Apr 15, 2020

Gov. Gavin Newsom California COVID-19 Briefing Transcript April 15

Gov Gavin Newsom Briefing April 15
RevBlogTranscriptsCalifornia Governor Gavin Newsom TranscriptsGov. Gavin Newsom California COVID-19 Briefing Transcript April 15

Governor Gavin Newsom held a press conference on coronavirus today, April 15. He announced a $125M fund to give coronavirus stimulus checks to immigrants in the state illegally. Read the full transcript here.

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Gavin Newsom: (06:51)
Good afternoon. Today, I want to talk a little bit about direct relief for those Californians that need it the most, the most vulnerable Californians. But first, just very briefly, I want to just extend again our deep condolences to those family members, loved ones, of those lives lost over the last 24 hours. I began yesterday’s press conference by making a point that yesterday, we had the highest total number of deaths since this disease began here in the state of California, 71 deaths yesterday. Today we recorded 63 deaths, some 821 families. Again, every number, not a statistic, but a life been torn asunder. And I just want to extend my heartfelt condolences.

Gavin Newsom: (07:42)
And also extend appreciation for not only those loved ones and their families impacted, but I had the privilege yesterday of talking to over 150 faith leaders from every conceivable part of this state. And one common thread was how one deals with grief at this time, particularly the loss of a life, and how one organizes funeral services and all the logistical challenges that in the best of the times are difficult, but at this moment are made even more challenging. And so again, I just felt [inaudible 00:08:16], important, to begin by recognizing the totality of the crisis that’s still at hand, not only here in the state of California but all throughout the nation.

Gavin Newsom: (08:27)
Our numbers yesterday were the highest recorded, but so are the nation’s. And so by no stretch of the imagination are we out of the woods, despite the fact that we put forward a framework yesterday to begin to consider the prospects of reopening certain sectors of our economy. I want folks to know we need to maintain our vigilance and we need to maintain the path that we are on, a path that is producing results. But again, we are not yet in a place where we need to be so that we could start reopening.

Gavin Newsom: (09:01)
That said, people are not where they were just a few weeks ago. As it relates to unemployment claims, just in the last four weeks, 2.7 million Californians have formally filed for unemployment insurance. We are in the process right now of dealing with an unprecedented number of people making phone calls into our EDD department, our employment development department. We’re trying to process these applications and we’re trying to turn around those applications in real time. We’re doing so not only for employees, but independent contractors for small business men and women, people that are self-employed.

Gavin Newsom: (09:42)
And I want to tell you a little bit more about that in a moment, but I want to first just begin by saying this. I just signed an executive order that will extend our call center, so that we can meet the volumes of inquiry. We’ll extend it from the hours of 8:00 in the morning till 8:00 in the evening, seven days a week.

Gavin Newsom: (10:01)
A few days back, I commented that the EDD department had a call center since 2013 that was operating from 8:00 AM to noon, just five days a week. That was when we had record low unemployment. And just like that, now 2.7 million people claiming now the need for unemployment insurance in just over one month. So now, record number of call volumes. I want to just thank our partners, particularly at SEIU 1000, an incredible workforce that has been redeployed to meet that demand. 740 individuals within EDD have repositioned themselves, gotten trained, and are now redeployed in a position to address the call volume. But moreover, to be able to answer those calls and give you quality information, 600 additional state employees are being redeployed between now and Monday to do the same. So in total, 1,340 individuals now will be redirected, and will start the process of helping you process your earned benefits.

Gavin Newsom: (11:18)
And so I just want to applaud Julie Su, who will speak in a moment, her department, the Department of Labor, and the incredible partnership that she has formed within her agency, and all the men and women that went and did above and beyond work just on Easter, as a proof point and specific example. We thought it was appropriate, considering the burnout and the volume, that we gave people a little time off on Easter Sunday. 500 of those state employees refused that time off because they cared more about you than they did themselves. And so while we, many of us, may have spent time with our families, they did not. And in turn, they were able to process a couple hundred thousand distributions just on Easter Sunday, to help people most in need in the state of California.

