Jul 22, 2020
California Governor Gavin Newsom July 22 Press Conference Transcript
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Gavin Newsom: (06:34)
Well, good afternoon, everybody. We have a wonderful opportunity today to update you and highlight you on some of our efforts to procure more PPE for the state of California, some of the efforts that have been underway for a number of months. We’re now here at a warehouse in Sacramento, warehouse we’ve had as a state asset for years and years, where many of our N-95 masks, our surgical and procedural masks, gowns, gloves, sanitation equipment resides. It’s one of many warehouses strategically located throughout the state of California.
Gavin Newsom: (07:14)
Today, I want to update you on some of our efforts around procurement to meet the needs, needs that now have grown to 46 million mask units per month that are currently being utilized, what is referred to as a burn rate, 46 million masks now every single month that are being utilized just in the state of California. So, want to put in perspective as we advance our efforts to procure even more PPE about the magnitude of the utilization to date. But I’d be remiss if I didn’t start my remarks by acknowledging the obvious, that today we are reporting here in the state of California data that was collected yesterday. We tested 127,000 individuals yesterday.
Gavin Newsom: (08:05)
We tested a cohort that was slightly in excess of the average number of tests we’ve tested on a daily basis. Yesterday, we had 12,807 individuals that were tested positive for COVID-19. 12,807 represents the highest reported number in our state. We also yesterday reported 115 deaths here in the state of California. That number has fluctuated a lot. Earlier in the week, I recognized or we were reconciling just nine deaths, nine families whose lives were torn apart because of a loss of a loved one, just nine. And made a point that I want to reinforce today, from nine to 115 just over the course of a few days, that it’s more important, I think, beyond just the magnitude of each individual loss, but in terms of trying to get a sense of the mortality rates here in the state of California, to look at those seven day averages. And over a seven day period, we have averaged 90 lives lost. That’s compared to about 98 lives in the previous seven days, but nonetheless 90 lives lost.
Gavin Newsom: (09:21)
And so it’s just another reminder, if I need to remind anybody, of the magnitude of impact that this virus continues to have. I know there is a drum beat that is often advanced around this notion that somehow the mortality rate is such that none of us have to necessarily worry about having contracted the disease. That is simply untrue. The data bears that out. And with that number of 115 just yesterday, it’s just another proof point of how deadly this disease continues to be. As it relates to the total number of positives at 12,807 that we are reporting today, putting that in perspective, we’ve averaged on a seven day period 9,420. That is up from previous week of roughly 8,300. So you’re certainly seeing that trend line continue to increase, more tests, obviously more positives, but nonetheless positivity rate continues to go up modestly. Our 14 day positivity rate has remained steady at 7.4%, 7.4% positivity rate over a 14 day period here in the state of California. But the seven day rate is approaching where we were last Monday. You’ll recall last Monday, we were at 7.7% over just a seven day positivity period, where it’s 7.6% today. So that is cause of some concern. Each decimal point represents what I would argue as a significant increase in that positivity rate. But 7.4 over a 14 day period, 12,807 reported over the last 24 hour period in terms of total number of positive cases in this state, 115 individuals that lost their lives. And to each and every member of their family, our hearts go out to you and we have not forgotten how deadly this disease continues to be. The purpose of advancing the presentation today with that cause of concern is also highlighted by the nature of this virus now reaching North of 400,000 positive cases that we’ve collected here in the state of California.
Gavin Newsom: (11:46)
We’re a state, again, a size of 21 states combined. So it’s not surprising now in some respects, as we’ve begun to reopen key sectors of our economy, people continue to mix and people continue to come in close contact with others that may have contracted this disease that our numbers would start to go up in total now. The highest in the nation, not highest per capita, not highest in that respect, but nonetheless, a sober reminder of why we are taking things as seriously as we are. A sober reminder of why we put in that mask mandate here in the state of California. A reminder of why we modified our opening as it relates to moving activities into outdoor spaces, faith based activities into outdoor spaces, activities like restaurants, moving them into the outdoors, and why that was important.
Gavin Newsom: (12:49)
All in anticipation, looking at these numbers, looking at these trend lines, before they were becoming headlines, we move forward with a new PSA campaign. We move forward with these additional modifications in the 35 now counties that are in our watch list. We just added Butte County to that cohort of counties, 35 of our 58 counties now on the watch list and why we have additional requirements in those counties in particular. So again, none of these numbers in and of themselves mark a distinction from our approach and strategies. We’ve been monitoring these numbers very, very closely, of course, since the beginning of this pandemic, when we had one of the first community cases in the nation. That’s why we were one of the first to move forward with a stay at home order to do our best to mitigate the spike in terms of the increase of this virus, so that we can mitigate the spread, and also buy time to do exactly what we are talking about here today. And that is to set aside a strategy to address prospect of a surge, in hospital utilization, the need to develop alternative care sites outside of our hospital system to help isolate and quarantine individuals, the ability to build a cohort of over now 10,000 contact tracers in the state to develop a platform to aggregate and share and distribute data related to contact tracing in the state, which we have done. And to move forward to identify key needs as it relates to personnel, part of our Health Corp strategy in this state, where over 96,000 people went to that healthcorp.gov site, and 35,000 have availed themselves of their active capacity to have current license registration so that we can begin to pull from that resource base appropriate human capital that may be needed to staff the beds at these alternative care, sites support our efforts in terms of contact tracing and the like.
