Mar 28, 2020
Gov. Gavin Newsom California Coronavirus Press Conference Transcript March 28
Gavin Newsom: (01:57)
Thank you. Thank you all. It’s a very enlivening thing to be here at Bloom, to be here in Silicon Valley, to be here in the heart of innovation and the entrepreneurial spirit that defines the best of California, the best of our nation. We talk with pride in California about being a state of dreamers, of doers, of entrepreneurs, of innovators, a state that long has prided itself on being on the leading and cutting edge. We’re a state that believes in taking risks, without being reckless, and we talk, the people here in Silicon Valley, in terms of moving at Silicon Valley speed to address problems head on, to iterate, to learn from our mistakes, to lean into the future boldly and confidently. That’s why we’re here today at Bloom in a repurposed site that was storage just a few days ago, and now is a manufacturing facility to address the issue of ventilators for our state, and increasingly, its capacity for the rest of the nation.
Gavin Newsom: (03:07)
The state of California recognizes its responsibility, its role, to procure, from far and wide, enough ventilators to meet this moment. The state has been very aggressive reaching out to the private sector, looking at existing stock, looking at our cache that exists in multiple storage facilities throughout the state and working with the federal government to get the national stockpile into the state of California. The challenge is multi-pronged. The challenge is more than I think advertised. It’s one thing to procure new equipment, it’s another to refurbish old equipment. The challenge for all of us across this nation is to do so with a sense of urgency and work on that Silicon Valley timeline, and that’s exactly what is happening here.
Gavin Newsom: (03:56)
The state of California, for example, had 514 ventilators that hadn’t been looked at and unboxed since 2011. Many of the batteries were not only past their sell-by dates, they quite literally were not working. As a consequence, we sent down a few hundred of our ventilators and asked Bloom, and its CEO, KR, and Susan, COO here, and said, “What can you do to help us in this crisis?” It was March 17th, St. Patrick’s Day, that we made those first calls, and here you see behind me hundreds of these that have already been turned around. 80 were sent back and refurbished, yesterday, were sent back to the state for distribution across the state.
Gavin Newsom: (04:43)
We were able to get the security now that we are going to get an additional 100 sent up today back to the state cache. And remarkably, yesterday I was down in Los Angeles with Mayor Eric Garcetti bringing in the USNS Mercy, and there was a casual conversation about the 170 ventilators that came from the national stockpile directly to LA County. The conversation wasn’t just about those 170, it was about the fact those 170 were not working. And rather than lamenting about it, rather than complaining about it, rather than pointing fingers, rather than generating headlines in order to generate more stress and anxiety, we got a car and a truck and we had those 170 brought here to this facility at 8:00 AM this morning. They are quite literally working on those ventilators right now, and Monday they’ll have those ventilators back into Los Angeles, all fixed.
Gavin Newsom: (05:42)
That’s the spirit of California. That’s the spirit of this moment. Take responsibility, take ownership, and take it upon ourselves to meet this moment head on. That’s the spirit that KR’s brought to Bloom and that’s the spirit that we hope to see all throughout the state of California. 350, now. 350 manufacturers have come to the state saying, “We want to offer a similar approach to retooling our facilities and meeting this moment. Tell us what you need and we will try to match that moment with the kind of momentum we’re seeing throughout the state of California.” I want to be quite specific when I say that.
Gavin Newsom: (06:20)
Gap is already converting gowns and masks, but not just The Gap. St. John Knits has converted their lines in Tijuana and in Irvine, California to do the same. We’re seeing hand sanitizer now being provided. There’s been a lot of national attention on this, with all the distilleries, where you have Anheuser-Busch doing that in the state of California and they’re sending out to our food banks as a top priority and to make sure our seniors have sanitizer in their homes, and those through our IHSS in-home supported service system have the same. But it’s not just Anheuser-Busch. It is small companies like Dry Diggings Distillery that are doing exactly the same thing. Large and small, all of them meeting this moment.
Gavin Newsom: (07:06)
7-Eleven, we’re picking up 1,000,095 masks at their Stockton facility. They called us up and said, “You can have them.” So, you’ve got the Apples, you’ve got the Facebooks, you have the Googles, and then you have these other remarkable stories all throughout the state of people meeting this moment. But no more important moment to meet than addressing the issues of ventilators. The state of California currently has… Independent of our hospital system, we have procured and identified some 4,252 ventilators. Our goal is to get to 10,000 ventilators. Of those 4,252 ventilators, over 1,000 need to be refurbished, and so we’re going to be putting a lot more pressure on KR and Susan and his team and her teams to continue to do the good work they’re doing here and get these ventilators out in real-time.
