May 1, 2020
Gov. Gavin Newsom California COVID-19 Briefing Transcript May 1
Governor Gavin Newsom of California held a press conference today, May 1, on coronavirus. Newsom says the state is now “days, not weeks” away from from further reopening.
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Gavin Newsom: (00:00)
… are making sure that our essential needs are met at this very important moment. It’s right to pause and reflect and thank each and every one of them. It’s also appropriate, that we pause and reflect on the economic dislocation that millions and millions of Californians have suffered and the need to do everything in our power to make sure that their immediate needs are attended to and that we move aggressively, but thoughtfully and strategically, with a health-first mindset to reopening the economy, at peril of the economic conditions exacerbating. I want to just begin today, not only to acknowledge those workers, but just to remind you a little bit about what we’ve been doing for both essential workers and for those that have been displaced. We talked yesterday about a new portal for childcare, but again, you can’t talk about the workforce, those needs of essential workers and those that are active in searching for job opportunities, that have been displaced, without talking about the need to take care of their children.
Gavin Newsom: (01:07)
Some 20,000 vouchers have been set aside in our efforts to address the childcare needs of thousands and thousands of critical frontline employees. We also put that site up, that identifies over 28,000 slots that are available today. If you go to that site and COVID19.ca. gov, you can just type in your zip code and you can see a number of licensed facilities in and around your community, with available slots and information about health and safety and quality assessments that our team has put together. But, childcare has been foundational and we’ve got more work to do in that space. We’ll have more resources to invest in that space, coming from the federal government, some $350 million, that we’ll be working with the legislature to distribute as quickly as we can. But again, very grateful for the work the Department of Social Services and their emphasis and focus on childcare, in this state.
Gavin Newsom: (02:11)
Accordingly, we focused on sick leave. There was a gap with the federal CARES Act, as it relates to sick leave or subsequent acts of Congress, as it related to sick leave, protecting smaller employers and employees, which was critical. But we wanted to make sure that those in the food chain, from our farm workers to those that are packing, those that are preparing, those that are distributing, those that are there in the front lines in our grocery stores, larger employers also had sick leave protection. Those employees getting that protection and so that’s something else we’re very proud we were able to advance an agreement in that space. Just want to applaud the Grocer’s Association, working with the UFCW and one of the largest, the largest grocer’s union in the United States for their outstanding willingness to contribute and put aside their differences and contribute to the needs of these critical employees.
Gavin Newsom: (03:12)
We also announced a number, a series of other things that we wanted to do for our frontline healthcare workers. Care For Caregivers. You recall, a few weeks back, we announced efforts to provide stipends for these caregivers, the people at skilled nursing facilities that were spending the night in their cars, because they were scared of going home and potentially contaminating or infecting their community or their household. We wanted to address, through stipends, their needs to address just day to day necessities. We have already been able to distribute some 36,000 stipends in that program. We have the capacity to do up to 50,000, and we have more people signing up every single day, but over 36,000 stipends have been distributed just in that program alone. Tat again, was in partnership with philanthropy and we’re very grateful the private sector stepped up and help supported those efforts accordingly.
Gavin Newsom: (04:10)
Those individuals that were spending the night in their cars, many of them no longer are, because we’ve been able to book over 78,000 room nights. 78,000 room nights, free or deeply discounted hotel rooms for our caregivers, for our frontline workers across the spectrum in the healthcare delivery system. We’re very proud of that. Thousands and thousands of individuals, being able to take a shower, isolate in a room, go back to work, come back and just have a place they can call their home, their own before they get home and back into their communities. That program’s really, just taken off and has really delivered on the promise that we promoted. I recognize we can always do more and we’re trying to do more still, but over 78,000 room nights is a wonderful start. The program just started ramping up a few weeks back. We’ve also been pushing a series of other efforts to take care of people, particularly in our skilled nursing facilities, working with caregivers, with our IHSS workers, as well.
Gavin Newsom: (05:19)
We’ve been doing these wellness checks, not just at SNFs, but in the IHHS system, We’ve been able to do 173,000 wellness checks. We made some agreements with some of our largest unions in the state to allow additional resources, to provide that additional attention to vulnerable Californians, that are in and part of the in home supportive service program, which is really the backbone of keeping people at homes. They can live in dignity and live in place, so they don’t have to end up in our adult facilities, our assisted living facilities in some cases, even our SNFs. That was a foundational principle and effort and I’m very pleased by the incredible work of those teams of people up and down the state, to be able to check in on 177,000 people. We talked about augmenting the workforce and we had some remarkable numbers. This Health Corps announcement we made number of weeks back, it was all around focusing on the surge.