Gavin Newsom: (15:08)
But the purpose of today is to focus on another element of our preparedness and what we’ve been doing now for many, many months, to highlight where we are and where we intend to go over the course of the next few months in terms of procuring PPE. Our PPE strategy has been a success. Our PPE strategy was predicated on the lack of a national strategy, where many had recognized, and California early on recognized, that we were competing not only with other states, but other nations, including the United States, our federal partners themselves, in terms of getting adequate supplies of PPE. Because of the size of the state of California, again size of 21 state populations combined, the nation’s largest state, we could have either lamented that, been frustrated-
Gavin Newsom: (16:02)
Could have either lamented that, been frustrated by that, point in fingers at other partners, or the failure of developing partnerships in this space, rather, we decided to change the game, try to be more resourceful in our mindset in terms of how we approach the issue of procurement of PPE. We announced, a number of months ago, a very bold strategy to shape PPP, PPE procurement, not only for the State, but we thought we could accelerate the efforts for this nation by developing new and larger contracts.
Gavin Newsom: (16:38)
One of those contracts, not the only one, but one of those contracts was the company called BYD. We made some bold commitments in terms of procuring hundreds of millions of units, of surgical procedure masks, as well as the N95 masks. We announced those and that we would maintain a consistent supply chain that would come into the State of California in May and June. And we were able to secure exactly well within a margin of what we anticipated. 193 units of surgical masks out of 200 million have already arrived here in the State of California. We have been able to procure roughly 146 million N95 masks. We have 150 million more that will be coming in in the next few weeks, so 300 million N95 masks as part of that contract.
Gavin Newsom: (17:42)
The dissipation of that contract was in a 90 day period, 60 days for the first traunch. We’re within that period, and we’re very pleased to the success of that contract and our ability to draw down those assets. There was a little bit of delay with what we referred to as a NIOSH Certification for some of the masks, but as I said at the time delays were not denials, and we were able to work through some of those certification issues with our federal partners, and as a consequence, we were able to procure those assets and those additional units.
Gavin Newsom: (18:17)
Why does that matter? You could see some of the masks behind me. It matters for precisely the reason that we work so aggressively to bend the curve initially. And that was as we reopened the economy and we do so in a strategic and phased approach, we needed to maintain a level of safety and confidence for our healthcare workers, our frontline workers, our nurses, our nurse practitioners, our doctors, our medical professionals on the front lines, our first responders, we talked as well about the folks that are on the front line, our grocery workers, our farm workers, to make sure as we were maintaining the essential nature of our economy and maintaining our aggressive stance in terms of providing the highest quality healthcare that we possibly could, that we needed to protect those workers.
Gavin Newsom: (19:07)
And we’ve been able to get out some 297 million procedure masks already that we’ve been able to distribute into those essential workers into those sectors of our economy, to counties and cities, large and small. And we’ve been able to do about 86 million masks, 85.5 million N95 masks that we’ve been able to distribute as well. So over the last few months, close to 300 million procedure masks have been distributed. And again, just shy of 86 million N95 masks. Today, we currently have an inventory, like which you see behind me, because of these large procurements and contracts of 111 million units of N95 masks. We’re distributing those. They come in, they come out, but currently, because of the large procurement, we have 111 million of the N95 masks, and roughly 147 million units still in inventory of our procedure masks.
Gavin Newsom: (20:16)
We recognize 147 million, a 111 million is not adequate, still, to where we need to be. And as a consequence of that, we just made a commitment to extend as a bridge contract with BYD the additional procurement of 120 million masks, 300 million masks for procedure and surgical purposes, and 120 million masks as part of our procurement. So we just established a new framework to extend as a bridge contract, to be able to draw down even more masks. Again, I know there’s a lot of numbers, forgive me, it could be confusing, but when you’re burning through 46 million masks, every month, you start to do the math that even having a hundred plus million of the N95s in inventory, you can go through those pretty quickly. Having shy of 200 million of those surgical masks, you can go through them quickly. So we need to go big and continue to be bold in our procurement, and we are announcing more formerly more publicly today this bridge contract with BYD for another 120 million and another 300 million of this surgical masks.
Gavin Newsom: (21:40)
We’re also putting out what we refer to and forgive my lexicon around the language of government, but an RFP, Response For Proposals, to do a larger master contract in an effort to get more bitters, to get these prices down. As we’re entering, we hope, into a more competitive market over the next few months. It’s still not where it needs to be, and that’s why we’re doing this bridge contract, but as we look into September, October, November into the new year, we anticipated to be a lot more competitive with Honeywell, with 3M, other companies, including California based manufacturers that will be entering into the market that can start to procure at scale, the numbers that are needed to meet the needs of this State.