Gavin Newsom: (08:02)
But they’re also doing something even more remarkable, and that’s the spirit of the Valley. KR will talk a little bit more about this in a moment. We just had a conference call, a teleconference call with a leader, Dr. Wu at Stanford University, already working on ventilators 2.0. KR challenged the doctor, the doctor challenged KR, to think deeply and more broadly about how we can use one ventilator for potentially multiple patients, or reduce the need to use two ventilators for one patient, which is the case in many circumstances. They’re already iterating in that space. Again, this is exactly the kind of spirit that defines the best of California, the best of the Valley, the best of the American spirit, as well.
Gavin Newsom: (08:49)
So we’ll continue to procure more ventilators. Elon Musk was able to get over 1,200 for us. We’ve already ordered 2,000 that are on the way, and we’ll continue to work, like we did with our community college system, to find ventilators. They’ve already found 192. They had 60 yesterday. Got a call this morning from the chancellor saying, “We’re up to 192.” So everybody, look in your basement. Look in that old garage. If you’ve got old equipment and you want to send it, send it our way and we’ll send it right here to this facility.
Gavin Newsom: (09:22)
And I’ll tell you, what’s remarkable about these facilities is not just the physical infrastructure of converting a storage facility to a manufacturing facility. It’s the men and women in the masks behind me that are volunteering their time and their partnership that is demonstrable by cross-pollinating other Valley-based businesses that have a unique expertise on that line, and bringing that workforce in as well to meet this moment. So there’s a limitlessness in our mindset, a limitlessness in the possibility that we believe we have to meet this moment, and there is a soberness that comes with that moment, as well.
Gavin Newsom: (10:02)
Just yesterday, our ICU numbers went up 105% overnight in the state of California. Our hospitalization numbers went up 38.6% overnight in the state of California. I know there’s a lot of appropriate attention on how many positives there are. We look less to those numbers, more to the hospitalization and the ICU numbers to drive our policy and drive our orientation around how we address that policy through application and implementation. The overall numbers went up 22%. They were up 26% yesterday. You start doing the math, this is now made more real. It’s certainly made real in the East Coast and is obviously manifesting, as a lot of our modeling suggests, here on the West Coast. That’s why physical distancing remains the most important thing we can do to meet this moment. I’m asked all the time by individuals, “What can I as an individual do to meet this moment head on?” You have no more power and potency in terms of an answer to that question than physically distancing yourself from other people. Those stay at home orders are real, and they are operational in the state of California, in every part of our state. Please continue to take them seriously. People ask as a followup, “How long do you think this will last?” That is determined on our decisions, not our conditions. We’re not fatalists. I say this all the time. Our fate and future is not something to experience, it’s something to manifest.
Gavin Newsom: (11:39)
If we make the decision, individual by individual, to keep ourselves safe by keeping other people at distance, socially connected, physically apart, then we have the capacity to bend that curve. And the one treatment, if we are unsuccessful in that respect, that is our backup and our message here today, are ventilators, because the one treatment that we know works are ventilators, and the one treatment we have at our disposal are ventilators. There’s a lot of conversations, none more than here in the state of California with the bio innovations and bio therapeutics, the birthplace of biotech, the UCs, the Stanfords, the USCs, the Cedars, all of the clinical trials that are happening, including stem cell, in the state of California around treatment and all of these new treatments that are being promoted.
Gavin Newsom: (12:27)
But at the end of the day, the one treatment that we know works are ventilators, and so we need more of them. We need more KRs, we need more Blooms, and we need more people to recognize we can meet this moment, and not just roll over and accept these AI programs, these data sets, as ultimate determination of our fate, when we can bend those curves by bending to the entrepreneurial capacity that we know resides within this state and across the nation. So, that’s the long-winded message today. Deep pride, deep-
Governer Newsom: (13:03)
… message today, deep pride, a deep respect for what is happening here in Silicon Valley. And now let me turn it over to the mayor that is leading this region and I want to just make this point about Mayor Sam Liccardo, not only leading this region, he’s been leading the state with the county supervisors here in Santa Clara County, here in San Jose, first region in the state. This mayor taking charge and leading on the stay-at-home orders and asserting himself in real time, demanding that we do more and do better to help him meet this moment. He’s also the head of the big 13 mayors in the State of California and when we talk about leadership, we can talk about it in the abstract or we can see leadership at action. Mayor Sam Liccardo is one of those leaders and I just cannot thank him enough and thank him for building these partnerships and helping us source the resourceful mindset that we are advancing here, in terms of the conversations today and the conversations over the course of the next few weeks to meet this moment, Sam Liccardo.