Gavin Newsom: (12:11)
So if you ever have any doubt about the value of public employees, I hope you’ll consider just that example. Rather than stepping aside, they stepped in and they took the time to consider other people first, not just themselves. When they deserved that time off, they didn’t take that time off. And so I just want to applaud all of those that did heroic work on Easter Sunday, and continue to do heroic work every single day to process what looks like a million or so payments now a week. Those numbers, we hope, will get even greater, even higher, rather, in the next few weeks.

Gavin Newsom: (12:52)
But that’s the current processing, a couple of hundred thousand checks on a day that we’re able to turn around through these efforts and other efforts that have been put into place at EDD. So that’s an update specifically on unemployment insurance. And by the way, those checks are retroactive in many cases, particularly as it relates to the $600 per week additional check that are being received from the federal government stimulus support. And so people should look forward to getting those checks. By the way, they aren’t really checks, they’re debit cards in the mail. And see those debit cards transferred into their possession in very short order.

Gavin Newsom: (13:36)
As I said, there’s one and a half million that are self-employed. One and half million small business men and women, individuals that have no other employees, that are also deserving of direct assistance. The federal government created a program called PUA, Pandemic Unemployment Assistance. That PUA program, we are now setting up in the state of California, and we’re doing so in a very methodical and thoughtful-

Governor Gavin Newsom: (14:03)
In the State of California and we’re doing so in a very methodical and thoughtful way. Instead of just putting out applications and having people wait weeks and weeks and weeks for eligibility and for notification around the distribution of payments, we are organized in a very deliberative process in real time to set up our PUA system in a way where we can turn around checks within 24 to 48 hours. I’ll ask Julie Su to come up in a moment and talk a little bit more specifically about that.

Governor Gavin Newsom: (14:31)
But I want to make this point about the PUA process. This is not a way to avoid misclassification. The State of California prides itself on being a national leader as it relates to protecting our workers from misclassification and it is not a way of protecting those in platform economy, the gig economy from not providing wage data to the State of California. They must provide that wage data for the State of California. If we were in receipt of that data, we would use the traditional lines of unemployment insurance. But not all of those employers are paying into the unemployment insurance process.

Governor Gavin Newsom: (15:10)
And that’s indeed why the State of California advanced what is well known within the state a decision where we codified through AB5 a bill that I signed, the Dynamex Decision, with relationship to this issue where the state Supreme Court unanimously adjudicated in favor of addressing these misclassification. So I just want folks to know that their status, even if they choose the PUA process, is not at peril in terms of their benefits and the ultimate determination of their classification. I just want to make that crystal clear, nor does it push us backwards in terms of advancing the cause of righting those wrongs and continuing to transition an implementation of AB5 itself. Again, I’ll ask Julie Su in just one second to talk more about that as well.

Governor Gavin Newsom: (16:04)
One final thing. I’m a fan of employment insurance. This is something when I was a former mayor of San Francisco during the Great Recession, we were able to work with Speaker Nancy Pelosi to get a pilot through the federal appropriations to put together an employment insurance, not just an unemployment insurance program. It’s commonly referred to across the country as a Work Share program. The State of California has a modest Work Share program. We want to balance that program. We want to expand it significantly, get more employers into that program. I signed an executive order on that as well today to significantly increase the time to application, the time to creation and development of those programs.

Governor Gavin Newsom: (16:54)
I don’t want to moralize this. I don’t want to get into a national frame right now, but I can just say this. I think one of the most significant things we can do in the United States of America is re-imagine our unemployment system and do more of what you’re seeing in countries like Germany and elsewhere doing and that’s provide the employment insurance so people can stay in their status, their benefits included even with reduced hours in an economy, even as acute and challenging as ours today. The federal government did a version of this in the CARES Act as it relates to that paycheck protection program.

Governor Gavin Newsom: (17:32)
It’s a variant, but I think the opportunity to do this at scale avails itself certainly at a national frame, but also to begin anew to think about how we can scale that program, our Work Share program in the State of California. So, that was the purpose of the executive order. Extend those hours, 8:00 to 8:00 starting Monday. Extend our ability to process even more checks, encourage people to fill out the unemployment insurance forms, let self- employed individual contractors know of the availability now of our PUA program and let folks know that that status as it relates to that determination of your classification as an employer or an independent contractor will not be impacted by the creation of that program. With that, let me ask Julie Su to come in and fill in some of the blanks.

