Mar 31, 2020
Gov Gavin Newsom California Coronavirus Press Conference Transcript March 31
Gavin Newsom: (05:23)
Thank you, everybody. I’ll give a brief presentation and I just want to first in the outset make a comment. We have just been overwhelmed by the generosity of spirit, the number of applications that came in from an announcement we had less than 24 hours ago. We mentioned in the state of California, in order to surge our system by roughly two-thirds, we needed three things. We need the physical space, we need the appropriate level of supplies, PPEs, ventilators, but the most important precious resource is people.
Gavin Newsom: (05:55)
And we had a call to people all across the state of California, people whose license had expired, people that are retirees, people that are in the profession, but haven’t finished their licensing requirements, be it nursing schools or medical schools. Remarkably, over 25,000 people already have filled out applications on our healthcorp.ca.gov website. Over 25 licensed Californians, phlebotomists, radiologists, EMTs, doctors, nurses, a remarkable, remarkable spirit. And a remarkable number of individuals that stepped up and are willing to step in to meet COVID-19 head on.
Gavin Newsom: (06:43)
So I want to just begin my comments by thanking all 25,000. And those of you that are out there that have the kind of expertise that may have retired recently or are looking to get their license renewed, please check out the healthcorp.ca.gov website and contribute your time in a compensated manner to meet this moment. We are also getting a lot of questions at this moment about masks, not just N95 masks, not just surgical masks, not just masks for our frontline employees, particularly our healthcare professionals, but people that are in the grocery stores wondering if they should have a mask. People walking the streets, walking their dog, going to do essential business in the state of California, whether it’s appropriate for them, whether it’s advisable for them to have face coverings. We’ve been processing this over the course of the last number of days.
Gavin Newsom: (07:40)
There’s a number of viral videos that are filling up my inbox. I imagine many of you watching as well, Czechoslovakia and other parts of the globe that have moved aggressively to advance protocols on face masks or other kinds of face shields and the like. We have a team that is considering guidance in this space to make recommendations whether or not we think this is appropriate, but let me caution on this topic, a number of things. We are in real need of traditionally, well surgical masks and these N95 masks. We are out there sourcing them from all around the globe. We have distributed some 32.4 million N95 masks to date, 32.4 million N95 masks. But, we have ordered over 100 million of these masks. We need 100+ million N95 masks just to meet the needs within our healthcare delivery system. The concern we have when we talk about face coverings in masks is people run to get the N95s, or they run to get the surgical masks of which we are procuring tens of millions of surgical masks at the same time.
Gavin Newsom: (08:57)
And so we want to be cautious in this space. We want to be guided by science and I’ll just say this respectfully, science is a bit incomplete in this space. A lot of people are promoting face coverings and masks, others caution that it is not a substitute for physical distancing, which it is not. And that it could create a sense that it is and may reduce the protocols that have worked so effectively so far here in the state of California. But, know that we are looking to put out guidance on this. We’ll put out our recommendations in short order as it relates to face coverings. And those recommendations will include the principal obligation we all have to continue our physical distancing, our social distancing, to wash our hands. And if we are putting face coverings on, we’ll lay out guidelines in specific terms of what that means and what it doesn’t mean.
Gavin Newsom: (09:50)
The last thing we want are people putting on coverings and moving them, their hands, not washing their hands and potentially creating additional issues. People getting the wrong kind of impression that somehow now they’re absolutely immune from contracting the virus and the like, but I know that this is becoming a major issue all across the United States. CDC has implied there’ll be putting out some guidelines. I know the President himself and others have made reference to the same. We get this question all the time. When you go to a grocery store, people are trying to practice appropriate physical distancing. You feel like you’re not necessarily capable of doing that in a short queue. The appropriateness of having these masks or a version of face covering. We recognize that anxiety and we want to meet that in terms of recommending specific strategies. And so expect in the next 24 or so hours that the state of California will put out more prescriptive guidelines in that space.
Gavin Newsom: (10:53)
We also are very proud here in California. We had incredible leadership that is demonstrable in this state, by says Cesar Chavez. That leadership was recognized formally as this day is every year, Cesar Chavez Day, and the spirit of contribution, the spirit of service, and the spirit of meeting this moment. We are also announcing an effort to do more and do better to protect our seniors in the state of California. We have 5.3 million Californians that are 65 years and older, and we’ve been doing some remarkable things at the local level to check in on our seniors, wellness checks to make sure they’re getting their medications, making sure they’re getting their prescriptions, but we need to step things up significantly.
