Apr 29, 2020
Gov. Gavin Newsom California COVID-19 Briefing Transcript April 29
Governor Gavin Newsom of California held a press conference today, April 29, on coronavirus. Newsom announced an initiative to connect excess produce and food banks.
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Gavin Newsom: (00:00)
Take out. We have millions of seniors in the state of California, many with no access to nutritious food, no access to prepared meals, no capacity at home if isolated to even prepare those meals in the first place. So, we advanced a framework to begin the process of reopening restaurants to start to provide those meals. Three meals a day delivered, packaged, prepared, delivered to the doorstep of seniors all throughout the state of California. That program now is just starting to take shape in cities and counties large and small all across the state. The state of California put out the framework and it’s the city’s responsibility to engage the restaurants and work through the protocols. We’ve seen cities like LA and others really excel in this space. We’re very encouraged by this program.
Gavin Newsom: (00:56)
In that same spirit and that same framework of collaboration and partnership, today we’re announcing a strategy to do the same around food, but now focusing on farms to families, focusing on the issues that obviously are front and center all across the nation and that’s issues of food banks and how we could do more to help support our farmers, help support farm workers, and also help support food banks here in the state of California. This new initiative that we’re launching today is a partnership between the federal government, the state of California, and Philanthropy. It’s a strategy that’s rather simple. Currently, our farmers, our ranchers, are experiencing about a 50% reduction in demand, which is a jaw-dropping reduction in demand. They have excess produce, they have excess commodities that they simply, in many respects as perishable items, some of them they cannot distribute. We have food banks that have on the average seen a 73% spike in demand.
Gavin Newsom: (02:13)
Here we are, breadbasket of the world, California, and we want to address that mismatch. We want to address the supply and the demand. So, that’s the announcement today, to work with the ranchers, to work with the farmers, to connect them to the food banks and do so in a way that jumpstarts our capacity to deliver nutritious food, high-quality, locally produced produce, poultry, and dairy and the like to those most in need in the state of California. The partnership currently has about 128 farmers and ranchers providing food to 41 food banks being distributed in 58 counties. The goal of this announcement is to provide 21 million pounds of fresh food and fresh produce. On a monthly basis, 20 to 21 million pounds of fresh produce and other commodities to our food banks. We’ve raised some $3.6 million to jumpstart this program. We want to extend this program through the end of the year and we are blessed to have Philanthropy including Kat Taylor, who’s been passionate in this space.
Gavin Newsom: (03:34)
She has committed to raising some $15 million. She initiated a contribution to that end to help get this partnership in place and help us launch it. But it is that partnership between our federal government, between state agencies, between Philanthropy, and then our farmers and our farm workers that will pick and pack and distribute this fresh produce and these other commodities to our food banks. We are very excited and enlivened by this program and I want to thank, and I’ll introduce her in a moment, our secretary of agriculture, Karen Ross, who’s helped to spearhead this effort and advanced this cause and brought some of the biggest brands in the agricultural community to the forefront from Foster Farms to California Rice Association, the National Dairy Association, and bringing Grimmway and others, Sunkist in the citrus side, Pacific Producers, a partnership out here on the Pacific Coast, even doing fruit bowls and the like.
Gavin Newsom: (04:43)
Again, all of this in the spirit of collaboration to provide these new food packs to families in need. I can assure you, you look back on the last recession, you would not have seen these food packs with so many nutritious items, perishable items, and other items that were locally produced and immediately distributed. So we’re very excited about this. It’s the spirit that defines the best of California and a spirit that certainly, I hope, will enliven people all across the state of California.
Gavin Newsom: (05:16)
I want to just mention, those that are on the front lines in terms of our food banks and the incredible pressure they’re facing. I stated a few weeks back that we contributed because of the support of the legislature, the assembly, and the Senate Democrats and Republicans supporting our food banks. We were able to distribute $20 million of an emergency grant to our food banks to enhance and advance our efforts in terms of providing these food boxes to families in need.
Gavin Newsom: (05:46)
We also announced that the first mission the National Guard advanced during this pandemic was a humanitarian mission to support our food banks. We also worked in collaborative spirit with partners like AmeriCorps that have done an amazing job, Team Rubicon that’s done the same, Cal Volunteers, all in an effort to subsidize not only the increase in demand but the decrease in volunteers at our food banks when this pandemic took shape. They have substantially addressed a lot of those issues. It’s not by any stretch perfect and I will as always ask on you to the extent that you are available to help support that cause to volunteer your time and attention there at Californians For All .ca.gov website because the food banks still need more volunteers but I want to acknowledge the partnerships that have been advanced, particularly between those four organizations. The National Guard as the original anchor, AmeriCorps, Team Rubicon, and Cal volunteers are really helping support the distribution of food for those most in need.