Julie Su: (18:23)
Thank you so much, governor. I just wanted to acknowledge that there is frustration in California over unemployment insurance benefits and the governor’s executive order today is going to allow us to open up the hours of our call center so that those of you who are seeking a live person to talk to to get help will be able to do that much more easily. We will be seven days a week from 8:00 AM to 8:00 PM beginning Monday. Also, on the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance or PUA, we will be launching that application on April 28th. So in roughly two weeks the application will be up. It will apply to those who are self-employed, those who are independent contractors, also to employees whose wage data is not sufficient, their work history is not sufficient to qualify for unemployment insurance, and to others who have exhausted their unemployment insurance benefits.

Julie Su: (19:19)
Once you apply on April 28th, you will be able to certify the next day and we are going to be turning around payments within 24 to 48 hours. So those first payments should be out by April 30th. I know many of you have been waiting for that. I want to reiterate the governor’s point that once payments begin, they are retroactive. The program begins in terms of when you can receive money if you are unemployed due to COVID-19 as of the first week of February. So the checks, the payments that you receive, the benefits will go all the way back to that first week of February if you can attest that you were affected by COVID-19 as of that time.

Julie Su: (20:05)
In addition, the $600 per week on top of the regular unemployment insurance benefits will also apply to PUA starting on March 29th. Again, when our applications go up in a couple of weeks, that money will also be retroactive. I would just add one last thing. There’s been a lot of conversation about the technology limits. Here in California, our technology limits do not make inevitable that we will not be able to find services. And so we’re continuing to pay unemployment insurance benefits within the three week timeframe that was true before this pandemic.

Governor Gavin Newsom: (20:47)
Thank you. We’re very proud of our labor secretary. She’ll of course avail herself to any question, but that last point she made I think is a really important point. We had a 21 day processing of unemployment insurance claims before this pandemic and we’re still within that window in terms of her capacity and her team’s capacity to turn around those payments and I just want to applaud her for her capacity to surge those efforts. We started, she started intentionally by not focusing on the call center as much as processing the claims because we really wanted to prioritize getting checks out as quickly as possible. And now we are at a position where we can do that and expand the call center and address the volume and needs as well.

Governor Gavin Newsom: (21:33)
So all of this in iterative process, all of this building on the efforts that are, well, built from the previous day and correcting and addressing and adjusting our efforts in real time. Speaking of addressing realtime need, our diverse communities in the State of California include our immigrant communities. I don’t know if many people know this, but it’s a remarkable thing. One half of our children in the State of California are born to at least one member of their family that is an immigrant, one half.

Governor Gavin Newsom: (22:07)
This is a state where 27% of us are foreign born. That’s diversity in a scale that doesn’t exist in any other state in our nation. And regardless of your status, documented or undocumented, there are people in need. This is a state that steps up always to support those in need regardless of status. 10% of California’s workforce is undocumented, 10%. Any over-representation of that workforce is undocumented in the areas that are so essential to meeting the needs of tens of millions of California’s today in the healthcare sector, in the agriculture and food sector, in the manufacturing and logistics sector, and in the construction sector. There’s an over-representation of people without documentation. By the way, paying just last year over two and a half billion dollars of local and state taxes.

Governor Gavin Newsom: (23:09)
Those are individuals that do not benefit from the PUA program, don’t benefit from the UI, the unemployment insurance benefit program, don’t benefit from the stimulus that was just signed by the president, the $2.2 trillion, yet many in mixed status families are having a hard time taking care of their children and taking care of you and your loved ones in skilled nursing facilities, on the job site making sure your food is being procured and distributed, and making sure you have the ability to go to a grocery store and have something stuck there on the shelves.

Governor Gavin Newsom: (23:46)
We feel a deep sense of gratitude for people that are in fear of deportation, but are still addressing the essential needs of tens of millions of Californians. And that’s why I’m proud as governor to be the first state to announce a program for direct disaster assistance to those individuals. We’re putting up $75 million in partnership with philanthropy. Philanthropy is matching our efforts, not dollar for dollar, but they’re putting an additional $50 million to support our efforts. So a total of $125 million to provide individual assistance of $500 and households assistance up to $1,000 for those individuals that are quite literally putting themselves on the line in helping support this economy and those most in need at this moment.

