Apr 17, 2020
Gov. Gavin Newsom California COVID-19 Briefing Transcript April 17
Governor Gavin Newsom held a press conference on coronavirus today, April 17. Newsom announced he’s launching a California coronavirus economic task force. Ann O’Leary and Tom Steyer will lead the task force. Read the full transcript here.
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Gavin Newsom: (00:00)
… back and begin a very thoughtful phased in approach to reopening the state of California and ultimately reopening our economy. So I want to frame that as a predicate because I recognize the exuberance some of us have around entering in the next phase conversation about economic recovery and economic growth and desired attached dates and deadlines to those strategies.
Gavin Newsom: (00:26)
I, of course, never tempered by dates and deadlines. I only am guided by health and science. Real data in a granular level. Bottom up, not top down. I’ll remind you, 40 million Californians. We are the most diverse and we are the largest state in the union. And as a consequence, we need to be very prescriptive in our strategies, very targeted in our strategies and approaches as we begin to sectorally and regionally focus on the issue of economic recovery and economic growth.
Gavin Newsom: (01:03)
That’s specifically what I want to now talk about today is what that looks like and how we can be guided and aided in our effort to fully recover as a California economy. And by the way, not just as a California economy, as California goes, so goes the nation.
Gavin Newsom: (01:21)
I should just note since the Great Recession, California led the nation with 15%. Of all the American jobs were created since the Great Recession were created right here in the state of California. 3.4 million jobs since that recovery began, only to be confronted by this new reality. We ended our streak of 120 consecutive months of net job creation. It ended officially with our March numbers.
Gavin Newsom: (01:50)
That said, our consequences of our actions will be felt all across the United States, and we recognize our unique responsibility as Californians to do our fair share and help lead the way in terms of job creation, retention, and job growth.
Gavin Newsom: (02:07)
And so what I have done is I have asked and tasked some of the best and brightest minds that we could source. A disproportionate number almost exclusively reside here in the state of California. Some of the most well known business leaders in the world happen to reside here in California. Some of the great social justice warriors reside here in the state of California. Tribal leaders. Healthcare leaders. Small business leaders. We are blessed to have the kind of human resources that only a nation state could be afforded. And we have tasked 80 of them to begin to work through each and every sector of our economy to put together tangible, actionable ideas for short term, medium, and long term economic recovery.
Gavin Newsom: (03:02)
We have an advisory committee that represents the diversity of our state, geographically and otherwise, and it’s an advisory council that also includes, I’m proud to say all four living former governors of the state of California, two Republicans, two Democrats. I want to thank Governor Pete Wilson. I want to thank Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. I want to thank Governor Gray Davis. And I want to thank Governor Jerry Brown for joining this effort as well. We can’t do it without you.
Gavin Newsom: (03:35)
This is not a partisan endeavor. This is about California and a California first mantra to do everything we can across our differences and across the spectrum of political ideology to row in the same direction.
Gavin Newsom: (03:50)
Accordingly, it’s also guided and aided by leadership in both the Assembly and Senate, Republicans and Democrats. I want to thank all of them for their willingness to participate in this work group and to guide our recovery through the creation of this advisory group.
Gavin Newsom: (04:08)
When I talk about California, California way, with a bit of pride, that strategy is not just about growth. Strategy is predicated on inclusion. Growth and inclusion. We respectfully submit that before we entered into this deeply challenging times, that those challenging times, despite those economic numbers were very visible in a bifurcated and hybrid reality for many that were having the experience of benefits of the economy and others that were still struggling and left behind a wealth and income inequality and divide that was among the highest in the nation.
Gavin Newsom: (04:52)
Poverty rates, homeless rates, in this state, despite the incredible economic growth, that really were an outrage and deserved the critique and criticism that we were well aware and certainly received from those that felt we should do more and do better. And so I say that to make this point, we are guided in our recovery with those considerations at heart, deeply at heart, and deeply in our minds. We recognize that if we’re going to learn anything from the past, it’s not to repeat the mistakes of the past and have a sustainable mindset, not just a situational mindset.