Gavin Newsom: (06:19)
Remember, we talked about the surge and the need not just to find physical beds, alternative care sites to hospitals and the like, but enough PPE, which I’ll get to in a moment and enough personnel that we can surge in, to help support those alternative care sites. We had a universe that was quite large, of a potential work group. We, fortunately, to this date haven’t needed them. Tens of thousands of people filled out applications on the site. I mentioned a few weeks back, some of them were duplicates, some of them didn’t necessarily work to meet our needs, but there are hundreds and hundreds of people that were hired through that healthcare or rather health core effort and I just want to acknowledge their incredible work. We primarily focused on the skilled nursing facilities. We have, just as an example, this is a modest example, but impactful example.
Gavin Newsom: (07:15)
We’ve been talking about these strike teams, these efforts on infectious control, infection control in our skilled nursing facilities. We have, through that Health Corps website, been able to identify, just in Southern California, 87 individuals that just came off that site, that are part of our strike teams and our surge workforce, in our skilled nursing facilities in Southern California. 78 in Northern California, additional 35 that have been pre-deployed in and around the Richmond area, in the San Francisco Bay area. All again, part of that program of people being plugged in through that Health Corps site. If we need more people, we’ll access more people. Tens of thousands of people applied.
Gavin Newsom: (07:59)
Not everybody fits a need or appropriately applied, but the reality is, that response was overwhelming and humbling and it may be critical, moving forward, that we, as we begin to toggle back and make meaningful augmentations to our stay at home order, if we do start to see some community spread and we start to see the numbers grow, having the physical assets in place already and having this work group that we’re still vetting, will provide an incredibly important resource for us if that personnel is needed. I mentioned PPE. It’s always important to remind people of PPE, cause that’s a worker’s safety issue and it goes deep to the spirit of May Day and International Worker’s Day. We’ve got to protect these frontline employees and not just provide paid sick leave and stipends and hotel rooms and make sure that we have a Health Corps that can help support the most vulnerable, but also make sure that we have their protective gear. We are really pleased. This week, I announced earlier this week, we got 3.1 million new surgical masks that came in from overseas.
Gavin Newsom: (09:08)
Just in the last 48 hours, there’s been two additional flights that have made it to the State of California. On board, was 5.1 million additional units of surgical masks. We were able to get 5.2, forgive me. We able to get 5.1 million of them distributed, just in the last 24 hours. 5. 2 million came in. 5.1 million went out. This, in addition to the 3.1 million earlier in this week, so eight plus million new masks just like that, in a few days, those flights coming in and part of that larger contract that we talked about. It’s very encouraging. By the way, those were supposed to come in starting May 1st. The fact that they’ve already come in is a very encouraging sign and as I said, as soon as they come in, we try to get these things out. I recognize M95s are a big part of the future orders coming in and we have responsibilities for gloves and shields and gowns and all the rest of the protective gear, that is also important, not only for our essential workforce, but to broaden as we begin to reopen our economy.
Gavin Newsom: (10:17)
By the way, just on that, this PPE question, we talk a lot about testing. On Monday, we’ll talk about tracing and tracking and isolation issues of quarantine. I’ll update you on our contracts there and our workforce efforts there and some of the technology we’ll use to guide those operations. But PPE is fundamental, in terms of reopening our economy sooner, so that we can make sure when we have new guidelines, those that are coming up organically at the local level, or those that we’re mandating from the state level, those guidelines always include protective gear that are essential for businesses to reopen and provide customers the option on face coverings, as well as providing workers that protection they deserve. PPE is foundational in that.
Gavin Newsom: (11:03)
It’s just another reason we have to be really deliberative on how we reopened this economy. I know it’s May Day and on May Day every year, since my birth, that’s a day to express yourself, which I think is a wonderful tradition in this country, and people protesting the status quo, which is also a wonderful point of privilege we have in the United States that we should celebrate that and we should thank people for expressing themselves. But that expression obviously, this year, is one of frustration and concern and deeply understandable anxiety about the economy and the fate and future of their families and this state and our nation and the world, collectively we’re trying to build. So, I just want folks to know we’re getting very close to making really meaningful augmentations to that stay at home order. We are, oh he said weeks, not months, about four or five days ago. I want to say many days, not weeks, as long as we continue to be prudent and thoughtful in certain modifications.
Gavin Newsom: (12:06)
We’ll be making, I think, some announcements, but look, PPE is foundational in that and we still have a lot of work to do to procure even more PPE, but that’s a good sign. The issue, as well, as training becomes really important in the efforts to identify the needs of our workers, both those that are essential, that need to be retrained and get recalibrated in terms of opportunities within the existing workforce and change their previous job description to meet the acute needs of the moment, but also those that have been displaced. We were able to get $17.8 million out, in these training grants. There’re 42 workforce boards just in Southern California that were beneficiary of $10 million of that 17.8 million, the rest distributed throughout the rest of the State of California. So, those training dollars also, are foundational important in these efforts. All of these things, sort of build up-
Gavin Newsom: (13:03)
… the wage garnishment work that we did to make sure that any of the federal dollars that were being drawn down, that you can’t have those dollars redistributed to a debt collector, still have to pay child support. You still have other obligations to victims if indeed you’re responsible. But the garnishment was another example of an effort that we hope softens the edge.
