May 8, 2020
Governor Gavin Newsom California COVID-19 Briefing Transcript May 8
Governor of California Gavin Newsom’s Thursday, May 8 press conference on coronavirus. Newsom signed an executive order to send every registered Californian a mail-in ballot. Read the full news conference speech transcript.
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Governor Gavin Newsom: (00:00)
Moving everybody into this next phase. I know there’s deep anxiety people are feeling and desire to reopen. But again, all of this is based on those six indicators and our ability to test, to do appropriate tracing, to train a workforce of tracers to make sure testing is available. Not just total numbers in the aggregate, but available in your community on demand and make sure that the results of those tests come back in real- time.
Governor Gavin Newsom: (00:30)
We want to be able to protect the most vulnerable Californians all across this state, our seniors, particularly in congregate facilities, the homeless that are vulnerable to the spread of this disease. And it makes sure that we have hospital capacity, hospital surge, and the ability in real-time to do the kind of community surveillance that allow us to know where the spread is occurring and how we can mitigate that spread. And potentially toggle back and potentially strike some of these restrictions if indeed we start to see a transmission of this disease beyond our expectations.
Governor Gavin Newsom: (01:09)
So all of this in real-time, lots of moving parts. But the good news is we are starting to move. I mentioned this yesterday, roughly 70% of the economy in the state of California can open with modifications into this next phase. I know 70% is not a 100% and I deeply recognize with modifications means with restrictions. And with those restrictions means the struggle for businesses to get back to where they were pre-pandemic.
Governor Gavin Newsom: (01:41)
And that’s why I want us to be sober about this reality. Just because you announced that we have a variation on an opening and people can do curbside pickup. And there’s a sense that things are moving again doesn’t mean that customers are confident and comfortable yet. It doesn’t mean that we are operating with the total number of employees we once were or the kind of revenue and receipts that businesses were used to.
Governor Gavin Newsom: (02:05)
Quite the contrary. And so that is a reality that we all have to work through. And that’s why it’s so important that we provide supports and we do everything we can to help these businesses get through this moment. Not to thrive yet but to survive and get back on their feet so we get out the other side where they’re stronger, more resilient and more vibrant than ever.
Governor Gavin Newsom: (02:31)
So yesterday was a significant day in terms of putting out guidelines. Those guidelines are now being put in effect at Twigs. I saw it firsthand in the back with employees with base masks on gloves in some respects, making sure that their delivery and their sanitation is up to par. It’s a perfect example of what we hope to be seen more of all across the state of California. Those variations, as I said, as it relates to counties that want to move a little bit sooner.
Governor Gavin Newsom: (03:03)
As I said, we’ve had over 20 plus conversations with those counties and we’ll be putting out subsequent guidelines by sector, by industry next Tuesday, which will allow some more clarification including checklists. We have a new checklist that goes through issues around hand washing, sanitation, how to address the needs of customers through pickups. And how we can make the pickup and drop off process for deliveries, as well as pickups for our customers easier and safer.
Governor Gavin Newsom: (03:32)
How we can practice social distancing, physical distancing in environments that may be smaller like this or even larger, some of these manufacturing warehouse spaces. So we try to tailor these guidelines as prescriptive as we can with a frame of flexibility, always. Recognizing that the entrepreneurial spirit that built this business from a dream to an idea, pen to paper, that entrepreneurial spirit we also want to see advanced as we work through this next phase.
Governor Gavin Newsom: (04:03)
And so we want to provide the kind of flexibility that we recognize is important because no two flower shops are the same, let alone two sectors of the industry. And so each requires I think a kind of specific frame and a specific strain, a specific guidance that can be afforded at the local level. And so that’s a big part of, again, our advancement and thrust as well.
Governor Gavin Newsom: (04:30)
So just wanted to sort of kick this off this day, this momentous day in terms of a meaningful modification of the stay-at-home order. Update you on that progress and wish all of our mothers a Happy Mother’s Day. I also want to update you on a few other key developments that have occurred in the last 24 hours since we last met yesterday.
Governor Gavin Newsom: (04:52)
Because of the number of masks that we’re getting in, and this is foundational in terms of moving into the second phase, the ability to provide the face coverings, to provide the personal protective gear for businesses large and small. Today, we’re distributing some two million masks to farm workers. Today, we’re distributed over half a million masks to small grocers all across the state of California. Hundreds of thousands of masks in other sectors of our economy are being distributed.
