Apr 18, 2020
Gov. Gavin Newsom California COVID-19 Briefing Transcript April 18
Governor Gavin Newsom held a press conference on coronavirus today, April 18. Read the full transcript here.
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Gavin Newsom: (00:00)
… back of identifying 15,000 hotel rooms that would be made available as a subset of our larger strategy, homeless strategy, to get people off the streets. I’m pleased today to announce a milestone that 10,974 hotel rooms have been procured. 4,211 individuals are now inside off the streets, out of our shelters representing roughly 38% of all of those hotel rooms now being occupied.
Gavin Newsom: (00:35)
We’ve had amazing partnerships not only with Santa Clara County, but Yolo County, Merced County, Los Angeles County, Riverside County, and Ventura County. There’s a reason I mentioned those counties. They have simply done more than all the other counties to really support this effort. This effort though as well is made even more significant by the announcement with Motel Six in their corporate headquarters here in the state of California. They are setting aside as part of a master agreement template some 47 Motel Sixes like this in 19 counties in the state of California some 5,025 additional rooms. That’s on top of the roughly 11,000 that are part of Project Roomkey. So now we have the capacity that exceeds our original goal because of their commitment to this effort at scale. 19 counties, 47 sites like this, 5,025 just within the corporate structure, not the franchisee, but the corporate structure of Motel Six.
Gavin Newsom: (01:53)
We’ve done something else that’s very significant as well with the corporate entity that owns the California Motel Six chain. We’ve been talking a lot with Senate leadership, particularly Toni Atkins. I want to applaud her and her staff. She has been very aggressive and appropriately so of making a point that many others have made but with more prescriptive backing. That is we should take advantage of this effort and look at the prospect of potentially procuring these sites into the future.
Gavin Newsom: (02:28)
So we have organized with Motel Six some language that would allow that process to take shape, make it much easier beyond this pandemic to potentially consider these sites as a broader portfolio to provide some more permanency for those most in need in the state of California. I want to applaud Toni Atkins for her leadership in this space, leadership in the assembly as well. A number of individual leaders have reached out saying this is exactly the kind of lease template we should be advancing in the state.
Gavin Newsom: (03:01)
So good news, real progress in just a few weeks, in just a few weeks, to procure these sites to start getting people off the streets, out of the shelters and into these safer settings. I just want to remind people the subset of people that we are prioritizing in Project Roomkey are individuals that have tested positive for COVID-19, individuals that are in congregate settings that have been exposed to COVID-19, or elderly individuals that are vulnerable, as well as others with comorbidities or other issues, chronic disease that we have prioritized. That’s part of the framework in partnership with FEMA, in partnership with the counties that we prioritize as a subset of our homeless population into this broader effort.
Gavin Newsom: (03:55)
I want to also just acknowledge a few people, if I may. Jason Elliot in my team has been masterful in putting together these master agreements. Kim Johnson, the Department of Social Services, just worked overtime. Again, we launched this just a few weeks ago and the fact that we are able to get thousands and thousands of people off the street and now in partnership with cities, not just the counties, the ability to get 10-plus thousand more off the street in a short period of time is remarkable testaments of their leadership.
Gavin Newsom: (04:29)
It’s also a remarkable testament to the leadership of Chef Jose Andres from World Central Kitchen. We have partnered with World Central Kitchen on this entire portfolio to provide three meals a day. Dietary considerations in play, partnerships with local restaurants, three meals, not just cold prepackaged meals. Three nutritious meals, hot meals, not just cold meals for adults, not just children or children, not just adults. I want to just compliment World Central Kitchen for being able to do this at scale. They’ll deliver their meals, they’ll do it in a safe way, and they’ll provide, again, three every single day for this entire portfolio. Again, all of this in just a few weeks.