Gavin Newsom: (22:29)
So we’re putting that information out. We want more competitive bids, we want more California based manufacturers, and you may recall a few weeks back I was at another facility here in the State of California, announcing a partnership with our California manufacturing and technology association, CMTA, where we have a safely making California site, safely making California site, which now has over 400 California based manufacturers providing over 435 different supply needs within the State of California.
Gavin Newsom: (23:14)
One of those manufacturers we highlighted was [AVOC 00:23:18]. AVOC is a retooled manufacturer in Santa Clara, California, that we were able to make a commitment to procure 40 million N95 masks. Those masks are coming off the production line, coming into the State inventory, those 40 million we’ll draw all of them down in that first phase contract by August. That’s a good and encouraging sign. Again, we want California manufacturers creating California based jobs, developing PPE for Californians, and we hope for the nation, and we should go bold and big for the rest of the world.
Gavin Newsom: (23:58)
And so that’s exactly what we’re encouraging, that was the commitment we made as part of that partnership with CMTA. And we’re seeing fruits of that partnership. The biggest, again, being AVOC in Santa Clara. We just want to compliment their team for retooling display signs for conferences, retooling their assembly lines completely, and making these critical N95 masks at a competitive price. And we hope they are among many of the bidders, Honeywell, 3M, and others, BYD included, that all can compete to get those lower prices so that we can make some longer term commitments.
Gavin Newsom: (24:38)
Full disclosure, we had conversations with the CEO, personal conversation with the CEO of Honeywell, as an example about opening a California based facility and creating hundreds, if not thousand, plus jobs here in the State. That facility, we hope to encourage the development of that facility, but those units won’t come online as quickly as we need them to, and again, that’s the purpose of announcing this bridge contract. Let me just for the purposes of explaining contextually, what has been referred to by me and others is the Wild Wild West of procurement looking back just 90 to 100 days ago. Let me give you a sense of where we are, at least from our perspective here in the State of California today, in terms of procurement landscape, we reached out, we wanted to diversify our supply chain. We reached out, as an example to 3M based manufacturers, Granger, Allstar, others that are sourcing a lot of their supplies from 3M directly.
Gavin Newsom: (25:42)
Interestingly, we made a commitment, or rather 3M made a commitment to us, to draw down 12.4 million N95 masks. This is not a critique, it’s an observation and a proof point of where we are. We made that commitment many months ago. They made that commitment in partnership. Those 12.4 million masks, only 290,000 of those masks have been delivered. Only 290,000 of the 12.4 million. So it’s a way of expressing this while there are a lot of California and American manufacturers, they’re just not providing the delivery at scale that’s necessary of the moment that we’re in. It’s not just the moment we’re in here in the State of California. I’ve mentioned this in the past, California has distributed over 17 million masks to neighboring States because of our large scale procurement. Other States competing with the Federal Government, competing in a global market, but also competing with other States, they’re seeing similar reduction in the supply because the demand is going up and as a consequence, their needs are great. And so Nevada and Oregon, Alaska, and Arizona, those four States and working with a few other States, I may have highlighted one or two of them in previous comments, a few weeks ago, we have in partnership with FEMA, who’s just been spectacular, Bob Fenton. Talk about partnerships. FEMA has been a spectacular partner to the State of California with their extraordinary regional leadership, and Bob Fenton helping also support our partners in other States.
Gavin Newsom: (27:27)
So I guess it’s a point of pride, but it’s also a point of emphasis that we decided to think outside the box, we did something big and bold, and we were able to move more boxes into warehouses like this than any other State. And we want to continue to emphasize these efforts and to magnify them even further, and that again, long windedly, is the purpose of the announcement here today. And so I want to thank Mark Ghilarducci and his team at the Office of Emergency Services. I want to thank our partners in the Legislature that have been informed of our new bridge contract, were able to get the price down with this new bridge contract quite significantly.
Gavin Newsom: (28:10)
Again, we’re in a different environment and we’re going to demand more competitive pricing, not only in this environment, but going forward through our master efforts and in terms of the master contracts. I want to thank by the way, all of the warehouse workers that are here assembled. These are the quiet heroes that have been moving this product in and out, and also quantifying that the product that’s coming in actually was delivered. We do that on site when it comes off the planes, but also it’s part of the efforts here in these remarkably well-resourced warehouse facilities up and down the State. You got folks, by the way, that have worked in these warehouses, well, three or four administrations prior to the current administration, and have some wonderful procurement stories. That’s an aside for another day, except to say, I just want to express my admiration for the men and women that are working here often, not often, almost exclusively unnoticed, that are part of this supply chain effort, moving product all up and down the State.
Gavin Newsom: (29:17)
I also want to acknowledge this in a responsive way, and that is, I still continue to get calls from folks that say, “You mentioned that you sent out 297 million procedure masks, which we have, but we still don’t have ours.” And I hear that anecdotally, and increasingly we’re hearing specific examples of that, including some of our nurses. I talked to a number of people, and I just want to compliment one, if I may, Sal Rosselli, who represents workers, a lot of them work at Kaiser, who was very pointed when South said, “You know what? We need to see more distribution of N95 masks to our frontline workers.” Some are getting two or three for a week, and I just want to express this as publicly as I can, that’s unacceptable. We’re sending out an unprecedented number of masks.