Gavin Newsom: (05:33)
Again, in terms of how we recover, it is in the how we recover that I think ultimately we will be judged and judge ourselves, and I think that is the spirit of the group of people and advisors we put together.
Gavin Newsom: (05:49)
I have four of those advisors, one physically here, who will be co-chairing our efforts, Tom Steyer. I have three others that will participate on a video in just a moment and lay out and present their reasons for why they’re joining this advisory council, but more importantly, what they hope we can achieve through these efforts.
Gavin Newsom: (06:11)
I’m blessed as I introduce our chair, Tom Steyer, to just introduce him. He needs an introduction, but perhaps in a different way for many. I got to know Tom through his strong advocacy with his wife Kat, when, in 2007, they started a focus not on the bottom line, but the triple bottom line. Where they began to focus on the needs of others in a very robust and meaningful way through the development of a nonprofit community bank.
Gavin Newsom: (06:41)
The focus was on sustainability, both from perspective of Mother Nature but also the markets and to focus on low income, to focus on small businesses throughout the state of California. That bank has grown and it’s become truly a national model.
Gavin Newsom: (06:59)
Tom, of course, made his career understanding the economy in ways few of us could understand. His insight, his capacity to make investments, to see those investments pay off, his capacity to see the world, not just locally, nationally, but internationally, brings those skill sets to bear as well.
Gavin Newsom: (07:18)
So values and also an understanding of free markets, understanding capitalism unfettered and otherwise, we felt he was an ideal candidate to lead the charge and introduce the broader purpose behind this advisory committee.
Gavin Newsom: (07:35)
So I will step aside, I’ll ask Tom to say a few words, and then I’ll introduce the three other well known Californians that are also joining this advisory panel and they’ll put their perspectives direct to you in just a moment. Tom.
Tom Steyer: (07:55)
Thank you, Gavin. And I want to take a second here to point out what an exceptional job Governor Newsom has done guiding the state through this pandemic. He has been a steady hand, he’s been decisive, he’s been forward thinking, and he has won the admiration of people across the state of California, across the United States, and around the world. He has really done an exceptionally good job, and I think he deserves all of our support and admiration. Health and safety have to be paramount here in California, but everyone is also hurting economically. People across the state are worried about their jobs and they’re worried about taking care of their families, and I think it’s absolutely critical at the outset to point out that resource starved communities have been hit the hardest by this and are suffering the most and disproportionately, and that any equitable recovery plan is going to have to put those communities front and center.
Tom Steyer: (09:06)
This is an unprecedented situation, but the idea of shared prosperity is not one that’s new to me, as Governor Newsom said. I did start my own business in California 35 years ago and grew it over 27 years. I also invested in businesses across the state and around the world.
Tom Steyer: (09:28)
But as Gavin said, my great partner, Kat Taylor, and I started a bank in 2007 dedicated to the ideas of economic justice, environmental sustainability, and supporting businesses owned by women and people of color.
Tom Steyer: (09:46)
In addition, I’ve traveled around this state and the entire country meeting people across the board to get a sense over eight years of the varied conditions of Americans in this country.
Tom Steyer: (09:58)
So at this point, let me just read the mission statement of what is called, and it’s a mouthful, the Governor’s Task Force on Business and Jobs Recovery. To develop a strategy to help California recover as fast as safely possible from the COVID-19 induced recession, and to create a fair, green, and prosperous future. We will bring together Californians from the public and private sectors, and from communities across our state. We will develop a plan that works for all Californians with a particular focus on those hardest hit by the pandemic.
Tom Steyer: (10:39)
Let me say, we will have brought together some of the best minds, as Gavin said, in the state, to develop a recovery plan. But we will also be reaching out to people across the state, whether those are activists or experts, labor or environment, community groups or philanthropists.
