May 12, 2020
Governor Gavin Newsom California COVID-19 Briefing Transcript May 12
Governor of California Gavin Newsom’s Monday, May 12 press conference on coronavirus. Newsom announced that 7 northern California counties meet the guidelines to quickly reopen. Read the news briefing speech transcript here.
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Gavin Newsom: (06:09)
Good afternoon, everybody. One of the principles that is foundational in terms of our Roadmap to Recovery, in order for us to make the meaningful modifications that we look forward to making to our stay-at-home order, again, is our ability to test. I say again, because, we talk about testing on a consistent basis. And consistently we have been underperforming as a nation and as a state to provide adequate testing for all that seek it and all that need it. The State of California, we recognized that early on, that we needed to do more and do better. As a consequence, we pushed the reset button, we put together a new team, and we approached the challenge quite differently.
Gavin Newsom: (06:53)
It was just a month or so ago where we were averaging just 2000 tests a day. In a state as large as ours, that was completely unacceptable. We put together some very specific and prescriptive guidelines and expectations, put out our stated goals in terms of what we wanted to do to achieve substantially more testing throughout the State of California.
Gavin Newsom: (07:19)
I wanted, today, to give you a report card on that. We have now surpassed one million tests conducted in the State of California, one million and 33,000. Just in the last 24 hours we were able to conduct over 41,000 tests. Not dissimilar to the last few days, testing north of 40,000 people each and every day. You just look back over the last seven days, averaged north of 35,000 tests on our way to do justice to our commitment. And that is to get to 152 tests per 100,000 population. Which is, tests north of 61,000 each and every day.
Gavin Newsom: (08:01)
We’re confident we can achieve that goal. It is a Phase 1 goal, we want to do even more and do better than that. But in an effort to keep you abreast, you may recall that our goal was to hit 25,000 by the end of the month. We’re now in this first week doing 25,000 plus 10,000, meaning 35,000 on a daily basis on average. So, making progress.
Gavin Newsom: (08:27)
The second commitment we made to you is, ” That’s nice, but what about me?” And what I mean by that is, “What about you,” living in a rural part of California? What about someone that’s seeking the test that doesn’t want to be charged, that can’t afford to be tested and can’t find a testing location in their community. We made a subsequent commitment that it’s not just the total number of tests, it’s where those test are proximate to people in urban centers within 30 minutes, 30 miles, or within 60 miles in rural communities. We made a commitment partnership with OptumServe to focus 80 sites in rural California, and with Verily to provide six sites that would be provided in a more culturally-competent way, focusing on the needs of the Black and Brown community in the State of California.
Gavin Newsom: (09:22)
We’ve made great progress in that respect. 76 of those 80 Optum sites are fully operational. The only concern over the remaining four has been some site negotiation that is extended a little bit longer. But, substantial development in terms of those 76 sites. The four remaining sites we’re working through in real time.
Gavin Newsom: (09:46)
But the announcement I wanted to make today is an additional six sites will be put up by OptumServe to go even deeper into rural California. For the folks in Lake County, as an example, Mendocino County, you deserve those points of access. And we are committed to getting those testing sites up and operational with this new commitment from OptumServe, very shortly.
Gavin Newsom: (10:11)
Other parts of the state, even more remote rural regions of this state, we’re looking not to do point fixed sites or other sites that have point of tests that are fixed to a particular location. But to start to do these roaming tests that can expand our capacity even further.
Gavin Newsom: (10:32)
I’ll remind everybody if they would like to go to the covid19.ca.gov website. Covid19.ca.gov website. Click in the Testing button and you can put in your zip code and you can determine the closest available testing site. We have 241 community sites that we are tracking that are available for testing. Plus the Verily sites, plus those OptumServe sites. You’ll see they’re still testing deserts in this State, and that’s again, the announcement we’re making today to do even more with OptumServe. And then, we’ll start these roaming testing sites very, very shortly to provide even more coverage.
Gavin Newsom: (11:14)
Also want to remind people, it was a outstanding question that was asked yesterday, a simple question. What about costs? Just so you know, the site that we are providing, the COVID-19 site, those tests sites are free. Regardless of your status, community clinics are providing testing for free. These other community sites are providing testing for free, OptumServe and Verily. There are pop-up sites all throughout the State of California. Some of them may charge your insurance, may charge you out-of-pocket. Before you’re charged out-of-pocket, I would just encourage you, or tell a friend encourage them, to go to the COVID-19 site, to take a look at the availability of the sites that we have up. So you can avoid coming out-of-pocket. We’re trying to do our best to soften that edge and make sure people know that costs shouldn’t be an impediment to getting these tests.
Gavin Newsom: (12:13)
But look, a long way of saying, million is an important milestone in our efforts, it’s still not where we need to go. We need to get, again, north of 60 to 80 thousand tests every day. Some would argue well north of that, and I’m not going to even debate that. We’re going to go as far as we possibly can.