Gavin Newsom: (05:17)
So I say this as someone who cares deeply about the issue of homelessness. I take this personally in terms of my responsibility, my role as governor of the state of California, and I just cannot impress upon you how proud I am at this moment to be able to make this announcement and to further the call to make it clear that we cannot do this alone as a state. We’re sort of building the plane that someone else has to fly it. It’s the counties that really lead this effort and it’s the cities that need to support this effort. I mentioned those counties that have excelled. There are equivalent number of cities, unfortunately, that have not, where cities are blocking these efforts at a time of crisis. The most vulnerable Californians on our streets, seniors that are just desperate for a key, a lock, a place of their own, the dignity that comes with that. Their lives on the line.
Gavin Newsom: (06:14)
I just want to encourage those cities that are blocking efforts like this to consider theirselves in the context of others, to consider their action in the context of their community, to consider their actions in the context and annals of history. They’ll judge themselves, not just be judged by others by the extent they help the least among us at this incredibly important time.
Gavin Newsom: (06:38)
No one stands taller than those leaders that bend down on one knee to help lift other people up. No one stands taller, and so cities that are blocking these efforts, please consider the morality of those decisions. Consider the moment we’re in and the ethical question you’re being called and asked upon. Consider your station in life and in history. All of us will be judged, homeless individuals or members of our community, people that are a paycheck away from losing the capacity to have that key and lock and a place to call home. I hope we’ll consider their a lot and their future as well.
Gavin Newsom: (07:21)
But one person, it’s not imperiled to be judged negatively, is the person I’m going to introduce now, that’s the president of the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors who really stepped into this moment directly with me and directly with our team in saying we can absorb more of these units and we are not going to stand in the way of progress. So let me introduce one of those leaders before I introduce yet another, and that’s the president of the Board of Santa Clara Supervisors, Cindy Chavez.
Cindy Chavez: (08:00)
Well, good morning everyone. You know I had gotten some feedback from the public about all of the conferences, the news conferences were doing, and one of the questions I get asked is why do we spend time thanking each other given that these are our jobs and I want to say why. When we look at the Governor of California and you compare that to governors across the country, there are a few that stand shoulder to shoulder with him in terms of playing a leadership role and how we fight this virus.
Cindy Chavez: (08:33)
Governor Newsom has been inclusive statewide. He has moved us together to do hard things and he has played a leadership role in addressing the needs of the most vulnerable in our community. He’s done that by expanding offerings for childcare, for supporting our efforts in surge capacity, in helping us think differently about how we handle criminal justice at this time. There really is no end to the leadership role that he’s played, and it’s allowed leaders on the ground, like my colleagues, Supervisor Susan Ellenberg, to really dig in and expand opportunities for childcare, for our police and fire services to really do their jobs and for folks that work in our hospitals to have the PPE to excel and do the work that they need to do.
Cindy Chavez: (09:24)
So it goes without saying that I’m so grateful to live in this state and I couldn’t be more grateful to be from this county. I’ll get to talk about our partnership with the mayor in just a moment. But let me say what’s so important about Project Roomkey and why we’re so excited about it. It allows us not only to meet the needs of a community during COVID-19, but allows us to work with our cities to think differently about how we address homelessness, because we all know that we both have to address this emergency. Then as we grow out of it, be the kind of state that recognizes there’s a role for every person in our community, that there’s a home for every person in our community. That we understand the value of every person in our community.
Cindy Chavez: (10:09)
So I really want to just say I’m here on behalf of the county. We’re so excited to be in the process of completing this negotiation here because we think this is the right thing to do. So thank you, Governor. For all of us, and I know those of you at home, I just want to thank you for those of you who are sheltering in place, washing your hands, not touching your face, doing all the things that we’re asking you to do, that it’s getting challenging to stay at home and we hear you. We’re working as hard as we can under the Governor’s leadership to figure out what those next steps are.