Gavin Newsom: (13:26)
The most important though, and didn’t mean to use this as a point of emphasis to the last point, but it’s an important point, most important, is the issue of unemployment insurance. 3.9 million folks since just March 12th have filed for unemployment insurance, we’ve been able to distribute $7.55 billion. $7.5 billion now has been distributed to people in need with this record number of unemployment. 340,000 people. We just started a couple of days ago. 340,000 people have have signed up for the PUA, which is the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance, separate from the unemployment insurance. We are processing those as quickly as we humanly can, as quickly and humanly as possible. That’s really important for people to know. It’s also important to, people know we waived that one week requirement on unemployment insurance, where there was a delay even beginning the processing.
Gavin Newsom: (14:27)
We’re still mostly in that 21-day period for the millions of people that were distributing money. I just want folks to know, again, 1,340 people was not enough to redeploy to help the call volume and distribute these benefits. We added an additional 600 people just in the last number of days that are being retrained and redeployed as we speak. They’re not all there yet, but they’re in the process, in the queue.
Gavin Newsom: (14:54)
We talked about the chatbots, we put up. The new texting technology, new eligibility changes. We’re starting to see, I know it might not feel this way for some of you that have called and you’re deeply frustrated, particularly to because there’s multiple lines. We’re also trying to integrate that process as well. But we recognize we have a lot more work to do. But I do Mark with data and metrics the progress and can say this, that this time last week we are now 50% greater in terms of our engagement than we were a week ago, even with the volume increasing. That’s just a sign, a good sign that we’re starting to, we’re behind but get ahead a little bit, meaning we’re not falling back as quickly. We’re sort of holding our own and pushing back against the tide of understandable and legitimate frustration that we have a responsibility clearly to address. That’s the update on the unemployment side, the POA side, good work in progress in terms of getting support. To our frontline workers. We can’t thank you enough for the incredible work that you have done through very challenging and difficult times. I’ve said this on many occasions, it’s not just those frontline workers that we think about in the healthcare industry, but also in the food industry, but that also includes our truckers and our logistics folks. The folks that are in the meatpacking plants, the folks that are in manufacturing facilities. They are also unsung heroes in this effort.
Gavin Newsom: (16:29)
I know this may not sound like a big thing, but I thought it might be important, we want to take care of our truckers at some of these truck stops up and down the highways. They have a hard time getting food. One of the things we were able to do, at least at 14 sites, we want to get more of these up, I just offer it as a point of consideration, we got these food trucks, that was not legal. We made some amendments through an executive order to make that legal and appropriate, but we got these food trucks up to help support our truckers, a lot of teamsters, a lot others, independent.
Gavin Newsom: (17:02)
I just want to also acknowledge all of you for the incredible work you’re doing. You’re moving things around. You’re keeping things open, keeping things going, all those early supply chain concerns, you’ve substantially mitigated. We can’t thank you enough, also acknowledge all your hard work as well.
Gavin Newsom: (17:20)
This is a little different than last year. I think I was with Maria down at the American River College doing May Day, where I tried to fix some light bulbs and change some T4s or T8s, I can’t even remember. I didn’t do a very good job. Proving that everybody has value, everybody has worth, that all of us should celebrate whatever vocation you have, whatever profession you have chosen. It’s a sum total of millions and millions of acts of individual generosity and spirit and expertise that keep a society together and whole and make an economy buzz. I just want to thank you for building our economy and allowing us to work hard to get through this difficult time so we can get the economic conditions back where you deserve them to be.
Gavin Newsom: (18:09)
Let me briefly, before I transition and close, and answer any questions, just make some additional comments on that. Earlier this week we talked about a new phased approach to getting people back to work with meaningful modifications. As you know, we made some modifications that I’m not sure got a lot of attention but deserve some attention as it relates to faith-based services, as it relates to ability to sell cars with conditions and work to open up bike stores and to continue our efforts to begin to modify a reopening of the economy. Those have already taken shape. We talked yesterday about some expansion as it relates to outdoor activities, clarification around issues of golf and tennis and issues around rollerblading and kicking the soccer ball with your family and others, all with an eye on a public health frame and public safety-first mindset. Those we’ll continue to update on a consistent basis, but I know you are all very, very eager to hear about the larger sectoral and potentially regional, not just potentially, and regional changes that we are working very hard day in and day out to advance.