Gavin Newsom: (12:33)
I mentioned just a few weeks ago that if all of our system, our testing capacity, was at 100% testing capacity, we can be just shy of about 100,000 tests a day, right now. So, there’s still some supply chain constraints. There are still some issues with swabs and the transport, media issues related to reagents for PCR tests. This is not the universe of antibody tests, the serum tests, that’s a separate discussion. That’s a separate frame, and we can talk more about that.
Gavin Newsom: (13:09)
These are the PCR tests primarily that we’re speaking to that we are confident will provide the kind of quality and assurance in terms of reliability that is FDA approved, to the extent we can monitor the efficacy we do, is as efficient, as effective as we think is out there. Many other tests, though, are popping up that don’t necessarily have that gold seal. And so always, points of caution at these point of care popups that you may run into. But go to our site first, we would encourage that. Again, covid19.ca.gov. And we’ll continue to update that as these new OptumServe sites come up, we’ll put them out quickly. And these roaming sites, we’ll provide information about where those will go to cover multiple counties and help us, again, through our next phase of reopening here in the State of California.
Gavin Newsom: (14:08)
In order to also advance our testing capacity, we put out an Executive Order a little bit ago that directed a couple of departments. Department of Consumer Affairs and our Board of Pharmacies, the folks that oversee our pharmacy industry in the State of California. I say industry just because we have some 6,492 different pharmacies in the State of California that are licensed, almost 6,500. And thousands more pharmacists that they’re responsible for overseeing. That board with the Department of Consumer Affairs, just today, finished up their work and have provided guidelines to expand the points of contact for testing into pharmacies throughout the State of California.
Gavin Newsom: (15:00)
Now, let me make this crystal clear. They now have, pharmacies, the ability to do tests. That doesn’t mean every one of them is going to start testing today, or even determine that it’s in their interest to test at all. It’s a determination on the basis of each of these pharmacies whether or not they want to do this. Now, know that pharmacists, many of you do know this, test for Hepatitis C, in many cases, for HIV. There are protocols and procedures, appropriate protective gear, making sure that we isolate folks that may be symptomatic, maybe asymptomatic, but are concerned. We obviously have to work through all of those. That will be done on each site and will be done in collaboration with the oversight and guidelines that these two agencies have put forward.
Gavin Newsom: (15:47)
But the good news is, we are now going to increase additional sites with our pharmacies in the State of California. And we hope to start seeing those pop-up very, very soon. So that’s also, we think an important milestone in an effort to-
Gavin Newsom: (16:03)
That’s also we think an important milestone in an effort to broaden coverage for testing in the state of California. All of this again can’t come soon enough because all of this is part, as I suggested a moment ago, part of our roadmap to reopening. Part of the six indicators that we have been reinforcing over and over again now for many, many weeks. The capacity to test leads to the capacity to trace and I just want to update you on that. We believe by tomorrow or the next day, certainly by the end of this week, the first cohort of those that we’re training through UCSF and UCLA and the new virtual protocols for contract or contact tracing in the state of California, that first cohort will be trained and we’re starting to recruit the next cohort. Again, this is foundational testing and then the ability to trace you got to have a tracing workforce to do that.
Gavin Newsom: (16:59)
That then begins the protocols of isolating and to the extent necessary quarantine individuals that have tested positive or have potentially been exposed. So progress in that space as well. All of these dots, all of these indicators connected to one another. And again, moving in the direction that we were hoping at this stage. Again, this stage is that second stage. And in that second stage, we are making meaningful modifications to the original stay at home order. I mentioned yesterday, I’ll reinforce today. Over 70% of our economy in the state of California is open with modifications and I’m sober with modifications. Today we’re announcing additional modifications statewide for our stay at home order that include offices. If you cannot telework, we will allow for office modification and office openings on a statewide basis. We are also on a statewide basis making it clear that malls and those that otherwise are not just traditional enclosed malls, but strip malls and those outlet malls can be opened for pickup. And I want to distinguish again for pickups.
Gavin Newsom: (18:27)
So not dissimilar to the announcement we made last week for retail. This also would include malls, but again only for pickups. So offices and malls for pickup, in addition to other services like car washes, pet grooming, making some clarification’s though there’s been some of this happening already on dog walking. All of these areas also are being modified state wide. And I remind everybody what I mean by statewide is the following and forgive us, I know how confusing all of this can be again, it’s dynamic. The statewide order affords the opportunity for local government to come in to conform with those guidelines, but one can choose region like the Bay area and the six counties can choose to be a little bit more prescriptive and restrictive, parts of Southern California, LA and others the same.
Gavin Newsom: (19:29)
So not everyone is compelled into this phase, but that phase is afforded everybody. And so those that are also trying to get variances on the other side of this to loosen up and move deeper into phase two more quickly should know that this statewide order applies to them even if they’re in the process of applying to get the technical support to do self certification for a regional variance. So we are updating those guidelines. They’re available as I speak on our covid19.ca.gov website. You could go to that, you can see what additional modifications we’re making statewide to the stay at home order. But progress in this space that I hope is encouraging to many, but that progress again is predicated on our testing, on our tracing capacity and on the basis of the numbers that I will update you in a moment on hospitalizations, ICUs and the like that we continue to track and continue to show encouraging signs in the stability.