Sam Liccardo: (14:12)
Thank you. Governor, I first just want to thank you for exceptional leadership and I mean that, exceptional leadership in this crisis. Not just for your responsiveness to local communities like ours and Silicon Valley, but your embrace of the vision of Silicon Valley. That you get it about the opportunity that Silicon Valley can provide to tackle this crisis with innovation. And I’m so grateful for all that you and your team have done. You mentioned local leadership and I need it clearly acknowledged what the County of Santa Clara has done, my colleagues on the board of supervisors and their staff to really move forward and ensure that we had stay home mandates in place and all the other aggressive actions we’ve taken, I’m grateful to them as well. But I have spent the last 90 minutes here being amazed, being amazed at all the work that K.R. Sridhar and Susan Brennan and their teams have done in an incredibly short period of time.
Sam Liccardo: (15:12)
And when the governor put out a call, put out a challenge and he understood in Silicon Valley, all we need is a challenge and a deadline and great entrepreneurs respond. And that’s what we’ve seen from K.R. and Susan and their teams, the folks behind me working unbelievable hours because they understand the urgency of this moment. This isn’t just a story about brilliant minds, it’s about inspired hearts. And I am just so enheartened by what I have seen from the incredible people behind me, who are working all hours and finding whatever creative way they can to make things work. And I really have to give credit to the leadership of K.R. Sridhar. I know this is nothing new for him and I think it’s probably something genetic for him and wife Sudha. Because I’ve met, I think, their children even before I met K.R., his son launched an effort here in Silicon Valley to develop an app to repurpose food to help those who are needy and his daughter working on incredible innovations to help us ensure we have clean water in our cities.
Sam Liccardo: (16:16)
And then of course, K.R. is no slouch himself, leading an incredible company Bloom Energy that is helping us to remove millions of pounds of carbon dioxide that would otherwise be unleashed in the environment through bloom cells. I’m just so incredibly grateful that Bloom Energy, K.R. and their entire team are here in our Valley doing such great work for all of us, not just here but obviously now throughout the nation. Two weeks ago, I got a call from K.R. late at night and he had mentioned he was working with the governor’s team and just said, “Hey, we need to find a way to ensure if we can refurbish these, that we can get them certified and tested.” I reached out to Dr. Bonnie Maldonado at Stanford and she connected them and their team to the pulmonary lab and Dr. Wu. And I think actually, Dr. Wu I know has a prior relationship with K.R., but I’m just so grateful that Stanford stepped up immediately to ensure that testing certification could happen.
Sam Liccardo: (17:13)
It is here in Silicon Valley where we can confront a crisis with creativity and collaboration and they have shown that here. And as we mentioned collaboration, we have launched an effort here in Silicon Valley called Silicon Valley Strong and at siliconvalleystrong.org, our residents can find how to get and give help. And since we launched it, within a couple of days, we’ve seen 1,700 volunteers step up and say we want to help, whether it’s delivering food to seniors or providing any other kinds of critical needs that we have in our nonprofits. More than $14 million committed and partnership with Destination Home and the Community Foundation, so many others. We are seeing this community come together. And again, it’s the creativity and collaboration in Silicon Valley to making it happen. And of course, because of the inspired leadership of the governor behind me, I’m just really grateful to be here, to be inspired by all this happening all around us. And with no further ado, I’d like to introduce the great CEO of Bloom Energy, K.R. Sridhar.
K.R. Sridhar: (18:17)
Good afternoon. Just before we started with the governor, with the mayor, we were talking to the city officials and the county officials. Something struck me, we the people here in Silicon Valley and we the people here in the State of California are so fortunate to have leadership like this. People who are in public service are not thanked. Oftentimes during a crisis, people are asking, what are you now doing for me? We are amazed, we’re blown away with the extraordinary leadership of Mayor Liccardo here in the city. We are a San Jose based company, thank you. We’re amazed at the Santa Clara County officials, elected officials who are on the call, asking what can they do to help? Asking great questions saying, can we do this? Can we do that? Stretching us, pulling us, wanting to work together. And of course, what state would you rather live in right now people of California, our great governor.