Tom Steyer: (10:59)
This will be a broad based effort. I do want to thank the members of the task force who have volunteered their time, their wisdom, and their energy. And I particularly want to thank my co-chair, Anne O’Leary, who’s the Governor’s Chief of Staff, who I have known for a long time and worked together with extremely happily and successfully. I can’t tell you what a pleasure it is for me to be back working with Ann.
Tom Steyer: (11:28)
Let me say too close, health and safety remain the most important points here and we will ensure that they remain that way by staying within the government’s framework for opening up the economy.
Tom Steyer: (11:40)
We will also be true to the deepest California values of diversity, inclusion, and innovation. We have the biggest state. We’ve led in so many ways in terms of information, technology, and entertainment, in terms of defense, electronics, and agriculture. We’ve led in so many ways.
Tom Steyer: (12:02)
…and agriculture, we’ve led in so many ways. We will try to come up with a recovery plan that is worthy of California’s past, and pushes us to a better future and remedies some of the injustices which this COVID-19 pandemic have revealed in our society. And with that I will hand it back over to Governor Newsom. Thank you so much, Gavin.
Gavin Newsom: (12:27)
Thank you Tom and thank you for all your guidance, your leadership, your counsel, and helping organize this broader advisory committee. I think what Tom said needs to be restated, and that is a safe reset. A safe restart for roadmap for recovery. Safe predicated on health, predicated on data, predicated on science. We’re not going to get ahead of ourselves. We’re going to do this thoughtfully and judiciously. Again, guided by values, but more importantly than anything else, guided from a health conscious frame. We clearly recognize the imperative of continuing to meet that moment as our first and foundational principle as we move forward.
Gavin Newsom: (13:08)
But as we begin to process that roadmap for recovery, we have a number of people that Tom just referenced across the spectrum of California’s economy. One of them is the Chief People Officer at Square. Many of you know Square in the financial services sector, experts in small business. Jackie Reses is with us and she, we are very proud, has joined this advisory panel and is here to say a few words.
Jacqueline Reses: (13:36)
Thanks very much. Thanks for that. I’d like to [inaudible 00:13:42] (silence)
Jacqueline Reses: (13:57)
Businesses have laid off staff. They’ve ceased operations and a typical small business has only 30 days of cash on hand. Today marks day 29 of California Stay at Home. Entrepreneurs are adapting in ways they would have never imagined. Restaurants have become online marketplaces, fitness places are teaching virtual classes, so we are seeing the grit of the entrepreneurial spirit that underpins California’s economy. It’s being tested in extreme with many businesses at 60 to 80% below their average.
Jacqueline Reses: (14:33)
And as small business prepares to reopen, they have some various cashflow constraints. First, marketing. They need to let their customers know, when are they open, what’s for sale. Second, they need to manage their inventory and keep the shelves stocked. And third, they need to pay off the debt they’ve amassed on their credit cards trying to keep afloat during Stay at Home.
Jacqueline Reses: (14:58)
So as we think about support for small business through this crisis, we need to think across the broad spectrum of needs, many of which are new. Congress created the Paycheck Protection Program to give businesses access to much needed funds to cover expenses. The demand was so huge that the funds ran dry quickly. The PPP should continue to be funded, but Congress and the administration have to go further and create additional mechanisms to support businesses that so desperately need the assistance. Our smallest businesses were underrepresented in the first wave of PPP funding, so hopefully they’ll have more opportunities to apply so we can make sure the shops we pass every day in our neighborhoods get the chance to survive with SBA support. Governor Newsom has said that California is the rocket fuel powering America’s resurgence. As we reopen, that will absolutely be true again and small businesses will be at the heart of that recovery. Thank you.
Gavin Newsom: (16:37)
By some of the progress we’ve heard in the last few hours, in real time as it relates to advancing further support for that program federally and clearly California looks forward to being as aggressive as we have to move forward to get more of those dollars into our state. With that, let me now ask someone that is very familiar to social justice warriors, economic and racial justice warriors throughout the state of California, someone who founded PolicyLink, Angela Blackwell. Angela Glover Blackwell is really, I think part of the spirit of what I think distinguishes our efforts here in California as it relates to the creation of this policy or rather Recovery Advisory Panel, and that is the manifestation of getting the word inclusion. Angela?
