Jun 24, 2020

Governor Gavin Newsom June 24 California Press Conference Transcript

Gavin Newsom Press Conference
RevBlogTranscriptsPolitical TranscriptsGovernor Gavin Newsom June 24 California Press Conference Transcript
Governor of California Gavin Newsom’s June 24 coronavirus press conference. He said new COVID-19 cases in California have risen 69% in 2 days, but there are no plans to pause “safely” reopening California. Read the full speech transcript here.

 

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Governor Gavin Newsom: (00:31)
Good morning, everybody. If we didn’t need to be reminded, mother nature made sure we were reminded of her fury. Almost a year ago, in two weeks, we had a major earthquake in the state of California at Ridgecrest. Just about 20 minutes ago, we experienced another trembler, just 5.8 on the Richter scale, but enough to remind all of us of our responsibilities as Californians, our vulnerabilities as Californians as it relates to the issue of earthquakes. I want to remind folks that it is important if you have not to take advantage of new technology that the state of California has advanced earthquake early warning system.

Governor Gavin Newsom: (01:18)
This is one of the first in our nation and one of the most technologically advanced in the world. We have an app where 47,000 people, 20 minutes or so ago, we’re alerted, the MyShake app. You can just go online, Google MyShake app, and avail yourself to download this app, which does provide a modest early warning about seismic activity in and around your area. 47, again, thousand people were alerted under this app. The 5.8 earthquake occurred in Inyo County. Not very far from Ridgecrest. More information will be forthcoming, but I want to just the top of my remarks, just remind everybody of the importance that we all place, the vigilance that we must advance in our personal and professional lives to be prepared, not only to protect ourselves as it relates to the spread of the virus, COVID-19, but to be vigilant around earthquakes and there remind everybody we’re also entering into wildfire season.

Governor Gavin Newsom: (02:31)
This is California after all a credibly resilient state, and none of these are necessarily novel challenges. Stacking them all together, of course, creates some different environment of stress and I’m deeply appreciative that everybody is being vigilant to the extent they can and being prepared as much as they can for all of these multiple challenges that we face as we move forward together as a state. I wanted to update everybody on where we are as it relates to the state of COVID-19 here in California. I want to remind people that we are still in the first wave of this pandemic.

Governor Gavin Newsom: (03:12)
I want to remind each and every one of you of the importance and potency and power of your individual decision making. While the state of California has put out guidelines in different sectors to manage the reopening of our economy, we’ve been doing so over the course of the many, many months in a phased approach. Counties going at their own pace. Protocols and procedures, where we put out guidelines that don’t mean go, but guidelines that advance the how we safely and responsibly reopen the economy with the determination at the local level in concert and in collaboration with county health officers and county elected officials to make the determination of when.

Governor Gavin Newsom: (03:57)
As many of you know, we have been experiencing a recent increase in the total number of positive cases here in the state of California. I will lay out in more prescriptive terms exactly those trend lines, update you on where we are over the last 24 hours and mark some consideration as it relates to where we can go and where we need to go together by improving our efforts, improving our efforts around social distancing and physical distancing, taking even more account and responsibility as individuals of the importance of practicing safe, physical distancing, but also wearing face coverings, which as many know is a mandate in the state of California.

Governor Gavin Newsom: (04:44)
I want to just offer though for the purpose of emphasis, a number of slides that will illustrate some concerns we have, as it relates to case numbers in the state of California. Just a few days ago on Monday, I released our new case numbers, 4,230 new cases of people that were identified as positive for COVID-19 on Monday. You’ll see from this chart, just in the last few days, those numbers have increased some 69% to 7,149 individuals. Over 7,000 individuals, a record number here in the state of California that have tested positive for COVID-19.

Governor Gavin Newsom: (05:26)
Now a lot has been said about not only the increase in the total numbers, but the increase in the total number of tests. And while that’s absolutely true, we not only had a record number of positive cases yesterday of over 7,100, we also had a record number of tests. 96,000 tests were conducted in the last 24 hours. So one would assume, and it’s been stated by many regardless of your ideology, political stripes or where you land on this pandemic, that as you increase the total number of tests, invariably, you’re going to increase the total number of cases.