Gavin Newsom: (06:53)
So, connecting California’s farms, farm workers, connecting to the cause of our food banks, getting product and produce that otherwise would literally be thrown away as waste, and now providing a tax credit to the farmers of 15% and providing a wage to the farm workers and getting Philanthropy to help support this and getting those federal dollars drawn down that otherwise would not be drawn down is the spirit of the announcement today. But there are two other components that I want to share as well. We got two waivers from the federal government. One waiver is rather significant. The CalFresh program, our snap, our food stamp program, Cal fresh program can now today provide access to commodities online, so if you have a CalFresh debit card, you can now go online and utilize CalFresh at scale. We start with just two partners for the moment and that’s Amazon and Walmart and so that’s just for the moment. Amazon, Walmart, but now you can shop online with CalFresh.
Gavin Newsom: (08:03)
We want to expand those partnerships beyond Walmart and Amazon. I’ll announce that when those partnerships are available, but currently we are affording this because of that waiver to everybody in the state of California and I say everybody, it’s about 2.2 million households, a little over 4 million people, that now can avail themselves to access that opportunity online today as well. The second waiver that I wanted to mention, the third announcement of the day, is also a rather significant one. Because of the work of Speaker Nancy Pelosi and others, we were successful in being the beneficiary and the recipient of a pandemic EBT program.
Gavin Newsom: (08:48)
We were able to work with our federal partners on an additional waiver for this program to provide up to 365 additional dollars, an additional $ 365 available under this pandemic EBT program, for children and families that otherwise would have gotten the benefit of reduced or free breakfast and lunch in our public school system. Because we shut down the schools, still doing distance learning at home, but the physical schools are shut down. Those meals or the universe of roughly 3. 8 million children that are eligible for those programs. Those programs are not providing in every case those meals, so this pandemic EBT program will make available a universal up to $1.4 billion for 3.8 million eligible families. Again, that’s the universe of possible to begin to utilize those dollars from that Cares Act to advance their nutritional needs. So, we think that’s a significant thing.
Gavin Newsom: (10:05)
I couldn’t be more pleased and proud of the work that Kim Johnson’s done at department of social services to help organize and set up that program. The framework for that eligibility is about a 64-day period from March to middle of June. But the universe of available dollars is rather large and we just want to make sure it’s socialized and we’re doing everything in our power to get that information out there and, of course, encourage others that may know people that fall under that category of being eligible for free or reduced breakfast and lunch programs to know that these dollars are available for them through the EBT program and we’re going to do our best to get them in people’s pockets because we deeply recognize people’s food insecurity, not just their economic insecurity and we don’t want to exacerbate that to the extent we can.
Gavin Newsom: (11:01)
So, partnerships in our food banks, partnerships with our farms and ranchers, partnerships with local producers to help local food banks, partnerships in terms of Philanthropy and volunteers, people doing more to provide more access and opportunity, not just in person, but now also online to draw down eligible federal dollars in the CalFresh program. Now, this brought a waiver for our kids in public schools. So, I’m very proud and very pleased to be able to make these announcements today.
Gavin Newsom: (11:35)
It’s the spirit of our times, the spirit of California. What often takes a year, now we need to do in months. What takes a month, we now need to do in weeks. What takes weeks, we need to do in days and what we used to do in days, we need to do in hours. I recognize every day I come here making announcements, also following up on previous announcements and metrics and marking moments, I realize it can be overwhelming, but that’s the moment we’re living in. You can’t just do one thing at a time. You’ve got to do many things at a time.
Gavin Newsom: (12:07)
We’re dealing with a pandemic. We’re dealing with a crisis. It requires a focus. It requires an intentionality. It requires people doing things they never imagined possible even just two months ago. I’m just incredibly proud of everybody doing what they can, as we say, to meet this moment. So, one of them, I’ll just offer the mic here in a moment, is our secretary of agriculture who has been actually fighting for some of these programs for years. Since my days as Lieutenant Governor, I heard her talk about these programs and again, sort of proving the point, in just a few weeks she was able to put something together that she’s been talking about for years. Our Secretary of Agriculture.
Karen Ross: (12:52)
Thank you, governor and thank you for your leadership. We appreciate your support. We appreciate everyone’s support for really looking for California- grown product wherever they might be. Our farmers this year have gone through quite a shockwave like all of us have, but they’re working every day to continue the kind of bountiful, nutritious productivity that is a hallmark of California. We are blessed to have the farmers and ranchers and farm workers that we have who have made us the number one agricultural state and the leader in our tree nuts, in our dairy, in our fruits and vegetables. I like to tell people that if you’ve had a salad today, there’s a 50/50 chance all of that product and that salad came from the great state of California, but the shock to closing down food service has ramifications for how we all shop and eat these days.