Gavin Newsom: (19:28)
I can only say this, we’re getting very, very close to making some announcements that I think will be very meaningful to people in retail sector, hospitality sector. Yes, that includes in that second phase restaurants, again, with serious modifications. We’ve got teams of people working not just internally but externally to look at each type of business within each type of industry and looking at sectoral and individual augmentation and guidelines that will be necessary and a requirement of any meaningful reopening. Yes, I’ll say it again, I deeply understand rural differentiation between some of the dense urban differentiation. We hear you, we’re paying attention to you. We are engaging many, many of you very directly, your health directors in particular and working not just a individual by individual basis, city by city, we’re also working with the league of cities representing all 480 plus cities in the state and CSAC, which is our county arm in all 58 counties.
Gavin Newsom: (20:38)
Those conversations continue. We’re processing them. I want to be crystal clear, know that. Know that I’m looking forward to answering your call and addressing your anxiety and it’s not lost on me. We’re not turning our back to those concerns. We recognize the economic pain. We recognize how that manifests in health issues as well. We said this in the beginning of the week when we put out our principles and our guidelines, there’s the health consequence we have to address with C-19, with COVID-19, but there’s also a health consequence of an economy that’s ailing, a mental health consequence. Not just physical health consequence.
Gavin Newsom: (21:19)
That’s why, again, we started to address some of the physical issues that are manifesting because of a lot of behavioral health issues by opening up scheduled surgeries again in our hospital system and that’s being phased in very, very thoughtfully up and down this state and differently in different parts based on different conditions and different hospital systems all up and down the state. But that spirit of recognition, that spirit of collaboration, that spirit of partnership is, is going to be advanced in very public ways very, very soon.
Gavin Newsom: (21:51)
But again, we’re driven by data, we’re driven by health and we’re driven by good guidance. Just know that I’m looking forward next week to be making, I think, some very constructive announcements in this space. I don’t want to over promise, but I just want to assure you that if we can hold the line and continue to do good work and just avoid the temptation to get back and congregate with us, with people in ways where we can see an increase in the spread, we’ll get there much sooner than many people perhaps think.
Gavin Newsom: (22:28)
Let me just make this point on the basis of the data that allows me to make that point. The data today was slightly encouraging and, same time, deadly and discouraging. Let me explain both.
Gavin Newsom: (22:43)
We reached two milestones. Number one, we tragically have now lost the lives of over 2,000 people in the state of California. The number of deaths in the last 24 hours. We’re not encouraging, but we’re part of that bucket of discouraging and devastating to the families that have been torn apart because of a loss of a loved one and the communities impacted by the loss of one’s life that was integral into the quality of life for so many. 91 people lost their lives in the last 24 hours. That number yesterday was up. Today, in a similar vein, we’re now over 2,000 people, lost their lives. Don’t think this virus has disappeared, just ask the family members of those that have tragically lost loved ones. We also reached the second milestone. Over 50,000, 50,000 cases of positive test results have come back for COVID-19. Over 50,000 now. Those numbers went up again. Now the good news is, so did our testing. Over 655,000 tests now have been conducted. Still not close to where we need to be, but by the way, it’s May 1st, I wanted to get here by May 1st and we’ve been averaging over 25,000 tests every single day, just as we said we would.
Gavin Newsom: (24:06)
I say that, I’m not spiking the ball. I’m not naive that that number can be fleeting and challenging, based on supplies and based upon many different factors. But yesterday was close to 30,000 tests that were reported. I just remind you, that were reported in. We still believe there are many tests that are not being reported.
Gavin Newsom: (24:26)
We’re doing everything we can to get to everybody, but there are a lot of individuals, a lot of groups that are doing testing that we just need to get in the system. But that’s encouraging. But the testing comes with those discouraging numbers of more positives. I just want to remind you deaths and positives reached some very important milestones. We’re not out of the woods.
Gavin Newsom: (24:45)
But the good news, I mentioned good and discouraging, is our ICU numbers were flat yesterday. Our hospitalizations actually went down 2% yesterday. Then that PUI, I know I said PUA, this is all confusing and I understand that and appreciate it, the PUI number in relationship to ICUs, intensive care units and hospitalizations in the state is an important number, and that’s people under investigation for potential COVID that are in the process of getting test results and alike. We saw a significant decline, 13.9% in both categories, ICUs and hospitalization yesterday in the PUI space. Flat in terms of total ICU beds, but a drop in PUIs, a modest decrease in hospitalizations, but a nice drop in the PUI. That’s good news.