Governor Gavin Newsom: (05:22)
We’ll be making announcements on a consistent basis of subsequent distribution PPE outside of just the healthcare system. And yes, we are sending out millions and millions of other masks into the healthcare sector, to our skilled nursing facilities, our assisted living facilities, and into our hospital system as well. We’re not neglecting that. We’re just substantially enhancing our capacity to deliver a larger quantity of masks. Because we’ve been in receipt of a larger quantity of masks.
Governor Gavin Newsom: (05:54)
I woke up this morning, 31.7 million procedure masks are now in our inventory. Every day it’s growing. Every day we’re getting more out and obviously that demand is significant, but it is a very good sign that we’re beginning to turn the corner on PPE.
Governor Gavin Newsom: (06:10)
We also are continuing to see good signs on the testing. Over 875,000 tests have been done in the state of California over 32,000 tests in the last 24 hours. We put out that new testing site. I want to encourage you to take a look at that site. Over 100,000 people have availed themselves to this testing site covid19.ca.gov, covid19.ca.gov and you can type in, go to a link around testing. You could type in your zip code and you can find out the closest, the most proximate testing site and in the majority of the cases, not every case there is an online reservation component.
Governor Gavin Newsom: (06:57)
We have substantially improved our testing distribution, particularly with OptumServe and with Verily. We still have a lot more work to do, a lot more work to do to address all the testing deserts. But we have made some real progress to do justice to rural concerns and the concerns of black and brown communities in particular.
Governor Gavin Newsom: (07:18)
So again, I hope people take advantage of that site. We want more people tested. It’s foundational and these efforts. And as we have noted, the more people tested, the likelihood to see those numbers of positives increase. But there is a rate and the rate I referenced yesterday is a rate you’ll hear a lot about this case rate. That’s the percentage of people testing positive based upon the total number of people we’re testing.
Governor Gavin Newsom: (07:41)
And that is one of the foundational numbers, foundational rate that will make our determination of how quickly we can move into the subsequent phases in this pandemic. Not just through phase two, which we’re in, but phase three and ultimately into that final phase, phase four when we go back to events and concerts and large sporting stadiums and arenas, and the like. And so we continue to want to remind you, continue need to remind you of the incredible importance of vigilance at this moment.
Governor Gavin Newsom: (08:15)
This pandemic has not gone away. We may be exhausted by it. We may be chopping at the bit to get back to some semblance of normalcy, but we had 1898 new positive cases yesterday. 1,898 new positive cases. We had 81 individuals and families that were torn apart because the loss of a loved one.
Governor Gavin Newsom: (08:38)
For those that think this emergency is gone, that think there’s pandemic is behind us. I don’t need to remind them of what they see or should be paying attention to when they watch the nightly news. But I hope they’re paying attention to these nightly reports that we put out in terms of the total number of lives lost. 81 lives lost because of COVID-19. Lives to completely torn asunder because of this. Not just numbers, not just statistics, human beings and families.
Governor Gavin Newsom: (09:06)
And so I extend again our condolences to all those families and I extend caution to other families that think, “Well we got this, this is behind us.” It’s sadly and tragically not. Close to 2000 more tested positive in the last 24 hours. 81 people lost their lives. So vigilance, data-driven vigilance, health first data with indicators that determine our next steps.
Governor Gavin Newsom: (09:35)
Localism where we recognize variation across the state. Not every part of the state will move at the same time. And that is a very healthy thing because that reinforces our data-driven approach. We would like all parts of the state to move quickly and that will be determined on our behavior on physical distancing, on continuing to abide by local health directives and recognizing that if you’re in the Bay area, those directives do not sadly include today, the opening of establishment for curbside pickup like this.
Governor Gavin Newsom: (10:07)
But here in Sacramento it does. In other parts of the state it does. And so it’s incumbent upon us to recognize that variable, which is regional variability. And we want to give people flexibility, both to loosen quicker and to maintain more strict guidelines based upon conditions on the ground based on those key indicators.
Governor Gavin Newsom: (10:28)
And I want to thank the local health directors in the Bay area for doing what they think is right for their communities. I want to thank the folks down in LA City, LA County, all the respective cities that felt they could move a little bit sooner into this statewide phase. And I want to thank all of those that contacted us that want to move more quickly into the latter part of the second phase.
Governor Gavin Newsom: (10:50)
And I want remind in closing on this section, everybody, that we will continue to be marching through these phases together even if a local variance you can’t get now, we’re still moving in that direction as a state and so we continue to see progress. We’ll continue to progress through that second phase, even if your region didn’t get one of those earlier variances.