Gavin Newsom: (30:11)
I want to make sure those masks are going to our frontline workers. And so we are advancing much more aggressive, and I say more aggressive because we haven’t been shy in this space, but more aggressive protocols of accountability because we bring these things in, we get them out regionally, then we get them into the hospital systems. But as a State, we’re not individually handing these out, and so we count on these partnerships, but I want folks to know like Sal and others, the nurses, I want to thank CNA, California Nurse Association, they’ve been very pointed in this space, that we hear you, and we recognize despite the unprecedented nature of our PPE distribution, that we still hear those stories, and we have got to address that issue, and I want folks to know we’re not naive to that challenge and that responsibility to accelerate the transparency and the accountability in that space.
Gavin Newsom: (31:13)
So where are we? We announced last week efforts to look at these 35 counties out of our 58 counties, and look at new requirements, new accountability, as it relates to school openings, to be more responsible and responsive to the concern of safety of our children, as well as those that we entrust to take care of our children, our bus drivers, our janitors, our principals, our nurses, our secretaries, and yes, our teachers, to make sure that ecosystem is protected from an increase in the background rate of infections of COVID-19. We announced a step up ever in our public awareness campaign in this State, and we showed you and shared with you some of those [inaudible 00:32:03].
Gavin Newsom: (32:03)
… in this state. And we showed you and shared with you some of those PSAs that are being targeted in a more culturally competent way, focusing on the needs, to particularly focus on the safety of our essential workers, not just our frontline healthcare workers. That, we’ll be talking a lot more about on Friday. We talked about the importance of taking seriously the mandates on face coverings and face masks. We have discussed enforcement efforts for those counties that simply aren’t as aggressive in enforcing the rules and regulations, and the businesses that may be in denial, thumbing their nose. Again, exceptions, vast majority of businesses. And as a former business person, I deeply empathize with the stress and the impacts of these decisions and announcements that we make on a weekly basis and the impact that has on not just your business, on your personal life and your family’s life. But vast majority of businesses are doing an extraordinary job during these very difficult circumstances. But we’ve talked nonetheless about those enforcement efforts.
Gavin Newsom: (33:09)
We talked about the modifications. I just reinforced some of them as it relates to moving more and more indoor activities into the outdoor settings, where the circulation works to our advantage, not the disadvantage of being indoors, in a constraint environment for an extended period of time where you’re more likely to contact or contract this disease.
Gavin Newsom: (33:33)
I want to applaud the President and others for now wearing a mask, and sending a message. I hope that, and expect that will have an impact in socializing, a deeper consciousness of the power and potency of this non-pharmaceutical intervention on reducing the spread and the transmission of this virus. That’s a very encouraging sign as well. And we’re not going to let off. On our day-to-day monitoring county by county, our technical assistance, San Joaquin County, San Bernardino County, Kings County, our efforts to partner with the federal government, and the work that we’ve done with the federal task force. And the vice president sending 190 key medical personnel into the State of California, that we’ve been able to deploy into a number of hospitals and hospital systems throughout the State of California. More and subsequent support that we are currently engaged, and partnering, and advancing with not only federal partners, but many state agencies that will begin to supplement the work that’s already underway by the alphabet soup of agencies that many of you have become familiar with. From HHS, CDPH, CMS, and so many others that you often hear in these presentations.
Gavin Newsom: (34:54)
I’ve made this point clear. Before I open up the questions, let me make this abundantly clear. We were able to bend the curve many months ago in the State of California. That bought us time to purchase and to procure the kind of equipment you see behind me, to put together our plans to make sure that we are not only resourced, but we have a resourceful mindset in terms of how we collaborate, how we share, how we partner. That was the benefit of bending that curve.
Gavin Newsom: (35:24)
Obviously, over the course of many, many months, as people now begin to mix. In some cases, put their guard down, we’ll see those numbers. And we have seen those numbers increase. As a consequence of that, we need to be more vigilant, and we need more aware of our own personal behaviors, and more responsible as it relates to our collective efforts segment by segment, industry by industry, county by county in the State of California. And we’re seeing increasing signs of consciousness, increasing signs of awareness, increasing signs of compliance with exceptions, I am not naive, in all parts of this state. And I want to, in that spirit, thank the people of the State of California for their seriousness of a purpose, for their intentionality, for their recognition of their own power and potency to bend this curve again, as we did the first time. We will do that.
Gavin Newsom: (36:23)
We will succeed in extinguishing this virus. We will succeed in going back to some semblance of a higher vigilance, but semblance of normalcy when we get this vaccine, when we work through the therapeutic efforts, and when we get on the other side of this. But when that happens, we’ll be determined on our behavior day in, day out, individual by individual. And I just want to thank all of you that have taken this seriously and responsibly. And the more we do that, and the more we see that contagion of good behavior modeled by others, typically young folks in the State of California to protect the older folks and themselves, the sooner we’ll reopen these schools, the sooner we’ll get back to business, the sooner we’ll get back to the kinds of activities that so many of us understandably miss and demand in a free society. And so we all look forward to that.