K.R. Sridhar: (19:33)
It is just incredible that we have somebody like you. During a time of crisis is when leadership gets tested. There are wartime leaders and there are peacetime leaders. You’re a great peacetime leader but you’re showing you’re an amazing wartime leader, thank you, thank you. So on that call we had Dr. Joseph Wu from Stanford, who had just this morning worked on a few patients who are inflicted with COVID, had a heart transplant and there he was talking to us about ventilator 2.0. The healthcare workers, the state employees who are all facilitating this, there is an incredible amount of essential services people helping us as common citizens. When we are all dealing with this and when you see one of them, I think for us as the average resident in California, the minimum we can do is to reach out and say thank you.
K.R. Sridhar: (20:44)
So we want to thank each one of you working out there for what you’re doing. The third thanks that I would want to give is to my amazing team out here led by Susan and Venkat and the entire leadership team here at Bloom. It’s one thing for me to put my hand up and say we are answering the call. But I obviously cannot say that if I don’t have a team whose culture, who in their DNA embrace the notion that we are here to serve. So without you guys in the back, I couldn’t be standing here and saying that we will do this. You’re the ones doing this. So for all those people out there in public service that we cannot name, each one of you are a true hero so thank you, thank you, thank you. So that’s the first thing to say.
K.R. Sridhar: (21:32)
What did we do is simply answer a call. This is what we should be doing. So we don’t think we’re doing anything different than what everybody else in the state should be doing. We are in this together. We like working together. And at a time of need, I think the only way we can do what we want to do is to understand what the need is and not worry about is the process there, who’s answering my call, who’s not answering my call. Just be proactive and say, I know I can do this, let me help you. That’s what I think is needed because the system, no matter what that system is, is overwhelmed right now with a crisis. But we can underwhelm it with our initiative. And hopefully what we’re doing here is to say, we can do this. A week ago none of us knew anything about ventilators, other than we knew what it was being used for, okay.
K.R. Sridhar: (22:35)
But at the end of the day, here’s what we knew. Manufacturing is in our DNA. Innovation is in our DNA. There are electrical devices, mechanical devices, flow devices. We understand them all. How difficult can it be and what is the worst thing that can happen? We’re going to try, maybe we fail, but us not training, we have already failed. So let’s go do it and hopefully you will succeed because we have the confidence of Silicon Valley built with that and the team. So that’s what we did. And we couldn’t have done that but for leadership, leadership willing to take a chance. Innovation culture is not just in a pocket, as a state, as Silicon Valley, as employees, as every human being here in the state, we breed that can do attitude. I don’t care how difficult this problem is, we will solve it and when we look back, it’s only going to happen because we have this can-do attitude and the can-do attitude defeated the virus, thank you.
Governer Newsom: (23:44)
Thank you, K.R. I love that you knew nothing about ventilators a few days ago and that is quite literally the spirit that defines this moment and the capacity that we believe resides throughout this nation and certainly companies here in the State of California. So what you see behind me, by the way, the yellow cases are the ones that came from the national stockpile into L.A. County. L.A. County has a separate track of relationships with that national stockpile. The State of California has not yet received, just for clarification, any direct support of ventilators, we have our ask in and we’re not waiting to see that fulfilled. We’re trying to repurpose what we have and try to find on the private market, around the rest of the world, those that we can source from. Again, that’s the spirit that defines this moment here in our state. 10,000 is our goal.
Governer Newsom: (24:38)
Over 4,252 have been identified, thousands more we are confident, will be on their way very, very shortly in no time better than now. This state has surged its capacity in terms of hospital beds but it has created slack in the system and I’ll repeat that. It’s a surge strategy and a slack strategy, by eliminating the overwhelming majority of elected surgeries and by looking at re-purposing our existing infrastructure within our [inaudible 00:25:09] and 16 hospitals. We’ve been able to reduce the census in terms of utilization in our beds, preparing to meet this moment. As we’re starting to see this moment is now taking shape, over 100 deaths now in the State of California, 101 as of last night. New numbers coming in just in the last few hours will show those numbers increasing. We are seeing those increases in hospitalizations. As I said, 38.6% more last night. And that does not include the 3,993 individuals that are persons of interest.
Governer Newsom: (25:44)
So just shy of 4,000 people are in our hospital system as people that are under investigation that are waiting for their test results to come back to determine if their COVID-19 positive. The vast majority of them, we are confident based upon the number of PUIs we’ve seen over the course of last week will not-
Gavin Newsom: (26:03)
… on the number of PUIs we’ve seen over the course of last week will not be tested positive, but it gives you a sense of the enormity of the challenge that we have in front of us that is manifesting in real time. The testing in California is improving. Just shy of 90,000 tests have been completed in the state and we are seeing these testing regimes in real time take shape. It’s one of the more exciting testing opportunities a company quite, when I say literally, I mean literally sharing the parking lot with us right here in Sunnyvale. That is one that’s getting a lot of national attention. We’re working with them. These are the opportunities to move beyond the PCR tests, start working on these blood based tests. We’re looking at working with the labs throughout the state of California to procure different protocols and processes to get the antibodies and be able to trace the when and the how we’re seeing this virus spread with more specificity. That will also be part of the protocols of getting people back to work in a very specific and strategic way.