Governor Gavin Newsom: (11:13)
One thing we do get though is an election is in front of us and there’s a lot of concern and anxiety around this November’s election in terms of making sure that you can conduct yourself in a safe way. And to make sure your health is protected. And to make sure that we are reaching out to all registered eligible voters and giving them the opportunity and giving them the choice not to feel like they have to go into a concentrated, dense environment where their health may be at risk. But provide an additional asset and additional resources by way of voting by mail.
Governor Gavin Newsom: (11:52)
I signed an executive order about an hour ago that will allow every registered voter in the state of California to receive a mail-in ballot. That mail-inin ballot is important, but it’s not an exclusive substitute to physical locations. People that otherwise are not familiar with mail-in ballots, are uncomfortable with them, may have disabilities, may have other issues that may preclude that as an appropriate option. We still want to have the appropriate number of physical sites for people to vote as well.
Governor Gavin Newsom: (12:25)
We’ve been working with our extraordinary Secretary of State, Alex Padilla for many, many months on this. He has not hesitated since the beginning of this pandemic to make this one of his top priorities. We’re also working with legislative leaders that also want to share their voice in this space as well in the executive order to release a framework of getting a mail-in ballot.
Governor Gavin Newsom: (12:50)
We also have put in some specific language about the need and the next days and weeks by the end of this month at the latest to put together a very detailed plan on physical locations that need to be set up for our ballot this November.
Governor Gavin Newsom: (13:07)
And that’s why I’m very pleased that we have Alex Padilla on the line who has been working over time to put all this together to remind everybody of the importance of getting these physical locations up and doing so in very short order. With that, I want to invite our Secretary of State to share a few words. Alex.
Alex Padilla: (13:29)
Great. Thank you, Mr. Governor. And let me join the chorus of so many Californians and saying thank you for your tremendous leadership during this pandemic. The fact that the numbers are as low in California compared to the size of our population is due to the tough decisions you made at the beginning and the cooperation of so many Californians, as you know. So what you and public health experts are focused on the short-term impacts of COVID-19. We’re also focusing on the …
Alex Padilla: (14:03)
… impacts of COVID-19. We’re also focusing on the mid-term and longer-term impacts, including the November elections, as you said. So thank you for the executive order that makes California the first state in the nation to respond to COVID-19 by taking this action of sending every voter a ballot in the mail in advance of the November election.
Alex Padilla: (14:24)
I think that’s huge. There’s no safer, physically distancing, healthier way to exercise your right to vote than from the safety and convenience of your own home.
Alex Padilla: (14:37)
I’ll also remind everybody listening here that in California, thanks to the legislature and to you, voters don’t have to scramble for stamps anymore. Return postage is prepaid on those Vote-By-Mail ballots.
Alex Padilla: (14:51)
It’s great for public health, it’s great for voting rights. It’s going to be great for participation, because this November’s election is still slated to be the most consequential election of our lifetime. I appreciate your acknowledgement.
Alex Padilla: (15:07)
Again, is this is not a Vote-By-Mail-only election. We remain committed to providing as many safe in-person opportunities to vote as possible, both on and before Election Day. On this note, I’ll just suggest that elections officials at the state and local level are going to work hard to maintain that.
Alex Padilla: (15:28)
But we’re going to need the public’s help. We’re going to need voters to verify their registration status, which they can do so easily at voterstatus.sos.ca.gov. Make sure their registration information is up to date and current, so we know exactly where to send those Vote-By-Mail ballots.
Alex Padilla: (15:48)
We’re asking voters to share a good email address with us so we can continue to communicate with them effectively and safely between now and the election. Anybody who needs to update their registration information, or register for the first time, can do so at registertovote.ca.gov.
Alex Padilla: (16:08)
Last but not least, just in the interest of our county partners here, we need poll workers. A lot of the election, they worked for us in years past. All the seniors and retirees that have helped us demonstrate our democracy are not available. They’re in that vulnerable population that you’ve spoken so much about over the course of the last couple of months.
Alex Padilla: (16:32)
So we need people who are able and willing and healthy to help us out on Election Day, and the early voting time period to sign up. Another opportunity for civic duty and civic participation and community leaders’ guidance on finding newer, safer locations to use as polling places and vote centers. A lot of work that remains, but this is a huge first step.
Alex Padilla: (16:58)
Sending everybody a ballot, not a Vote-By-Mail ballot application, but the actual ballot in advance of the election while we work to maintain the in-person option.
Alex Padilla: (17:09)
So thank you again. We’ll hang on, answer your questions or any other questions you want to send our way.