Gavin Newsom: (37:25)
We all will enjoy and experience that as long as we maintain our vigilance and seriousness of purpose, which I’m confident as the state has demonstrably done in the past. We will continue to do as we work through this moment and through the next few months, which are critical in terms of getting us out of this first wave, preparing for the fall season, and ultimately getting to the therapeutics and the vaccines that we expect in the early part of next year. So with that, we’re of course always happy to take any questions.
Jeremy White, Politico.
Jeremy White: (38:06)
Governor, thank you as always for taking our questions. Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf said earlier today that what she is most concerned about as she looks ahead to sort of the long arc of recovery is once these eviction moratoriums expire, what she referred to as a homelessness Armageddon as more people tumble into homelessness. I know the state has been fine to shelter people, be it Project Roomkey. I’m curious to know if you support and are working with the legislature on measures to extend longer term rent relief to prevent a [inaudible 00:38:38] eviction once those emergency moratorium expire.
Gavin Newsom: (38:41)
Yeah, well, I’m looking beyond that. We have a lot of concerns moving in the future. I think there’s wisdom in Mayor Schaaf’s comments to you, comments to me. She’s made the problem declared privately to her credit for many, many months, but increasing consciousness nationally. That consciousness now manifesting in a growing recognition in Washington, D.C., that we are walking towards the edge of a cliff. That a lot of the work that we did as a nation, as a state related to the stimulus, the Cares Act, the relationship that states had, two executive orders that were done by governors and legislative efforts that were done by their respective legislatures were temporary in nature.
Gavin Newsom: (39:24)
Perfect example of that is the unemployment benefits, that $600 due to expire next week, the end of the month. The prospects that many of the executive orders, not just those that I put out, those 60 to 90-day executive orders, the judicial council put out, not just our office put out, also are due to expire. All the local efforts that may have magnified some of these state efforts, many of them due to expire.
Gavin Newsom: (39:47)
So the answer Jeremy, to your question very directly is yes, we are working very closely with the legislature. But more than that, I’m also looking at the authority vested in me, the Emergency Services Act and the work that I can do to extend consideration on some of these executive orders, which you are well familiar I have done, including on evictions as it relates to a broad statewide order that gives more latitude and clarity to local efforts in that space. But we’re also looking at issues from workers’ comp. We’re looking at issues of sick leave. As I said, as I previewed a moment looking at essential workers and how we protect them because we’re seeing right now four or five areas, disproportionate impact of the spread of this virus on essential workers, obviously healthcare workers, those in congregate settings. Clearly, incarceration is a big issue and that is not just the California State system, but that’s also county jails congregate settings that would include homeless shelters and then Latinx community broadly defined.
Gavin Newsom: (40:55)
And so we really need to sharpen our focus and supports in those areas. And not surprisingly, when you look at the issue of moratoria, you look at the issue of evictions, the disproportionate number of individuals that are most vulnerable in this environment to those evictions, disproportionately represented in black and brown communities, and also that needs to be taken into account and considered.
Gavin Newsom: (41:20)
So the answer is yes. And I wanted to give you a little bit more flavor of yes, and we are working on a series of things, more you’ll hear about Friday. And certainly look forward to working with the legislature on advancing more broadly, some additional supports in the space. Final point because it deserves a little more amplification. We have waited around in any of these spaces nor have we waited around. And I appreciate your recognition of not only Project Roomkey, but now Project Homekey. Just last week, Mayor Schaaf, others will be beneficiaries of that $600 plus million. NOFA, which is a Notice of Funding Availability, hundreds of millions dollars. Unprecedented in California’s history, that we provided hundreds of millions of dollars of resources to immediately draw down and acquire assets like hotels and motels so that we could quickly make them available.
Gavin Newsom: (42:17)
So we’re not just putting up tents, cots, and mats, and calling that a solution to homelessness. Housing and supportive services, it’s how you solve the homeless crisis. Shelters solves sleep. And so we really want to move away from the temporary to begin to manage with expectation of a bridge to more permanency. And that’s why this is a once in a lifetime opportunity in this state to utilize the CARES funding, be creative as we are being creative with Homekey and support Oakland, Alameda County as it relates to the work Libby Schaaf’s doing, but also all the other mayors from Sam Liccardo to the great work Darrell Steinberg is doing. Obviously, Mayor Garcetti and others continue to do on the issue of homelessness in our state.
Elex Michaelson, Fox 11.
Elex Michaelson : (43:10)
Thank you, Governor. I have a question about education. When we’ve spoken in the past, you admitted that your kid didn’t necessarily listen to you the way that they listened to their teachers when it comes to the issue of education. And I’m wondering if you can give some advice to parents that may be struggling with distance learning and specifically struggling with the issue of childcare, especially working families. Is there anything that the state can do to help them, especially essential working families?