Gavin Newsom: (25:40)
Bad news, positives, deaths. Good news, stable line that you have provided us the opportunity to announce because of your individual behavior and the physical distancing that you have done at scale in this state. That’s why I feel some confidence that over the course of the next week, we’re going to be able to make some announcements that-
Gavin Newsom: (26:03)
… will give people some more confidence in the ability for California get back on its economic feet. No one wants to hear the word patience, so I won’t use that word. I’ll just reflect on the fact no one wants to hear that word. None of us want to hear it because we’re all impatient. We’re deeply anxious and deeply desirous to start to turn the page and turn the corner with all the modifications that are required. The data is starting to give us more confidence, PPE, testing, our ability, to begin very, very deliberative modifications in the progress of getting this guidance ready to deliver to counties, cities, and regions all across the state. That’s a broad stroke. Forgive me, a little long-winded. Broad-strokes update on an important day where we reflect essential and displaced workers and thank everybody out there for their hard work, their sacrifice.
Gavin Newsom: (27:03)
Again, I just wanted to thank, in particular, all of the folks that also are not part of that list but are more essential, perhaps, than any other. Those are the parents out there and all the uncompensated care that mothers, in particular, do every single day. May is a special month for other reason. I said this, can’t say it enough. We owe a particular debt to all our mothers, all the women out there that disproportionately are in this care economy that have just done heroic work. So often unrecognized, undervalued… I hope no more. All of us cannot, I think, express enough, our deep gratitude and respect to those mothers, those parents out there that are doing double duty right now with the schools being closed and all the extra work that we’re all under in terms of heavy burden. Thank you, as well, that group. With that, happy to answer any questions.
Speaker 2: (28:07)
Marisa Lagos, KQED.
Marisa Lagos: (28:13)
Hi. Thanks, governor. I know that there has been a lawsuit filed by Orange County, or by some residents down there. I wanted to see your reaction there. If you have time, I’m also curious about sterilizations of masks which you authorized in April. I’m hearing in San Francisco, there’s some pushbacks from unions who are concerned about the safety of that.
Gavin Newsom: (28:35)
Yes, I don’t know specifically about particular issue of what San Francisco’s doing. I can just tell you what we announced a few weeks ago. Thank you for prompting this. We made a deal with a company called Patel to put together sterilization unit of N95 masks. The first one went up and is operational in and around Burbank in Southern California. There’s a second unit that’s coming to Northern California that quite literally, as we speak, is being set up. To the extent that has been FDA certified, to the extent that this technology has been around in the past, I can only offer this. One of those masks arrived that was sterilized off that line for Burbank today, and was presented, and shared with our team in our morning meeting. It looks as new as any other mask.
Gavin Newsom: (29:29)
That said, I appreciate sterilization up of 20 times per mask is not everybody’s first choice. That’s why we went out to get that large contract. We are looking forward to getting many, many more of these N95 masks. I should just note we have distributed… I don’t know another state that can claim this. I hope I’m wrong because it’d be encouraging to hear of other states distributing over 44 million N95 masks, 44 million. We’ll need multiples even of that to meet the needs as we transition into the future in a post-COVID world. As it relates to the lawsuit, all I can say is it doesn’t surprise me. We’ll see. Forgive me for saying this. We’ll see what happens this afternoon.
Speaker 2: (30:17)
Doug Sovern, KCBS radio.
Doug Sovern: (30:20)
Hi, governor. Couple things… First of all, obviously, you’re keenly aware of protests going on all around the state and of the lawsuits being filed, multiple lawsuits. These folks are calling you a tyrant and a fascist. You’re being driven by ego, not by data. Can you make the case that the decisions you’re making are, in fact, being driven by data and science? The posture we’re seeing from you today where you’re being more optimistic, talking about days, not weeks, is still driven by that as opposed to by the political pressure you seem possibly to be feeling today. Then second, you mentioned two days ago that there was going to be a further clarification in terms of the Bay Area, this coming Monday, allowing groups of kids, 12 or fewer kids, to gather not just in daycare but in some additional settings. Have you gotten that clarification? Is that okay now with the state order in terms of what the Bay Area is planning to do on Monday?
Gavin Newsom: (31:13)
Yes. In fact, across the spectrum, not just in terms of those numbers, our team has been working hand in glove with the six counties and one individual city. We are in line. We’re very pleased with that partnership and that progress. As it relates to the issue of data, every single day, Doug, I give you the data. Every single day at noon, I provide information. Every single week, we give you an update in terms of the indicators. We laid out specific indicators. We’ve been highlighting those indicators, drilling down more deeply on each indicator. We did one on testing, and tracing, and tracking, and quarantine, and isolation. We did one earlier this week, specific to businesses and sectoral strategies, even regional strategies. Then I update you on the number of deaths every day. I update you on the number PUIs, and not just number of hospitalization and ICU patients. You’ve seen those lines becoming stable.