Angela Glover Blackwell: (17:33)
Thank you, and I have to start by offering my appreciation for the leadership, for you Governor. It has been smart, swift, and compassionate and we’re going to need all of that going forward. It has been so painful to watch what has happened. It’s been like tons or gallons of alcohol being thrown on the open wounds of inequality and racism in this country. And as we think about how to recover, we’re going to have to figure out how to make sure that we don’t go back to what we were before. It was unacceptable then and it will be unacceptable going forward. We have seen the death and the suffering for African Americans, for people who are LatinX, for people who are poor and homeless and incarcerated. And for one of the first times as a nation, we have gotten a glimpse of how interconnected we are and how what happens to one happens to all.
Angela Glover Blackwell: (18:40)
As we go forward and think about the economy, we’ve got to bring the kind of laser focus that we’ve been showing in California on those who are most vulnerable to who has to be able to come back and come back in a different way. People of color in this country and certainly it’s no different in the state of California, have been the ones who were most exposed because of their economic standing. The front line workers who we’ve all been so grateful for in terms of delivery, in terms of groceries, in terms of so many things, these are overwhelmingly people of color. The people who have had to stay at home stay in places where they could not even begin to social distance have been people of color. People who live in communities where there’s no access to safe water have also been people of color.
Angela Glover Blackwell: (19:29)
And so, let’s have at least a three part agenda, one that places a priority on the frontline workers and makes sure that they can begin to move into the kind of economic stability that is so important for them, their families in the nation. We need to make sure that those people who are running small businesses, and when we talk about small businesses, we know that in communities of color, they are very small businesses, very small businesses. They need to have a priority so that they really make can have the focus that will be required and in all of business, not just the not for profit sector. Those are businesses too and they’re the businesses that have stepped up to provide support. They need support so that they can continue to do so. And the safety net must be strengthened.
Angela Glover Blackwell: (20:15)
This is an amazing moment. Despite all the suffering, the silver lining could be to finally understand that we cannot go forward as a nation divided as we have been between haves and have nots. We need to demonstrate for the nation that it is possible to have a recovery that is transformative and imaginative and rabid. That we need to do something completely different going forward and I’ve been so proud of California, the way we’ve stepped up to and (silence) to think hard about these issues. Thank you, Governor.
Gavin Newsom: (20:50)
Thank you Angela. Thank you for your advocacy. Thank you for the spirit of of your comments. And thank you for reminding us there’s no leak on your side of our boat. We rise and fall together. This foundational notion of the Commonwealth, a principle I think defines the best, the spirit and values of California and so thank you for that presentation. Moreover, thank you for your ongoing leadership and we look forward to all the wonderful work you’ll be doing for this advisory panel. We have one other person on the line, doesn’t need an introduction, well known around the world. We’re blessed to call him one of our own in the State of California, Bob Iger.
Bob Iger: (21:40)
As you noted, we are one of our state’s largest employers. Our products are hugely popular in California and across the globe. We were one of the first businesses to cease operations when the threat of the virus became acute. And now at the Walt Disney Company, we really have two priorities. Getting our people back to work as thousands have been furloughed during this business shutdown. And offering our guests and customers great entertainment experiences, whether it’s a visit to Disneyland, going to a movie at the movie theater or a live sporting event on ESPN. But we also know that we need to be really smart about how we reopen our businesses so that everyone can feel safe, both our employees and our customers.
Bob Iger: (22:25)
And in order to achieve this balance, I think this collection of protective measures are likely necessary. We stand ready to implement them when available and to do everything that we can at the Walt Disney Company to restart our business under safe and reliable conditions.
Bob Iger: (22:40)
I have agreed to join this commission to contribute what we at Disney have learned and what we will be doing, but also to learn from others in order to help Disney get back to the business of entertaining people in the State of California and around the world. At Disney also, we know we never really lose hope and we are always optimistic when there’s a crisis like this. We know it demands realism and candor and we appreciate the fact, Governor Newsom, that we’ve had both of those things from you during this very trying time. So thanks for the opportunity to join you on this commission and [inaudible 00:11:15].