Governor Gavin Newsom: (06:04)
And that’s certainly demonstrable in the example that we are providing here today. But what is fundamental and so important, and I cannot emphasize it enough, is those numbers can be misleading. The number that is incredibly important is the number of we’ve tried to socialize with you and increasingly people all across the country are doing the same in their respective states, and that is the positivity rate. That’s the total number of tests you see on this slide versus total number of people that have tested positive, and we put those in percentage terms.

Governor Gavin Newsom: (06:38)
Remind you when we did the first 14 day track on our positivity rate, going back into April, we had an experienced a quite remarkable 40.8% of those that were tested over a 14 day period in the beginning of this pandemic had a positivity rate that showed a staggering 40.8%. Today on the 14 day average, that positivity rate is about 4.1%. Now I caution you … Or excuse me, 5.1%. From 40.8% to 5.1%, but I caution you each decimal point is profoundly impactful. And so I provided this additional slide that gives you a sense of where we’ve been, not since April.

Governor Gavin Newsom: (07:27)
Again, remember those April numbers, we were testing primarily people that were symptomatic, not people that were asymptomatic or presymptomatic. As you increase the total number of cases, you get a better sense of the community spread and the positivity rate in the general population. So in this slide, we take a closer look at the test positivity rate. This slide goes back just a few weeks. You’ll see we were about 4.6%. In fact, we were at 4.6%, a few weeks ago, just a couple of days ago at 4.8% when I presented on Monday. You can see that increase, the 5.1%.

Governor Gavin Newsom: (08:07)
That’s the 14 day I caution though in the seven day positivity rate trend, it’s now up to 5.6%. And so we are tracking these very, very closely, and it’s a point of consideration for each and every one of us to consider a number of events that have occurred over the course of the last, not just few weeks, but over the course of the last number of months. As we begun to meaningfully reopened the economy, we also had some important milestones. Memorial Day, roughly a month or so ago, started to experience demonstrations and protests roughly two and a half, three weeks ago.

Governor Gavin Newsom: (08:46)
So we should start anticipating, one would assume we could anticipate an increase of the positivity rate as we do more and more testing throughout the state of California. That said, these numbers do beg the question and that is what can we do more to keep you safe from the spread of this virus? And I’m going to get to that just in a brief moment. So the positivity rate is up, total testing up at unprecedented numbers, 96,000, total number of positive cases over 7,000 that we have not experienced yet. And we are seeing hospitalizations not surprisingly begin to increase. And this is the number that is also one we should be deeply attuned to. Hospitalization numbers have increased. This slide reflects just again two weeks or so ago, 3,177 individuals were hospitalized for COVID-19. Today, or at least 24 hour reporting period, 4,095, so from 3,177 to 4,095. In simple terms, that represents just in 14 days a 29% increase in hospitalizations. But it also doesn’t tell the entire story. You may recall those that watch closely some of these updates that on Monday, just a few days ago, our 14 day increase in hospitalizations was at 16%.

Governor Gavin Newsom: (10:22)
So we have experienced an increase over the last few days in terms of total number of individuals in hospitals that I think deserves a little bit more attention than even that longer trend line that you see reflected in this chart. That said, and this is where I want to calm any nerves. That said, all throughout the last number of months, we have been preparing. We haven’t been sitting on our hands. We haven’t been describing ourselves as victims of fate. We have been preparing to reopen the economy, preparing as we increase the community outreach and testing community spread, preparing for an increase in the community spread that we would need to prepare for an increase in hospitalizations.

Governor Gavin Newsom: (11:16)
Accordingly, as I’ve noted on many, many occasions, we’ve identified over 52,000 beds that can be made available as part of our surge bed capacity in the state of California. As I said the other day, that does not include our alternative care sites. These are healthcare system capacity, again, within the existing hospital system. In addition to the 52,745 surge beds, we have roughly 1,500 alternative care beds. But even within surge capacity of our hospital system, when you put that number 4,095 individuals that are COVID-19, that we’ve identified as positive in a hospital system in a graph along these lines of a pie chart like this, it represents about 7.8, roughly 8% or so of our capacity.

Governor Gavin Newsom: (12:15)
So why don’t we mark that specifically 8% of our total hospital capacity, just based on our surge beds are currently being occupied. 8% and that does not include the alternative care sites that we have distributed in 10 critical counties throughout the state of California. On Monday, it was about 7%, now about 8%. Let’s take a look at ICUs. ICU numbers are also critical and this gets to questions of ventilator capacity, acute care in the state of California. As you’ve seen, not dissimilar to the hospitalization numbers, 1,073, two weeks ago.