Gavin Newsom: (32:11)
That’s given us some confidence. That’s why earlier this week, on Monday, we didn’t wait to respond to others. We were very proactive and said weeks, not months. We’re well within that time period. I’m saying today, with some optimism, that we saw a decline in the number of hospitalizations. We saw a significant decline in PUIs, both for hospitalizations and ICUs. That’s even more encouraging. Based upon series of other factors, all around the frame of the six health indicators that we’ve been very public about, it gives me confidence moving forward, but it also gives me a point to, well, reinforce a point of caution. That is, we can screw all that up. We can set all that back by making bad decisions. All of that works because people have done an incredible job in their physical distancing. We change that. We see the images we saw last weekend and in concentration of thousands of people. We could start to see a spread again. That’s the only thing that will set us back.
Gavin Newsom: (33:18)
I appreciate expression. I appreciate points of view. We have that with our staff. I believe in the Socratic method. It means different points of views and perspectives brought to bear in a forum of trust where people can put their points of view to the test and be challenged. That’s the way we conduct ourselves. That’s another way of saying what I say often, and you’ve heard this, that we’re not ideological. We’re open to argument. We’re interested in evidence. The evidence is burying out that we’re seeing some good things but still, some yellow flags of caution. That’s what we’ve been bringing up on a daily basis.
Speaker 2: (33:58)
Angela Hart, Kaiser Health News.
Angela Hart: (34:03)
Thank you, governor. Rural parts of California are thankful for… They’re telling us that the state is making valiant efforts for trying to ramp up testing, but there’s still, really, inadequate number in terms of sites and supplies needed for testing. Really, it’s not looking like there’s any prospects for some of those rural areas and sites. What’s your message, governor, to those rural parts of California that are still facing really extreme testing problems in terms of the sites and supplies? If you could talk about how case counts have factored into the state’s decision of where to locate some of those pop-up sites, that would be really helpful, too.
Gavin Newsom: (34:48)
Yes. All I can say is what I’ve been saying the last week. You may heard earlier this week. I announced the first of the 80 sites that we have, well, committed to advancing with our partnership with OptumServe. 80 additional sites… disproportionately, not exclusive, but disproportionately focused on rural California. I mentioned a week or so ago, the first one up in Humboldt. Mentioned the one up in Shasta, Sutter. You can get a sense. We’re trying to make sure we’re doing justice to that. There’s specifically, just to be held to account, 42 sites that will be up, additional sites, by Monday, and will substantially have incorporated into our larger task force strategy an effort to implement on the need for rural Californians that have been under-tested and under-resourced to have those needs met. We did those maps, as you recall, of testing deserts in the state and making sure these testing sites are approximate to people in and around those communities.
Gavin Newsom: (35:57)
It’s another point of caution, isn’t it? Your question of those that just want to turn on the light switch and go back to the way things were when some of those same communities are saying, “We need more tests.” Well, that’s exactly right. We do need more tests. We need to get a better sense of what the community spread is because in many cases, we just don’t know because there hasn’t been adequate testing. That’s why this partnership with OptumServe was so important and so foundational. It’s just one of many steps to increase testing in a very targeted and strategic way. Also, again, focusing on inner cities all up and down the state of California. That’s where we are. We have a testing task force. Angela, let me have a member of that task force reach out to you a little bit more so you can get little bit more targeted precision on those 42 that may fill in the blank in terms of your question. I’ll spare everybody else, going down every single city and county that we have lined up.
Speaker 2: (36:58)
Tyler Horst, ABC10.
Tyler Horst: (36:59)
Thank you, governor. Today’s the first of the month. There are elected officials and organizations across the state calling on you to cancel rent and mortgage payments. Folks who are out of work are worrying about eviction and debt on the other side of this, especially if they’re going to be responsible for back pay. Will you cancel rent and mortgage payments, or will you make any policy changes at the state level regarding rents and mortgages?
Gavin Newsom: (37:30)
Well, as you know, we’ve made very substantial progress on mortgages. We were the first state to announce a partnership with the largest banks in the United States on mortgage forbearance, no impact on your credit rating, other components of that announcement including debit cards and other issues related to fees and fines. We were very vocal about that and very proud of that announcement and partnership. As you know, we follow it up at scale with an executive order in the state of California relating to civil proceedings and criminal proceedings as it relates to evictions and providing a framework of time and little relief of the stress related to the same. We also provided clarification for cities and counties that wanted to go further on some of their protections for tenants. Cities like San Francisco, San Jose, L.A. went a lot further, but they had the ability to do so with some clarification based on that third executive order.