Karen Ross: (13:41)
50% of our food dollars are spent in the foodservice arena, no longer in retail like it used to be and that has backed up product and because it is so perishable, some of it has just come out of the ground destined to go across the country. We had a program that was in place because of the foresight [silence 00:14:05].
Karen Ross: (14:23)
Association of food banks developing the farm to family program. I am proud that when I was a member of the state board of food and agriculture, we created a partnership to make sure that we could take this program statewide and use it to prevent waste, to use it to get all that is good that we grow in this state to the citizens of the state. It is a highly developed network. It has logistics like any other food distributor. It has four regional coordinators that go out and solicit donations from our growers and our ranchers. They take straight donations and oftentimes if there’s just not enough money to cover the farmer’s cost of harvesting that, they will pay a portion of the harvest costs to be able to get it transported into the central food bank so it can be repackaged and distributed up and down the state to the 41 food banks that are serving all 58 counties.
Karen Ross: (15:23)
It’s a remarkable program and I believe because we had it in place, we were able to prevent extensive food waste that was bound to happen because of the suddenness of the change of our economy and our buying habits. I also want to thank the people on our state board who have a standing task force around food banks and food insecurity. They are meeting even as we are here today, discussing not only the short term way to respond to the tremendous need of our citizens, but also what do we have in place longterm to be able to ensure that every child, every senior citizen, every family has access to healthy California grown fruits, vegetables, tree nuts, poultry, beef. We have it all. All 400 commodities. Looking forward to working with you, Governor, to expanding this program. Thank you very much.
Gavin Newsom: (16:20)
Thank you, Madam secretary. As I say, secretary Ross been working on this program for years. It’s a very important program, but it’s never scaled to the extent. Now it will. I noted 128 participants, she has already identified over 200 additional farmers and ranchers that now want to participate in this program, and because of this jumpstart, we believe it will substantially and significantly expand in real-time. Thanks to her leadership, I’m confident that will take shape to the benefit of hundreds of thousands of families all up and down the state. We’ll have these quality opportunities to get America’s finest produce, some of the finest.
Gavin Newsom: (17:03)
… America’s finest produce, some of the finest citrus. Well, I won’t go through the list and dairy and rice, but you get the picture and we’re very, very grateful that people will be getting these food boxes. By the way, just for what it’s worth, I say food boxes and we’re literally organizing these in boxes. That $20 million emergency grant, about 900,000 of these boxes went out. It provides a family of three or four up to three to four days of food. So it’s not just canned items, it’s again all of these other perishable items that are fresh and ready to be consumed that otherwise in a supply chain where market demands dropped in half, would otherwise, as we said go to waste. And so, that’s the importance of the architecture of this program and power of this program as well.
Gavin Newsom: (17:54)
Let me just extend as we do daily, a little bit of update before we open it to questions from folks on a number of key issues and indicators in this state. Yesterday, we talked about a number of indicators and talked about those that we believe are beginning to turn green, some that are yellow, some that are still red. We did a deeper dive yesterday as it relates to businesses and schools, a little bit on childcare facilities. We talked about moving from this phase that we define as phase one into phase two in a matter of weeks, not months, and we talked about phase three and four being months, not weeks.
Gavin Newsom: (18:34)
One of the critical indicators that is prevalent in all of our discussions is the number of people whose lives have been lost to this pandemic, a number of people hospitalized, number of people in our ICUs. I mentioned last week, we started to see a record number of deaths in the state of California. I began this week by announcing that tragically, we had lost 45 lives on Monday, 54 lives yesterday, about half of the daily number of families that have been torn apart because of this virus compared to the prior week.
Gavin Newsom: (19:15)
Unfortunately today, it [inaudible 00:19:18] back slightly up to 78 families that have lost a loved one and so again, we monitor this daily. It tends to be the lagging indicator, but it’s just a reminder that we’re not out of the woods. A reminder of the importance of the stay at home orders, the reminder of the importance and potency and power you have as an individual, in terms of physically distancing from others and continuing to practice social distancing.
Gavin Newsom: (19:44)
Accordingly, while we have seen the number of hospitalized patients flatten and become relatively stable in the state, I mentioned yesterday that it went up modestly today and went up yet again modestly, about 1.2%. Still within the margin of stability, but again not where we want to see those numbers. We don’t want to just see a stable flat curve. We want to see that curve decline significantly. 0.4% increase from a decline yesterday, a modest decline in the ICUs, but we certainly are seeing stability in our ICUs and that allows our ventilation inventory to be now north of 10, 500. That’s just within our 416 hospitals, and in addition to that, our own state capacity in terms of our reserves and those that we have obviously lent to other states across the country. So again, encouraging but by no stretch of the imagination where we ultimately need to see those numbers go and that is sustained decrease. But certainly still within the frame that has been over the course of the last few weeks.