Governor Gavin Newsom: (12:58)
As of the last reporting period, 24 hour reporting period, 1,268 individuals now in our ICU. So ICU numbers are increasing in the state of California, not at the rate of hospitalizations, but at a clip of about 18%, just over the last 14 days. Again, not dissimilarly to the hospital numbers on Monday, that was about 11%. It has increased to 18%, just over a very short period. So again, points of caution, points of consideration always for us a point of concern. Again, one we anticipated in terms of our overall inventory of capacity.

Governor Gavin Newsom: (13:43)
In this next slide will give you a sense of that. 1,268 individuals in our ICU critical care system. Our total capacity today is 4,034. So a few days ago, I estimated or roughly we stated that roughly 28% of our total ICU capacity was being utilized. It’s about 30% now. So 8% on hospitalizations are being utilized, about 30% of our ICU capacity statewide. Ventilators, roughly the same number of ventilators, just add a hundred or so from Monday are available, over 11,500 ventilators are available within our system, within the hospital system and our cash that we have at the state operation center.

Governor Gavin Newsom: (14:38)
Again, these are just numbers we all should be mindful of and focused on on a day in, day out basis. So they’ve modestly increased over the last number of days. But again, we are confident in our capacity in the short run to meet the needs of those most in need in the state of California. Our contact tracing a big part of our efforts increase testing in the state and also increase our capacity to trace and connect with those that may have been exposed to COVID-19, have been tested positive and make sure we trace those that they’ve come into contact with.

Governor Gavin Newsom: (15:19)
As you know, our phase one goal of training 10,000 individuals by July 1st, we are within a margin close to meeting that goal. We have a few a week or so more of training to do, but we’ll get a cohort that’s close to that number, get them into the cities and counties. Again, these are county health directed operations. Bottom up, not top down. We’re building on an existing staffing that has predated the COVID-19 crisis. I want to remind people, contact tracing is not novel. It’s not new. It’s been around for decades, TB, measles, HIV and AIDS, hepatitis, and the like, STDs.

Governor Gavin Newsom: (16:04)
So existing tracers have operated a pre COVID throughout the state of California through county operations, county hospital systems. We’re building on that existing capacity. And the goal again is to get 10,000 people trained in this first phase. And we have counties that are onboarding to our new platform. Again, the whole idea is take 58 counties, these 480 or so cities in the state of California, connect the dots, make sure we’re all connected to the extent we can on one platform. We have 31 of our counties that are already onboarded into our new platforms.

Governor Gavin Newsom: (16:43)
Five counties quite literally today that are coming online and then 15 that are in the process. So we are moving forward. This doesn’t mean, by the way, that they are not taking their existing data, aggregating and managing their data. They are. We’re just trying to get everybody on one statewide platform so that shouldn’t mislead anybody that we are still not being vigilant at the local level, in terms of our training protocols and training capacity. I want to just remind people, as I said a moment ago, there’s an old adage continue to do what you’ve done, you’ll get what you’ve got.

Governor Gavin Newsom: (17:20)
We cannot continue to do what we have done over the last number of weeks. Many of us understandably developed a little cabin fever. Some, I would argue, have developed a little amnesia. Others have just frankly taken down their guard. And I understand that. We’re all human and I deeply recognize that. I have four children and we are now moving past distance learning into the summer months, deep desire for our children to have play dates, deep desire for our parents to allow our children to have play dates, to go back to some, well, semblance of normalcy.

Governor Gavin Newsom: (18:02)
Where you haven’t seen your cousins, your aunts, your uncles, someone’s birthday may come up and you may invite them over. Now all of a sudden, you’re mixing, not in the same family or household cohorts that you were in the past. The question is, are you practicing physical distancing when you are inviting family members over? Or when you’re having a barbecue and you want to say, you know what, I miss you to your neighbors, your friends, not just your family members and you invite them over and you say, all right, we’re going to do our best to practice physical distancing.