Gavin Newsom: (27:04)
So, a lot of innovation, a lot of spirit that resides here in this state, and again, demonstrable with a CEO and a founder KR and Bloom Energy that gets it and is getting it done in real time. So with that, we’re happy to answer any questions.
Speaker 1: (27:22)
Hi governor. I’ll be asking the questions.
Gavin Newsom: (27:25)
Speaker 1: (27:26)
ABC7 asks, how many ventilators have been refurbished? How many are going to be refurbished?
Gavin Newsom: (27:32)
So we’re bringing all 514 from the California department of public health cash. We are also, we brought up 150 of the 170 ventilators from the strategic national stockpile from LA County. Those arrived at [inaudible 00:27:50] this morning. KR was able to deliver. He showed me the video last night of the 80 ventilators that he refurbished. He did 24 in the first day. He did 80 yesterday. He pledges 120 to be precise being completed today. So you could see almost a flywheel in terms of his operation beginning to scale.
Gavin Newsom: (28:11)
We don’t want to be selfish here by any stretch of the imagination. KR is one of our entrepreneurs that can meet this moment for other states that need to get their ventilators refurbished as well. Again, this is part of the conversation. It’s one thing to have one of these yellow kits. It’s another to open them and to actually plug them in to see that they work, and these batteries haven’t been tested. Sometimes some of the batteries need to be thrown out and some of the components no longer are working, and so that’s part of the system and protocol that should be taking place and I’m sure is in other parts of our country.
Speaker 1: (28:46)
ABC7 also asks, how much time does it take to refurbish a ventilator and where are these ventilators going to go?
KR Sridhar: (28:57)
So, as we said, today we will get 120 ventilators out a day and should more come, forget how long it takes. If we have to turn around 200 to 250 from this location, we will fill this warehouse. We will just move our things away. We will make it happen. Our engineers, our volunteers will be ready to scale this up. I want to assure you, and there are other companies, CEOs in the valley that have reached out to me and said, “If you need a hand, either with logistics or with people, we are happy to provide them to you.”
KR Sridhar: (29:40)
So, what I want to be able to say is as long as we have the parts, as long as the units are coming in, we will assure everybody that we are not going to be the bottleneck. Bring them in. Everyone that needs to get refurbished. Everyone that needs to get checked out, we will go figure out how to make it happen. And also, we have a facility in Delaware that is exactly being replicated the way we have it out here. So if there are ventilators in the East Coast, it’s much easier logistically to get them out there and get it right out back to those states. So, we are very happy to do either one.
Speaker 1: (30:26)
Any information about where the ventilators here will go?
Gavin Newsom: (30:28)
So these ventilators, the ones that the state is sending now go back to the cash and the state. We have a very specific protocol process that is bottom up in terms of how we distribute those ventilators back out into the system. And that is a very dynamic process based upon protocols or procedures to the hospital systems themselves into the county, county into the state, and the state to the extent we have the cash then begins the process. I say cash spelled two different ways. The resources and the actual assets and the dollars to procure more, and the actual physical assets to distribute these ventilators as needed in real time.
Gavin Newsom: (31:07)
We’re also pre-positioning. We’re getting more strategic in terms of our geographic. California is a nation state. And so geographically we want to get these into locations that aren’t all in our main facilities, but out into these facilities that are regionalized throughout the state. So the turnaround is hours not overnight.
Speaker 1: (31:29)
Sophia Bollag with the Sacramento Bee asks, how do you anticipate this pandemic affecting the state budget? Will this interfere with the timing of your May revision or the legislature’s ability to consider the budget or pass legislation?
Gavin Newsom: (31:42)
Yeah. Look, we put out budget guidelines that were sobering but very specific. Basically looking at baseline budget and looking at all of the proposals in the January budget knew based upon two things. Number one, changing economic conditions. A number of related issues related to the number of unemployment claims and monitoring our own domestic economy, but also on the basis of support coming from the federal government. 15.3 billion just in the block grants to the state. That will flow through not just the state itself and its general fund, but also at the local level. 6.9 billion of that to local governmental entities. That is to address COVID-19 related expenses. You’re seeing that additionally with transportation support, $3.75 billion, higher education, homeless support, all of that being considered in terms of the potential. What we call in California, May revise. So, that’s a work in real time.