Governor Gavin Newsom: (24:41)
I want to in particular thank the Emerson Collective, Chan Zuckerberg, James Irvine Foundation, the California Endowment and Blue Shield Foundation. They seeded the philanthropic part of this. Laurene Powell Jobs, $1 million through Emerson put into this effort. There was a group called GCIR that’s a philanthropy group. They’re the ones organizing that $50 million raise and that $50 million goal. And for me that’s enlivening and it’s also ennobling because it’s just a recognition even from some of our world’s great philanthropists that happen to reside here in the State of California that they recognize that all of us are in this together, and that we have a responsibility to one another. And even if there’s gaps, that we can help begin to fill them.

Governor Gavin Newsom: (25:34)
I’m not here to suggest that $125 million is enough, but I am here to suggest it’s a good start and I’m very proud it’s starting here in the State of California. By the way, all our efforts are not limited just to direct financial relief. I made clear last week that we are allowing what we call presumptive eligibility to exist through our medical system in the State of California so people can get tested, not just in the emergency room, not just at hospitals, but get tested in community clinics and get those clinics reimbursed not only for the tests, but treatment related to this disease and COVID-19.

Governor Gavin Newsom: (26:17)
Remember, in the United States of America we have universal healthcare. It’s in the emergency rooms and you as a taxpayer pay exponentially more on the backend than providing the kind of preventative care on the front end that costs you less as a taxpayer and helps keep more of us healthier and safer. And so, this is an example with this communicable disease that can spread easily to make sure people know that they can have access to testing and know that they don’t have to go out of pocket to get tested and get treatment if indeed they are tested positive. This is a good health strategy and it’s a right moral and ethical and I would argue economic thing to do.

Governor Gavin Newsom: (26:59)
And so that’s an additional area of support that’s part and parcel of our broader efforts to help our diverse communities in the State of California. Child care, food banks and others made available as needed to help the most vulnerable key people at work, those that need to be at work for essential services. All again, part of the package and the pride that we have in California and Californians at this moment to do more and to do better.

Governor Gavin Newsom: (27:28)
Again, I recognize we still have more to do in this space and obviously I want to extend recognition of that and also send appreciation that we will endeavor to find more areas of support over the next days and weeks. And certainly over the next year as we transition back to some version of normalcy, a lot of which we spoke to yesterday. Let me now briefly speak to a few additional things that we do on a daily basis, and that’s to give you an overall view of the trend lines…

Gavin Newsom: (28:03)
On a daily basis and that’s to give you an overall view of the trend lines and give you some proof points and data that have come in in the last 24 hours. Speaking of 24, 24,424 individuals have tested positive for COVID-19 to date. I gave you the number of people that have lost their lives, 821. The number of people in our hospitals and our ICUs, we had some favorable numbers that came out yesterday. Hospitalization rate went up 1.5%. again, we want to see that declining. We want to now start to see that to flatten and we want ultimately to see those numbers go down, decline from their growth, flatten and then go down.

Gavin Newsom: (28:48)
Speaking of going down, there were 1,175 individuals in the ICUs. That number actually went down from yesterday 0.2%. that’s a very good sign. The number of what we refer to PUIs, I know PUAs, PUIs, UI, a lot of acronyms. That’s government. Let me make it a little simpler. Remember PUIs are the number of persons under investigation in the hospitals and in our ICUs. Those numbers are also trending down by multiples of that 0.2%. so that’s good news as well.

Gavin Newsom: (29:27)
I’ll remind you, as I do on a daily basis, those are the two numbers I look at every morning when I wake up first. And those are the numbers that will guide our decisions when we ultimately expand our testing capacity in the State of California, expand our ability to trace and ultimately isolate and quarantine individuals. Part of the six specific strategies, the framework that we laid out that will allow us to pull back and ease up as it relates to the stay at home order.