Cindy Chavez: (10:43)
Again, I want to thank the Governor for creating a statewide platform and a statewide framework for us to look at. One of the most important partnerships the County of Santa Clara has had has really been with the city of San Jose. We really appreciate Mayor Landry of Campbell, and all the other cities in our county. But Mayor Liccardo and the city have shown extraordinary leadership and partners-
President Chavez: (11:03)
Mayor Liccardo and the city have shown extraordinary leadership and partnership with us, and taken on great risks to make sure that we’re doing what we need to do for the members of our community, for example, in expanding food and meals across the County. So with that, I’d like to invite up Mayor Liccardo.
Mayor Liccardo: (11:20)
Thank you, President Chavez, and I just wanted to say Mayor Susan Landry, thank you for welcoming us to Campbell and for standing up as, and thank you for standing up as one of the cities here in the county that is very much willing to embrace this important initiative from the governor, and I am so grateful to the leadership of Governor Newsom. I think we all know and we see in the news that he’s providing leadership not just for our state, but for our nation at this time of crisis, and I am so grateful not simply for what I see him on the screen, but as someone who is working day to day with him and his incredible team, just the incredibly quick response and the keen and sage foresight with, when you see projects like project Roomkey and how essential they are to enable so many of our most vulnerable residents to be safe at this critical moment. Thank you, Governor Newsom for all the leadership you’re providing.
Mayor Liccardo: (12:19)
I really want to thank President Cindy Chavez and the county. Her incredible leadership, certainly not just today, but for many years on homelessness, ultimately perhaps the greatest accomplishment we’ve seen in many counties through the state is the passage of Measure A back in 2016, nearly one billion dollars for homelessness, and we are seeing projects now on the ground, opening their doors, getting the homeless off the street. It is so heartening to see real action happening here in Santa Clara County, and I want to thank as well, Supervisor Susan Ellenberg for her leadership in this critical time. A big thanks to Jason Elliot and Anna Leary. Certainly, this project Roomkey is critical. Also, the negotiations with FEMA ensuring there’s reimbursement for this is really critical, because all of our cities and counties are facing gigantic holes in our budgets. We’re going to be spending a lot of money on emergency response, and being able to have these FEMA reimbursements is critical to enable us to better serve our community going forward, so thank you Jason for all your work.
Mayor Liccardo: (13:25)
Because of the leadership of the county in this effort we have 1123 rooms that can be available now for those COVID positive individuals, those homeless individuals who are vulnerable to come in from the cold, and I am so grateful, and we have already had more than 500 homeless individuals housed from this effort, more than 453 motel rooms alone, like the ones you see behind me. This is the kind of effort that is resulting from the leadership of the county in collaboration with all the cities, and I think it’s critical that we not allow this moment to pass as we are seeing we hope what will be a CARES Act 2.0 from Congress. We know it’s been held up, but we are eager to see it move forward, because here is a real opportunity for Congress to step up and say “Let’s build on the vision of Governor Newsom.”
Mayor Liccardo: (14:17)
We don’t want these rooms simply open for a few weeks or a few months, let’s give counties and cities the dollars they need to purchase hotels so we can really aggressively address the homelessness crisis that will be here well beyond the time that this pandemic passes. In addition to purchasing motels, we can also be out there building emergency housing, as we’re doing now on three separate sites because of the 150 million dollars of funding that the governor and his team have made available with the help of the legislature to cities throughout the state. We’re taking advantage of those opportunities, I know other cities are as well, and we can really build on this with a real partnership from the federal government, and I hope that we’re able to see a new CARES package get over the goal line so we can all make real progress together. Thank you all and thank you Governor.
Gavin Newsom: (15:12)
Thank you, Mayor Liccardo. Thank you, Supervisor. Thank you Mayor and Supervisor for all of your support. At the end of the day, the state vision as it relates to supporting these efforts can not be realized anywhere else but the local level, and so localism, as I often say, is determinative, and that’s in the basis of leadership, and you have demonstrable leaders here, and they are exampled every day, particularly on this issue through good work, and so we’re very grateful to them. That’s why we’re here today, to highlight that and let them know the spirit of what Mayor Liccardo just said. We want to be here in the medium and longterm as well.