Gavin Newsom: (20:39)
That is the predicate for allowing us to move in this direction, data, public health science based decision making. Accordingly, today as I was clear, we would introduce today we are now making public the guidelines for number of other industries in this state, including the restaurant industry. And guidelines for reopening in room dining so to speak or dine in our restaurants. Remember, restaurants are many of them open for takeout, but this would allow patrons to start coming back in these counties that have conditions that afford this. We made very clear last week the conditions we’re looking for to go deeper into phase two, and we made it clear that today we would put out those guidelines. We have also put that up on that covid19.ca.gov website. So you’ll see guidelines statewide updated and you’ll see guidelines County by County that we are putting out today for a number of different industries. By the way those industries include but are not limited to well outdoor museums, botanical gardens.
Gavin Newsom: (22:00)
And by the way, that’s also available in terms of statewide order. But we put out prescriptive guidelines in terms of what we look for and the reopening of outdoor museums. We provide similarly guidelines for car washes and for restaurants. And we today can announce that based upon consultation, technical consultation and the self certification and attestation that was done in concurrence with the health director, the County administrators, including County boards of supervisors, focusing on the needs of the most vulnerable potential surge and self attesting that they have a plan to begin to modify these loosening If we start to see a spread of COVID-19. That Butte now is on our website as the first County that now is able to move deeper into that phase two through their self certification process, through their planning work that they’ve done. So Butte County and El Dorado County have met those thresholds and work incredibly collaboratively with our department teams and health officials.
Gavin Newsom: (23:20)
I should note that we have been in contact with 27 counties in total four were having deep technical assistance calls today. And those are dynamic conversations. I have confidence that just this afternoon they will be two additional counties that should self attest. They’re working through more formal votes in their local counties and their local jurisdictions to codify their recommendations. And based on the interaction with us we’ll put those up on our website as well. So progress in this place, but soberly we make the point. I don’t anticipate every one of the 27 counties that we’ve engaged with already. The four that we will be engaging with this afternoon all will be able to self attest. And I know that this is a point of concern and consternation. It was brought up just yesterday with the wonderful outreach and the spirited cooperation we received from Kern County that described in their County certain conditions that they would like our health directors to consider to allow a modification of sorts. Based upon data based on science, based upon their unique circumstances where we can apply some flexibility.
Gavin Newsom: (24:44)
I said this 10 days ago when we rolled this out originally, we’re not ideologues our team and it’s not just our team it’s the collective wisdom of also health directors across the state of California. We are in the spirit of collaboration and partnership want to address those issues. And we’ll be doing sort of the extent possible again possible on the basis again of public health being the foundational guideline and principle. But there are some unique characteristics within counties where they’re hitting on all cylinders, where they hit 13 out of the 14 guidelines to get a variance. And they have a unique circumstance with a federal prison for example or a state prison they don’t manage or a skilled nursing facility that had some challenges but they feel like they have under control. Those things are all part of the dynamic engagement and conversations that we look forward to be having.
Gavin Newsom: (25:38)
I know there’s an eagerness to resume those conversations that we had over the weekend and conclude them. We will do everything in our power as quickly as possible to adjudicate all of these nuances and details and be as fair minded as we possibly can. I just want to make that clear to everybody watching also members of the press that we are committed to this dynamic process. Also implied yesterday and I hope you’re seeing it here today the fluidity of these announcements. That they’re not static as conditions present themselves as indicators turn from yellow to green, we’ll be updating our site on a fairly consistent basis. And we will be directing that through the department of public health, primarily not even just traditionally through these press conferences. So I want folks to know we’ll be making adjustments and modifications on a consistent basis statewide and also providing updates on these regional variances.
Gavin Newsom: (26:39)
Whole idea is to get us all through this phase two so we can start to move into phase three. We are not there phase three yet, but there are parts of the state that can and now are moving deeper through phase two. And I hope that’s an encouraging sign both from a health perspective and an economic perspective. It’s an and for us not an or. And I deeply recognize health is defined not only by taming the beast that is coronavirus or C-19 as it’s now often being referred to, but also addressing social determinants of health and the impact of poverty as it relates to the health of families and communities all across this state, physical as well as mental health. All of these are factors. We don’t see them as competing factors as much as we see them in a collaborative frame in the context of a broader health frame. But again, guided by health and guided by data we will continue to march down this path of more meaningful ratifications and again in real time.
Gavin Newsom: (27:55)
And so again, keep taking a look at it that COVID-19 website, it’s a dynamic website updated on a consistent basis. And in that respect, I also want to make something available and also just make you aware of what’s been on our site. You can look at the attestations, which is just the self-certification of the containment plans and the protection plans that for example, Butte County is putting up. You can take a look at that on the map County by County, but you also have the ability on our site to look at the total number of positive cases that have been identified in Butte. The number of people hospitalized, the number of people in ICUs by County, throughout the state of California. I’d encourage people to take a look at that, this is about self-certification and we’ll all collectively be monitoring people’s success in this space.