Governor Gavin Newsom: (18:37)
And all of a sudden, two cousins see each other and they run and hug. And you say, boys, you got to practice social distancing. And they then run away with the soccer ball. And all of a sudden you’re back having a conversation and we’re trying to all manage this. The reality is I’m not naive. People are mixing and that is increasing the spread of this virus. It shouldn’t surprise anybody-

Governor Gavin Newsom: (19:02)
As we not only reopen, not only reopen our economy, but we begin to reopen our households and we begin to go back to our old ways and our old habits, a consequence is we are spreading this virus. And it is incumbent upon us to recognize that as individuals, as communities, as leaders in our own households, our own communities, to recognize that it is our behaviors that are leading to these numbers and we are putting people’s lives at risk. I don’t mean to say that to be maudlin, to be hyperbolic, but we lost 52 individuals again in the last 24 hours, 65 on Tuesday that lost their lives in the last reporting period prior to this reporting period. People are losing their lives to COVID-19 and we are seeing an increase in the total number of cases with people that are getting younger and younger.

Governor Gavin Newsom: (20:10)
And I say that to make this point, not as a defensive point, not as a deflecting point, but a point to emphasize there is a sense that a lot of young people are well, you’re young. And so you feel a little bit more invincible, but respectfully, often that can be a selfish mindset. And I say that not to be pointed, not to be patronizing, but to emphasize that people, regardless of their age, that have COVID-19 are vectors. They can spread the virus and they can spread it to people that simply cannot handle the virus as younger, healthier people can. These are seniors. These are people that have comorbidities, people with other symptoms that have predated this pandemic, what I’ve often referred to as preexisting conditions. And those could be young people, a young child with leukemia can be impacted by your proximity and your unwillingness to wear a mask or physically distance. People that would seem healthy, that may have an underlying condition, that may react to this disease much more unfavorably.

Governor Gavin Newsom: (21:28)
And that’s why all of us can do more to slow the spread of this virus by simply wearing a face covering. I can’t say this enough. [inaudible 00:21:38] interesting, a number of months ago we were all struggling to get face masks, to get N95 respirator masks to our healthcare workers, our nurses, our doctors, our frontline workers. We were searching high and low to provide for more cohorts to receive masks in our grocery stores and our farm markers and our transportation sector and the like. And there was some caution and hesitancy around requiring something that we couldn’t even provide to our most vulnerable frontline workers, but we now have an abundance of face masks in the state of California, hundreds of millions, over 200 million now that have come into the state of California, hundreds of millions that we’ve distributed in the state. As soon as they come in, we’re trying to get them out, including N95 masks that are coming in.

Governor Gavin Newsom: (22:26)
There’s no excuse to wearing a face covering. You can make these at home. And I encourage you to go to our COVID19.ca.gov website, covid19.ca.gov website. If you don’t have the means to get a face mask at the store or the capacity to have some delivered to you, if you aren’t of means, but also you have the ability to the extent you can and you’re willing, you’re able to do it yourself. And I would encourage you to do that, but regardless, do what you can to protect yourself, fundamentally.

Governor Gavin Newsom: (23:07)
Be a little selfish, protect yourself. You’re not invincible from COVID-19, quite the contrary. This is a disease that easily spreads, very easily spreads. And if you’re not about yourself because you’re like, I got this, I’m strong, I’m young, I’m healthy. Don’t worry about me. I’m tough. Well, consider others. I know [inaudible 00:23:29], but I don’t care what your political stripe is. I don’t care what your background is. Everybody needs to be loved and everybody loves. And so you know what? Everybody cares about somebody and somebody else. If that’s the case, demonstrate it, prove it, protect others by wearing a face covering. If not just yourself, consider others in your life and strangers. Love thy neighbors like yourself. Please just be thoughtful. And in so doing you’ll set an example, good ideas spread. Success, it leaves clues. Good behavior can be scaled and replicated and will. More and more people see people doing something not just for themselves, but for others, they’re more likely to want to do the same. And so please, please wear a face covering. We can slow down the spread by doing that.

Governor Gavin Newsom: (24:32)
We’ve mandated it in the state. We want to see it enforced, but we don’t want to see punitively done. We don’t want to see people fined, we don’t want to see people feed, but we do want people to encourage others to be safe not only for yourself, but for others as well.