Gavin Newsom: (11:38)
And that’s what we are announcing here today, a statewide initiative working with our partners at the AARP, working with our partners, Alzheimer’s, American Lung Association, Cancer Association, Heart Association, working with local partners, our cert teams that are part of our mutual aid program traditionally utilized in preparation for our wildfire seasons, our LISTOS program, which we rolled out a few months ago to do the same.
Gavin Newsom: (12:07)
We’re now reconstituting all of those programs and building capacity and partnership to significantly increase our connectivity to our seniors, to check-in, not just for wellness checks related to food and medicine, but the deep anxiety people are feeling, being isolated at home, and the loneliness people are feeling at home, not connected to the outside world. Anxious about their life and their loved one’s life. And so neighbor by neighbor, we’re asking people to make five calls. We’ve worked on social media platforms next door to do just that in 22,000 neighborhoods across the state. We’ve already connected through that platform, just shy of eight million individuals. But we have to go deeper and we have to do more. And we have to do it in a way that not only just checks in on someone to see how they’re feeling, but be able to deliver something on the back end, not just a meal or medical supplies.
Gavin Newsom: (13:04)
And that’s why we’ve created a hotline for people across the state that will guide them to more substantively deliver on the needs of the individual they’re contacting. And that site has a following number (833) 544-2374. (833) 544-2374. That hotline will allow individuals to be able to get questions they may have answered in ways that they can individually participate in helping support this moment in the spirit of civic contribution and the spirit of the common wealth and the spirit that defines this moment that we’re all bound, as Dr. King said, bound together by a web of mutuality. And that Commonwealth, it is incumbent upon us to check in on the greatest generation. People have brought us the world’s most vibrant middle-class, and obviously have done so much for all of us. We have a unique obligation to do more for them. But in that spirit, to be able to do more, we need not just that one point of contact, that one hotline.
Gavin Newsom: (14:15)
We need to be able to drill down in a more substantive way. And so we’ve partnered with our 2-1-1 system. Our 2-1-1 system is an incredible system in the state of California that connects people to real services, in real time. So if a loved one or a neighbor or a stranger is in need and they need something more than just nice words and just a check-in, but needs specific services, we partner now with 2-1-1 to provide those services at the local level all throughout the state of California. I’m going to have a representative here in a moment from 2-1-1 speak more about their robust system and what it provides, but I think this is a real opportunity for Californians to check- in on the most vulnerable Californians and do so in a way-
Gavin Newsom: (15:03)
Again on the most vulnerable Californians, and do so in a way that only Californians can will elevate in that context the spirit, sense of pride that I think we all have at this moment. But let’s do so in a way that’s meaningful and substantive, and in that stead I want to ask Richard to come up who runs the local 211 system up here in Sacramento to talk about the substance behind what that call center and those three numbers, 211, truly represent and will represent to potentially millions of Californians if we avail and take advantage of that system. Richard?
Speaker 1: (15:39)
Thank you governor and thank you to your teams also for the leadership that you’re providing in these unprecedented times. I’m the board chair of 211 California and the local operator of 211 Sacramento, and 211 is really a three digit dial that makes it easy for our community members to get services at a very local level. Our call centers are staffed 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, and there are trained professionals on the other end of that line that will be there to assist you in doing some case management and getting you to the most fundamental needs. And together we can work together as a community to start building those resources in those databases to ensure that the community members are getting access to services. Our call specialists are all trained in EHRs taxonomy, which means that they can help sort of provide guidance and determine what those unmet needs are. The 211s are operated by local nonprofits, and we’re excited to be part of this program with the state. And we look forward to serving everybody soon.
Gavin Newsom: (16:41)
Thank you Richard, and I really encourage people, check in on your neighbors. Make those phone calls. Not just loved ones, check in on strangers. People ask every day, “What more can I do?” Let’s activate this kind of civic contribution. Let’s activate this kind of a resolve in real time in the spirit of Cesar Chavez, in the spirit of service, in the spirit of real contribution to help meet this moment. Let me thank our entire team for putting together this comprehensive overlay to really increase connections and increase our obligation to our seniors throughout the state of California. Let me as well just update all of you on the latest numbers in the state as it relates to the number of positives, 6,932. Number of deaths, tragically 150 in the state of California. The number of hospitalized individuals with COVID-19 and the number of people in ICUs, we have 1,617 people currently hospitalized with COVID-19, and we have 657 individuals that are in the ICU.