Gavin Newsom: (28:51)
And we believe success is an imperative but also success leaves clues, success can also provide capacity and guidelines for subsequent efforts in other counties. Each one of these self certifications and attestations becomes its own best practice. And I hope informs others in that process, but we must always be informed by data and on the covid19.ca.gov website, you could go County by County and on a daily basis get updated on how well your County is doing and whether or not they’re reaching those prescribed goals in their self-certification. So I want folks to be aware of that as well. And so we’ll keep adding all that information to that database, that dashboard and continue to monitor the success. We believe and hope of these counties that are moving more quickly into phase two.
Gavin Newsom: (29:51)
So that’s broad strokes. It’s what I wanted to communicate and share today. Good news on testing progress, not where we need to go, but progress nonetheless. More places to go in rural California, as well as now with pharmacies throughout the state of California. More opportunity now to reopen based upon the ability to get more support for tracing, isolation and quarantine. And continue to develop the kind of dynamic partnership two way conversation with our team, our staff, your team, your staff, or taxpayers, all of us. The folks that are trying to do their best to help you and help your community to move quickly into this phase two, but do so safely so that we can protect everybody.
Gavin Newsom: (30:39)
And in that spirit before I just quickly update you on few of the daily numbers, I want to protect our most vulnerable. And that’s why I also want to make an announcement and update that just five weeks ago, we announced a very audacious goal. And first in the nation goal, I don’t think there’s any part of the country and this isn’t to demean or diminish the incredible work that other governors are doing, but I’m just proud of California’s work. We talked about a project or announced a project called project room key to help vulnerable Californians out on the streets and sidewalks and congregate shelters out in a camp nets, under freeway, overpasses, our homeless, our brothers and sisters struggling.
Gavin Newsom: (31:19)
Many very vulnerable to not only the elements, but to this disease and other diseases. We today passed the threshold over 15,000 rooms now procured as project room key, just in five weeks. Seven plus thousand people at the County level that they’ve been able in the city level to bring into those rooms, hundreds more every single day. We’re working with the cities and counties. There’s still challenges at the local level. That’s the nature of any application implementation, but at least providing that framework, which was our commitment as a state and a technical assistance for the locals. We are there 1,305 trailers. We got all those out.
Gavin Newsom: (32:03)
At 1,305 trailers, we got all those out as well. And there’s families, not just individuals in those trailers, in addition to those 15,000 rooms. So I just want to thank our team, all the good, hard work that’s been done, Jason, Elliot, and others, to work overtime to try to get these rooms up and ready. And now work very closely with cities and counties to make sure that we’re populating the remainder of those rooms.
Gavin Newsom: (32:29)
We also want to remind people of other vulnerable population, our seniors. We talk almost on a daily basis about skilled nursing facilities, yesterday we reminded you skilled nursing facilities are relatively small in terms of the total number of facilities that we licensed for our seniors and for adults. We have 7,442 just through our department of social services that we license and monitor. Our seniors remain still the most vulnerable to this virus. The mortality morbidity rates in that cohort are obvious to all of us at this stage of this pandemic.
Gavin Newsom: (33:07)
And so I just want to encourage our seniors and those that care deeply about our seniors and those that help build the middle class and build this remarkable place we call home, California, and the great country, this nation, the United States. We have a unique responsibility to protect them. And so as we begin the modifications, as we already have reopening 70 plus percent of the economy, as we begin to modify with these dine-in opportunities, let’s make sure we do so cognizant not only of our own health, but the health of our most vulnerable, and those are our seniors. And that’s why practicing and not just preaching what is in these guidelines is so foundational.
Gavin Newsom: (33:53)
And it’s a way of just saying this: We’re putting these things out, and now we’re asking you to do even more than you have done. And that’s just a little personal responsibility. You’ve been incredible, public’s been incredible. We’re at this point because 40 million people have practiced physical distancing in a state larger than any others, and bigger than 21 states’ populations combined. And you’ve done it at scale and gotten us to this point. But the worst mistake we can make, and many of you may have seen Dr. Fauci today testifying, the worst mistake we can make is to just throw those face coverings off and disabuse ourselves that this virus has gone away or taken the summer off, or it’s on a deep sabbatical or vacation. It’s not. It’s still virulent. It’s still deeply, deeply deadly. And if we love our community, and we do, and we love our restaurants, and we love our retail, and we love our pet groomers and the like, let’s protect them and protect their customers and protect one another.
Gavin Newsom: (35:03)
And I encourage all of us to read these guidelines. We’re going to have checklists up and businesses to help with these efforts. And I think these guidelines are based on best practices, science and virulence and all of the epidemiological issues that are so front and center in our daily lives. But again, the application of them is at the local level, the monitoring is all of us trying to encourage one another to do even more and do better than you’ve done to date. And so I just want to remind everybody of that. This disease is still ubiquitous. It’s still deadly. 77 people lost their lives in the last 24 hours to this disease. 77, again, this disease is taking lives on a daily basis. Lives lost, families destroyed because of this virus. We saw an increase of 1,443 new positive tests yesterday alone. So we are seeing more people tested, still seeing an increase in the total number of people positive.