Gavin Newsom: (15:49)
When we talk about procuring these sites in the future, the obvious question is how to pay for it? We’re working, as the Mayor said, to see what we can do at the federal level with the next iteration of federal support in the stimulus, working through the voucher program, CDBG programs, tax credit programs, looking with philanthropy, nonprofits, and to the extent that states can support those efforts and try to package all of that up. In fact, we quite literally are looking at all of those as specific examples to potentially stack up the financing that may be needed ultimately to start procuring these assets throughout the state of California.
Gavin Newsom: (16:28)
Let me just briefly, before we open it up to questions, just update people as we do every day at noon on the total number of individuals that are currently tested positive for COVID-19, number of ICU patients, the number of people in our hospitals, and of course update you on the latest number of deaths in the state of California. Tragically, last night we lost another 87 human beings, stories, not statistics, people that have family members and loved ones that have been torn apart because of COVID-19. 1072 families have been impacted through a loss of a loved one since the beginning of this crisis. So for those that think we’re out of the woods, those that think we’ve turned the page, those that think that it can go back to the way things used to be, I caution you on the basis of that 87 number. That represents among the highest number of deaths this state has experienced since the beginning of this crisis. Our hospitalization rates went up, didn’t go down last night, in the last 24 hours. The good news, it was modest growth of 1.3%. Our ICU numbers however did modestly go down, and when I say modest, by .1% in the last 24 hours.
Gavin Newsom: (17:51)
I referenced hospitalization and ICU numbers as very, very important numbers in terms of our determination of when we can start loosening up the stay at home orders. We’ve certainly flattened the curve, the question is when are we going to see those numbers start to decline on a consistent basis as opposed to an episodic basis as we have seen over the last week or so. We still had an increase in the total number of cases of 5.3% testing positive over the previous 24 hour period. Again, just a reminder that we still have a lot in front of us and a lot to do inside of us in terms of our determination to continue to practice physical distancing, our determination to continue to advance our broader stay at home orders up and down the state.
Gavin Newsom: (18:41)
I want to just make a point about people up and down the state of California. It’s incredibly important that we highlight what we began to highlight in very detailed terms in the beginning of this crisis. The first guidance we put out was around skilled nursing facilities, senior centers, assisted living facilities. We followed that up with a very detailed announcement last Friday about what we are doing to help support our seniors up and down the state with the increased number of positives, not just for seniors in these facilities, but also staff providing support in these facilities. We talked about the 600 nurses that we had retrained. We talked about the strike teams that we put out to the skilled nursing facilities. We talked about all the new testing kits that we’re prioritizing for these SNFSC, the skilled nursing facility and senior centers. We also talked about all the new PPE that we were prioritizing in that space.
Gavin Newsom: (19:38)
Let me just under score this by highlighting just in Tulare County alone, for those that take this as just an urban construct or densified in certain parts of the state, it exists in persists, COVID-19, throughout the state, including rural California, quite substantively so. Tulare County has three breakouts now in skilled nursing facilities that would break your heart when you learn more about them. It’s just a reminder that none of us are immune from this disease, and if we stop taking it seriously, we will have serious consequences, and those consequences are not just felt in statistical terms, but quite literally in lives lost, an no more vulnerable in the seniors, in addition of course to the homeless that we are highlighting here today.
Gavin Newsom: (20:29)
We put out a specifics yesterday in all of our skilled nursing facilities of the total number of facilities and the exact sites where we have positives. There are requests appropriately in for the department of social services to do the same. We have overall, in addition to the SNFSC, we have overall now 400 facilities that we are monitoring throughout the state of California, over 3,500 staff and patients that we are monitoring throughout our entire system, which is roughly 9,000, just shy of 9,000 settings, licensed settings that we are monitoring, that we are supporting, and continuing to be vigilant about and around, and so just wanted to highlight you on that front as well.