Gavin Newsom: (32:41)
Again, California better positioned candidly than most States because we were running billions and billions of dollars an operating surplus and record a number of dollars that we had set aside in three reserve accounts. And that was reflected in our bond ratings that went up twice last year, not just once. So we’re very proud of that fiscal discipline and that management that predates this administration. But obviously that will be challenged over the course of the next number of months.
Speaker 1: (33:11)
The Sacramento Bee also asks, have you been exposed to coronavirus at this point, and what is your plan if you are exposed?
Gavin Newsom: (33:18)
Well, that’s an open ended question and I can’t answer, but I haven’t been tested. I have had no symptoms and we are very formal. We came into this facility. Everybody had their temperature checked. Everybody was asked a series of questions. I’ve been working out of the state operation center. Everybody goes through that process and protocol every single day.
Gavin Newsom: (33:39)
So we’re all taking it very seriously. Appropriately, trying to distance ourselves, physically distance ourselves. So, we preach or rather practice what we’re preaching. But this virus is dynamic and in that respect, one needs to be prepared and one needs to operate under the assumption that they have it and they can spread it. And that’s the responsibility, personal responsibility all of us have from the governor on down or the governor on up as it should be. As leadership pyramid has now been inverted because leadership can be found everywhere.
Speaker 1: (34:15)
The second part of that question, sorry, was what is your plan if you are exposed?
Gavin Newsom: (34:19)
To appropriately distance myself to the extent the doctor recommends quarantine myself from my family and from others, but I’ll continue to work and I’m confident the moment that I’m healthy, but check in tomorrow.
Speaker 1: (34:38)
Angela Hart with Kaiser Health News asks, do you believe that the statewide shelter and place order is working?
Gavin Newsom: (34:45)
Yes, it’s working as long as we continue the good work. The vast majority, tens of millions of Californians have done the right thing. It’s just remarkable. Just driving down here today to see these freeways unclogged, empty, see people practicing physical distancing. It’s inspiring. My biggest fear, Sophia, that everybody has that people get exhausted by this and they look for any sign of hope that says, “Oh good, now I don’t have to continue to do this.” Or they believe on the basis of what’s not happening someplace else that those conditions somehow will apply to their conditions where they are.
Gavin Newsom: (35:28)
I cannot impress upon people more. We must continue our stay at home policy throughout the state of California. We must continue to lead in this respect. Let us not pull back. I said this two days ago. I’ll repeat it today. Let’s not run the 90 yard dash. If we hold the line and we continue to do good work, let’s avoid big lines this weekend at our beaches or on trails. Let us practice this physical distancing. Let’s get through the next few weeks. Let’s see where this curve is. Let’s see if we are managing that curve and then we’ll have some more clarity how we can get back to normalcy. But I promise people this, we will not get back to normalcy as soon as we would like if we don’t continue to practice physical distancing and continue to advance at scale throughout the state of California in every part of the state the kind of stay at home policy that California very proudly advanced as the nation’s first state.
Speaker 1: (36:32)
Bob Moffitt with Capital Public Radio asks regarding the commutation of sentences. What do you have to say to the families of the victims who were murdered in the cases that you commuted? Did you have a length of time served in mind when you made the decision?
Gavin Newsom: (36:49)
Well, I made a number of commutations. I’ve done this a number of occasions previously and I said the same thing. My heart goes out to the victims. These are challenging, challenging issues, and it deeply, deeply impacts the decision making the impact commutation has on those victims and their families. So in every instance, in every case, those things are reviewed. We go through a very detailed process, and we did so with the commutations I put out yesterday.
Speaker 1: (37:21)
The Associated Press asks, you said California is starting to see a surge in COVID-19 cases. Do you think hospitals in the state are prepared to handle it or could we see some of the same kinds of problems that we see in New York?
Gavin Newsom: (37:37)
We could if we stopped practicing physical distancing. We could if we pull back from our stay at home policy. We could if we go back to our normal routines without bending the curve. I mentioned the surge last night, the number of ICU beds. Let me be specific, it was 105% increase overnight in the number of people in ICUs. It went from 200 yesterday to 410 today. We are blessed, and this is perverse thing to say, forgive me. We’re blessed that we’re just at 410. Devastating for the individuals there and their family members and loved ones, but by comparison and contrast to other parts of this country, that number seems relatively modest, but the percentage increase was not.