Gavin Newsom: (17:48)
Those numbers represent 17% increase in the total number of positives in the state. Number of hospitalized represents a 13% increase over yesterday, and a 10% increase in the terms of the number of ICU patients in the state versus yesterday. I should note if you roll a five day average, again, we have seen more than a doubling in the number of people hospitalized in the state over the last five days and now more than triple the number of people in our ICUs reinforcing the importance of preparation in meeting this moment. In terms of the preparation, I mentioned the incredible response yesterday. Again, 25,000 people strong through healthcorp.ca.gov, again, licensed individuals. These weren’t just people randomly checking in and welcoming themselves to a website and looking at it.
Gavin Newsom: (18:44)
These are people filled out forms with their specific license number, and they’re ready to contribute. And we’re triaging every single one of those individuals and looking at the geographic distribution, so we can meet the moment because we recognize in California, we’re many parts but one body. And different parts of the state have different needs, and so we’re looking at the geographic disbursement of the individuals that are willing to participate and making sure that we are appropriating our surge capacity from a bottom up perspective. By the way, I just want to thank again Facebook for their $25 million contribution to help with stipends for those same individuals for accommodations and hotels, so they’re closer to patients for transportation and for childcare. Many of them need childcare at this moment, and those dollars are now readily available for individuals that wish to contribute to this moment in addition to the ongoing support we’ll provide from a salaried perspective. This is not a volunteer effort, healthcorp.ca.gov. It is fully reimbursed beyond, again, the stipends that will be provided through the private sector.
Gavin Newsom: (20:01)
We in the state continue to do more to find respirators and ventilators. Let me specifically talk about ventilators. You’ve heard me say in the past, the number of ventilators that we’ve identified in this state, 4,252. Two thousand of those being purchased through our Department of General Services from overseas, from China, the rest in hand. With that, we have a call out to get another five plus thousand ventilators. Our goal’s about 10,000 ventilators. We have requests in for the Federal Government national stockpile, and we request out from all across the globe. But one of the most spectacular responses, and I don’t say that lightly and I don’t say that without consideration because I don’t want to express hyperbole, but I cannot impress upon you more how pleased I was to get a call back from Virgin Orbit. These are the folks that make rocket engines, launching systems.
Gavin Newsom: (21:03)
They’re here in the state of California down in Southern part of the state, down in Long Beach area. They met the call and now already in action prototyping respirators that are not as nuanced and comprehensive as the respirators or rather the ventilators that so many of us are speaking of. These are less complex but can meet the moment and are more readily available. They’re bringing up a prototype in the next 48 hours right here at the state operation center, and they’re already running additional prototypes to help not just the state of California, but to potentially help other parts of the country. I say that because they deserve credit for being willing to reprioritize their production efforts down there and look at meeting us where we need the most support and that’s through the ventilator side of the procurement. And so thank you to Virgin Orbit. Thank you to their team down there.
Gavin Newsom: (22:08)
It’s again part of the ingenuity, part of the entrepreneurial spirit, that defines the best of California and Californians. Again that was exampled this weekend by Bloom Energy that converted all of those 150 plus ventilators that were down from the national stockpile down in LA County and repurposed, refurbished them and have already sent them back down into LA County. Again, spirit of meeting the moment, taking responsibility, taking into account that we have more that we can do, than we even believe, that our mind needs to be stretched at this moment, and it is being in terms of civic contribution, in terms of people, the private sector, stepping up in ways that really do justice to what makes this great state what it is today. So that’s broad strokes, an update.
Gavin Newsom: (22:57)
I’ll just close with one additional update and that is census. We have to fill out those census forms. Many of you are at home appropriately, fill out the forms, send the census forms in. Tomorrow launches our census process. It ends December 31. We may need to get that extended. That’s another conversation, but please fill out your census forms. That’s about representation, that’s about remuneration. It’s about appropriately getting supported from the Federal Government and making sure that our state gets its fair share, and we don’t get that unless you fill out those forms. And obviously the census process and protocols have changed since COVID-19, but that doesn’t mean we’re not going to be aggressive in sourcing as much as we can in terms of people’s contribution. I will make, forgive me, one additional final point. I signed an executive order yesterday that we refer to as an omnibus executive order. I don’t mean to confuse people except to say it had a lot in it, but one of the things it had in it’s very important to small businesses and that’s a 90-day extension.