Gavin Newsom: (29:56)
But we are not there yet. And it is absolutely incumbent upon all of us to continue the appropriate practices that have put us in this position that have helped support those lines beginning to flatten and now beginning to decline. Let’s stay at it, stay the course and continue to do everything we can to meet this moment head on.

Gavin Newsom: (30:19)
So that’s broad strokes, what I wanted to share with all of you today. Of course, we’re here to answer any questions and provide additional insight and data to the extent we have it with those that may be on the line that have queries.

Speaker 1: (30:34)
Andrew Sheeler Sac Bee.

Andrew Sheeler: (30:38)
Governor, can you hear me okay?

Gavin Newsom: (30:40)

Andrew Sheeler: (30:42)
Can you hear me okay, governor?

Gavin Newsom: (30:43)

Andrew Sheeler: (30:46)

Gavin Newsom: (30:47)
Oh, we’re here. Sorry.

Andrew Sheeler: (30:49)
Okay. Governor, thank you for your time. So temporary hospitals are being set up. There’s a 900 bed temporary hospital in a gymnasium at Cal Poly here in San Luis Obispo. But there’s no indication that they’re going to be used anytime soon. Do you think that we’re over-planning and/or overspending on these? Do you think that these are going to be used and if so, can you explain why?

Gavin Newsom: (31:14)
Well, I don’t know the word overplanning in a pandemic applies. I think we are appropriately planning. We have been appropriately planning in this surge phase to meet the needs based upon modeling that would require us to find an additional 50,000 alternative care sites beyond our licensed hospital bed total system. We are doing more every day to secure not only the sites but to secure the PPE and the personnel for those sites.

Gavin Newsom: (31:48)
For this reason, we’re not out of the woods. I told you those death rates, the highest recorded yesterday. The hospitalization rates are still too high. A rate of concern continues to permeate systems all across the state of California, large and small. And let me extend a consideration as well. The announcement we made yesterday around our phased strategy based upon science, based upon health data also assumes that if people go back into the community and begin to have contact where they’re not putting on face coverings, where they’re not always practicing the kind of physical distancing that they currently are with the stay at home order, that we could see an increase in the number of people infected.

Gavin Newsom: (32:38)
We have to provide the capacity in the system and make sure we procure that capacity before we enter into that next phase. So every one of those beds from my perspective are important in terms of our capacity to deliver on the hope and promise that we can start to ease up on the home orders. And so I don’t think it’s an overcorrection. I think it’s inappropriate adaptation to the current new normal and provide us the kind of relief valves if indeed we need them without having to be in a crisis mode but having already planned in that respect.

Speaker 1: (33:23)
Bob Egelko, SF Chronicle.

Bob Egelko: (33:26)
Thank you. Governor. Different subject. I see that a state legislator has asked you to halt all sales of firearms and ammunition statewide. Wondered if you had any views on whether gun sales were essential or non-essential service or whether this should be a county by county decision.

Gavin Newsom: (33:53)
Yeah, we made the determination on directives going back weeks now when asked specifically this question about LA County and their efforts saying I defer to the sheriffs and their determination at the local level.

Speaker 1: (34:07)
Ana Ibarra, Cal Matters.

Ana Ibarra: (34:11)
Hi governor. You mentioned testing in community clinics and we know testing is an issue and I’ve talked to clinics where they have just 20 tests, if any, and so we’re sending low income undocumented people to these clinics, what are you doing to make sure that these clinics are prepared to support these patients, they’re actually able to give patients tests and services?

Gavin Newsom: (34:37)
It’s a wonderful question. It’s the right question. It’s one we anticipated a week or so ago with the creation of a testing task force led by a leader of one of the largest insurance companies in California as well as leaders in academia and research from Stanford university, our UCs, among others. We set out very specific and prescriptive goals in terms of increasing our testing. I was very adamant that we needed to improve this space and took responsibility as it relates to doing more and expecting more of our entire team.

Gavin Newsom: (35:15)
Last night we got new numbers back that showed 12,200 additional tests were conducted in the last 24 hours. That’s within the prescribed framework of our announcement a week ago. The goal was to get to 10,000 tests a day by April 14th. The goal at the end of this month is to get to 25,000 tests and then to grow exponentially from there into May and June. That is using the totality of strategies, not just traditional PCR testing but the new serology testing, the blood-based testing.