Gavin Newsom: (23:16)
Tremendous. Thank you Bob. Thank you for your comments and thank you for your leadership and support of these efforts. To all of you that were on the call, we are very, very grateful to each and every one of you. I should just extend, and we have now 80 people that are part of this advisory panel. Not only people like Bob Iger representing some of the largest businesses anywhere in the world, and certainly here as one of the largest employers in the State of California. But we have representatives, including Ida Alvarez, who ran the SBA under the Clinton administration. We have Janet Yellen who joined this effort, former Fed chair, talking to us about community QE and the MLF program. We have people with unique expertise and insight, particularly in or-
Gavin Newsom: (24:03)
With unique expertise and insight, particularly in organized labor. Mary Kay Henry, the International President of SCIU, predominantly a healthcare labor organization, Willie Adams, ILWU, International President, as part of this effort. We have Tribal Chairman Ramirez who joined this effort, healthcare, Lloyd Dean and people like Greg Adams, the largest health companies in the world. Kaiser also part of this effort. I could be a peril going through the list of everybody’s name, leaving people off like Tim Cook or Mark Benioff and many others that have joined, all of them eager to participate. And I should just say all of them, we had the chance to reach out to all of them and universally people said, “Let me know how I can help. Let me know how I can be supportive.”
Gavin Newsom: (24:52)
We’ll start convening meetings very shortly. Obviously we will break down the work of this large group into subcategories and entertainment, hospitality. We have the CEO of Williams-Sonoma retail, obviously issues related to manufacturing needs in the Central Valley, Northern California, in the central coast, not just Southern California and some of our coastal economies.
Gavin Newsom: (25:20)
It’s a regional sectorial effort, truly bottom up, informed by the expertise of these advisors and it’s supplemental to the existing work groups that we have. We have an economic council of advisors that continues to do their work in concert in a collaborative spirit with this new advisory panel. We have the future of work commission, which is a who’s who of people thinking about the future in a very different way. They’ve been working now for months, so all of these things will knit nicely together and help us get to where we all want to go, hand-in-hand, labor, business, environmental consciousness, social justice frame, and of course, an eye always on partnering and strengthening relationships with the legislature, which will be fundamental and foundational in moving us forward and humbled by the fact that we have four governors that represent decades of leadership in the state of California that are also advising.
Gavin Newsom: (26:22)
And I just say personally humbled by that because it means a great deal to me personally and on behalf of a grateful state, I just want to extend out on behalf of 40 million people that those governors are willing to put themselves out here in this light and participate in this outstanding effort.
Gavin Newsom: (26:43)
And so that’s broad strokes, what we wanted to announce today. Forgive the technical difficulties on that Zoom call, but we are looking forward to giving you progress reports on the work of this group, again, led by Tom Stier and I appreciate his acknowledgement of my outstanding chief of staff, and O’Leary, his co-chair, to make sure that we’re truly integrated into the governmental apparatus. We have a supplementary team of folks from the EPA, folks from finance, all of our top lieutenants are also going to participate and help guide and staff this effort.
Gavin Newsom: (27:21)
So with Tom and Ann and that cross collaboration and cross pollinization of perspectives, we want to make this actionable. We want to make this meaningful. This is not something where in six months I’m looking forward to giving you a draft or putting out a long, thick report. We want in real time to demonstrate meaningful reforms, meaningful changes. We’re working on bonds, working on all kinds of financial mechanisms to jumpstart this economy, loans and grants. I mean I can go on and on except to say work is already underway. Progress is being made and we look forward to seeing more of that in the weeks ahead, not just months ahead.