Gavin Newsom: (24:05)
If you’re a small business person, you have a 90-day extension on paying your sales taxes to the state. We also have license extensions, fee extensions, that were also part of this package. As a former small business person myself, this I hope comes as welcome news. We continue to want to do more on commercial evictions. We now have eight counties, a number of local cities that have done moratorium. We are continuing to work on that as I’ve mentioned in the last few press conferences. More on that when we’re ready to announce, but no, the small businesses are in our heart and mind. And we will continue to do more, and I’ll speak before I open up the questions about more. We had a record number of people filing for unemployment insurance yesterday, over 150,000, so now it’s well over 1.6 million Californians. So we all recognize we’re going to have to do more to meet this moment for employees and employers and process this moment, get through it, and then get this economy back and growing as it was just a few months ago. So happy now to take any questions.
Speaker 2: (25:19)
Jeremy White, Politico. Jeremy White, Politico?
Jeremy White: (25:30)
Gavin Newsom: (25:31)
Jeremy, we can you.
Jeremy White: (25:32)
Hello, can you hear me?
Gavin Newsom: (25:33)
Jeremy White: (25:34)
Can you hear me?
Gavin Newsom: (25:34)
Jeremy White: (25:35)
Gavin Newsom: (25:36)
Jeremy White: (25:36)
Okay, hey, sorry about that. Thanks as always, governor. You mentioned what the state is doing to procure enough ventilators and respirators. A week ago you expressed some concern that California’s large purchasing power there could work to the disadvantage of other states. Today, the governor of New York, Andrew Cuomo, said it’s basically like eBay with other states, including California, essentially bidding one another up. And so I’m curious to know to what extent is that a concern that California’s purchasing power is coming at the expense of other states, and do you see a solution in which there’s a more centralized federal effort or in which California releases some of that equipment to other states that are in a dire need?
Gavin Newsom: (26:13)
Yeah, not only a week ago did we express concern about this, we did something about it, and we reached out to Governor Jay Inslee, Governor Pritzker, a number of other governors that said, “Let’s connect our procurement teams together to make sure that we’re going and working together.” Governor Murphy and I a few weeks back had a similar conversation, so you’re starting to see these partnerships at the gubernatorial level, at the state level, to help centralize. Look, I made a point that we have a purchase order out for 101,000,000 N95 masks. That I hope puts our purchasing power in perspective. That is a substantial amount of money that this state is capable of committing ourselves to that not all states can.
Gavin Newsom: (26:54)
We also are working with our FEMA regional director who happens to live out here and happens to spend a disproportionate amount of time here at our state operations center, and we’re very sober with Bob Fenton in conversations about what other states need as it relates to even what’s coming from the national stockpile and making sure that none of us are being greedy at this moment and that we have the capacity to move things around. And so that’s the spirit, to answer your question, that we’re bringing to this conversation and debate. We are as a nation state, a de facto, a centralized purchaser of incredible capacity, but we want to help other states even as large as Illinois and Washington State, some of the largest states in our nation, to see if we can help procure not only a reduction in costs per unit, but also procure a mindset where we’re not playing in the margins of a zero sum where it’s us versus them.
Speaker 2: (27:55)
Carlos Granda, KABC.
Carlos Granda: (28:00)
Hello governor. The state of New York was concerned last week that the hospitalizations could double every two days. Today you said that here, at least for now, they’re doubling every five days. Does that show that our numbers, are they moving in a good direction at least? Do you see some positive signs?
Gavin Newsom: (28:17)
Yeah, no, we’re seeing an increase, and those increases that I referenced as it relates to ICU beds not just hospitalizations that have tripled, ICU doubled in our hospitals for COVID positive patients. That was not an insignificant increase from what we had seen in previous weeks. Look, the number of positives today at 17% the number of hospitalization, the percentage increase, when I’m now looking at the percentage of 13% ICU, 10%. That is in line with some of our modeling, but no question, we are not out of the woods yet by no stretch of the imagination should people think that California is overly confident at all.