Gavin Newsom: (35:51)
And now with that as a primer, I think it only appropriate because he’s standing right in front of me that I ask Dr. Galley who’s led this effort to talk a little bit more specifically about the granularity of community clinics in relationship to the testing protocols as well.

Dr. Mark Ghali: (36:14)
Thank you for the question. Absolutely to reiterate what the governor said, our goal has been all along to make sure that testing is available throughout California. We see our community clinics and frankly all points of care in the community as potential testing sites. In fact, I’ve been on emails and phone calls today with some of the clinics about ramping up this capacity, so we make sure certain communities, communities that are traditionally underserved do get the testing that they need.

Dr. Mark Ghali: (36:44)
Over the weekend, we received a shipment of swabs here that we did distribute throughout the state and targeting some of those clinics, some of those healthcare delivery system centers that don’t traditionally have the supplies first. We plan to get some of those to community clinics, so that specimen collection, which is the first step in getting a test done can happen throughout the state. We will be working with clinics to make sure that that is available and part of those additional up to 100,000 test swabs a week that we’ll be receiving will get distributed to those clinics.

Dr. Mark Ghali: (37:21)
I will tell you also by way of additional update that we have identified at least 637 sites, testing sites across the state. Many of these are affiliated with the big hospitals, but then additionally, these are the drive up test centers that are popping up throughout the state through the leadership of counties, cities, and other entities.

Dr. Mark Ghali: (37:43)
We also know after doing a complete look at many of the different labs across the state that we have the capability today with instruments that are ready, acquired and working to do up to 94,000 tests a day in the State of California. So as we identify our capacity, we start to move some of the important parts of the testing continuum, whether that’s swabs, test kits, etc. And now the plan to really accelerate the number of testing sites across the state. We look forward to not just meeting that 25,000 tests a day goal, but exceeding it as new technologies as the governor mentioned with serologic tests, additional instruments coming to augment that 94,000 a day. We look forward to seeing that number increase and community clinics and communities that don’t traditionally get tests first are a priority at this moment.

Gavin Newsom: (38:45)
Thank you doctor. And speaking of tests, I neglected to mention there is no income based tests for individuals to receive the disaster relief regardless of their status. And I think that’s important to know as well is to know that their personal information will not be required to get those supports. We’re building that disaster relief program through community based organizations geographically dispersed throughout the State of California. They will collect the grants directly in every community, a minimum of $5 million in grants and then substantially more in higher density communities. And the CBOs will be responsible for distributing those dollars.

Gavin Newsom: (39:29)
And by the way, I want to extend both in the terms of the testing question and more broadly on the disaster relief fund itself, let people know that the covid19.ca.gov website, covid19.ca.gov website is now operational in Spanish and will have the capacity to have seven languages where it will be translated very, very shortly. And information and guides are available as it relates to testing in community clinics and the reimbursement under the Medi-Cal system to those clinics and the need for our diverse communities to not worry about going out of pocket. If you are feeling symptoms, don’t worry about not “getting tested.” Get the kind of help and health care you deserve in those community clinics. We’ll worry about the paperwork. We’ll worry about organizing the reimbursements through the medical system.

Speaker 1: (40:27)
Rachel Bluth, Kaiser Health News.

Rachel Bluth: (40:31)
Hi governor. I was just wondering if you’ve been in contact a lot with leadership in the legislature about what they’re prioritizing going forward as far as legislation and the budget and what those conversations are looking like? How you’re discussing that with them?

Gavin Newsom: (40:50)
Well, I had this morning a call with the speaker, Anthony Rendon, with our pro tem Tony Atkins. We are in constant contact and communication. My teams are available as needed to both caucuses in the assembly and the Senate, including a Republican caucus, not just the democratic caucus. We try to be as responsible and responsive as we can be. I’ll be on a Zoom call today with the Latino caucus talking precisely about issues related to the budget, expectations needs related to legislation and the legislative calendar, which as you know has substantially changed as a consequence. So we are in constant contact and communication. We will be more formally engaging. They’ll start their budget oversight hearings as early as tomorrow. We will get the feedback and guidance on the basis of those dynamic hearings. And then we look forward to opening it up to the public because the public courses most essential in a representative democracy in terms of their voice being heard through this process as well.