Gavin Newsom: (38:25)
And as I said when I wake up, first two things I look at, ICU and hospitalization rates. The hospitalization rates also went up last night from 746 yesterday to 1034 today. That represents a 38.6% increase. That is a significant, sizable increase. And if trends continue along those lines then we will start to manifest conditions that are very familiar to people on the East Coast. That said, the way we have slacked the system and surged the system, and what I mean by surge is, or mind you US…
Gavin Newsom: (39:03)
And what I mean by surge is I’ll remind you, the USNS Mercy is now in the state of California. These vehicle medical stations including one here in Santa Clara at the convention facility because the mayor’s leadership is up and running. 2000 beds in those eight vehicle medical stations have been procured because of the support of the president of United States, which we’re grateful for including the Mercy itself. We have now new hospitals online. Seton is operational in the Bay Area that has the capacity up to 220 beds. St. Vincent down in LA has the capacity when we staff it very shortly, we’ll staff it. We’ve secured, of 366 beds.
Gavin Newsom: (39:41)
Community hospital down in Long Beach has the capacity of 158 beds. We’re working with CPMC here in the Bay Area for 157 beds. You start stacking those numbers up. That’s part of our surge plan in addition to hotels, in addition to skilled nursing facilities. In addition to Porterville and Fairview and others. We have thousands and thousands of beds that we’ve already locked up that are preparing or being prepared to meet this moment, if these numbers continue to increase.
Speaker 3: (40:17)
From CalMatters, “Earlier this week, seven Bay Area jurisdictions announced new requirements that labs testing for the novel coronavirus must send negative and inconclusive results in addition to positive results to state and local health officials. Why wasn’t the state the one to set that requirement from the get go? Has the state updated its reporting requirements since then to match those of the seven Bay area Jersey?”
Gavin Newsom: (40:41)
We’ve been asking all the hospitals to do this and sometime the labs to do this, universities to do this for some time, so that was well established. The state has been leaning in in this space for now weeks and weeks trying to get all of that data. What’s happened, it’s a wonderful thing, is every time I go to another city and meet with another mayor, they’re talking about new pilot project, a new testing modality, and some people have a more of a focus on getting those up and running, than they do on the reporting side. So we’ve been able to stack the reporting in a way we’re now getting all, or at least the vast majority of what’s happening on the ground report in real time, not just the positives, which is the old CDC protocols, but now the negatives. And we certainly didn’t wait for that formal announcement. We’ve been requesting that for weeks now across the state.
Speaker 3: (41:31)
The Recorder asks, “Can you explain why you signed the executive order Friday night effectively giving the chief justice significant powers to change court rules around the state. Do you have any concerns about judicial council proposals to delay the deadlines for reigning defendants and preliminary?”
Gavin Newsom: (41:48)
I have deep respect for the third branch of government and I have even more… Well, as I have equal respect for the chief justice, I revere the third branch and I deeply respect her leadership. And I have incredible confidence, not only in her leadership but judicial counsel’s leadership to meet this moment with the kind of alacrity that’s required of it. Where they’re not waiting for a formal executive order for every specific protocol to come from my desk and my signature. This will allow them the ability in real time to meet the needs of the criminal and civil justice systems and so I did this out of respect to the institution out of respect to the chief justice and her counsel and the judicial council, his capacity to deliver it, to create those points of access to our system at this very difficult time.
Speaker 3: (42:39)
KQED asks, “What is your response to criticism from state Senator Scott Wiener and renter advocates that your eviction order does not go far enough, that it merely delays evictions and does not prevent them?”
Gavin Newsom: (42:50)
Well, I’m very proud that I signed an executive order yesterday and it’s important for people to know there’ll be no legal proceedings, there’ll be no capacity to enforce any evictions. That protocol goes through May 31st and I’m very proud I’ve done that statewide. We also moved over a week ago to clarify the legal authority of local governments to go even further. 30 jurisdictions already have, including San Jose, their mayor led in this respect, the mayor of LA, mayor of San Francisco led and I continue to encourage local government to go even further. And to the extent that we see conditions changing in real time, we have the capacity in real time to go even further.
Speaker 3: (43:36)
KQED also asks, “Are you looking into doing anything to relax the FDA certifications or increase the emergency use authorizations, so PPE or other medical devices with CEU certifications, or Japanese, or South Korean certifications would be allowed to be imported?”