Gavin Newsom: (36:14)
And I’ll remind you, if you’ve been tested once, and that doesn’t mean you can disabuse yourself either of the concern around getting the virus an hour after you were tested. And that’s why the testing has to substantially increase, because we want you to be able to be tested on multiple occasions, so that we can secure an environment, secure a cohort, secure a community, secure a state, secure our nation, so that we can more rapidly move into these subsequent phases as we move towards immunity or a… And a vaccine.
Gavin Newsom: (36:49)
So I just cannot impress upon you more the nature of the virulence and the importance of continuing to wash our hands, physically distance from people you haven’t otherwise come into contact with, make sure you wear face coverings where you can’t practice that physical distancing, and protect yourself and protect your family and your community and others when you start going back in with these modifications into restaurants and the like.
Gavin Newsom: (37:18)
Final point, and I’ll open up to questions. I just wanted to remind everybody what we do on a daily basis. Total number of hospitalizations, total number of people on the ICU. ICU numbers went down 1.4% yesterday. The total number of people in hospitals went up slightly, 1.1%. Again, those numbers you see bouncing back and forth within that margin, one, 2% every single day, but stability for weeks and weeks and weeks, well beyond just 14 days. The stability is encouraging, but again, we’re not seeing the significant decline that we need to see. Caution, always. Number of people tested positive, number of people dying. I know they’re lagging indicators, the death rates, but nonetheless points of concern.
Gavin Newsom: (38:05)
So again, mix of optimism and a sober outlook in terms of the world we’re now entering into with these modifications. Progress though, nonetheless. And continued spirit of partnership as a foundational principle, data driving decisions, science and health driving these announcements. With that, happy to take any questions.
Speaker 3: (38:30)
Angela Hart, Kaiser Health News.
Angela Hart: (38:34)
Thanks governor. I’m hoping you can provide a little bit of clarity on the testing targets. Last month, after you mentioned… After you talked about your 25,000 daily goal, you said the next target was 80 to 90,000 tests per day. And today I heard 61,000 and 80,000. So can you just clearly explain what your next target is, and by what timeline you expect to meet that? And then the subsequent ones, please.
Gavin Newsom: (39:03)
Yeah. So Angela, I don’t recall ever saying 80 to 90,000, I was very specific 60 to 80,000. The 60,000 is actually 60,800. It’s based upon a Harvard study that we are using to guide some of our decisions, not exclusively. That is a baseline study, 152 tests per 100,000 population. We are assuming it’s a little on the higher end, roughly 40 million Californians gets you around that 61, 000 frame. So we were very explicit, 2,000, 14,000 to 25,000. And we said within a month or two later, specifically the words that were used by Dr. Ghaly and myself, guided by our task force, we said 60, and then we hope to get to 80.
Gavin Newsom: (39:47)
The reference to 90 plus was full throttle capacity within our existing system, if everything went off without a hitch and every machine was working and every supply was provided with abundance. It just gives you a sense of what we’re capable of doing at that level. And so that’s the number that you may be referencing. So that’s our next goal. We currently are exceeding the 25,000. Again, we were hoping to be at 25,000 a week ago. We’re now actually doing even better than we projected on that ramp up at 35,000.
Gavin Newsom: (40:24)
Today we also laid out again, a framework to provide even more points of access and testing at pharmacies. And there’s a universe of over 6,400, just shy of 6,500 in that capacity. Though again, not all of them by any stretch are going to start testing, and they can all do it overnight for various reasons. But we are also creating more points of access. OptumServe, that has already been producing significantly in rural California is now committed an additional six sites. I gave you two specific counties where those sites are going up, some more testing still. And we continue to do what we can with Abbott labs and others on the point of care assess, the serology test. These antibody tests that obviously a lot of us are focused on. We will be talking a lot more about sero- surveillance, in that respect. I know the word, “Surveillance” is not an easy word for any of us, but we have PCR surveillance and sero- surveillance, also part of the panoply of solutions.
Gavin Newsom: (41:28)
We’re also testing… You’re with Kaiser, so you may appreciate this. There’s a lot of pooled tests pilots that are being considered now as well. Something you know well, blood banks already do that. All kinds of interesting things happening in this space that we haven’t shared necessarily. So there was a lot of that happening as well. But progress being made, and those numbers getting to 60 to 80, we continue to believe are well within our grasp. But again, many, many weeks away.
Speaker 3: (42:01)
Vicki Gonzalez, KCRA.
Vicki Gonzalez: (42:05)
Governor, on the restaurant front, after talking with owners, there’s a collective concern about the challenge of potentially bringing employees back, given that some are potentially receiving more on unemployment. And these restaurants will likely be operating at reduced capacity, which translates to bringing in less money. Has there been any discussion about responding to, or troubleshooting this challenge?