Gavin Newsom: (43:40)
Yeah, we’ve done a lot to increase childcare slots in the State of California, particularly targeted at essential workers. And you’re right, we define essential workers have … Traditionally, I’ve talked in terms of a nurse with a four-year-old, how essential that nurse is and how we must avail opportunities for childcare with all the conditions, all the criteria we set out, very prescriptive in terms of the guidelines we put out in the childcare space to keep our caregivers safe, as well as keeping our children safe in that space. But as we move to open our schools back up, those essential workers now include our teachers with children as well, that we also must avail more childcare opportunities to in addition to other essential workers throughout the State of California. So more work to do in that childcare space.
Gavin Newsom: (44:32)
Look, as it relates to your very pointed question about advice. I’ll tell you, after the fortnight in a row of trying to get my seven-year-old to go to sleep before 10:00 PM, I’m the one needing counsel and advice just in that space, let alone how to encourage our kids to better attune their minds to what is novel to many of them. And that is distance learning, which is a challenge in any experienced … Even if it’s not within a household, I can imagine how difficult it is in households all throughout this state where you’ve got kids. Where I grew up, my sister and I living in the same room, everyone’s bunked together, small households where there’s not a lot of space, this is incredibly challenging. And that’s why our number one desire is to get our schools back open, in-person with a high quality social, emotional, not just academic learning that is essentially to the development of our children. That’s our top priority.
Gavin Newsom: (45:33)
I think we all share that, including people that are very concerned about our recent mandates related to distance learning for those 35 counties now that are on the monitoring list. But we continue to do what we can to reduce the background rates of infection, which ultimately were in an inner, the prospects of pulling these counties off that monitoring list and allow for that in-person education. So we can mitigate the stress on parents, including this parent in terms of educating our kids.
Gavin Newsom: (46:09)
We’ve been doing … Forgive me for so long-windedly answering your question. I know you’re in the TV business, so this is an editing challenge for you perhaps more than it is anything else. But we’ve been doing a lot of webinars in this space to help educate, including our parents, not just our educators on distance learning. We put out a lot of guidelines in this space to help educate and support parents. I know our school, we’re sending our kids with a preschool kids and other kids going to elementary school, middle school. They’ve also been putting out kits and guidelines, some videos to help support parents like myself, and my wife in this effort. And we want to continue to see more of that. And we’re seeing a lot of that. I know Austin Beutner, L.A. Unified School District, beginning to do a lot of that as well to his credit. And so we’re going to have to do a lot more because you’re right, these stresses are real, these challenges are demonstrably and yes, they’re very personal.
Rachel Bluth, Kaiser Health News.
Rachel Bluth: (47:14)
Hi, Governor. Thanks so much. I want to ask about Quest Diagnostics. It’s taking between five and seven days to get results for diagnostic tests right now. And I know that they’re really important part of California’s testing infrastructure, both private and public. These tests are taking a really long time for results. Are you at all rethinking this partnership or any of their contracts with fast … What are you thinking about to try and get some of these results a little faster and a little bit more meaningful?
Gavin Newsom: (47:52)
As you know, we reconstitute our testing task force. Dr. Ghaly a week ago, made that announcement laid out in specific detail. New strategies, new protocols, new acuity of focus on-
Gavin Newsom: (48:03)
… Strategies, new protocols, new acuity of focus on testing, new tiered strategies for testing. He talked at length about time to diagnostic. Look, it’s rather preposterous, isn’t it? That you can get a test and 13, 14 days later, you get a result. It’s utterly meaningless and so you’re absolutely right to highlight one of our national labs but what’s happening is this example, your example, is exampled across this nation as more pressure is put on these national labs. Again, all of this is in the absence of a national testing strategy.
Gavin Newsom: (48:34)
That said, that’s not a surprising statement and that’s certainly not a surprising reality. You know well. Kaiser Health News done a wonderful job covering efforts here in the state of California, where we were averaging less than 2,000 tests a day, little over a hundred days ago. Now averaging over 125,000 tests a day, 127,000 yesterday.
Gavin Newsom: (48:57)
The progress we’ve made in that space but also the recognition that we have been crystal clear about the need to do more, to increase significantly the total number of tests and the targeted nature of the tests and the repetition in terms of the test and the time to test results. Doctor Ghaly laid that out again with some more specificity on Tuesday, yesterday, where he laid out some additional thinking, not just about testing, but how does that integrate into contact tracing and our work in that space to isolate and quarantine people.
Gavin Newsom: (49:35)
With all of that as a predicate, let me know ask Doctor Ghaly to come up and amplify some of what he said last week, what he may have said yesterday and talk a little bit more specifically about how he sees the partnership with Quest. We’re not going to abandon Quest. We need them as part of one of our partners but how he’s now partnering with other labs and universities to expedite those tests results and to address precisely the question that you just asked.