Gavin Newsom: (21:20)
And in closing, as always, I want to just highlight the opportunity for all of us to help support efforts large and small in their communities, and that’s to go to our serve.ca.gov website. Serve.CA.Gov website. That’s a site that will allow you to find local areas to help support food banks, blood banks, to help support efforts like supporting seniors, senior facilities, making phone calls to check in on people that are lonely or in need, or just providing the kind of support that World Central Kitchen is going to be providing for a site like this, and that’s delivery. If you’re willing, you’re able, I encourage you …
Gavin Newsom: (22:03)
Delivery. If you’re willing, you’re able, I encourage you to go to that site, surf.ca.com. With that, we’re happy to take any questions.
Speaker 1: (22:11)
Governor, thanks so much for giving us the time today. I’ve got quite a few questions from my colleagues about the homelessness issue you’re talking about today. I think the most common one that I’m seeing is there’s a lot of frustration amongst some local governments about the pace of getting these rooms and getting folks into them, so can you account for sort of how long it’s taken to both procure these rooms and then start filling them?
Gavin Newsom: (22:30)
Well, we announced this two weeks ago, so respectfully, I think this is a rather heroic effort in terms of being able to organize and mobilize and move forward. The frustration, for me, candidly is the opposite. We have cities that are blocking some of these sites, not embracing some of these sites, and this is not one of those cities. Those cities that are embracing this are getting the support of not only these fast release templates, but getting that 75% reimbursement from FEMA, and the state of California is helping supplement the 25% for the $800 million the state has made available in the last number of months in emergency aid and support that was part of last year’s budget. So there shouldn’t be any issues in terms of blocking the application and the implementation of these efforts.
Gavin Newsom: (23:19)
That said, the process is not overnight, and the templates are provided, the counties become the organizing framework to then work with the city, so there are a few layers here, and in each and every case, there are complexities and nuances that need to be worked through, but I couldn’t be more proud of just being up in the Sacramento area just a few weeks ago with mayor Steinberg, and now seeing the initiation of this to be here today, market the fact that 4,211 individuals are off the streets and out of our shelters, into these facilities. We made a deal for an additional 5,025 through the corporate Motel 6 chain, and we already have just shy of 11,000 units that are ready and able to be part of this endeavor.
Speaker 1: (24:08)
Governor, can you tell us some more about the resistancy to counter it from local governments? What level of authority do they have to refuse this, and what type of arguments have you heard for why they’re not willing to cooperate?
Gavin Newsom: (24:19)
The same old tired arguments of nimbyism, they’re well known, well described, well chronicled, well reported, well researched, well considered, it’s golden oldies, and you’ve got leaders that will be defined in history in terms of how they helped those least among us, and those, for me, are almost biblical terms. There’s a morality and sort of an essence of self that’s reflected in those, and at times of need, we’ll do even more than they ever thought possible to meet those in need. Then there are folks that just turn their backs and say it’s someone else’s problem and point fingers, and we have a few of those, unfortunately.
Gavin Newsom: (25:05)
I just want to say this, my heart goes out to them as well. I get the politics of this. It’s tough, and I just want them to know I have their back, and if you need support, I’ll take the arrows in my back, I’ll create some space. So call me and let me see what I can do to secure your anxiety and your needs and help me to be dismissive of nimbyism. I have lived it. As a former mayor, county supervisor, and now governor, I understand where it comes from, but at this moment, we need folks to break through that.
Speaker 1: (25:36)
Then a final question on the topic of homelessness, I know a lot of folks who are curious about the point you made about this potentially being a longterm solution for cities and counties to acquire these long term to house folks, and you touched on this a bit. Would that be a mix of federal, state and local funds, would it largely be the fiscal responsibility of cities and counties? how would that pencil out?