Gavin Newsom: (42:26)
Yeah. Well, as you may know, my background is in the restaurant business, not only starting as a busboy and a waiter, working my way up out of college, opening a small business, pen to paper, one part time employee, Pat Kelly. We grew that business, opened a number of restaurants. A point of pride that I say this, not a point of promotion, point of pride. So I have deep experience in the industry, owning, managing, working in this industry for decades. And so the answer to your question is, affirmative. Absolutely. Yes. One thing that I recognize, one size does not fit all. Not only from my personal background and experience, but through my deep collaboration over decades within the industry, a recognition that each restaurant is different and distinct. And as a consequence, the guidelines we put out provide more flexibility than I believe some other states. Every state is different, and I deeply respect what other states have offered. Some have said, “Well, it should be opened in the first phase at just 25% capacity.” Others said 30, some said 50. We decided not to be prescriptive in that perspective. We worked with our health officials to provide flexibility on spacing. What we want is physical distancing. Obviously all the sanitation, all the PPE, all the other guidelines as relates to ingress, egress. You’ll take a look, I hope, at the guidelines we put out, and there are many, many very specific recommendations, guidelines, and expectations. But we also wanted to provide flexibility, because it goes to the spirit of your question.
Gavin Newsom: (44:06)
Look, I am not naive and no one should be. And I think one of the biggest mistakes we can make in this pandemic as we start to move in to a reopening phase, is somehow over-promise what it means. None of this means anything if customers don’t feel safe. And none of this matters, the spirit of your question in direct response, if employees don’t feel safe and don’t want to come back to work.
Gavin Newsom: (44:32)
And so all of this is foundational on a public health mindset. That’s why I say I don’t see the issue of economic opening and growth disconnected from health. They’re directly connected to your question. How do we bring back a healthy workforce? How, if that workforce, if they are exposed or are tested positive for COVID-19, how do we protect that workforce so they don’t feel like they have to go to work and are having symptoms, but are not being honest with their employer? How do we make sure that they have sick leave? How do we make sure that they can be supported in isolation as we move to the tracing protocols? And so that’s also part of the guidelines we’re putting out, also part of some of the details that we are rolling out.
Gavin Newsom: (45:23)
But I think there’s a deep desire for people to come back to work. Not everybody’s going to come back right away. You’re not incorrect about some of the unemployment issues, but those are more temporary. And we are seeing, I think, a deep eagerness in this space for people to reopen. And one of the things, just in closing, and forgive me for extending deeply, it’s a point of personal privilege, again, an industry I’ve been part of in the past before my time in public life, that I also recognize that within the industry, there are restaurants that also are bars. There are restaurants that are full service restaurants, that are much more limited service. There are conditions related to fixed furnishings and those that could be moved around. And so we’re trying to work through the panoply of issues, myriad of issues that all require some distillation of thought and application of these rules at the local level. There’s also outdoor seating, where ventilation becomes less significant because the outdoors themselves provide for greater distribution of air flow.
Gavin Newsom: (46:41)
And so all of these things are being considered, and there’s some outdoor seating limitations. There’s alcohol beverage control components to that, I can honestly go on. And I mean, there’s probably another 10, 15 minutes going through these criteria. And that’s why, again, this is a phased approach. We have to work through all of these things, and we’ll continue to work with the industry, because one thing I know, the guidelines we put out today are not static. We recognize that we’re going to hear from folks saying, “Well, what about this circumstance that you never considered?” And we, by definition, want to be considerate of those and we’ll try to augment and update. If it’s public health first focus, we would obviously make an adjustment if it doesn’t impact in that space.
Gavin Newsom: (47:28)
So forgive me again for being long winded. But I do hear from those restaurateurs, and I do recognize some of the complexities. But I also recognize eagerness to test some of this, and to see how far we can go, and how closely we need to work together to continue to modify into the future.
Speaker 3: (47:46)
Andrew Sheeler, Sac Bee.
Andrew Sheeler: (47:50)
Thank you, Governor. You’ve said that we will have reopened 70% of our economy with modifications as we move through phase two. Can you define that more precisely? How are you arriving at that number, and what…
Andrew Sheeler: (48:03)
What sectors of the economy are you talking about?
Gavin Newsom: (48:05)
Well as you know we’ve laid out, I think it was 17 sectors last week. And I would encourage you to go to the covid19.ca.gov website. You can look through the 17 sectors today. We announced four additional sectors that are reopening. That represent broadly north of 70 percent of the economy from manufacturing, logistics, warehousing. The essential workforce that was always open as it relates to the food supply chain. And as it relates to hospitality that’s been open with limitations. As you know, tens of thousands of hotel rooms have been afforded. Our care workers, our first responders as part of a subsidy of support. The Project Room Key, I just mentioned means these hotels are open with modification.
Gavin Newsom: (48:49)
So you go industry by industry. Sectors that never closed construction and the like. In each one of those categories you add them all up. You’re now north of 70 percent and happy. If you are not satisfied with what you see on the covid19.gov website to quantify that even further. But I think last week, Dr. [inaudible 00:49:14] were very transparent in those first 17. And today limited personal services and restaurants, and the work we’re doing on offices. I hope I provided some transparency as well.
Speaker 5: (49:25)
Speaker 6: (49:30)
Hi Governor. I have a question about testing and nursing homes. As you mentioned seniors remained the most vulnerable. And nursing home say they can’t get the tests and rapid results that they need to prevent outbreaks. As the state works to expand testing for the general population why haven’t you mandated universal testing in nursing homes like other state tasks? Are there any plans to do so?