Doctor Ghaly: (50:10)
Thank you, governor, and as always, thank you for the question. Quest has been a strong partner throughout our entire testing journey, over the past many months. They were one of the first national labs, the first national lab that I reached out to, to talk about testing in California. Just under two weeks ago, I had a conversation with some of their senior leadership about exactly that test turnaround issue, that some tests, as I said, a couple of days ago, some of the tests are getting turned around in 24, 48 hours, and others are taking quite a long time to bring that average down to seven, eight days.
Doctor Ghaly: (50:50)
As the governor said, that’s not always useful. It’s often never useful to have a turnaround time of that length. So what California has done through the testing task forces is look where we have lab capacity. So this is not about collecting the tests. That’s happening. It’s really getting that test result processed in a lab, on an instrument with the right reagents and the right test kits and now California’s challenge and opportunity is to ensure as those tests get collected, they’re not just sent to Quest. Quest needs to be able to get the amount of tests that they can process in a timely way and then we have other labs where we can bring some of those tests and have them process so that we get meaningful test results.
Doctor Ghaly: (51:35)
So that’s exactly one of the key points of focus of our testing taskforce is matching up where those tests are collected, with the labs that can actually run them in a speedy enough time to get meaningful results, to not just give the information to the individual who was tested but to allow that to be actionable, as it relates to potentially others isolating who are close contacts because that timeline, condensing the time from test to meaningful isolation, is a key part of cutting down transmission in our communities.
Gavin Newsom: (52:16)
Just let me finish on the point. Again, thank you for the question. Monday I mentioned the work we’re doing to advance the efforts of pooled testing to allow more cohorts of samples, to be tested at the same time, partnerships that we’ll be announcing, more formerly efforts that have been underway for some time; UCLA, Stanford, other university medical systems have been eager to move forward with the pooled testing approach. Now with more clarification that came Monday from our federal partners, that’s a space where it will be able to be able to sample more individuals, be able to test more individuals, may be able to move forward more expeditiously through more and more surveillance that will also potentially significant help our efforts reopening our schools and keeping our kids and our caregivers, teachers, and others safe as well.
Speaker 1: (53:09)
Melanie Woodrow, ABC7.
Melaine Woodrow: (53:14)
Thank you, governor spring boarding off Alex Michaelson’s question, thousands of California parents have joined a pandemic pod and micro school Facebook group and are making plans for shared family distance learning with either a hired teacher or tutor. Will you or Jen, or you and Jen, I should say, join a pandemic pod this fall. What do you suggest to working parents who can’t afford to hire a teacher or tutor and how will California address the economic divide or disparity that could develop here?
Gavin Newsom: (53:44)
So we’ve been very forthright as you may have seen from number of our presentations over the last few weeks, particularly as relates to the announcements around our school guidelines. Some of our efforts to address the digital divide, some of our efforts to get philanthropy to step up, to support as we noted 100,000 new wifi spots that Google and others helped us advance. We also were able to procure tens of thousands of Chromebooks and laptops and other devices targeted at what we refer to as LEEs, disproportionately that have an over representation of people that are in desperate need of these devices.
Gavin Newsom: (54:24)
So those efforts have been underway for a number of months. We broadly been able to close that digital vide by an estimate, at least Linda Darling-Hammond estimates, the head of our school system, estimates by roughly half but half is not a hundred percent and so we have enormous amount of work to do to continue to advance our efforts on the digital divide.
Gavin Newsom: (54:46)
So we’ve laid out what we’ve done. We’ve marked specific goals and expectations. I look forward to making some announcements very, very shortly in furthering that effort to address the digital divide. This is our top concern in this state; issue of equity. I’ll remind you, and this is a critical point, that one of the foundational predicates when I introduced the May revise of the budget was the issue of equity that goes to the core of your question. We didn’t attach that as a throwaway line. We did not attach that as a statement to emphasize. We attach that to $5.3 billion of resources that allow districts to procure technology, to procure the resources, to help close that divide once and for all, and to supplement the needs of our most vulnerable students, English as second learners, foster kids, homeless kids, and those that I’m intimately familiar with special learning needs and abilities and disabilities.
Gavin Newsom: (55:56)
So we were very clear in that expectation, provided learning loss money, $5.3 billion to more directly attach a concern to a solution in that space.
Gavin Newsom: (56:10)
Final point, as it relates to these Facebook sites, these are self-organizing communities. It’s exactly what we need to see more of. More parental involvement, more sharing of best practices, not just pain and struggles and suffering. More empathy, more engagement and I’m very encouraged by the example you offered in terms of people, families coming together and sharing ideas and insights. That is exactly what one would expect in this environment and one would certainly hope for as well.
Speaker 1: (56:40)
Laurel Rosenthal, CalMatters.
Laurel Rosenthal: (56:44)
Thank you, governor. You mentioned that you’re hearing from some medical workers, nurses that they’re not getting PPE. Which we’ve heard from hospitals as well, that improved but it’s still spotty. So I’m just wondering why are you sending masks to the other states that you mentioned if our own hospitals still don’t have them and are you putting your own political ambitions above the needs of Californians?