Gavin Newsom: (28:06)
With that in mind, let me paint a picture of what’s ahead in terms of our expectations as we not only talk about a roadmap for recovery, but we talk about a strategy to begin to toggle back and forth in terms of our efforts to begin to soften up on our stay at home order. We are not ready to do that yet. I noted from the outset, 985 families torn apart because of loss of loved ones, 95 the worst 24 hour period since this virus attacked people in the state of California, the worst number of deaths that we have experienced.
Gavin Newsom: (28:45)
That’s humbling and it should be eyeopening to people that think that we’re out of the woods and I just encourage people as people practice their civic rights and responsibilities and share their voice and advocacy, be it advocacy, supporting a cause or advocacy opposing a cause, I just encourage you all to practice physical distancing, to maintain your advocacy mindset in a way that keeps you healthy and keeps your loved ones healthy.
Gavin Newsom: (29:15)
I say loved ones, including our seniors. It’s not lost on me. It shouldn’t be lost on you, what’s happening in our skilled nursing facilities and our senior in our adult day care facilities. Over 3,500 people, we’re putting out the numbers in detail today, over 3,500 people tested positive within that system. We have roughly 400 facilities where we have either a staff or we have someone we’re caring for that has tested positive. So your death rates are now at the highest they’ve been and the number of people in the most vulnerable settings are seniors, people that literally raised us, built this middle-class.
Gavin Newsom: (29:55)
You talk about vibrancy in the California economy, the American economy, these are the folks that built that economy, are still most at risk, big flare up in Tulare County, 157 people in a facility of 167 that have tested positive for COVID-19. I just cannot impress upon folks more, this knows no geography. It knows certainly no party. It knows no region. This is impacting all of us across the state.
Gavin Newsom: (30:26)
If you feel you’re young and healthy and you’re going to be okay, I remind you, you may not have symptoms but you still may impact others by transmitting even in an asymptomatic setting. You may transmit that disease to someone you love dearly. And so I cannot encourage you more to maintain our social distancing and continue to practice the physical distancing and here’s why.
Gavin Newsom: (30:52)
Hospital numbers went up slightly again yesterday, 1.2%. We continue to have slowed down the rate of growth. We have bent the curve. It has begun to flatten, but again it’s not moving in the direction that we are ready to ultimately celebrate, including the ICUs, the number of people in our ICUs. Good news yesterday, it went down 1.4%. it’s beginning to flatten in the ICUs, but again, not enough to suggest again that we are in that next phase that I talked about just a few days ago.
Gavin Newsom: (31:31)
So again, please, please continue to be smart, continue to do what you’ve done to get us to this point and continue to give us the opportunity to lay out the criteria that we’ll do on a weekly basis every Wednesday starting next week as we lay out specific strategies and update you on those six areas that we laid out in terms of how it will begin, not to turn the light switch on, but to move that dimmer back and forth to start to focus on loosening up in a very specific targeted and regional way on the stay at home order. We are not there yet.
Gavin Newsom: (32:13)
So broad strokes, that’s where we are today. Again, couldn’t be more pleased by the incredible collection of talent that we assembled with this advisory committee that’s already at work and we of course are here to make your work easier, members of the press, by answering a few questions that you may have.
Speaker 3: (32:33)
Speaker 4: (32:38)
Hi. Thank you for taking my question. Governor, there are several groups that are asking you to and say that you have the authority to issue a moratorium to stop immigration transfers. They’re citing concerns over COVID-19 outbreaks and substandard condition at these detention centers. What is your current position on immigration transfers?
Gavin Newsom: (32:58)
Well it’s a legal question. It’s a moral and ethical question, but it’s also a legal question and we are looking at our authority. As you know, I signed legislation to make these for-profit prisons in the state of California and ICE detention centers illegal. They sued the state of California. And so I’m guided not just by my desires but by the constitution and the law. I’ll happily update you on the progress of that, but I can assure you I’ve got a team of people and you may have been here two days ago, we referenced that team very specifically when I made the announcements on making sure that we are providing direct disaster relief checks to people regardless of their immigration status and other work we’re doing to help support all of our diverse communities in the state. We hinted at their work specifically in this space, but we have nothing at this moment to announce.