Gavin Newsom: (25:56)
It’s all about partnership, it’s all about capacity building. It’s about public- public partnerships along the lines that you described, also public-private partnerships with philanthropy, so we want to stack up the support and financing. We want to take advantage of the opportunity when we come out of this, not to give up these assets to large Wall Street investment funds, but see if there’s an opportunity for the state of California partnerships with nonprofits, faith-based support and others to really create a more comprehensive capacity for us to deliver on our longterm needs in the state. So as I said, the template with corporate here with Motel 6 provides that guidance in very prescriptive terms, and we’re very encouraged by that, and now we’re going to start resourcing that.
Speaker 1: (26:48)
Governor, I want to ask you about this deal to obtain hundreds of millions of masks. I don’t know if you’ve had any time to watch hearing the legislature this week, a lot of frustration from lawmakers about what they feel is a lack of information about these contracts, and the response we heard from the administration seemed to be too much information could imperil the state’s ability to close these deals. So my question here is, are these mask deals closed, are they finished, or are they still a work in progress on the contracts?
Gavin Newsom: (27:16)
Contracts are locked. Everything that’s been said is consistent with what we said a week ago, what Mark Ghilarducci said a week ago, and we stand by the assertion, the administration, that there are concerns with these large scale contracts, that we are providing as much information as we feel is appropriate, but the contracts are secured, but we want to make sure we secure the product. We want to save lives, and we want to do so in the immediate term.
Gavin Newsom: (27:42)
I just want to make this point, we’re in desperate need of more masks, not just the N-95 masks, procedural masks, gowns, gloves, coveralls and shields, and we have locked in contracts to procure hundreds of millions, and we don’t want to put them in peril, and we’re just days away, the next few weeks, and the outset, what I said, May 1st, that first week of May, and we just want to do everything in our power to make that work. I respect the right legislature, and we’ve had direct conversations with them. They know the concerns, and I recognize everybody’s desire to have everything out there tomorrow, and we look forward to all those details becoming public very, very shortly.
Speaker 1: (28:27)
Why not release them more soon?
Gavin Newsom: (28:29)
Because we don’t want to put the process in peril. I’m for outcome here, so we’re consumed by process, personality, intrigue, who’s up, who’s down. We are for actually solving a major, major problem, not only for the state, but potentially a template for the country. We’re just weeks away. We’ve been transparent. We’ve been honest about where we are. We have a very deliberative process with the legislature. We’re following that process. We’re working collaboratively with them, and we look forward to all of the specific details and nuances so everyone could get under the hood, hundreds and hundreds of pages, and go through every preposition, every adjective, every verb, as is your right and our collective responsibility to you and the general public.
Speaker 1: (29:17)
Is the risk that other folks might, if you identify the masks that you’ve identified, it might snatched up by someone else?
Gavin Newsom: (29:23)
This is the wild, wild west. I don’t know how many examples you’ve written about, others have written about of deals gone awry. States all across this country have highlighted this. The federal government has highlighted this. People competing against one another. Things that looked promising that were locked down, that somehow were stopped at the border, sent back. So I take this moment very seriously. I care about producing a big result. Others, again, are going to consume themselves around process, we’re going to consume ourselves around saving lives.
Speaker 1: (29:56)
Governor, I also had a question for you about the economic panel you announced yesterday to guide the state through its economic recovery. I’ve seen some criticism of the choice of Tom Steyer to lead that panel given pretty overtly partisan profile, he led the impeachment drive against Donald Trump, he’s been very involved in politics in ways that have clashed with some major industries here. What is your response to that criticism that you’ve chosen somebody who’s a bit of a partisan warrior to lead the recovery that should be non-partisan?