Speaker 1: (41:54)
Tanu Henry, California Black Media.

Tanu Henry: (41:58)
Thank you governor. I have a question about testing, Dr. Rodney Hood who-

Speaker 2: (42:03)
I have a question about testing. Dr. Rodney Hood, who was the past president of the National Medical Association, he serves one of those underserved communities, you mentioned. His patients are mostly African Americans at risk for many of the conditions we know that contribute to the high mortality rate for African Americans. It’s been one of the census tracks, one of our most underserved census tracks in the state. He reached out to a private lab that could only commit to get him 10 tests.

Gavin Newsom: (42:35)

Speaker 2: (42:35)
And they promised him they’ll do the best they can to get him those tests. Who does Dr. Hood reach out to right now to make sure he’s in the queue when those tests start to come available to medical centers around the state? Does he reach out to the county, to the state, to private labs? What’s the process or some of the protocols around that?

Gavin Newsom: (42:58)
I’ll ask Dr. Ghaly, talk about the detailed protocols, but let me in this specific instance, let you know I referenced a moment ago, my conversation with faith leaders all across the state. This specific example, this specific doctor, this specific request, actually came to our attention yesterday. So you and individuals on that Zoom call also brought this directly to me, and as an effort to be as responsive as I can, I would also have my doctor, Dr. Ghaly with me to talk a little bit more about it.

Dr. Ghaly: (43:29)
Thank you. Thanks again for the question. Dr. Hood should certainly work through his local public health department to determine the best way to get access to testing, and to make sure that the collection of the swabs and the specimens do get to the labs that can run the test as quickly as possible for his patients. And all clinics should begin to think about what are their protocols, procedures to be able to do testing in their sites and be able to get those tests to places to process the specimens quickly, so patients and families and communities can get results as quickly as we can provide them.

Gavin Newsom: (44:13)
Next question.

Speaker 3: (44:14)
Carla Marinucci, Politico.

Carla Marinucci: (44:17)
Hi, governor. You mentioned [inaudible 00:44:19]. A lot of folks were surprised last week by the sudden resignation of your appointment on business and economic issues, Lenny Mendonca. Just during a business crisis and on Good Friday, et cetera. Did this suggest some kind of rift in your [crosstalk 00:44:33] and a lot of business folks are wondering what’s your plans with regards in enlisting another business leader to take over at? You mentioned a working group on that. And then quickly, representative Jackie Speier just posted this on Twitter wondering if you want to take it.

Gavin Newsom: (44:47)

Carla Marinucci: (44:48)
Can someone explain to me how Texas has been approved for $1 billion more in SBA loans? More than 30,000 loans more than California despite our economy being $1 trillion?

Gavin Newsom: (44:59)
Yeah. Let me on the first front, Lenny Mendonca is one of my old friends. He’s an extraordinarily talented individual, unequivocally, absolutely no riff, quite the contrary. And I just, I wish him the best and I don’t want to get into exactly why he needed to step aside for this moment, but we are not supportive of Lenny. I am a rabid fan of Lenny’s and have known him and worked very closely with them since my days as a County supervisor and continue to anticipate a long relationship with him. I specifically as you referenced, and I appreciate the reference, have been making reference to an announcement on economic development later this week. We are still queued up to do just that, to supplement our efforts. It’s going to take more than any one individual to really begin the process of jump-starting our economy.

Gavin Newsom: (46:02)
We have a task force that we established in this space going back literally I think six or so weeks ago. We’re going to socialize a little bit of that work and also provide you more details and scope of the team we put together broadened and expanded. And what we anticipate and hope their work product will look like over the course of the next weeks and months. As it relates to that tweet, I can’t refer specifically to the Texas example, but let me make this clear to you and also make this clear to people watching at home. I’ve made this very direct appeal to the speaker as it relates to the SBA loans, specifically the PPP program, the Paycheck Protection Program. California has been shortchanged in that respect. We’re trying to understand exactly why.

