recognize the deep anxiety for people all across this state that are doing do it themselves strategies and makeshift strategies and we’re doing everything in our power, a Herculean effort to do more and do better for them. So we have folks all around the world. We’ve got shipments coming in in partnership with FEMA, Department of Defense that come in on a daily basis. I talked about the 179 or 176,000 masks coming in in our fourth shipment from the national stockpile, just the N95s. I’m working almost 24/7, that’s not a gross exaggeration, as a conduit to these logistics. And I will just say as an example, not all of it goes well, shouldn’t surprise you. Give you an example, we had a shipment that came into Texas and it was sent back. Why? Because all the masks were moldy.

Governor Gavin Newsom: (33:47)
That’s something that’s going to happen when you’re shipping things from around the world and you’re trying to get folks to move quickly. Others have been turned back at the border in Mexico. So we work through this. We anticipate this. It’s a huge logistics operation. And in addition to that, we’re working domestically with partners within the state of California to begin to repurpose their facilities. I mentioned the partnerships, including the private sector, not just Apple, that procured masks for us, not just the work that’s been done on ventilators from companies like Space X or the work being done by Virgin Orbit, but 7/11 that provided at their Stockton warehouse masks for the state. So as soon as they come in, we get them out. They can’t come in soon enough.

Speaker 3: (34:33)
Katie Orr, KQBD.

Katie Orr: (34:36)
Hi governor, I just wanted to follow up on the property tax deadline. So it seems like you’re saying the counties have asked you to not to extend the April 10th deadline unless the state can make up for what’s lost. What do you say to homeowners who can’t afford to make that payment right now?

Governor Gavin Newsom: (34:53)
Well, we’re working to try to … Look, the assessors and the counties make that determination. This is not the state’s money, unlike a lot of other taxes that are collected. We’ve made great progress on the residential side. We’re trying to make even more progress on the commercial side. And that’s a preview to conversations we’re having with some of our nation’s largest banks as well, similar to the residential mortgage and the [inaudible 00:35:17] deal that we just announced. We are assessing our options as it relates to property tax. I deeply recognize that anxiety as someone, like you, and others, perhaps, that pay those property taxes to see what we can do. We’re working with the counties and they’re very anxious, as I said, in this space and we’re seeing if there’s ways to soften this.

Governor Gavin Newsom: (35:38)
So this is a conversation in real time, but again, purpose of full transparency. They were very clear, the assessors and the county officers, about their hope and expectation. But I am carrying that weight as governor of the state of California to answer the question to you and the millions of homeowners in the state that are feeling that anxiety coming up on April 10th, and we’re going to see what our options are and see what we can do to help in this moment. But I don’t want to over promise in this space.

Speaker 3: (36:12)
Taryn Luna, LA times.

Taryn Luna: (36:16)
Governor, you’ve talked about the need for community surveillance testing and we’d like more details on that. Where has community surveillance testing been done so far? How many people have been tested, and what are the results?

Governor Gavin Newsom: (36:26)
Yeah, so we’ll put that out. I told you that we’ve got this new workforce. I talked at length about the PCR versus serology and our new efforts there. We’ll be announcing, so you’ll have exactly what you’re looking for, an update of all of the tests that have been done, where they’re getting done, who’s doing them, what the specimen collection challenges are, what the RNA extraction reagent challenges are. We’re going to put all of that out. You’ll be very, I think, satisfied with those details. There are dozens and dozens … Excuse me, hundreds and hundreds … Excuse me, thousands and thousands of points and we want to make sure when that information is provided, it is as accurate as you would expect and demand of me and I expect and demand of my director of health and human services that is leading that effort.

Speaker 3: (37:14)
Karma Dickerson, Fox 40.

Karma Dickerson: (37:18)
Hi governor. Thank you for talking about the unemployment claims, specifically what EDD is doing to try to increase capacity, but this question goes to more along the lines of the federal CARES act, the unemployment expansion there. People who would not have typically been covered under unemployment, for example, wanting an extra 13 weeks of benefits or the self-employed. They currently have no option on applying at this point. EDD says they have not gotten the guidance from the federal government, and so there are people who have been told you’re newly covered but have no option of applying. And for example, someone like a hairdresser, depending on when her stay-at-home orders came down, hasn’t had a paycheck in nearly a month and based on processing times would be at least another month. Is there anything that can be done to get some clarity between the federal and state EDD offices?