Gavin Newsom: (30:22)
Pete Wilson, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Gray Davis, Jerry Brown, republican leaders in the assembly, republican leaders in the state Senate, democratic leaders in the assembly, democratic leaders in the state senate, people from the central valley, people from the central coast, people from Northern California, people from Southern California, faith-based leaders like father Boyle, religious supporters, beyond that, as subcommittee advisers, nonprofit leaders, warriors of social justice like Angela Glover Blackwell, economic leaders like Tim Cook, and very iconic leaders, in addition to that, like Bob Iger. Women, men, a diversity of the state healthcare, so we’ll withstand any particular critique about one individual or another, but I appreciate Tom’s leadership, his willingness to take this on, and I’ll put up what he’s done in his community bank and a focus on the triple bottom line up against anybody’s philanthropy in the last decade. I look forward to his leadership and stewardship in this council.
Speaker 1: (31:32)
Governor, early yesterday morning, Donald Trump tweeted that states needed to be liberated, as I’m sure you saw. Yesterday afternoon, we saw a fairly large protest in Huntington Beach from folks aligned with the president wanting you to open up to state more quickly. I know you have said consistently that the president and the federal government have been good partners. Are you concerned that when the president broadcasts a message like that, it undermines your efforts to keep people safe and to gradually reel?
Gavin Newsom: (31:58)
Guys, none of this surprises us. You can write this script. We’ve lived through this movie. I imagine you’ll see a lot more of that. Just want to encourage people, when you practice your free speech, which I don’t embrace, I celebrate, just do so safely. This virus knows no political ideology. It doesn’t know if you’re a republican or democrat, supporting the president, opposing the president. Practice physical distancing, make sure that you’re not infecting others, even if you feel healthy, you have no symptoms, you’re asymptomatic, you can spread this. Even if you don’t care about other strangers, you may care about your loved ones, may come home after being at one of these rallies. Just be healthy, be safe, and we’re going to do the right thing, not judged by politics, not judged by protests, but by science, by health, the facts on the ground. That will be our guiding principles.
Speaker 1: (32:55)
Are you concerned, though, about the president’s message contradicting or drowning out your own, and if so, have you expressed those concerns to the press?
Gavin Newsom: (33:01)
The president made it very clear-
Speaker 2: (33:03)
… expressed those concerns to the president?
Gavin Newsom: (33:03)
The president made it very clear publicly and privately to governors from every state in our union that he will defer to our directives within the state of California, you and others have all reported that, and I think that’s the appropriate response is let local government guide county government guide regional governance, guide the state and ultimately states in turn helping guide the nation as we transition to recovery in the next phases.
Speaker 2: (33:32)
On the topic of the federal administration, you talked about the need for more widespread testing and for a contact tracing system to get the state reopened. What components are most needed to get us to that point and the president has also made pretty clear he expects the states to be responsible for testing. Does California have what it needs absent federal help or do we need more federal assistance to get that sort of universal testing on track?
Gavin Newsom: (33:58)
Well, we’d love to see more support wherever we can get it, from the federal government on down. As you know, we put together a work group a few weeks ago, truly some of the smartest and best resourced minds and individuals and organizations as part of that task force, leaders at Stanford University, our UC system, researchers, scientists, the largest health insurers co-chairing that Paul Markovich. They made specific recommendations in terms of not just PCR testing, serology testing. We have already monitored, I think it’s getting close to 700 different testing modalities that are being used all up and down the state of California, very small ones, very large throughput testing, point-of-care testing with these new Abbott machines that are coming in. We are trying to bring all of that to bear.
Gavin Newsom: (34:49)
We need more swabs. We’ve been very direct and pointed in terms of working with our partners at FEMA to try to procure those swabs. We broadly address the issue of reagents and the RNA extraction kits, which were a big problem a few weeks ago. We could be doing exponentially more. Just 24 hours ago you heard Mark Ghaly at a press conference yesterday make the point that, or rather 48 hours ago, made the point we get up to 90, he believes, 95,000 tests a day if we had those additional supply materials on a daily basis above and beyond where we are. Our goal is to get to 25,000 in the next 10 or so days. We had a similar goal to get to 10,000 by April 14th, we’ve exceeded that. I’m confident we’ll get to the 25,000 in the next few weeks and we want to get a substantially higher number in the next month. We’ll be looking for all the support we can get private, public, federal, local, state. I just want to acknowledge again local leadership; there’s a mayor that’s been procuring his own tests, county as well, mayor who as well, everybody’s rowing in the same direction. We appreciate that spirit.