Governor Gavin Newsom: (17:17)
Thank you. Thank you, Mr. Secretary. Again, thank you for all your leadership and your guidance and your support of the development of the executive order. All of your outstanding work of inclusivity with members of the legislature, key members of the legislature and many advocates in this space that were eager to hear this announcement today.
Governor Gavin Newsom: (17:37)
Thank you for helping us get to this point and all the hard work I know you have ahead of you to make sure that this is a secure election, and that we are conducting it at a scale that only California can. Thank you.
Governor Gavin Newsom: (17:54)
As it relates to other issues that we daily update you on, I wanted just to mention as I did yesterday, some good news as it relates to total number of hospitalizations and individuals in the ICUs.
Governor Gavin Newsom: (18:07)
I mentioned yesterday the ICU patients, hospitalization patients were down; those people under investigation for being hospitalized for COVID-19, or in the ICUs with COVID-19, were also down. Today I can lay claim.
Governor Gavin Newsom: (18:24)
Similarly, we’re seeing a decline in hospitalizations and a decline, a modest decline in ICUs: about .6% in ICUs. Again, we’ve extended for many, many, many weeks a trend line that’s increasingly becoming a headline of stability with modest reductions.
Governor Gavin Newsom: (18:43)
But again, that’s in the aggregate. Every part of the state is different. There are parts of the state that are more challenged than other parts of the state, and there are certainly parts of the state less challenged.
Governor Gavin Newsom: (18:55)
That’s, again, the whole point of this variant process and the attestations and self certifications in consultation with the Department of Public Health that we look forward to advising, then promoting and advertising, we hope as early as the beginning of next week.
Governor Gavin Newsom: (19:16)
If we continue to do the good work, as Alex said, 40 million individuals that are doing their part on physical distancing, wearing face coverings where it’s difficult to do that, then we will be deeper into this next phase sooner than most people believe.
Governor Gavin Newsom: (19:35)
I said this a few weeks ago. And based on the data, I’ll say it again a few weeks later. That’s weeks, not months, that we together; not just regionally, but together; can move into this deeper phase of phase two if we continue that good work and that good progress.
Governor Gavin Newsom: (19:51)
I’ve mentioned a lot of good work and real progress that was done down in Orange County, and getting the county supervisors to join with those cities, Newport and Huntington and others, to align with the good work being done in Ventura County and San Diego County and L.A. County and others.
Governor Gavin Newsom: (20:12)
We just want to, again, thank all of those local elected officials and advocates for working with us, and working through some of the concerns, and doing it in a way that I think does justice to this moment.
Governor Gavin Newsom: (20:26)
I maintain, again, there are exceptions of counties that are moving ahead in some parts of the state. I’ll just caution; I mentioned the number of people, the Alcohol Beverage Control that contacted bars that were open in some parts of the state that are putting the health of their employees at risk. Putting the community at risk.
Governor Gavin Newsom: (20:46)
And how just those phone calls and number of visits really served the community well. Many of those establishments saying, “I get it. We’re going to shut down.” I just know there’s 33 salons that shut down in two counties in the last couple of days.
Governor Gavin Newsom: (21:02)
Similarly, because they got a call from some of our state officials saying, “Is this the best thing for your employees? Is this the best thing for public health in your community?” They’re now working with us in a spirit of collaboration and cooperation. We’re eager to get them open as well as quickly as possible as we move into these new phases. But we’ll just see more of that if people get ahead of themselves.
Governor Gavin Newsom: (21:25)
Again, I just don’t want to put businesses in that position. That’s why it’s really important that we work together as business leaders, as a broader community and work with our public health officials, our hospital system, work with our county boards of supervisors, work with their organizations, their representatives, the CSAC League of Cities and others to move together in a much more thoughtful and regional basis.
Governor Gavin Newsom: (21:50)
As I said, I have great expectation that that will be the case in the next few days. We will make visible a lot of that great work that’s being done together.
Governor Gavin Newsom: (21:59)
Speaking of work that’s being done together, just briefly before we open up to questions, I want to thank the partnership we advanced with UCSF and with UCLA.
Governor Gavin Newsom: (22:08)
The first cohort, we had the capacity to get to 3,000 people a week trained. We’re starting with the first cohort of 500 individuals, a five-day training, 20 hours of training for our tracing.
Governor Gavin Newsom: (22:21)
Want folks to know, particularly our immigrant communities, that we protect your data. This is not Big Brother. We do not share this data. We want people to feel safe and comfortable about working with public health leaders.