Speaker 3: (33:54)
Karma Dickerson, Fox 40.
Karma Dickerson: (33:59)
Gavin Newsom: (34:00)
Karma Dickerson: (34:01)
Do you have me?
Gavin Newsom: (34:02)
Speaker 3: (34:06)
Go ahead, Karma.
Gavin Newsom: (34:11)
May of lost you. Next one.
Speaker 3: (34:13)
Guy Marzorati, KQED.
Guy Marzorati: (34:18)
Governor, a questions on testing. What’s the specific number of tests you and the testing task force would like to see on a daily basis as it relates to meeting that first benchmark in the reopening roadmap? And second, I’m curious if it’s possible that some of the thousands who signed up for that help for might be enlisted in contact tracing the summer.
Gavin Newsom: (34:37)
I think that’s a wonderful question on the contact tracing. We have a whole work group on our contact tracing effort will be socialized in that meeting, make it public to you next week. We are blessed in California to be resourced with local health systems that have long been in the business of contact tracing. Again, it’s a bottom up process, not a top down process, but we will be supplementing the work at the local level. Again, tracing, going back to TB to measles to Ebola, H1N1 and others and help supplement it with funds and a resourceful framework to help with technology and also help to build a volunteer core that will guide our efforts and absolutely we have.
Gavin Newsom: (35:29)
I appreciate your question, thought about the utilization of that health corps, in particular because those are licensed experts, many retirees that want to come back in the workforce, many with the kind of epidemiological understanding that can help guide and support any volunteer efforts and the like. I’m, by the way, very encouraged by the progress we’re making, but not ready to announce the magnitude of that workforce, but based on the size and scope of the state and need to do the testing and the tracking slash …
Gavin Newsom: (36:03)
To do the testing and the tracking/tracing isolation and quarantine, it is going to be a substantially large number of individuals. As relates to testing, I answered this yesterday, specific question mirroring your question. We are seeing substantially larger number of people tested on a daily basis, over 18,800 yesterday, little over 12,500 today. We are seeing those numbers increase compared to where they were even a week ago. We want to get to 25,000 tests a day within the next few weeks and that’s then the baseline to which we want to see substantial growth in to May. Dr. Ghaly’s comments not only amplified that, but built on that. He mentioned the capacity to do 95,000 tests on a daily basis. So the month of May will be determinative as we move towards those more audacious goals. It’s still modest compared to where we need to be. We created a task force specifically focused on this issue. We have been guided by the incredible expertise, Stanford Medicine, Stanford University, the UCs, and others. We have a team that is truly representative of those institutions, academia as well. As you know, my co-chair of that effort, one of the largest health insurers in the state of California, Blue Shield CEO, Paul Markovich, who’s also co-chairing those efforts focused not just on PCR tests, also these serology tests, new technologies. And we’ll continue to update you on those numbers as they come in.
Speaker 5: (37:40)
Robert Salonga, Bay Area News Group.
Robert Salonga: (37:45)
Governor, Bay Area and Southern California jurisdictions and counties are moving toward requiring face coverings and masks outdoors. Just wanted to know if there’s any consideration for a statewide mask mandate. Along those lines, we’ve seen Los Angeles Mayor and Maryland Governor wear masks in public appearance and news conferences. Want to know why you’re not wearing one and whether you plan to.
Gavin Newsom: (38:07)
Well, we’re here at the State Operations Center. If you saw the protocols to get in this room, you would understand how secure and protected this room is. We practice physical distancing. I haven’t been in public, we’ve been here for these press conferences. But I would encourage people, it’s not a substitute to physical distancing. It is absolutely appropriate to wear face coverings, particularly when you’re going to the grocery store and doing other essential business if indeed you cannot practice physical distancing, it’s additive. And we certainly believe and answer your question, you may have heard two days ago I was very prescriptive in terms of the six areas of focus as we begin to reopen our economy that one of those areas was face coverings. So yes, we are leaning in that direction and we are very encouraged by the work that’s being done at the local level all throughout the state of California. And my entire household, from my kids to my wife on down, when they do the grocery store and do everything else, they try to not just preach as a family, they’re practicing by appropriately wearing face coverings as well.