Gavin Newsom: (20:59)
I want to update you just briefly on the incredible call volume, I’ve every day or every other day updated you. The work we’re trying to do to improve your experience and your capacity of access and distribution of benefits and funds through our unemployment insurance system. 3.7 million people now have filed for unemployment insurance just since March 12th. They have distributed now, just shy of over $6 billion. Not just shy, they have distributed over $6 billion of benefits. 1.2 billion just yesterday, just in a 24 hour period, they were able to distribute $1.2 billion.
Gavin Newsom: (21:41)
We saw, not surprisingly, a spike in applications yesterday. We saw about 235,000 people apply for unemployment insurance and the new PUA program, that’s a Pandemic Unemployment Assistance for people that are self-employed, people who are independent contractors, gig workers and the like. That was the first day that we had that system operational for PUAs. We were able to unpack those numbers and it’s roughly 190,000 individuals. The substantial portion of that increased volume was in that PUA category. I am deeply aware that many of you tried to access that system online, in person and struggled to get in. Every day, and I was very sober about this last week, sober about it yesterday, in terms of addressing the fact that this is day one, yesterday. Now day two, that we are getting our arms around this again, unprecedented volume. You went from 2500 applications a day, just a few months ago, all in just yesterday, 235,000 applications.
Gavin Newsom: (22:53)
Not an excuse. We have to meet the moment we have to provide more support. And I mentioned the chat box that we’re putting up and the new texting technology. I talked about the 1340 people that we hired and repurposed to help support the call volume, the extension of the hours, seven days a week, 8:00 AM to 8:00 PM and also talked about the additional 600 staff that we’re putting on this and the new business strategies in terms of how we conduct ourselves and how we are able to answer questions much more aggressively and forthrightly, including some of the eligibility changes. They’re all part of loosening the capacity and our ability to deliver on your expectations and what you deserve as people that are fearful about their economics and fearful about their ability to just buy food, pay for rent, support their children, support their family.
Gavin Newsom: (23:50)
So, we are making progress. And those numbers are bearing fruit over $6 billion. 1.2 billion, just yesterday, averaging a little over a billion dollars in last number of days. Each day 1.2, again just yesterday, PUA’s now finally coming online and the turnaround on those is well within, not the the 21 days for unemployment insurance, but within a seven day period, 24 to 48 hours for those overwhelming majority of people that have debit cards. Those that without one will probably be a seven day period, but well within we believe our capacity to deliver. Though I’ll be honest and forthright in terms of updating you daily on those numbers as well.
Gavin Newsom: (24:38)
One other number of importance, and that is the continuing progress that will be made in our efforts to provide homes for the homeless that are in congregate facilities that are otherwise vulnerable to exposure of COVID-19 or have tested positive or have compromised immune systems. We have now well in excess of 12,500. In fact, it’s 12,603 hotel rooms have been acquired now in the state. Over 1200 of those, trailers, in addition to those rooms have been distributed all across the state and we have thousands and thousands of individuals that now have the dignity of a key lock and a door in a place, at least for the moment to call home because of Project Room Key.
Gavin Newsom: (25:30)
And I just want to thank everybody for putting together a program in just a few weeks and getting this program up and running, including the people that make it work. And those are the three meals a day that are also delivered to the doors of people that are participants in Project Room Key through Chef José Andrés and World Central Kitchen, and the incredible work they’ve done to partner with us and provide three meals a day for those vulnerable Californians as well.
Gavin Newsom: (25:59)
So trying to do many things at once, trying to do all of it in a condensed period of time. All of these things require partnership. All of these things require collaboration, capacity. And again, I just want to express deep gratitude for all of our local elected officials, our state and federal officials, that have helped all of us meet the guidelines and begin to process many of these programs concurrently as we work our way through this pandemic. And so that’s broad strokes. The updates on the numbers. I’ll just mention one final one before I open up to questions and that’s testing, always important. We’ll update you tomorrow. A little bit more on contact tracing and our workforce and our new partnerships that we’re forming, but on testing we broke, at least from my perspective an important threshold. Again, we started 2000 tests a day in March. March was just last month. We said by the end of April, we’ll go from 2000 to 25,000 every day. We are almost there. We’ve been averaging a little over 20,000 a day, 25,000 plus yesterday. Over now, 600,000. 603,000 plus tests so far in the state of California, and I mentioned yesterday, the new partnerships with these end-to-end tests that will focus disproportionate on rural California and underserved parts of our state, particularly in black and brown communities in this state.