Governor Gavin Newsom: (22:36)
That’s why the training is so foundational. The trainings about cultural competency. It’s about how to engage diverse communities. It’s about how to soften the edges of concerns when someone is asked to provide information about their contacts, if they indeed have developed the virus. But this is all a way to keep our broader communities safe.
Governor Gavin Newsom: (22:57)
And we’re working; we’ve done some workshops with immigrant communities and representatives that across the spectrum, across this state, that want to make sure that we’re preserving privacy and respecting the protocols that are well established in California, but are certainly going to be well reinforced through this next phase of tracing in this state.
Governor Gavin Newsom: (23:20)
UCSF, they get it, they’ll get that done. UCLA, they get it. They’ll get that done. And the data backbone that we have, the management system, all of this is a predicate.
Governor Gavin Newsom: (23:30)
It’s a foundation being able to move this forward and scale. But good news is that is already underway. That virtual training academy, 12 hours virtual, about eight hours of one-on-one work.
Governor Gavin Newsom: (23:45)
That first cohort will be trained within the next few days into next week. We’ll keep building on that army. We redirected local and state personnel for that first cohort; we expect for multiple cohorts to do the same. Again, trying to get to 10,000 in that first phase and expand that. We believe up to about 20,000 in subsequent phases over the next number of months.
Governor Gavin Newsom: (24:09)
From PPE, finally seeing some movement, a real consistency movement on testing, to now reopening businesses up and down the state. Again, with new protocols, new procedures; all, again, based on health, based upon the data, based upon these indicators.
Governor Gavin Newsom: (24:28)
This is a good way to enter into Mother’s Day weekend and enter in the weekend. I referenced it, but I’ll say it again. All the moms out there that are homeschooling their kids, taking care of their husbands in many cases, or their spouses, their loved ones. For all of those caregivers in status families that you know, just make us proud that are really stepping up.
Governor Gavin Newsom: (24:52)
Or we have uncles that are substituting as parents because of unique circumstances, and foster parents doing incredible work. I can go down the list. I want to also just extend deep appreciation to all of you. But always a little bit extra to women and girls that have a little bit more to do in these circumstances. I know that just intimately.
Governor Gavin Newsom: (25:13)
My wife’s a perfect example of that. You talk about superheroes, we talk a lot about heroes and essential workers. Then there are superheroes, those essential workers by day and those incredible moms by night. Happy Mother’s Day to all of you. At least we can get these flower shops open so you can get appropriately supported.
Governor Gavin Newsom: (25:35)
And please, in closing, [inaudible 00:25:37] things. Support local businesses. A lot of the big chains, because they were essential because of food delivery in particular, they were able to out-compete at this moment.
Governor Gavin Newsom: (25:48)
Look out for your neighborhood florist, look out for your neighborhood business. They need your support. They haven’t gotten the kind of support they deserve. You will be determinative whether or not they will survive.
Governor Gavin Newsom: (26:02)
If it means you got to go an extra block or two, seek them out, find them, make some calls to the old business you went to. Don’t just go to that big-box retailer. They’ve had a little advantage on folks like this. It’s time to rebalance things as well.
Governor Gavin Newsom: (26:19)
So that’s it in terms of my opening statements. Of course, I’m now happy to answer any questions.
Katie Orr: (26:25)
Hi Governor, I’m Katie Orr, politics reporter with KQED. I will be asking you questions on behalf of the Press Corps.
Katie Orr: (26:33)
First question does come from KQED. The national unemployment rate, we found out, rose to 4.7% in April. You’ve already announced a $54 billion budget deficit for the state for this fiscal year and next.
Katie Orr: (26:47)
My question is with unemployment rates so high, are you worried about the years following that? Also, are you considering declaring a budget emergency that would let you tap into the state’s rainy day fund?
Governor Gavin Newsom: (26:58)
We’re working with the legislature on the technical decisions, but suffice it to say we will have to pull from our reserves. The size of our deficit is much greater than the size of our reserves.
Governor Gavin Newsom: (27:11)
The reserves are historically high. I want to remind people that we six; well, nine weeks ago; had announced a $6 billion projected surplus in the state.
Governor Gavin Newsom: (27:22)
We had record low unemployment in the state of California. We had previous fiscal year paid off that wall of debt. We’re beginning to pay down pension obligations. And we were managing ourselves with an efficiency and effectiveness that I think does justice to the expectations of taxpayers across the state.