Gavin Newsom: (46:55)
As you know, we were the first to get SBA approval on the waivers to draw down on the disaster relief funds. We’ve been very aggressive in this space. We have been aggressive and promoting and marketing this program, but as I speak, just 8.4% of those dollars from that program have flown into the state of California, about 5% of the loans. You do the math, one out of seven individuals in the United States reside in the state of California. 11, 12% America’s economy. We want to see those numbers improve. Here’s a caveat and it’s an important caveat. They’re still, well, roughly a hundred billion dollars. I don’t want to be held to account exactly the total amount of money, but up to that still hasn’t been distributed.

Gavin Newsom: (47:44)
So those numbers may change in real time. But know this, I appreciate Congresswoman Jackie Speier’s vigilance on this, know we are very vigilant on this as well. And it made it clear to our congressional representatives led by speaker Pelosi that any subsequent efforts in this space need to address the needs of the Western United States. And those that are anxious about this first come first serve status, which respectfully, and I know a thing or two about small businesses, creates a dynamic where those phone lines open up for banks and establishments on the East coast first. And with time, three hours rolls around here later, those things are capped. That also has to be considered broadly in any reforms. So we’re leaning into this space.

Speaker 3: (48:35)
Final question, Kathleen Ronayne, AP.

Kathleen R.: (48:41)
Hi, governor. So yesterday you announced the roadmap for reopening California and I’m just wondering in the 24 hours since you announced that, what kind of reaction have you gotten from across the state? And have you heard from any counties or local governments that feel that they have it more under control and may want to try to open up on a quicker timeline than the state will be doing? And then secondly, you mentioned that you’re going to make six task forces or teams to look at these six criteria that you outlined, and will they have any public meetings or information that they’re producing to the public on on their work?

Gavin Newsom: (49:20)
Yeah. Let me be specific to that. I mentioned yesterday that we are going to update you on a weekly basis as it relates to the progress in each of those six categories. So rest assured that is a commitment firm anchored on a weekly basis to update you on the progress and each of those six areas informed by these task forces that have already been operationalized for very many weeks here at the emergency operations center. And those new ones that are being formed with more nuance and specificity related to the guidance we put out yesterday. This may seem self-serving, but you asked a question directly. Let me directly respond. At least those that reached out to me personally I think were very favorable, cautiously. So about hearing of this roadmap.

Gavin Newsom: (50:12)
Many helped inform the roadmap because as I mentioned yesterday, we were in calls and in constant communication with a lot of local officials in terms of the developing them in the first place. So that shouldn’t be surprising, but there were a few inquiries in some of the rural parts of the state that I thought were very favorable, including this insight. And I’ll just end with this, by Republican legislative leader that reached out that expressed concern in this respect said, I appreciate the guidelines, broad strokes, I’m worried about the tracing side of this. He mentioned this, that the data that is being traced and tracked in parts of rural California is not adequate. And he said, please do not be misled by technology and inadequate data collection to make determinations of what’s really happening on the ground.

Gavin Newsom: (51:07)
I thought that was a very helpful insight and it’s just a demonstrable example of the kind of feedback that we are receiving in real time that we continue to look forward to receiving over the course of the next number of weeks, the next many months. We are not ideological in this endeavor. We, as I said yesterday, are open to argument and we are driven by evidence. That’s not rhetorical, that’s real. And as I said, the most important thing we can do, said this yesterday, is to end as we began. Where we went into this together in a very deliberative way, we need to pull out of this together in a very deliberative way as well. And speaking about everybody being in this together.

Gavin Newsom: (51:52)
I just want to continue to compliment and thank all of the incredible workforce that has been assembled to help support not just the applications and the distribution of disaster relief funds and unemployment insurance, but now setting up this new PUA system, the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance system. I want to thank our frontline employees again, the heroes every day on the front lines, our nurses and doctors, our police officers, our firefighters, and then the unsung heroes. All of you that every day are practicing physical distancing that have put us in this position where for two out of the last three days I’ve been able to say the following, our ICU numbers are beginning to decline. Thank you for a job well done. Let’s keep at this and let’s continue to improve the state, not only of California, but the health of millions of Californians that rely on our practicing safe and appropriate physical distancing. Thank you everybody.

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