Gavin Newsom: (49:52)
There are plans to do so. We just need to be in an adequate place to be able to deliver on that promise. Look, we’ve prioritized testing in our [inaudible 00:50:00], and more broadly in our adult system. But with that, let me, it’s an opportunity for leader of our testing task force who’s been focused specifically on skilled nursing facility to fill in the blanks about when we may move forward with the mandatory side of that equation. Which you’re correct. We’re not there at this moment.
Speaker 7: (50:26)
Thank you, Governor. And thank you for the question indeed. This has been a conversation point for the last many days really working with our nursing home operators and advocates across the state to understand the best way to ensure that we get the test. Not just for the residents, but for the staff as well. What’s the right time to do that testing? What are the plans? And how to manage the number of positive tests that we discover? How to adequately support patients? And of course the staff.
Speaker 7: (50:58)
So I think in the week, next week or two, we will be announcing what that plan is. In terms of how readily and quickly we’re able to bring testing to every facility across the state. I think this is something that’s not only important to the residents and the staff, but the families as well. We take it very seriously. And we think it’s one of the most important proof points that we’re able to support those who are living in our skilled nursing facilities across the state. Those over 1,240 facilities and nearly 120,000 residents.
Speaker 7: (51:32)
So I think we’re a couple of weeks away from having this all ironed out. And again, it comes down to ensuring that we don’t only have, not only have the supplies. But also the people power to get the testing done in process it. It’s quite a large number and we’re working to come up with a thoughtful statewide plan. We’re already working with a couple of big counties on their own efforts to ensure that their skilled nursing facilities have a testing capacity to cover all the residents and the staff. And we’re working with those counties to ensure that it can be implemented and done well. And then we’ll expand to the rest of the state in the days to come.
Gavin Newsom: (52:13)
And again, it’s not just the skilled nursing facilities. We’re trying to address all those licensed facilities within our portfolio of responsibility. 7,400 plus additional facilities, IHS. I mean across the panoply of the vulnerable we need to adequately test. We’re a scale that’s unlike any other state in the country. And a scale of responsibility that goes with that to be even more aggressive. And that’s why we are not spiking the ball. We announced a milestone today. But we also announced additional efforts to increase testing in this state. And we made it crystal clear. We’re not close to where we need to be to provide the quality coverage and comprehensive coverage that is required ultimately to do justice to this disease.
Speaker 5: (53:03)
Kathleen Ronayne, AP.
Kathleen Ronayne: (53:06)
Hi Governor. So you announced some further a statewide loosening of the order today. And I was just wondering from the data standpoint what changed that made you comfortable loosening more statewide restrictions today? And then as far as the County variances go, you mentioned that there could be unique characteristics in certain counties that you would consider when deciding whether to grant them a variance. Even if they don’t meet all the benchmarks. So can you be a little bit more specific on what that would look like? Would a County maybe that had a lot of cases in a prison within it be able to sort of subtract that number of cases from their overall number to put forward their variance plans? Talk a little bit more about how get applied.
Gavin Newsom: (53:52)
Yeah. I’m not going to get in because we’re in the details of those conversations. But I offered that as a specific proof point of the kind of conversations that we’re currently having that are dynamic conversations. And so we’re committed to advancing those conversations. I have Dr. Angell here just because she happens to be here. She can probably fill in because she’s the one having these direct conversations. Be a little bit more precise with you. But no, that these are this is the conversations that we’re having in real time. And I want folks to know that we’re open to these arguments. But again, Dr. Angell is led from a health prism fundamentally not just a state prison oversight fundamentally. Dr. Angell.
Dr. Sonia Angell: (54:42)
Thank you, Governor. And thank you very much for that question. So with respect to the decision to continue to move forward with the lifting or modification of additional sectors for the whole state to move forward we’re looking very closely at continuing stability of hospitalizations overall. And ICU hospitalizations as well for COVID-19. Those remain stable. And so we’re continuing very thoughtfully and methodically through opening additional sectors.
Dr. Sonia Angell: (55:09)
Concurrent with that we have put in place this process that recognizes that some counties indeed have very different level of prevalence of disease. And if they are able to attest to having specific conditions meant that make it clear that they’re in a position to be able to support and protect. And modify their existing sectors within stage two in a way that limits risk to their population. That it makes sense for them to move through that. That was our first very specific process looking at some exceptions that make sense for some counties.
Dr. Sonia Angell: (55:43)
But indeed as this, as COVID-19 continues to evolve in our communities. As we understand more about the movement of disease. Have data that’s more specific to specific counties. And then also take into account specific conditions like congregate setting outbreaks. It might make the difference in terms of a county’s ability to be very strategic around those congregate settings. We’re also thinking about how we can also support, and consider how those counties may also be possibly in a position to be able to move through the stage two in perhaps a different way.