Governor Gavin Newsom: (27:42)
We are now projecting tens of billions of dollars of revenue shortfall, then increased costs related to caseload to support the most vulnerable slipping through the cracks.
Governor Gavin Newsom: (27:52)
You’re right. The unemployment rate that came out today was second. This is the national unemployment rate, second highest to the Great Depression. Those numbers are lagging. Let me …
Governor Gavin Newsom: (28:03)
I asked to the great depression. Those numbers are lagging. Let me assure you, those numbers understate the unemployment rate in this country. Those are jaw dropping numbers, but absolutely numbers we’ve been foreshadowing for many, many weeks here in the state. I mentioned almost on a daily basis, at least every other day, the number of individuals asking for unemployment insurance in the State of California, 4.3 million people just since March 12th. And I say just since March 12th because we had people filing for unemployment that were unemployed before this pandemic. We may not have the lowest unemployment rate, but it was not zero.
Governor Gavin Newsom: (28:41)
So you start with that baseline and you add 4.3 million people to a workforce that’s north of 18 million. Do the math. We’re not at 14.7%. State of California is north of 20% right now. I haven’t seen any reporting on this, but I’ve been implying this for many, many weeks and I don’t mean that to alarm. I don’t mean that to enliven any more anxiety. It’s a very sober reality and it’s reflected in our expectations. My remarkable finance team, by the way, a finance team that was around in 2003 many of them my senior advisor, my COO in the State of California, Ana Matosantos well known to folks in Sacramento that lived through the ’09 crisis and the ‘011 crisis.
Governor Gavin Newsom: (29:28)
And this is something she keeps reminding us we never have experienced in our lifetimes. And so we have a lot of work to do. And just know, to answer second part of your question, that that work won’t end when we balance, which we’re constitutionally required to do, our budget by the end of June. That work will continue into the next few years. And so we want to architect solutions looking out at the next few years. We don’t want to delay tough decisions because we delayed tough decisions, they’re made excruciatingly difficult on the back end.
Governor Gavin Newsom: (30:02)
And I want to apply some of the work that was done in the LAO’s office in terms of some of their frameworks around solutions that are in broad strokes in line with some of our thinking that we will be making public on May 14th with my May revise. But this is a sobering time when it comes to people that have been hard hit by this pandemic and it’s reflected in the need to safely, forcefully [inaudible 00:30:30] with a health first framework look at reopening sectors of our economy as long as we can protect people’s public health, and in closing, recognizing that public health manifests as social determinatives of poverty and economic stress as well. So we’re very mindful this is not just public health as it relates to C-19 it’s also public health as it manifests in people’s poverty and exacerbated conditions related to poverty. That also must be considered as well.
Speaker 1: (30:59)
We’ve gotten several questions from journalists about the federal stimulus. You support more than a trillion dollars in aid for states, which Republicans in Congress have been hesitant about, so how would that impact California if we do not get that money and have you asked president Trump about whether or not he thinks that that will happen?
Governor Gavin Newsom: (31:20)
Yeah, so the question is an important one. It’s one that we were totally posed [inaudible 00:31:27] yesterday and let me directly answer it today. We cannot do justice to the needs of 40 million Americans, Republicans and Democrats in this state that need us now more than ever without the support of the Federal Government period. Full stop. This magnitude of the crisis and it’s reality that is now beginning to take shape, knows no state boundaries. It doesn’t know blue versus the hue and color of red. It knows only one thing, that this pandemic has impacted the entire economy, not only the United States, but the world’s economy. And the revenue shortfalls are nothing short of devastating. That’s why the Federal Government [was conceived at a time of great stress and need to meet the needs of hundreds of millions today, hundreds of millions of Americans.
Governor Gavin Newsom: (32:22)
And they have the one ability, we don’t, and that’s the ability to meet this moment where constitution are required to balance budgets, they’re able to invest in the future by borrowing in order to get states and counties and communities back on their feet sooner so that we could begin to pay down those obligations in the future. So 1 trillion was the request that we have been working with Speaker Pelosi’s office on for now many, many weeks anticipating these unemployment numbers and by the way, anticipating the next numbers that will come out in a month that will be very much I think in line with the numbers here in the State of California. And if we don’t have that, we will simply not be able to do justice to the needs of so many that are looking for government now to help support them and soften the blow of this downturn.
Speaker 1: (33:14)
We’ve gotten several questions asking you to elaborate on the reference you made to the state’s first known case of community spread of the virus which occurred in a nail salon, can you give us more details about where and when that happened and then how do you respond to critics who say those comments through the industry under the bus because we don’t have any reliable tracing?