Gavin Newsom: (27:27)
I mentioned that Optum serve 80 sites, all of them will be operational by Monday. They assure me of that. We’ll test that over the weekend, but they’re getting sites up in Shasta and Sutter, other sites, Humboldt, that we announced a few days ago, and then we’re seeing verily a separate contract do the same in some of our inner cities as well. So it’s not, again, the test numbers, it’s who we’re testing and how we’re addressing socioeconomics justice issues and doing more to make sure that we have the right information as it relates to the impact on this virus, on all of our diverse communities up and down the state of California. With that, I’m happy to answer questions.
Speaker 1: (28:13)
Hailey Winslow, Good Day LA.
Gavin Newsom: (28:14)
Hailey Winslow: (28:23)
Hi, I’m actually with supervisor Wagner in Orange County right now doing an interview with him, that unanimously voted yesterday to approve reopening businesses with guidelines in place and I just wanted to get your thoughts on that. I’m actually in the middle of the interview right now and Supervisor Wagner [inaudible 00:11:44]-
Gavin Newsom: (28:43)
Can’t help you with the interview. Let me just-
What we were saying is the Orange County order satisfies Orange County. The sheriff will not come and ticket you, but the state orders and any local city orders remain in place.
Gavin Newsom: (28:58)
All right, supervisor, I think it was supervisor, I’m not sure who is on the line, reporter, the supervisor, I think I’ll let you get back to your interview, but I, as you know, laid out very detailed terms yesterday. The strategy for California to make meaningful changes to our stay at home order. As many of you know, we have six indicators that will determine our decision making. It won’t be on the basis of, well, political considerations. It won’t be on the basis of pressure. It won’t be on the basis of what we want, but what we need to do, and what we need to do from my humble perspective, is listen to the public health experts. Listen closely to what’s happening with the virus, look at data, make the data make the determination to guide our decision making. As everybody knows, this state is very large.
Gavin Newsom: (29:55)
State conditions are very different in different parts of the state. I will say about Orange County, it’s important, the supervisor is well aware of this, Orange County has the fourth highest number of people of all 58 counties hospitalized in the state of California. I’m concerned about that. LA County, San Diego, surrounding counties, number one and two, so we have a lot of work to do to keep people healthy, keep people safe. That’s the data and the data leads our decision-making. Again, I appreciate all the hard work of supervisors up and down the state, city council members up and down the state, the incredible work that mayors are doing as well, and I appreciate the spirit of the question.
Speaker 1: (30:39)
Rachel Becker, Cal Matters.
Rachel Becker: (30:48)
Hi, sorry I was muted. Governor, I have a question for you about the Three Meals a Day program. So while you promised that localities administering the senior program will be reimbursed for 94% of the costs, you haven’t set a timeline for how quickly they’ll be reimbursed, and that’s a top concern for cities and counties which are looking at serious budget duress, including furloughing employees. So could you please provide more clarity about that? Also, the AP reported today that your Three Meals a Day program has less than two weeks to launch before federal funding runs out. So what’s going on with that? What’s the delay? And then regarding your announcement today, how will the state ensure that farm workers are protected from the novel Coronavirus as they continue to work to make this new program work? How will you make sure they have adequate PPE and masks?
Gavin Newsom: (31:38)
Okay, three questions. Let me try to take the last, and we’ll go backwards. As it relates to farm workers, this program doesn’t in any particular sense, increase the concerns as it relates to their needs to have appropriate personal protective equipment. They deserve that, and as you know, we advanced a paid sick leave policy for our food workers and for folks up and down that food chain a few weeks ago as an acknowledgement and the importance of people throughout that food chain, but particularly those that are picking our food and the unique vulnerabilities they have as it relates to their own personal health. But we also have made it clear, yesterday, I announced the 2.87 million surgical masks, procedure masks that we were able to distribute throughout the state of California. The first delivery and these larger deliveries of masks that we will be receiving over the course of days and weeks and months to provide even more additional personal protective gear for our farm workers, for our grocery workers, for our logistics and manufacturing, our meat food processing workers as well.
Gavin Newsom: (32:54)
We recognize the totality of the need is in the tens of millions and that’s why we went forward with a rather substantial procurement of quite literally hundreds of millions of masks. First again, arrived on Saturday night, got into the state warehouse on Sunday, started getting distributed to 18 specific sites. Yesterday, 2.87 million of those 3.1 million masks, our skilled nursing facilities as a priority, a priority always for healthcare workers and yes, for our farm workers as well. So that’s a top priority, and as more protective gear comes in more quickly, we’ll get it out, and that again, includes our food workers.