Gavin Newsom: (57:08)
So we have 86 million N95 masks in inventory today, 86 million N95 masks in inventory today. We have 111 million surgical and procedure masks in inventory today. You can see some of the N95 masks behind me. We developed a partnership with FEMA and Bob Fenton, a recognition of partnership as well, which demonstrably was advanced in a Western States Collaborative to be supportive of procurement. You’re well aware of announcements we’ve made in relationship to that partnership and efforts that were underway going back many, many months to help support our collective cause of not competing against one another in terms of procuring critical assets and supports.
Gavin Newsom: (57:56)
As California’s come in at record numbers to procure an unprecedented amount of PPE following through on the promises and the promotions we made May and June and the development of the partnership with BYD, we were in a position, in partnership with FEMA, which remember is paying for 75% of all of the PPE to be supportive of people in need.
Gavin Newsom: (58:19)
Arizona was the first state. They were very desperate. A few months ago. It would have been wrong for me, sit on a hundred million masks here in the state of California and not helped American citizens in real need. I wouldn’t have been able to sleep well at night. I don’t know many people could and still meet the needs of hundreds of millions of masks that we’ve been able to distribute. Remember 297 million masks that we have distributed a specifically procedure masks in the state.
Gavin Newsom: (58:47)
So the issue of supply mismatch is not about total numbers of units. It’s about how that distribution system is operating and I was very forthright in terms of the presentation and laying out our more aggressive oversight in terms of that distribution. But it’s not for a lack of inventory, it’s for a lack of accountability at the local level, at the hospital and system level, to get those masks out. And as I say, we’re working aggressively to do just that.
Speaker 1: (59:18)
Final question. Jonathan Ayestas, KCRA.
Jonathan Ayestas: (59:24)
Hello, governor. I was hoping to get some clarity on the states ICU bed capacity. The states COVID website shows around 4,000 ICU beds available but the CDCs numbers suggest we have more than 12,000.
Jonathan Ayestas: (59:37)
You had also mentioned earlier this month, the ICU capacity was around 10,800. Could you break down how many total ICU beds there are in state and of those total beds, how many are occupied versus unoccupied and of those available beds, how many are occupied by non-COVID patients?
Gavin Newsom: (59:56)
We do that on a consistent basis. I did that specific presentation we put out Monday. I’d encourage you for purposes, unfortunately, we don’t have the slide presentation here today, which is a limitation and forgive me for that as we’re now in a warehouse. But if you go back, take a look it’s on the site. You can easily attach the specific presentation.
Gavin Newsom: (01:00:18)
You’ll see a pie chart that I put up representing about 17, not about, you’ll see a number 17%. It’s blue. There’s orange around it. The blue represents the total number of positive COVID-19 patients, representing 17% of the total availability of ICU and, so we’re on the same page, NICU beds in our system.
Gavin Newsom: (01:00:43)
You also see on that chart, the number of available ventilators, which has just shy of 11,000 in our hospital system and you will see the total number of ICU beds in our system and the specific number of C-19 positive patients. I put that out every Monday. It’s a very contemporary numbers as they’re only 48 hours old and I will do my best if you desire, to get even more contemporary numbers, representing yesterdays increase. We’ll include those as well and I’ll make sure Jesse on my team provides those to you as well.
Gavin Newsom: (01:01:23)
I guess that concludes the questions. Let me thank everybody for their pointed questions and the curiosity that many of you have about the state of the state and relationship to COVID-19 and transmission, this virus. I remind everybody as I do on a consistent basis, the power and potency of your individual actions, sum total of those actions, will determine the fate and future of COVID-19 here, not only in the state of California, but impact the rest of this nation as well.
Gavin Newsom: (01:01:54)
I want to thank the millions of Californians that have really stepped up and have taken serious responsibility to meet this moment and demonstrably example that through the substance and symbolism of wearing a face covering, not only protect themselves, protect their loved ones.
Gavin Newsom: (01:02:11)
I want to thank to all the businesses out there that are operating under deeply constrained and challenging environments, with all the modifications that you’re now accountable and responsible for putting a place.
Gavin Newsom: (01:02:22)
Thank you for keeping the faith and if you’ve lost the faith, let me just encourage you to keep the faith. As a small business person, before I got into politics, I deep reverence for each and every one of you. For the entrepreneurs that put everything on the line, not just to make a buck, but to live a dream and so know that you’re close to my heart and I don’t take any of these decisions lightly as it relates to the impact that we are having with these modifications on your future and your family’s future.
Gavin Newsom: (01:02:57)
So I cannot encourage people more when they are personally taking the kind of responsibility, not to mix with strangers, not to go into large crowds, not to run into a backyard with extended family members they haven’t seen in a while and drop their guard. That we have in mind, reopening of our schools. We have in mind, our entrepreneurs and reopening parts of the economy and continuing to consider the common wealth, many parts, one body.
Gavin Newsom: (01:03:29)
So in that spirit, let me thank all of you for the spirit of cooperation, collaboration and the extraordinary work that you have done and the incredible work we have inside of us to manifest in the next days and critical weeks ahead.
Gavin Newsom: (01:03:44)
Take care, everybody.