Governor Gavin Newsom: (33:35)
Oh my gosh, that industry is noble. It’s an opportunity, an entry point, not an entry point, exit point out of poverty. It’s one of the most entrepreneurial industries in our country. I’ve deep reverence for those entrepreneurs and people that put everything on the line. I talk about that often and so by no stretch was that intended. It’s just a factual statement and it was not a statement to be extrapolated as an indictment, quite the contrary of an industry I deeply respect. We’re trying to do everything we can to accommodate the needs of all industries, including the nail salon industry and make sure that we do in a safe and responsible way. It’s currently in our phase III, again, phase III is not a year away, it’s not six months away, it’s not even three months away. It may not even be more than a month away.
Governor Gavin Newsom: (34:27)
We just want to make sure that we have a protocol in place to secure customer safety, employee safety, and allow the businesses to thrive in a way that is sustainable. But factually it is true. That was the first case. There are, and I know everybody watching understands this. There are health and personal privacy obligations that are bigger than any public statements that have to be abided by legal parameters as it relates to that first case. To the extent legally and those health considerations could be made more public, we’ll make them more public.
Governor Gavin Newsom: (35:04)
Interestingly was picked up yesterday, I’ve mentioned in a couple of occasions in the past, but now understandably I think people are touching in on some points of emphasis that generated obviously some interest which I appreciate.
Speaker 1: (35:20)
There have been some local officials in counties who want to reopen quicker than the State who have said the criteria that the indicator that they need to have no new deaths for two weeks is essentially something that no county, particularly any large county could meet at this point, what is your response to that, would you see making any county-specific exemptions?
Governor Gavin Newsom: (35:42)
Yeah. Look, we said this is a fluid process, but there are many, many counties that just on that one indicator, remember there are many different criteria and indicators that must be met and plans, containment plans and the like, that are required to move into that next phase, but on that one indicator alone, there are many, many counties that fall in to that space. Look, we’re going to go into this not blindly, not in a political mindset but very judiciously based upon health and data. That’s what our health folks are saying they need to see.
Governor Gavin Newsom: (36:16)
CDC has guidelines that they’ve put out and by the way, a lot that we have taken advantage of in terms of helping us augment our own guidelines. And we’re very grateful to the good work of the CDC in that respect. The larger counties, remember I will say this and hope this was clear and I’ll try to reinforce it, we are moving into phase II together. There’s variations for some counties that can move a little faster, but we are moving through phase II together. And so that criteria, specific criteria you referenced is to move a little faster in the phase II, but we’re still moving through two together nonetheless. And so over the next few weeks, we’ll be making subsequent announcements for the entire State, not just those that meet those more restrictive criteria.
Speaker 1: (37:06)
We received several questions about nursing homes, are you considering giving nursing homes immunity from most COVID related lawsuits, civil and criminal, as some other states have done?
Governor Gavin Newsom: (37:18)
We have dozens and dozens of executive orders we’ve put out, put out a one today on elections, we signed another on a series of smaller items, but meaningful items that we’ll make public this afternoon. We talked about our workers’ comp guidelines that we put out just a few days ago, which are foundational in protecting workforce here in businesses that are starting to reopen. The immunity question is one we’re working with stakeholders, have been for weeks and going back and forth. That one at this moment is not ready for any announcement, but know we are working with stakeholders on scene, if there’s something we can do together. Also, working with legislative leaders in that same space.
Speaker 1: (38:05)
Another question on nursing facilities, will the State ask for universal testing of all skilled nursing facility residents and workers like LA and San Francisco are now planning to do and who should be the priority for testing at this point besides health care workers?
Governor Gavin Newsom: (38:19)
Well, since we’re the first state to lift the prioritization of testing beyond the CDC guidelines to people that were asymptomatic in these same facilities, let me take advantage of having Dr. Galli here who led that effort with his testing task force, talk more specifically about where he believes we will be very shortly in terms of that issue.
Dr. Galli: (38:46)
Thank you governor and thank you for the question. We continue to work with our stakeholders, both our industry leaders as well as advocates around what is the right way to get many more people both working and those residents in skilled nursing facilities tested. We recognize that it’s a major priority. The number of individuals who’ve tested positive and go on to be hospitalized out of skilled nursing facilities is higher than in the general community, so it’s obviously intense. Day. one of our response here in California, we have been focused on how to ensure the safety of both workers and residents in skilled nursing facilities. As we’ve increased the availability of testing, we have been working with counties and operators and others of skilled nursing facilities to ensure that testing is made available. That we’ve brought the Optum serve sites to align with certain facilities that need testing, so we will continue to build that.