Speaker 5: (39:16)
Alexei Koseff, SF Chronicle.
Alexei Koseff: (39:22)
Sorry, I had the same question about the face covering, so thanks.
Gavin Newsom: (39:28)
Speaker 5: (39:29)
Elex Michaelson, Fox 11.
Elex Michaelson: (39:33)
Thank you, Governor. I have a broad question about governors. One, what kind of advice are you getting from the governors on the Governor’s Advisory Council? And two, in terms of red state governors, if they want to open up their states earlier than California, are you concerned about people from those states potentially traveling to California?
Gavin Newsom: (39:53)
Yeah, I think we all have to be concerned about this. Again, this pandemic, coronavirus, the COVID-19, knows no walls, no jurisdictions, no boundaries. It’s a global pandemic. And by definition, we’re worried about people going from community to community, census track by census track, not just state by state. And that has to be very strategically considered as it relates to the next phase. And we’ll be very aggressive. Look, if you come into the state of California right now for essential business, we assume you’re just coming in for essential business. You are under the same guidelines and orders that all 40 million Californians are under as it relates to stay at home orders and requirement to practice physical distancing. They are supplemental orders, as you know, in communities, counties, large and small. So everybody has to abide by them. But as we begin to open up the economy, that’s a point of obvious consideration. And yes, a concern. And is very much part of the deliberation we’re having.
Gavin Newsom: (40:57)
I want to remind you again, every Wednesday, we have six subcommittees in these six categories and we will be updating you on the progress. And that is included in that subcommittee work group, including face coverings, testings, all of these things. So we will have the capacity and bandwidth, because of their good work, to continue to keep you apprised.
Gavin Newsom: (41:19)
As it relates to the governors, the advice is do the right thing. Don’t play politics. Don’t do the expedient. Think about not just the short term, but the long term. And more important than anything else, just remember we’re all in this together. None of us are Democrats. None of us are Republicans. And I say that, I didn’t make that up, I say that because that’s what they’ve told me. I had a call just a few weeks ago. I made that public. It was one of those Zoom calls that Governor Davis prompted with Governor Wilson and Schwarzenegger. Governor Brown and I have been texting back and forth consistently. And I just, I love the spirit of these ex-governors because they get it because they’ve been in these positions and they want to see something good happen for the state of California. And it transcends individuals. And I think as a former ex or as a current ex-mayor and a future ex-governor myself, I understand these moments. People like us, we come and go. But our state is what we revere beyond anything else. And keeping this state healthy, keeping this state vibrant is our most important responsibility. And that’s the spirit of their counsel and their advice.
Speaker 5: (42:33)
Final question, Marlei Martinez, KCRA.
Marlei Martinez: (42:38)
Governor, today you mentioned nursing homes and you’ve already outlined steps to protect the most vulnerable at nursing homes and residential care facilities. I have a question for you about transparency. Could you please explain for those who are growing frustrated, why don’t facilities and county health departments have to release specific updates related to COVID outbreaks? For example, identifying the facilities, especially at a time when information is so vital.
Gavin Newsom: (43:03)
Check your inbox, that will be resolved. I mentioned it about 10 minutes ago. That information’s out there. I’m with you. And you will be receiving, by site, that information. And we will continue to try to update it and make it more granular. We have HIPAA and patient privacy concerns, so it may not be everything everybody wants, but it is substantial leap forward in providing you that information that you correctly deserve. Again, let me thank everybody for everything they’ve done to meet this moment and to continue to practice physical distancing, continue to abide by the stay at home orders. Courage folks, again, if you choose to help support our food banks, help support our efforts to reach out to loved ones and seniors that are home, isolated. Deliver meals. Just volunteer. Give blood. Go to our serve.ca.gov website. Serve.ca.gov website. Again, everybody stay home, stay safe, and connect to those in need. Take care.