Gavin Newsom: (38:26)
We’ve done a lot in this space. We’ll continue to consider doing more. It didn’t expire last night. It extends into this next month. We’ll continue our vigilance and monitoring conditions in real time. It’s an answer to your question. That is, we’re looking at not just the issues of evictions and the agreements on moratorium and forbearance related to mortgages. There were timelines, you’re correct, with many of these announcements. We are constantly looking to update those timelines, working to extend these partnerships-
Gavin Newsom: (39:02)
… voluntarily and to the extent that we can’t do it voluntarily and make a determination of our legal obligations, our legal responsibilities, our legal thresholds for subsequent and further actions and just know in this space obviously with so many renters feeling deep anxiety and stress, we’re going to be very sensitive to that, but through May, I think we’ll have few weeks to really put together something if we do feel we need to do more, that will be done in counsel, in partnership with our cities, counties, and with a lot of these organizations that we’ve already engaged in.
Speaker 3: (39:39)
Marissa Perlman, CBS 13.
Marissa Perlman: (39:42)
Hey governor, thanks for taking my question. I’m here at the Capitol looking at hundreds if not a thousand [inaudible 00:39:49] here on the Capitol lawn, not practicing social distancing by any means. I’m also looking at both CHP officers as well as Sacramento Police not intervening. At what point should enforcement come into play here and at what point should you get involved?
Gavin Newsom: (40:05)
Well, that’s a good question. If I got involved in every protest up and down the state wouldn’t be involving myself in the efforts to start to make meaningful modifications to our stay at home order and really attend to a lot of the issues in the state. I count and defer to our team, the California Highway Patrol, particularly at the State Capitol. I don’t get involved directly in permitting decisions. I think that would be an unfortunate place for a politician, elected official, to go, but what I care deeply about as a foundational issue of which I am responsible for ultimately is public health and public safety, broadly defined. I’ll defer to the specifics as it relates to enforcement to the commissioner of the California highway patrol and hope you do as well and make sure they are responsive to you in terms of what you’re seeing. I am not there. I’m here. As it relates to the protesters, all I ask for is this. That is take care of yourself, wear a face covering, do justice to physical distancing. You don’t want to contract this disease.
Gavin Newsom: (41:08)
I just mentioned 50,000 people have been tested positive. Another 91 families torn apart because of loss of life. 2,000 human beings have lost their life. It’s impacted the entire state. Rural, not just urban. This disease doesn’t know if you’re a protester, Democrat, Republican. If you support the election of one candidate or the ouster of another, just knows one thing and that is its host and has a remarkable ability of people with asymptomatic conditions to transport to someone else. And so just protect yourself, protect your family, protect your kids, your parents, your grandparents, your friends, your neighbors, people that you’re protesting with. That’s all I would say to them and thank them for their expression of free speech. May Day is a foundational day for that and but I recognize that expression example all across the United States at this very challenging moment as we begin to toggle and begin to make adjustments and people really want to see that happen sooner than later. And I deeply understand that.
Speaker 3: (42:20)
Ben Christopher, Cal Matters.
Ben Christopher: (42:24)
Hey governor, thanks again for taking the time. Two questions. One, cities across the state are obviously in very rough financial shape. I’m wondering, do you plan on pushing for more direct funding from the state in the ongoing budget negotiations, providing as the league of cities has requested additional funding from federal CARES appropriation and then also, I don’t know if you saw the new poll in the Institute of Governmental Studies that found that among California voters, voters who strongly approve of the president are much less likely to be concerned about the risk of COVID infection and vice versa. So I’m wondering kind of following up on the previous question that you answered, are you worried the concerns about this virus and the respect for social distancing is becoming sort of yet another partisan issue and if so, do you think there’s anything that you could do to change it at this point?
Gavin Newsom: (43:09)
I’m working overtime to rise above the politics, the finger pointing, the bickering back and forth. I think you’ve seen that. I hope folks notice that. Trying to do my best in that space and working cooperative as we possibly can with the administration at all levels. Incredible work and partnerships with CDC and HHS and work we’re doing their organization called Asper and incredible work above, fed and FEMA ministrative representatives. So we are very, very pleased by that partnership and the progress we’ve made together in this space. Again, this knows no boundaries. It knows no lines. You look at some of the more conservative parts politically in the state, they have been impacted by this virus, particularly in skilled nursing facilities. A lot of seniors lost their lives. I don’t think death certificates ask if you’re Democrat or Republican. But I can assure you if you look at those death certificates, all Americans are represented in terms of that tragic loss of life, regardless of their political stripe.