Dr. Galli: (39:44)
We are absolutely on the road to make sure that counties where there are facilities where those identified cases and many that do not have that testing available. So that both the staff, the residents and their families can know what’s going on in those facilities and that we could respond appropriately with additional support around infection control in ensuring that those facilities, which serves such an important role in our communities, protecting those individuals who’ve built up California and make sure that we can keep them as safe as possible. I look forward to the day when we have no site that has a limit in its testing capacity so that when we need to have testing in those facilities, we are able to in a moment’s notice.
Governor Gavin Newsom: (40:34)
And again the skilled nursing facilities are our top priority. We’ve heard series of announcements going back to the beginning of this pandemic. I just want to note members of the USNS the Mercy, came on their first cohort to help support skilled nursing facilities today in Southern California in the LA region. And it’s just one example. VA has been doing the same. The National Guard we put out as well to get medical personnel. Just to give you an update roughly about 4,500 individuals just in the skilled nursing facilities, remember we have 1,224 skilled nursing facilities. We have about 4,500 people, that includes staff, not just patients that have tested positive for COVID-19 in about 300 facilities, a little over 300 facilities out of the 1200.
Governor Gavin Newsom: (41:29)
So, again, this is a top priority and it’s just a perfect reminder. There are parts of the state, to Larry as a perfect example that have been devastated by outbreaks in the skilled nursing facilities. And so many of the numbers, so many of the people that are losing their lives are seniors from the greatest generation that built the middle-class. So much of what we have here today, the abundance that that is the American mindset came because of that greatest generation. And their mindset was save and invest. And that great greatest generation.
Governor Gavin Newsom: (42:03)
Save and invest, and that greatest generation must be saved and we need to invest in them.
Speaker 3: (42:07)
Hey, I’m being told this is the last question. Given the budget outlook, can California continue paying for the surge hospitals beyond their current lease terms given the fact that the state could see a spike in infections in the months ahead?
Governor Gavin Newsom: (42:20)
Yeah, I think that question answers itself. The fact that we could see a surge, what greater mistake could someone make than actually having facilities ready to go on a moment’s notice and saying, “You know what? Let’s pack up. We got this.” Only to find out we don’t and we’re scrambling to save people’s lives. I think we cannot… The answer is we can’t afford not to have the alternative care sites established and make sure that these hospital sites, however one defines them, established. We’ll be thoughtful about how they’re staffed. A lot of these FMS sites, as an example, no real staff. Porterville, Fairview, our supplementing staff, by the way, including USNS personnel that are helping us, one of those sites. The old arena up here, ARCO, in the Sacramento regions, perfect example of that. But, these are important assets that are required in terms of resources if indeed we see a second wave.
Governor Gavin Newsom: (43:21)
Just another reminder, we’re not out of the woods yet. The virulence of this disease is real. The prevalence of this disease is universal. You have seen cautionary tales. How often do I have to say this? Around the rest of the world in Singapore, Japan, China, about people moving too quickly saying, “We’ve got this,” open up too many sectors of their economy too quickly, only to pull back and slow down the rate of their recovery. Let’s learn from those examples. Let us, at the same time, celebrate progress. 70% now, this economy with modifications is now opened back up. You’ve seen car dealers construction. You are seeing retail establishments like this begin to reopen with all these modifications. You’re seeing the opportunity for regions and counties to move forward into this next phase. Restaurants with new conditions will start to reopen up again very judiciously, very thoughtfully in a phase-in approach and will continue based upon the statewide data that comes in on a daily basis.
Governor Gavin Newsom: (44:27)
Make more and more progress statewide into that next phase. Nothing would please me more than standing here in front of you, hopefully not too many weeks away. I’m talking about even getting to that next phase, phase three or pulling things in earlier from phase three. I’m confident we can do that as long as you maintain your confidence in yourself and in your capacity to protect your community by practicing that physical distancing. That has bought us time, allowed us to build the resources, allowed us to be in this position to celebrate the opening of twigs and thousands of other businesses all across the state, modifications aside, but beginning to reopen nonetheless. That, I’ll say it again, don’t forget to call mom. If you haven’t seen her in years and you’ve been part of a mixed group, you may not want to visit her, but you make sure you call her and make sure you say thank you. For every husband out or partner, you got to do the same. That includes me. So, I hope you all have a wonderful weekend and a spectacular Mother’s Day. Take care, everybody.