Gavin Newsom: (33:38)
And number two, as it relates to the broader issue of these programs and extensions and dates, this program was just announced. We announced it as a local program. Not as a state program, but as a local program. We put out the parameters that yes, and I appreciate you referencing this for local government. I was a former mayor. It would have been music to my ears to hear a program costing about 6 cents-
Gavin Newsom: (34:03)
… Music to my ears to hear a program costing about 6 cents for every dollar spent, particularly as a local official that would get 100% benefit of the sale in terms of sales tax. They don’t get all the sales tax, the cities, but roughly half of the sales tax. If those cities move to get these programs up and operational at scale, I believe those cities would more than cover the cost of that 6%. But you’re right, from a cashflow perspective, that is anxiety inducing and I wish I could pick up 100 cents of every dollar for everybody’s need. But this is an unprecedented opportunity. There’s no other state in the country doing this program. And the fact that we were able to do a partnership with FEMA to provide 75% reimbursement and the fact that the State of California will pick up 75% of the local 25%, and that’s the number you referenced, I think makes this a very exciting opportunity for cities. Look, we have major budget concerns that are very significant in this state. We’ll be working with cities and counties. And as it relates to the first part of your question in terms of the second part, the relationship on reimbursements flows first from the federal government to the state down to the cities. And so, as soon as we get clarity on those dollars we’re trying to front, we are fronting most of these dollars as a state, but as those reimbursements come into place, we’re able to get those dollars down to local level as quickly as possible.
Speaker 2: (35:34)
Liz Kreutz, KGO.
Liz Kreutz: (35:38)
Hi Governor. Thank you. A two-part question here. First, we just learned about some changes coming to the Bay Area and shelter in place order, including kids of 12 or fewer being able to do recreational activities together, golf courses that can open, things that are not allowed under the state order. Are you thinking of easing the state’s order at all to allow for some of those things that clearly Bay Area officials seem to believe are safe?
Liz Kreutz: (35:59)
And secondly, can you just talk more about phase two that you talked about yesterday? What retail businesses are you referring to? Is this malls, large clothing stores, bookstores, and what should these businesses be doing to make sure that they’re prepared for when they can reopen in just a few weeks? What kind of guidelines might they need to follow? Thank you.
Gavin Newsom: (36:16)
Thanks. I’m trying to, multiple questions, do my best to unpack them. And the answer is yes to the second part of your question, all of those categories of retail. I had a meeting that we invited members of the press to participate in yesterday, where we had specific conversations to more substantively answer the question that you’ve posed about certain categories of retail and how we will provide guidance by sector, and in some case, by geography based upon local conditions. I met or rather I had a Zoom call with the head of the Gap, one of the largest retailers in the world, about 130,000 employees operating in China, currently reopened and operating, of course, around the world and substantially so in the State of California.
Gavin Newsom: (37:03)
And then we had a young man, remarkable business leader with five employees in the Central Valley, talking about his unique concerns and considerations. We had a store manager from Patagonia that can’t wait to reopen his business, and we had someone who was laid off from a Santana Row retailer and she’s on unemployment wondering if she’ll even come back to that small retailer because the of the size constraints within that business and wondering if even customers will walk back in that business. And then a young man by the name of Jim who’s got 80 employees, Ukiah and elsewhere, and he was making a point five different locations. There’s five different challenges, again, based on local conditions and local directives. That goes to the first part of your question.
Gavin Newsom: (37:49)
We’re meeting in those subsets, we’re getting their feedback, I’m doing those calls consistently. We’re trying to bring you into those conversations to be as transparent as possible. We’ll put out guidelines over the next few weeks in all those categories and more, not just retail, manufacturing, logistics, some in the hospitality sector, and certainly, working with our partners. SPI is talking to Tony Thurman, the superintendent of public education an hour or so ago about next steps in terms of our schools and beginning to look beyond just the summer months, which is more of an immediate question but looking at the fall calendar as well. All of that is constant, never any iteration, engagement and local considerations.
Gavin Newsom: (38:35)
And so, that’s the framework to how we look at some of these things and the framework to which we are guided. Accordingly, I will say, we are well in tune and in touch with the Bay Area counties. As a former San Francisco mayor, some of these same folks I had the privilege of working with when I was in that capacity as a county supervisor and mayor and have had a very close engagement as it relates to our order compared to their orders, et cetera. We look at low risk as a framework for reopening in many of these instances.
Gavin Newsom: (39:08)
Just yesterday, I hope you’ll take a look, we updated, we’ve done this fairly consistently, our statewide guidelines for more clarification, looking at more regional alignment and the rest. And we’ll be looking at some of the specifics that came out as it relates to their guidelines. On golf, there are a number of other parts of the state that do provide for low-risk golfing already, so that’s not completely inconsistent.
Gavin Newsom: (39:34)
But you’re correct, it was interesting. We had specifically the conversation that you brought up about the 12 young folks. And so, that is a point of clarification that we will be advancing working with Dr. Angel. She brought that up this morning in anticipation of the announcement and anticipation well, of your question. And so, those will be kind of the conversations we’ll have back and forth, but broadly what they put out today was very consistent with the state guidelines and they’ve been incredible partners.