Gavin Newsom: (29:02)
We are continuing to procure the PPE, continuing to get the human resources that I spoke of at the top of this hour to continue to meet the surge capacity, not just the USNS Mercy, but now we have identified all eight field medical stations and their sites from Shasta, to Butte County, to San Diego, to Contra Costa County, to Riverside, to San Mateo County, to Santa Clara and LA County. That’s 2000 bed capacity. We get the National Guard building those out, working with the Army Corps of Engineers. I said yesterday they had already had 19 site inspections. They’re up to 24 now, and we’ll be making some announcements about partnerships with them in the coming days. We’re doing all of that because we’re not out of the woods. We’re doing all of that because we have the time to prepare, and that was the whole point of moving early on physical distancing. There’s no regrets in the state of-
Gavin Newsom: (30:03)
…. on physical distancing. There is no regrets in the state of California on our protocols on physical distancing. The only regret we will have if people cut the parachute before they land. The only regret we will have if we prolong this is that we didn’t take it seriously, and we didn’t recognize some of the early signs of success, but success is defined by buying us time to prepare. The announcement today on seniors was about preparing. I don’t want you to be writing headlines, and I don’t want to be hearing stories that someone finally knocked on a door, and no one answered only to find out when they opened that door that someone had passed away, because we didn’t meet the moment,
Gavin Newsom: (30:44)
And, that’s why we are building this capacity at every level of government, physical and human capacity, and so, yes, we are starting to see increases, yes, that’s consistent with our model, and yes, we are doubling down on our preparedness, and our admonition to everyone young and old to continue their physical distancing.
Speaker 5: (31:06)
Jeff Bauer, Washington Post.
Jeff B: (31:14)
Hi governor. Thanks for taking the question. Just sort of playing off what you were just talking about. The Bay area in Northern California was the first in the nation to have that shelter in place order, so now that it’s been 14 days, do you see evidence that it’s a model for the U.S. city that social distancing orders work, and the Bay area was also ahead of Los Angeles in that order. Do you see in your models a difference between the Bay area and LA?
Gavin Newsom: (31:42)
I think we have to be cautious in this space. I mean, you certainly can look at the numbers, and you can jump to that conclusion, but all the experts around me want us to be cautious in terms of jumping to conclusions. It’s still just too early to tell. I couldn’t be more proud of the leadership within the San Francisco Bay region, but the leadership in Los Angeles is demonstrable as well. Mayor Garcetti was quick to move in this direction, so as the county. They all supported the stay at home for 65 and older. Our seniors, which predated even those local announcements, and they began their preparations very, very early.
Gavin Newsom: (32:19)
So, I think it’s a sum total of all of these parts, but again, talk to me when we’re doing our post analysis, our post action reporting. We are taking nothing for granted in this state, and we are doing everything we can to take advantage of these moments, not only to increase our surge capacity, but to continue to promote the slack within our hospital system that we have been able to advance by reducing the census by eliminating those elected surgeries weeks ago, and many instances that are providing bed capacity that wouldn’t even exist outside a COVID-19 epidemic.
Speaker 5: (32:58)
Phil Willon, LA Times.
Phil W: (33:03)
Governor hi. I hope you’re doing well.
Gavin Newsom: (33:05)
Phil W: (33:06)
This morning at the San Mateo county board of supervisors meeting officials there expressed grave concern about the lack of PPE at Seton Medical Center, and also the need for more staffing. I just want to find out what the state is doing to address those needs?
Gavin Newsom: (33:21)
Yeah, well look, as you know, we brought Seton online. They have the capacity to go up to 220 rooms. They’re not there yet for two reasons. The two you just brought up; staffing and PPE. We’re working to get that staffed up as we are [inaudible 00:33:35] relevant to you as the LA Times reporter, St. Vincent and we’re making real progress there, which we hope to announce in the coming days on staffing and PPE. I made the point, we have a hundred plus million, and 95 masks alone. That’s not the coveralls, that’s not the shields, that’s not the gowns, that’s not the gloves sets, that’s not the surgical masks, that’s just a proxy for PPE writ large.
Gavin Newsom: (34:03)
The magnitude of a hundred plus million mask order gives you a sense of the magnitude of the anxiety at the local level about the need, and so, we need to do more, and that includes San Mateo county [inaudible 00:34:17] every county candidly in this state and we are in real time. Soon as it comes in, we are getting it out and now that includes making sure we pre-position our ventilators that are being refurbished not only in the state cash, but also, those ventilators that came from the federal cash, and making sure that they’re geographically pre-positioned so that we don’t get more questions like yours, which is completely legitimate and recognizable because it’s amplified by hospitals, not just systems, and counties throughout the state.
Speaker 5: (34:48)
Christine [inaudible 00:34:49] Wall Street Journal.