Speaker 2: (36:04)
Governor, we also got a question about the risk of outbreak in homeless detention centers. Are you considering or undertaking any steps to protect immigrant detainees from the spread of the virus?
Gavin Newsom: (36:14)
Yeah, that question’s been asked five out of the last six days. I’ll answer it again very specifically. We in the state of California are looking at our legal rights to intervene. As you know, you in particular, many may be watching, I signed legislation this year to do away with private detention facilities in the state of California. There was legal opposition to that. We ended up now we are in the courts. So just because you signed something doesn’t mean you can do something, that question is being adjudicated. Termination of state’s responsibility and rights there to intervene are being questioned.
Gavin Newsom: (36:51)
I’ve got a legal team of folks but more than just a legal team of folks. I mentioned this when we made very detailed announcement of what we’re doing for all our residents regardless of their migration status just a few days ago to help support with direct disaster relief and also provide community-presumptive eligibility at our clinic setting for individuals to be tested and treated regardless of their status, including an announcement on sick leave for our farm workers and others in our food chain. Our desire to do more in this space but our need to really get clarification of what my legal authority is as governor and not a federal representative. That’s why, again, the federal government should do everything in their power to secure not only the health and safety of those that are detained in these federal facilities but to make sure that they’re isolated and quarantined and tested and cared for if indeed they have come in contact or been exposed or tested positive for COVID-19.
Speaker 2: (37:53)
Governor, I’m told we have time for one more question, so how are you sleeping these days? I’m just kidding. That’s not my question. Folks wanted some more detail about both where some of these 4,000 folks who have been placed in a shelter at their particular counties or cities, where that’s mostly happening, and conversely if there are any particular cities and counties that are especially resistant as you mentioned.
Gavin Newsom: (38:13)
Well I want to highlight the positive and remind you. Yolo County has been spectacular, Merced County, L.A. County, talking to two members of their board of supervisors, Mark Ridley-Thomas, Hilda Solis just yesterday about their efforts and how we could be even more supportive of their efforts to encourage local cities within the county to help meet this moment. As I said, we’re here in Santa Clara for a reason because of Mayor Liccardo’s leadership and the county supervisors’ leadership, and I want to also express a deep appreciation for the County of Riverside and the County of Ventura for doing a magnificent job, San Francisco, we’re in partnership and conversation all across the state.
Gavin Newsom: (38:54)
As I said, just this Motel 6, and I’ll end on this, the Motel 6 partnership is in 19 counties alone just with this corporate opportunity for an additional 5,025 rooms. So it gives you sense of what we’re capable of doing when everybody just doubles down, rolls up their sleeves, stops playing politics, stops pointing fingers, and tries to just row in the same direction. So that’s the spirit to which I’ll end, gratitude for all those that have really helped and answered questions. Once we turn this off, I just say what I always say at this stage and that is thank you to everybody that has gotten us to this moment. The 40-million Californians that have done justice to the stay-at-home orders, continue to practice kind of social distancing and the physical distancing that has allowed us to bend that curve, flatten that curve, and give us a little bit more time to work through to make sure we are well resourced and prepare on the testing and tracing and tracking isolation and quarantine process to make sure you’re safe as we began to toggle back and begin to reopen the economy. Take care everybody.
Speaker 2: (40:04)
Speaker 3: (40:05)
Gavin Newsom: (40:06)
I’ll answer in one second.
Speaker 4: (40:07)
Governor, have you got a press conference. You got the feed the people conference? We love the people. Feed the people, not the press. Feed the people honest answers. Come on, Gavin, I took your team in high school, one leftie to another.