Speaker 2: (40:02)
Jonathan [inaudible 00:40:04] KCI.
Hello Governor. I wanted to ask about your response to some of these counties up here in Northern California that are wishing to reopen early. Some of them would say that the statewide stay at home approach is too much of a one size fits all approach. Do you agree with that or do you feel like you could have done anything differently for some of the more rural communities?
Gavin Newsom: (40:30)
Well, some of the rural communities have high rates of prevalence. Headlines in Tulari just as an example, skilled nursing facilities, number of deaths. The report just in the last few days I should note San Bernardino, even Riverside less rural than perhaps other parts of the state, but Fresno certainly in that category, have had some higher prevalence of spread and challenges, particularly concentrated around skilled nursing facilities. It’s a way of just expressing this that it’s correct. The state is not one size, but nor is rural versus urban one size as well. So you got to unpack all of these things in more nuance and more detail, and you start moving to North Coast and central parts of Northern California. Conditions, of course, are different even still.
Gavin Newsom: (41:17)
As you know yesterday, and if you didn’t have an opportunity to take a look, look at the presentation Dr. Angel put out in detail. It talked about regional variation. We’ve talked about regional variation for now many months pretty consistently. So the answer to your question is no, I’ve long recognized and I’ve said this on ad nauseum occasions. Forgive me for saying it again, but we’re many parts but one body. And so, when we go together, we went into this together, conditions and variants begin to take shape. It will come out. I want to come out together with some certain baseline of expectation. That’s what we announced yesterday, phase one into phase two. And then, make accommodations for variants along those lines. And we announced what we are looking for in that respect. But there’s a fundamental predicate that we’re looking for beyond just testing capacity, tracing capacity and beyond just the capacity to maintain the availability of beds for a potential hospitalization surge if we start to see a significant increase in the transmissibility of the disease.
Gavin Newsom: (42:26)
But we also need community surveillance. And we made that clear yesterday. And so, one of the things I just want to remind all our regional partners that look to move sooner to pull out of this, is that they need to have a surveillance program in place, and we need to partner with you. We have seven county surveillance programs. We currently are partnering with five additional ones we’ll be advancing very, very soon. So we’re helping support those efforts. We’re not expecting everyone to do this themselves, but that is a foundation and a predicate for being able to move a little bit more aggressively than the rest of the state.
Speaker 2: (43:06)
Dave Lopez, KCBS.
Dave Lopez: (43:12)
Yes. Good afternoon Governor. You appeared on a morning program today where you expressed a concern for a surge if we relaxed the rules that we now have. And you also mentioned Newport Beach and the beach scene that you saw. In light of that, can you go a little more about your concern and do you have the executive power if you’re that concerned about the beaches, to simply say beaches are closed?
Gavin Newsom: (43:37)
Yeah, so the last, well, on Thursday I expressed specific concerns around what we anticipated would occur on the coast of California. About 100 beaches, easily defined a 100 beaches, and there were five where we had some particular challenge. Overwhelming majority, there were no major issues, quite frankly, no issues of note, particularly LA, San Diego, parts of the Bay Area. There are always a few exceptions here and there. Local officials being extraordinary partners in those parts of the state and working with park patrol, CHP, working with local law enforcement and just through social persuasion, neighbor-to-neighbor, understanding that this pandemic, as I said this morning and other times, doesn’t take weekends off, that the virulence is still as acute as it’s been, that we have to be cautious. Obviously, those concerns were highlighted on Saturday, in particular. Little less so on Sunday.
Gavin Newsom: (44:43)
I started Monday the press conference talking about those concerns and talked a little bit more about it yesterday. I will, the answer to your question, be making some subsequent announcements. We’ve been working. I mentioned this yesterday, we had a conference call with local law enforcement and state law enforcement about some protocols and procedures, and we wanted to get some feedback from them. We did get that feedback and working with state parks and others and a lot of our other partners, Coastal Commission, State Lands and others to really figure out what our next steps are. And I can assure you that that clarity will come in a very short period of time, as early as late this afternoon, today. As late as early tomorrow.
Speaker 2: (45:31)
Final question, Karma Dickerson, Fox 40.
Karma Dickerson: (45:36)
Hi. With respect to testing, the CDC released some additional criteria for symptoms of COVID-19. Are those going to be implemented into the screeners for testing in California and how quickly will that be adopted? And what kind of processes will be in place to make sure that the different testing sites that the data’s contracted with, are in fact, implementing that quickly? Because in the past, there has been a lag, particularly with barely in Sacramento between the stated Green Policy and what people are actually seeing when they try to get screened.