Gavin Newsom: (44:16)
We’re, we’re human beings and we’re all, as Dr. King said, bound together by a web of mutuality. We’re all in this together. And so I hope we can maintain that spirit, but the spirit also of participatory democracy is also alive and well. I’m passionate about participatory democracy. Democracy is not about just standing still and standing pat. It’s also about free expression. And so I also applaud that and thank everybody for their willingness to do it. All I ask is just do it safely, do it thoughtfully, not just for yourself but for your neighbors and for others, and be an example in that respect. And I know sometimes that’s more difficult than other times and so I would just offer as a point of consideration. Let me be very specific with you though in the first part of your question.
Gavin Newsom: (45:02)
We haven’t been passive, we haven’t been just waiting for the right moment. We were one of the first, in fact, I think we were the first state to formally request one trillion dollars of support to help the states, cities across this country, and counties all across this country. We believe a few weeks back in a letter that we made public to Speaker Nancy Pelosi, that we believe this country in the next three to four years is going to need the kind of support around a trillion dollars. It’s significant. And wonderfully, you saw Speaker Pelosi just a few days ago assess similarly that that’s about the number that will be needed to help support states, counties, and cities that have been ravaged by COVID-19 and so we have been, the answer to your question is yes, very aggressive in that space. We didn’t just throw out a number.
Gavin Newsom: (46:03)
We broke it down. Health and education, workforce development across the spectrum of needs and supports. As you know well, I’m in the process of doing a May revise. Last year I did a May revise with a 21.4 billion budget surplus we were debating. This year I’ll be doing a May revise looking at tens of billions of dollars in deficit. We just went like that. Billions in surplus in just weeks, tens of billions in deficit. So I’m going to do everything I can to work with these cities and counties, but I can assure you this. We are not going to be in a position even as the nation’s fifth largest economy to provide for the needs of all the cities and the counties without federal support. And that’s why the federal support is the foundational framework that we are hoping to advance and successfully so to help us bridge these deficits, which we anticipate not just this year, but over the course of the next few years so we can come back stronger than ever, which I don’t think we will. I know we will.
Speaker 3: (47:09)
Final question. Spencer Custodio, Voice of [inaudible 00:08:12].
Spencer Custodio: (47:14)
Hi governor, thanks for taking our question. My question is one of enforcement for orange County. I’m trying to figure out, it looks like some police departments are still allowing people on the beaches, like Huntington Beach. There’s pictures right now. Not only is there boaters, but also people on the beach, so I’m trying to figure out how the state’s going to approach this, especially if some of these police departments aren’t helping enforce this.
Gavin Newsom: (47:40)
Yeah. I have confidence in local law enforcement. Incredible confidence. I thought it was a wonderful statement police chiefs association put out yesterday. The California sheriffs have been incredible. We have wonderful partnerships, particularly with our team here at the office of emergency services coordinating those actions and activities. It’s not just an enforcement mindset. It’s also an encouragement mindset in this respect. It’s notifications, it’s communication. It’s state park personnel doing the same, uniform to non-uniformed. It’s PSAs that are up. It’s the signs, the signage you’re seeing everywhere. It’s the parking lot closures in and around those areas. And so look, we’ll see. We’ll see what happens over the course this weekend and look, if we have kind of weekend that I hope and expect we will, where we don’t see those huge crowds descend, then we’re going to be in a position, as early as Monday, Tuesday I hope to make some announcements of new strategies and partnerships that we’re working on in real time to address these large crowds.
Gavin Newsom: (48:41)
Again, the only thing, I mean it, the only thing that’s going to hold us back is a spread of this virus. And the only thing that is assured to advance the spread of the virus is thousands of people congregating together, not practicing social distancing or physical distancing. If we can avoid that, then we’re going to get to the other side of this with modifications a lot quicker. And I just hope people will consider that because I don’t want to be up here a month, two, three, four months from now saying the same old things. I want to be here every week, every month, announcing new things that give people more confidence, more optimism about their future and their family’s future. And I’m confident we’ll get there. And I’m confident because I really believe in this state and its people and there are exceptions, but this is a state of 40 million people and you’ve done a magnificent job each and every one of you may be watching.
Gavin Newsom: (49:42)
Thank you for taking care of yourself, taking care of your family, taking care of your neighbors, taking care of your communities, taking care of our regions, taking care of this state and in turn, taking care of this nation. That’s patriotism. That’s the American spirit alive and well. Bottom up. It’s not always top down. It’s bottom up. And I know it’s percolating up in terms of people’s anxieties and stresses, and I also want to just acknowledge that, but also want to just acknowledge you and thank you, as always, for the incredible work you’ve done to flatten the curve in the state of California. Get us where we’re this close to starting to make some meaningful announcements in terms of modifications. Already this week we made a lot of, I think, important modifications to open things up, but even more in the next few weeks, as long as we continue to practice social, distancing, physical distancing, by those local county stay at home orders and continue to be safe and to always look out for one another. Take care everybody and have a wonderful weekend.