Christine : (34:52)
Thanks for taking our questions governor, I appreciate it. You talk a little bit about the modeling and how the states increase in numbers recently has kind of matched the modeling. [inaudible 00:35:05] coming out of the University of Washington researchers as well that has demonstrated that California so far, is that the curve that they had expected initially last week that the total number of deaths in California could be in the 6,000 range, now it’s down to the 4,000 range. Does that match the modeling that the state has been doing? And, we also wanted to know how early you and others in the state looked at modeling, and how that played into your decisions early on to do social distancing measures?
Gavin Newsom: (35:39)
Well, we leaned in on the modeling very aggressively, and generated a little controversy around putting out numbers in a very forthright manner that generated some headlines, and some anxiety, but it was a proof point of our modeling protocols, and practices. I mentioned at the time that we had early on before we even socialized publicly began our modeling protocols using not just our traditional health system modeling, but supplementing it with geographic movement, and information that’s publicly available from companies like Facebook, and Google, and others working with Esri, working with BlueDot, and looking at travel propensity within populations within the state, and running models along those lines before we socialized the “Attack rate.” that we did.
Gavin Newsom: (36:28)
That modeling is iterative, that modeling is constantly being reviewed, updated. We got John Hopkins numbers that we overlaid obviously with the anxiety that we all had around what was happening in Italy. We had updated our modeling in real time a week, or two ago around issues that were self evident. Spain, not just Italy, and other parts of the globe, but I will say this to be truthful and candid, the current modeling is on the lower end of our projection as I talk to you today. Very easily tomorrow I could say something differently, and that’s why just one has to be very cautious about this.
Gavin Newsom: (37:09)
We run best case, worst case and a likely case, but it assumes the most important piece, not AI, not big data, not just mortality rates, hospitalization, and ICU rates from other parts of the state, or around the globe. It is absolutely required of individuals to make the determination themselves of what those models look like through individual decisions, and modeling means nothing if individuals don’t continue to practice physical distancing, social distancing and continue to do the right thing at the stay at home order. That is the most profound, and impactful part of bending the curve.
Gavin Newsom: (37:51)
I think because Californians have done such, I think to date an exceptional job of meeting this moment, and we see that in the data movement that we have throughout the state. Not just anecdotal as you walk or drive around, but we continue that practice, then I think we can meet this moment, but again, these numbers are dynamic, and a week ago we were not anticipating necessarily a tripling in a few days the ICU beds. We saw a 10% reduction, or [inaudible 00:38:23] 10% increase forgive me yesterday, but it just shows you the dynamic nature, but I think it’s well within our current projections, but I caution how we report those.
Speaker 5: (38:38)
Kathleen Ronayne, AP.
Kathleen R: (38:42)
Hi governor. I just want to understand a little bit more your comments yesterday that our peak is probably going to be in mid May, and how that peak relates to our hospital capacity. You’ve talked about a surge capacity need for 50,000 additional hospital beds, so under our modeling, are all of those beds filled up when we hit our peak? Is that when we start needing those surge beds? How does the peak kind of match with our available hospital beds?
Gavin Newsom: (39:10)
First thank you for bringing up the 50,000 number, and I’ll remind folks that haven’t been watching prior. The 50,000 numbers, phase one, when we launched the 50,000 number, when we made that public 75,000 beds licensed within the existing 416 hospitals, the 50,000 phase one surge to 125,000 rooms that we are looking to procure which 30,000 would be done within the hospital system, a 40% surge for the hospitals, and then, the rest would come from the state, that was phase one.
Gavin Newsom: (39:51)
As it relates to our modeling that is true. People are talking a lot about when’s peak. I saw a headline today someone saying peak in the country may be April 15th. That does not reflect California’s reality based on our modeling today. We expect that peak as you suggest, as was mentioned by Dr. Galley yesterday, more likely in May. There is a worst case scenario, phase two of our planning that we are working on with our office of emergency services, Markella, Duci and others working with the Army Corps of Engineers, are working with our teams here that have capacity that’s substantially greater than 50,000.
Gavin Newsom: (40:31)
Let me be specific. You heard from me a few weeks ago, I talked about the conversations we had with Janet Napolitano, and Tim White at the UC System and the CSU System. Both systems have identified over 5,000 beds respectfully as an example. That would be phase two. We’ve already identified a number of hotel opportunities beyond those that we’re making available for our homeless, which would also be part of that second phase. We are working with the Army Corps of Engineers to look well beyond what we’ve already communicated, be it the sleep train arena, or Oakland Coliseum.