Dr. Sonia Angell: (56:21)
These are very active and intense conversations. They look very closely at the data and evidence, not only about the prevalence of disease. But also about preparedness. And things that we’ve mentioned again and again including PPE, testing, contact tracing. These are three very key tools that we have as people move more. We know that more people are likely to potentially get infected. And if they do we have to help support and make sure that our counties are in a good position to be able to respond effectively. And make sure that they get the care that they need. So we are watching this very carefully. We’re having intense conversations with counties. And as we move forward, we’ll be sharing with you more approaches that will make sense for our state at large so that we can move forward in a way that helps minimize risk for all Californians.
Gavin Newsom: (57:07)
In many respects, she answered the first part of your question. Look on the PPE side, 11 million surgical masks were distributed just on Friday. We now have an inventory over 38.2 million surgical masks. We’ve been able to distribute 32.2 million just in that space. I couldn’t have said that two weeks ago. We were making enormous progress in the procurement space. I mentioned the progress we’re making on the tracing. And we’re getting a cohort trained and the testing. So all of those things are factors that go in to the modification of the statewide order.
Gavin Newsom: (57:43)
Again, we mentioned a week or so ago, we were moving into this second phase. We didn’t say we were stopping in the middle of that phase. We’ll continue to progress through as all of these conditions. And again, testing, capacity to trace, track. All of these conditions begin to avail themselves. These indicators that allow us to go green.
Gavin Newsom: (58:07)
Also remember a lower risk framework. Not essential, non essential any longer. Lower risk. And so office, to the extent you can’t telework. Lower risk, again, with modifications, guidelines that we put forth. Retail pickup, the strip malls, and other malls that can afford the ability to do that are not locked into a dome like setting. We think that also is lower risk consistent with the retail pickup that we put out last week.
Gavin Newsom: (58:42)
So, that is subsequently the guidance. The guidelines that we’re putting out today are in that spirit. And that’s what I hope you should expect over the course of the next number of weeks. And then always looking at those trend lines as it [inaudible 00:58:55] ICU, hospitalizations, and that testing ratio between total number of people tested, total number of people that test positive.
Speaker 5: (59:03)
Final question. Dave Lopez, CBS L.A.
Dave Lopez: (59:09)
Yes. Good afternoon to all of you. Governor I know every County is going to be different. The bigger counties like L.A. County will probably be much slower in opening the restaurants. We’ve heard all kinds of figures. Ask you to look into your crystal ball. We’ve heard as many as 50 percent of the restaurants as we know them will not be able to survive this. Do you think it will be that bleak throughout the state?
Gavin Newsom: (59:30)
Having again, been in the industry opened and had to close a number of restaurants. The percentage that fall off the radar on an annual basis is already alarmingly high. It’s one of the most tough, difficult, challenging businesses. And competitive businesses out there. So I think you always have to begin from that frame of consideration and reference. But no, I do think it is profoundly challenging. Particularly that industry. The rents are high. Fixed costs are extraordinarily high. Bringing back your staff. The whole notion of a restaurant. When you bring back staff is you want to maximize those peak hours and you want to get as many people as you possibly can in during that dinner period. If we have to modify, and we do because of health considerations. This space, that means those peak hours are substantially diminished. But your fixed costs remain high. You’re already running on low margins to begin with.
Gavin Newsom: (01:00:26)
So look, I’m not naive about any of this and deeply concerned. That’s why that PPP program is so important. SBA programs are so important. That’s why any subsequent work we can get or support we can get from the federal government. That’s why put out that letter with five other state Western governors yesterday in terms of requesting more support from the federal government. It wasn’t just about the state of California or their state’s general fund budgets. It’s our capacity to help support through economic stimulus within our states. The efforts to help support these restaurants and to support these employees through series of other additional supports. But yeah, it’s going to be very trying even with these modifications.
Gavin Newsom: (01:01:14)
And yes, you’re correct. There should be no pressure on the local officials down in L.A. Or elsewhere to feel that they have to move in to this space sooner because their conditions are very, very different than the conditions of some of these rural counties. And I hope when this is reported that people recognize the local conditions, particularly in L.A. County. And they’re sensitive to what phase of this pandemic they are in.
Gavin Newsom: (01:01:43)
Look, I thank all of you for your recognition of the dynamic nature of our efforts. And the fact that we are very iterative in terms of the processing of information and response. And we recognize that in this dynamic climate all of this can be very, very confusing. And I appreciate that. That’s why I just want to remind you again, easiest distillation of where we are and where you are at a County level versus a statewide level. Is to go to the covid19.ca.gov website as well. I encourage you to do the same as it relates to accessing testing. Just type in your zip code, your address and you’ll find the most proximate testing facility provide reimbursed, provided for you in many cases with online capacity to reserve a slot.
Gavin Newsom: (01:02:38)
So how and when to access those tests. Good news on progress and testing, PPE. I’m making progress on tracing. Numbers are holding steady. Death rate, still stubborn and devastating. And again, we have different counties experiencing completely different conditions. And we are now in that phase of trying to accommodate for all of that and more.
Gavin Newsom: (01:03:04)
With that thank you for accommodating me. And thank you as always for your incredible work in this state. Continue to do your best to listen to your local health directors. Keep yourself safe by practicing social distancing. Physically distance from others. Wear face coverings as appropriate. And stay healthy. But still stay connected to loved ones. Take care of anybody.