Governor Gavin Newsom: (38:11)
Well, this is where I’m very pleased to say that I have Julie Su on the line, and Julie is our labor secretary and is asking and answering exactly this question, among many, many others, on a daily basis, an hourly basis. And let me ask Julie to opine and give you some more specifics about those circumstances, which we are very familiar with. Julie?

Julie Su: (38:38)
Thank you, governor. Of course. So the federal CARES act has a number of different components, and just to be really clear, some of them do apply to traditional unemployment insurance, right? There’s the $600 a week for up to four months that people who are applying for unemployment insurance will be eligible for, and we have been gearing up and are ready to get those payments out as early as next week, barring any last minute-

Julie A. Su: (39:03)
Payments out as early as next week barring and last minute requirements that the Federal Department of Labor put into place. But you’re asking about the pandemic unemployment assistance, which is for individuals who are not eligible for unemployment insurance. These include the self-employed, true independent contractors and we have been working with the Department of Labor to get more guidance. In the meantime we are putting up some information about it. So you can go to the Labor Agency, the labor.ca.gov COVID-19 information to find out more about that. But we are working diligently to both get the information we need from the Federal Government and to stand up some information here to make sure that as soon as the federal money is available that we are able to get it out.

Governor Gavin Newsom: (39:49)
Thanks Julie, and I want to acknowledge Julie’s incredible leadership. She’s been hosting webinars in this space. We worked in our partnership. I want to just thank Univision for their efforts to make sure that we are truly culturally competent in terms of the outreach in the state of California in this space. She has over 1200 advisors, 80 different locations throughout the state of California that are trying to triage and answer those questions quite literally in real time. So we have a lot of work to do. The magnitude of this is again, without precedent, good enough, never is. We recognize the deep responsibility, the burden that it is on us, Julie and her incredible team over there to be able to answer those questions to help people that are point of deep anxiety and crisis. Another question.

Speaker 4: (40:34)
Jim Roope, Westwood One News.

Jim Roope: (40:37)
All right. Thank you Governor very much. Please thank the First Partner too, that’s one understanding spouse you have there. I’ll tell you. [crosstalk 00:40:45] Interested to know because based on the president’s comments and comments from other governors around the country. April seems to be a make or break month in many respects. You laid a bunch of stuff out yesterday with Dr.[Galle 00:00:40:59] in the charts of what could happen if we really trying to flatten that curve. So could you tell me in your words, what do you think the next two or three weeks looks like in the state of California?

Governor Gavin Newsom: (41:10)
Okay. I mentioned this in the past, I’ll repeat it. The number I wake up to every single day is the number of hospitalized that are COVID-19 positive, and the number of people in the ICU. Again, those numbers 1,922 COVID positive that had been hospitalized, and 816 that are in the ICU. We look at our capacity within the system to surge and we look at our capacity to meet this from a human resource perspective and with the appropriate level of protective gear. That’s the line that we are modeling. I was encouraged this morning, it’s devastating for the individuals, but in terms of that trend line to see just a 5.4% increase in those ICU numbers. Remember a week or so ago we saw almost a doubling overnight. That created obviously pause in some concerns. So day-to-day it matters, but we would like to see trends.

Governor Gavin Newsom: (42:07)
So the trend that we’ve laid out yesterday was a projected trend if we continue through the appropriate physical distancing, and the incredible work that 40 million Californians have done to help bend this curve and meet this moment. That if we could continue with that curve at a more modest slope that will buy us more time to prepare and that gives us a few weeks to prepare for an upcoming peak that could come into the middle of May. That’s a very different expectation than other parts of the country, but that’s our basis of our current modeling. Which as I continue to remind people is subject to change any given day.

Speaker 4: (42:47)
Final question, Elex Michelson. Fox 11.

Elex Michaelson: (42:52)
Thank you governor. A question on the issue of education. We’re a few weeks into this distance learning experiment and I know you like to talk about statistics and learn about things. So what do you think is working right now in terms of distance learning? What’s not working? What’s your advice to parents on that issue? And for yourself on a personal level, how do you talk about that issue with your own kids?

Governor Gavin Newsom: (43:16)
I’ll tell you. There is a big distance between a parent teaching their child, and a teacher teaching their child. It’s not that our kids don’t respect their parents, they just don’t seem to respect them when it comes to educating them as much as they do their teachers. So if there was ever any doubt about how extraordinarily valuable in society our teachers are, I hope we’ve disabused anyone of that doubt. This is an incredible burden that’s placed on households. We were talking to four teachers yesterday and they’re doing their best on distance learning. They were offering best practice advice from Oakland to San Diego, and San Jose in Los Angeles about their struggles even… And I bring those examples up even in parts of the state that socially, economically have incredible capacity to provide for internet access and how they’re struggling even within those communities to get download speeds that are appropriate to the curriculum, and appropriate to the needs.