Gavin Newsom: (41:14)
We’re also looking at LA Forum, and other places that would be part of that extended phase, so I hope that gives you some deeper clarification, and we’re happy to have Dr. Galley flesh more of that out tomorrow, and the next day, but I feel very confident in our current modeling, and that 50,000 number for phase one
Jeff B: (41:38)
Tiffany Stucker, Bloomberg.
Tiffany S: (41:43)
Thanks governor. I had a question regarding your executive order yesterday in the Health Corps. Do you foresee at any point having to bring in health care professionals from out of state, perhaps states that are less affected by the virus?
Gavin Newsom: (41:59)
I’ll be honest with you, if you asked me that this time yesterday, I may have said yes. We were overwhelmed. I don’t want to be hyperbolic about this. I don’t want to be accused of over stating, but 25,000 people with licenses that filled out the application, that went through that five step process that said, you know what? We’re ready to step up. That was extraordinary, in less than 24 hours, so the answer today is no, today. We’ll vet all those 25,000. I’m not naive. Not everyone is going to fit a need. Particular maybe too many folks that are expert anesthesiologist, we don’t need as many, and too many EMTs, too many pharmacists, too many nurses, too many… who knows.
Gavin Newsom: (42:48)
But, I feel like based on the spirit that I’ve seen the last few days that we can meet this moment domestically within the state, and to the extent we have capacity beyond that, we’re going to make ourselves available to anybody across this country that needs support as well.
Speaker 5: (43:06)
Marissa Kendall, Bay Area News Group.
Marisa K: (43:10)
Hi. I was wondering, we’ve had several coronavirus infections reported here in the Bay area among local grocery store workers, and I was wondering if the state was doing anything to ensure the safety of those folks who work in essential fields like grocery stores, and still have to go to work, and prevent them from getting infected as well as infecting other customers who need those services.
Gavin Newsom: (43:31)
I appreciate the question. I mentioned a couple of days ago, and it deserves to be restated. A close friend of mine, John Grant, who runs one of the largest grocer unions in the United States, UFCW here in the state of California. John called me very emotional about the loss of a life of one of his members, and said, “You need to be reminded governor, that the grocery lines are also the front lines of this virus, and my members are showing up to work, not in the unemployment line. They’re volunteering themselves, and they’re quite literally now putting their lives on the line to make sure that they meet the essential needs of California all up and down this state.”
Gavin Newsom: (44:15)
And, there was a frame of heroism in his recognition of his members, and I think it deserves to be socialized with the rest of us. These folks are putting their health at risk and they are meeting the moment, and to answer your question specifically, we need to do more for them, and we haven’t done as much as we need to do for them, to provide them the kind of breaks that they need to wash their hands, to provide the kind of support they need to get protective gear, and to make sure that they’re safe and healthy, and I want you to know that I don’t just identify a problem. We’re trying to solve that problem in real time, and we’re working with the grocers, representative, and associations, and the unions to see if we can accommodate more…
Gavin Newsom: (45:03)
… Opinions to see if we can accommodate more appropriate safety measures for those grocers that you rightly recognize deserve our … Well, our respect and in some case, reverence.
Speaker 7: (45:17)
Alex Michelson, Fox 11.
Alex Michaelson: (45:21)
Thank you governor. Alex Michelson here. Big picture question about you. This has got to be the biggest leadership test of your life. I’m wondering how are you doing right now, and also to that point to see the extraordinary, as you mentioned, 25,000 Californians coming forward and all the different Californians coming in, all different businesses and everything that they’re doing, what do you make of the way that California is responding to this, and what the rest of the country can learn from what California is doing?
Gavin Newsom: (45:55)
There’s an energy all across this country and there’s extraordinary leadership with governors of large states, small states, all across this country. They all deserve incredible credit for meeting this moment. But there is something I talk a lot about and you know this, I talk about the issue of difference between people in formal positions of authority and people that every day exercise their moral authority. Today we’re celebrating the life and times of Sasar Chavez. Not the former governor of California, but one of the world’s great leaders happened to be from California and led the work to organize the farm workers and have provided so much bounty that so many of us take for granted. What he had was moral authority and leadership, I’m discovering at this moment, can be found everywhere. Individuals every day leading a cause at a church. And by the way, the churches are stepping up to reach out to our seniors. A leader in a school. I saw a DIY or DYI do it yourself model that came out of a local high school of how to do shields.