Gavin Newsom: (43:54)
Yeah, we’re always looking at working not only the FDA as it relates to PPE, but also looking at other expired equipment. We had a conversation just a moment ago specifically to expired equipment as it relates to old ventilators and the like and how we can adjust the protocols and policies. Not just focus on the rehabilitation but the utilization of some of those other assets. Let me be specific though to the question specific to the issue of PPE.
Gavin Newsom: (44:19)
We had 21,000,095 masks in our cash that most had expired. We worked with the FDA to get approval because of the cold storage and the fact that the equipment and the mask were in very good order to be able to distribute those masks. Let me give you a new number. We have distributed to date 31.7 million and 95 masks in the state of California. 31.7 million and 95 masks. I have not a purchase order, we have now secured and locked in and are about to be delivered 101 million, 101,000,095 masks that we’ve been able to source throughout the globe.
Gavin Newsom: (45:03)
It gives you a magnitude of what we need and what we’re looking for. Let me extend precision in terms of understanding. We had additional a 1.4 million gloves sets that we’ve distributed from the state. I now have additional security that we are going to receive very shortly. An additional a one and a half million gloves set. So I can go to coveralls. I can go to gowns. I can go to shields, but I don’t want to belabor the question or my response to it or confuse anybody except to say we’re dealing in the multi-millions, hundreds of millions of PPE and we’ll continue to work with our federal partners to find more from the national stockpile, but beyond that if we don’t get much more, and we’re expected to get more. We will look to those explorations. We’ll look to repurpose, and we’ll also look to securing logistics around the world to get what we need.
Gavin Newsom: (45:57)
By the way, I just want to again remind people my gratitude to Richard Branson and Virgin. They have a plane, they’ll be flying out here in the Bay Area and Oakland. It’s just another proof point 747 with test kits with all kinds of other PPE. It’s just another example of these partnerships that are forming that are very, very… Well, we’re very, very humbled and grateful by them.
Speaker 3: (46:23)
KPCC asks that… Says, “They’ve gotten a lot of questions from LA residents concerned that their employer is still making them work even though they should be closed under state orders or that they are over 65 and work in an essential service like a grocery store and still have to work, or that their employer isn’t taking proper health and safety precautions. Where can they report these problems?”
Gavin Newsom: (46:45)
Well, department of labor, but just reach out to…. One great site for overall information, covid19.ca.gov. Covid19.ca.gov, lays out the protocols, procedures, what’s essential, what’s not essential, but that’s our labor folks. Julie Su, there’s the name, the director of the agency. Her responsibility is to enforce from a state perspective those rules and regulations, but one, let me counsel as a former county supervisor, the overlay exists as well at the county level and their office of labor standards enforcement that are [inaudible 00:47:22] that provide additional support [inaudible 00:47:27].
Speaker 3: (47:32)
Is there any update about the spot testing of random people in Orange County, LA, and Santa Clara that you mentioned last week? What is the status of that surveillance effort and what are the results?
Gavin Newsom: (47:44)
The results I mentioned in terms of the previous efforts to do what we referred to as community surveillance, and one should know those pilots are taking shape all across state. Some of our institutions of higher learning in our universities, our medical facilities are doing community surveillance on a smaller level. We intend to do it on a massive level and we are working with many companies including the one that’s a stone’s throw away from where I’m speaking today to improve our capacity to deliver on that.
Gavin Newsom: (48:16)
That capacity is limited and I’ll repeat this for the 20th, or 30th time, it is limited on our basis of our capacity to get the RNA extraction kits to get the reagents to fulfill the demands for testing and to get the specimen capacity, which means new swabs and the new media to transport the swabs. We are working, interestingly, another company here in the Valley to do 3D printing of swabs in order to meet the moment, so our testing is limited on that basis. We’re moving towards the blood-based testing, which will ultimately provide new avenues and access for more communities [inaudible 00:48:58] one of our top priorities. Those were [inaudible 00:10:01].
Speaker 3: (49:01)
No more questions.
Gavin Newsom: (49:06)
With that, let me once again thank [inaudible 00:49:09] energy and KR. Thank Marilyn Pardot, thanks Susan and her team. Thanks to the volunteers, thanks to the workers that are assembling life saving treatment respirators, ventilators here in the state of California. Just want to encourage other companies that have supplies, that can meet this moment to do the same. We encourage [Inaudible 00:49:31] them to contact us. And I want to thank the 350 manufacturers that already have throughout the state of California. And so with that, we just thank everybody that is working here first and foremost, and thank everybody that’s watching for their continued vigilance.