Governor Gavin Newsom: (44:24)
How so many of their own kids don’t even have access to what you and I take for granted. That’s a smart phone or a tablet, a Chromebook and the like. So what I’m learning is this is not just a rural issue and an urban issue. The reality is all across the state, people are struggling and we put out very comprehensive guidelines. I again mentioned yesterday that I was very proud that they’re being shared across the country. But we have enormous amount of work to do. That’s why the announcement yesterday was so important to remind people to anchor in their consciousness, that schools are closed, but classes are in. We’ve got to double down on our distance learning work. I was very proud that Google stepped up 100,000 hotspots that they’ve donated to the state of California, three months of free unlimited data in downloads that they’re providing. So we can address some of those vulnerabilities throughout the state and also providing thousands of Chromebooks.

Governor Gavin Newsom: (45:21)
I said this in my remarks yesterday, we need more Googles. So if you’re a company that provides hotspots, if you’re a company that wants to contribute more in terms of those books, and the tablets, please, this is the moment to do so. It’s also, forgive me the long windiness. It’s a reminder that the equity issue is magnified in a crisis in profound and deep ways. Reminds me of where we were even before this crisis, which was unacceptable. The digital divide and the disparities that exist in this state and in this nation, we must confront them head on. This is just a prime example of that. So if there’s anything good that comes out of it, it’s going to be protocols and procedures that not only are seared in our mind and memory, but in our frame of reference moving forward and on our resolve to address those issues much more proactively. Any other questions?

Speaker 4: (46:32)
Renee [Santez 00:46:34].

Governor Gavin Newsom: (46:33)
All right.

Speaker 4: (46:33)
KBR.

Renee Sanchez: (46:38)
Governor questions specifically in regards to beds. When should we be seeing the beds arriving in Sleep Train Arena? Are beds going anywhere else in the Sacramento region and who will staff it?

Governor Gavin Newsom: (46:50)
Yeah, so the Sleep Train, we just signed the contract. Army Corps of Engineers has been working to spec out what needs to get done there. We now have a contractor on the site and we’re working with California Based Labor. These things trust me matter and been part of a logistics effort that people are working overtime to secure. The total number of beds plus or minus currently is 393 plus or minus, but that gives you a sense of the range. In the next 10 to 14 days you’re going to see a lot of progress in that specific site. But it’s part of the total surge package. That’s just one example.

Governor Gavin Newsom: (47:29)
We have also specked out, they’ve looked the Army Corps of over 24 sites in the state of California. From the Oakland Colosseum, not just Sleep Train Arena. We have motel and hotel rooms that are available not just for homeless but also hospital surge. We are working very collaboratively with Mayor Steinberg in terms of localizing to your question around Sacramento in the County, their surge capacity and planning needs as well. So thousands of units are up and running. All those FMS sites have been identified. The 2000 beds that come from the federal cash. We have half of them already that have been set up. As it relates to staffing in each and every County, staffing works differently. Some counties will absorb all the staffing needs, other counties do partnerships with the state, 50/50. So specific to Sleep Train that is a work in progress. I’ll let you know when we work out those protocols.

Governor Gavin Newsom: (48:33)
Let me just end by making one additional point and we never say this enough and that is thank you to law enforcement. Thank you to police officers, sheriffs. We lost our first police officer, young woman, 44 years young, a detective in Santa Rosa, 20 year veteran of law enforcement lost her life because of this virus. So I just want to express our empathy not only to her and our family the impact this has had on the Santa Rosa police community. But more broadly to law enforcement across the state. Let me just thank law enforcement for meeting this moment as well. And thank you for putting on a badge every damn morning to keep people safe. It’s a reminder of how vulnerable law enforcement is as well. Take care everybody.

Governor Gavin Newsom: (49:29)
(silence).

Speaker 5: (50:18)
I don’t know, I just felt a little bit more casual or something. I don’t know. [crosstalk 00:50:23] Yeah.

Speaker 6: (50:24)
Hey A-ron. My problem.

Speaker 5: (50:27)
Dude. [crosstalk 00:50:30] A nice hoodie? I have the perfect-