Gavin Newsom: (46:09)
Yeah. As you know, we didn’t wait for the CDC to change their guidelines. California was the first state to move further than their guidelines and start the process and protocols and procedures to implement testing for asymptomatic individuals. So to answer your question, we got a little bit ahead of the CDC. Now, you more specifically are talking about one particular contractor. There’s over 250 in the State of California and some of their specific protocols in one particular part of the state, Sacramento. And the good news is, I have our director of Health and Human Services here that’s leading our testing task force and he’ll be able to speak specifically, perhaps, to that. And then, a little bit more broadly about the updated CDC guidelines that came after our efforts to lift those guidelines, even before their announcement.
Mark Ghaly: (47:05)
Thank you, Governor. And again as always, thank you for the question. Days ago, we made a change to our own testing guidelines for the state to allow us to test more individuals, not just those who are symptomatic enough to show up in the hospital emergency room or who are quite sick in our congregate care facilities. We have consistently been pushing the envelope on this, as our testing capacity increases, allowing more and more Californians to be eligible to get testing. And as that increases more, we are anticipating further relaxing the standard around who or priority of who will be tested so that more and more Californians can be tested. We still have a priority to make sure that those who are symptomatic and quite sick get tested, that those healthcare workers and residents in congregate care facilities, including skilled nursing facilities, are prioritized as well. But moving away from the strict symptom only testing, to allow us to get a better sense of all Californians and what the prevalence is across the state.
Mark Ghaly: (48:11)
So we are anticipating, even in the next couple of days, reissuing our own guidance and priority list so that it reflects this fact that more Californians can and should be tested. And as we increase those supplies more and more each week, we will begin to relax those, update those on our CDPH website so that all testing sites, all individuals curious if they should be tested, can get guidance there.
Mark Ghaly: (48:36)
We are proud to lead in this area. We know that this is something that all Californians need, that we need to be able to be clear with our county partners, that testing is an important part to relaxing and modifying the stay at home order. So as we continue to build up that capacity, we will communicate that out.
Mark Ghaly: (48:55)
The CDC, I know is similarly looking to make sure that the guidelines are not restrictive as testing capacity increases. So we are all moving forward with that. I would say California continues to lead and push those a little bit farther. Thank you.
Gavin Newsom: (49:15)
Thank you Dr. Ghaly, and thank you all for tuning in and for your attention, for the questions, and thank you for your inclusion. In that spirit, I mean those 30 plus thousand people that are included in the numbers of people that have come to the californiansforall.ca.gov website to contribute their time and energy and support our food bank operations, support those most in need, encourage people that want to contribute, want to give of their time and energy, their money to go to californiansforall.ca.gov website and contribute and participate and continue to, I think, extend the most important effort in terms of participation, and that’s the individual choice that we make to practice physical distancing and continue to abide by local and state stay at home orders.
Gavin Newsom: (50:10)
We are in a period of transition, of modification. We’re in period of iteration between local, regional, state and federal guidelines, be it the CDC guidelines, be it local jurisdictions like the Bay Area coming together and moving to come closer to the state guidelines and then challenge a few of those parameters, others that want to go much, much further. And so, every day we will begin engaged in conversations, open argument, interested in evidence, recognizing always regionalism, recognizing variants, but also recognizing this, and I’ll close. And that is, the number of hospitalizations went up again yesterday. The number of ICU patients went up, the number of deaths again, went up to 78 from 54 yesterday. I can’t impress upon folks more that just because we’re at a stage of exhaustion and-
Gavin Newsom: (51:03)
… folks more that just because we’re at a stage of exhaustion and frustration, a little bit of cabin fever, that this virus is behind us. It simply is not. In the spirit of that last question, prior to the last question of potential spread, don’t take my word for it, take Dr. Fauci’s word for it. Take Dr. Ghaley and Dr. Angel’s word for it. Take the medical profession’s word for it.
Gavin Newsom: (51:24)
We can undo our progress in a very short period of time. What’s taken us almost two months to produce, in terms of getting stable numbers, could be unwound in a period of just a week or two. Why put ourselves in that position when we are just a week or two away from significant modifications on our stay-at-home order, where we could begin a Phase II of beginning to reopen sectors of our economy that are low-risk, but do it in a thoughtful and judicious way.
Gavin Newsom: (51:53)
Again, not on the basis of pressure, not on the basis of pomp, not on the basis of promotion, but on the basis of data, on the basis of science and on the basis that is unifying, I think, our health professionals and that’s your health, your safety, the health and safety of the most vulnerable Californians, our seniors, and making sure when we do reopen our schools, our children, and to make sure that they’re not vectors spread of this virus, that they’re protected and those that are serving our children are also protected.
Gavin Newsom: (52:25)
That’s the hard work ahead of us. That’s the hard work inside of us. We’ll make those determinations on the basis of our behavior and based upon the behavior of 40 million of us in the state of California, I have great confidence and expectation over the next few weeks. Take care, everybody.