Gavin Newsom: (46:55)
No one asked that young girl to do that. They just put themselves on the line. That’s leadership. So I’m just one of many in this state, one of millions I think of leaders that are discovering their own capacity and their unique capacity to meet this moment. So I’m inspired. You want to ask how I’m doing? I’m inspired. I’ve never been more damn inspired in my life to see that number. Just 25,000 yesterday alone of professionals that are willing to come out of retirement, to put their lives back on the line, knowing that the PPE may not be there when they go back out onto the field or onto the hospital room, into the hospital room. That makes me sleep well at night. And so thanks for asking. No one asks that question. I appreciate it. But no, when you have the privilege that I do of representing the state, that will liven your senses and distill a sense of wellbeing that makes me feel very, very good about this moment.
Speaker 7: (48:00)
Final question, Ben Christopher, Cal Matters.
Ben Christopher: (48:06)
Thanks again for taking the time as always. Kind of a policymaking question. So given that we’re now almost in April, at this point do you see a need for any changes to the legislative calendar, and do you think the legislature should start preparing to legislate remotely in order to either meet the June budget deadline or to pass any other urgent legislation, and then also sorry to double up, but if you could also just provide an update on, on your meeting with the county superintendents and how the state is doing to make sure that kids are getting educated across the state, I’d appreciate that too. Thanks.
Gavin Newsom: (48:40)
Thank you for both questions. I had a wonderful call today with leaders, both the assembly and the Senate, Tony Atkins, the Senate speaker, Renden. We had precisely this conversation referenced your question of what we expect, what we need in terms of the calendar, what the members are, expecting what they need. And so all I can say is that’s fluid. There is no time certain to come back in session. They have been extraordinary. I cannot say more about both leaders and the members have been incredibly accommodating and patient under this very difficult circumstance. So I don’t have an update for you in that space except to say it’s their house, their houses legislative branch and we will support them and accommodate them, but they are being incredibly deferential to the experts, our health experts, and the needs of their membership in communities all up and down the state and we’re all trying real-time to accommodate their needs and ultimately accommodate that calendar.
Gavin Newsom: (49:42)
We’ll have … I have no expectation we won’t meet the fundamental urgent tasks at hand as it relates to the budget well before those deadlines. And as you know with a lot of these EOs, we’re extending deadlines across the board to accommodate for all kinds of other realities that are part parcel of the COVID crisis. As it relates to the schools, let me just say this and I don’t mean particularly, it’s the last question to leave you wanting, but I want to be specific. We’ve been having conversations with the superintendent of public education. He led the call yesterday with all 58 county superintendents talking about the issues of congregate meals, talking about distance learning, talking about what’s working, talking about what’s not. But he also talked about the calendar. He talked about the summer coming upon us. He talked not just about the calendar this spring, but the fall calendar, talked about how people and communities, large and small, districts large and small have different dates of expectation when they may or may not come back.
Gavin Newsom: (50:46)
We are working together to go together to formalize a much more robust framework, and so I’m going to leave you with that expectation. Forgive me, I know that I’ll leave you wanting. That we need to be more precise. There’s 73 districts, I can be precise in that respect, that are providing congregate meals. We are working in real time on best practices and distance learning, and by the way, governors across the country are working off our guidelines on distant learning, and I’m very proud of that, because of the good work of the superintendent and Linda Darlene Hammond, but we have more work to do, internet connection, rural issues and still trying to address the anxiety of parents, like me and my wife and millions of others about whether or not kids are going to go back to school this calendar year or not. I have been clear in my belief they will not, but let me announce formally what the superintendent of public education believes and the superintendents believe, and expect that announcement in the next day or two.
Gavin Newsom: (51:58)
Let me thank everybody for, once again, their patience, their participation, and more than anything else, very briefly, let me just thank all of Californians that may be watching that you continue to do the extraordinary and heroic work that you do done to keep people safe, keep people alive, continue to make the individual decisions that in the aggregate are going to, I think, exceed expectations and meet this moment. Practice physical distancing. We’ll get you guidelines and clarity on these facial coverings. We’ll do more to give you clarity in the next day or two on the schools. And, again, just want to express deep appreciation and gratitude to millions of Californians and let’s continue to stay the course. Thank you.