Governor Gavin Newsom: (24:51)
Wash your hands. I know I can’t say this enough when, again, you have four children. My oldest is 10. You cannot repeat this enough. Even before this pandemic, wash your hands. You want to get rid of those sniffles? Wash your hands. You want to avoid getting a cold? Wash your hands. You worried about the flu? Wash your hands. You worried about getting COVID-19? Wash your hands. Some of you may have forgotten how to wash your hands. Forgive me, back to my kids, I don’t think I ever really taught them how to wash their hands. They saw this and they were wondering what’s the orange. I said, “That’s the part of your hand you’re not washing.” Washing your hand is not just putting your damn hands, forgive my language, under the faucet for two seconds and calling it a day. We’ve all seen that, many have done that, yours included, but in this pandemic? Come on, we can do a little more, do a little bit better. You can focus in between the fingers and focus on the thumbs, which are often overlooked, and the back of the hands, the nails. Forgive me for having to put this up, but it did very well at home. Scored a hundred on my focus group out of my four kids. I don’t know if it’s the colors or the fact that I never showed them an image of actually how to wash your hands.

Governor Gavin Newsom: (26:14)
You want to slow down the spread of the virus besides just wearing a mask? Again, one of the most profound and significant non-pharmaceutical interventions obviously is physically distancing yourself from others six feet. We talk about, but remember, a couple of days ago, I had talked about the fact that if you sneeze, droplets can go as far as 26 feet, cough is about six feet. Even a deep exhale is a few feet. Please, if you’re going to mix with other strangers that may appear healthy, but maybe pre-symptomatic or asymptomatic, just be thoughtful. If we want to slow the spread of the disease, we’ve got to physically distance.

Governor Gavin Newsom: (26:54)
When you’re not at home and you have gone to the office or you’re back in a retail environment or any other environment that’s indoors as you go about doing your day to day necessities, minimize the time you are indoors with multiple people. Again, when you’re not at home, minimize the time that you’re indoor with multiple people to the extent you possibly can. If you’re going to have dinner with extended family members and you are practicing physical distancing, you’re abiding by the rules, move as many of those activities that you possibly can outdoors. Again, better ventilation, better movement of the air, a greater likelihood that we’ll see a decrease in the transmission of the disease. When not at home, minimize the time indoors. When you’re with many, many different people, do the same kind of common sense thinking as it relates to moving activities outside to the extent possible. That obviously can mitigate the need or rather the likelihood of transferability.

Governor Gavin Newsom: (28:10)
I heard Dr. Fauci Say this yesterday, it was just clear and just made sense, don’t go into big crowds. Don’t go into big crowds. If you want to slow the spread of the virus, if you want to decrease the likely you’re going to get the virus, don’t go into a crowd. And as Dr. Fauci said yesterday, if you do, wear a mask. It’s not that complex. Don’t go into crowds. If you do, and people have a constitutional right and we’ve made that clear, you want to protest, there are crowds that are out there that have constitutional protection, we respect that, wear a mask. Cannot impress upon you enough. Again, not only for yourself, but for others so we can mitigate the spread of this disease.

Governor Gavin Newsom: (29:01)
And just in closing before we offer it up to any questions, I cannot impress upon you more. When we talk about being asymptomatic, presymptomatic, when we talk about being young and healthy and we believe that we’re invincible or maybe we are young and healthy and we just don’t feel that way. Well, and mom and dad are there to take care of you as often is the case, be careful about mom and dad, be careful about your mother-in-law, your father-in-law, your grandparents, because they remain vulnerable. If you’re 65 and older, again, the data’s overwhelming on how deadly the disease is for you, particularly if you’re older than 65. But if you have those underlying health conditions, we encourage you still to stay at home to the extent possible.

Governor Gavin Newsom: (29:54)
And I understand what we’re asking. Boy, do I understand what we’re asking. But look at these numbers and ask yourself, do you feel safer going out today than you did a few months ago based upon an unprecedented number of people now that are walking around with this virus and the likelihood so many of them are asymptomatic and are within just a few feet of where you are? Please, please, please be thoughtful. And for those family members, you love your parents, you love your grandparents, encourage them to take care of themselves. And as much as you want to bring the entire family over for a family reunion, people traveling from other states or other parts of this state do so cautiously and eyes wide open if cannot practice physical distancing, then are you practicing love? What’s the point of bringing everyone together if you can’t honestly look them in the eye and say, “I love you so much that I’m looking out for you.” When in fact you may not be when you’re putting them potentially increasing risk for this virus.

Governor Gavin Newsom: (31:10)
Again, more information as always on all of the information that we have not only provided today in terms of the new data, the new stats, but information across a panoply of issues, you can see where you are county by county in this state. Again, still targeting 11 counties with technical assistance. Remember I’ve said this on multiple occasions, all the information I provided today is in the aggregate, but none of us live in the aggregate. And it’s a way of expressing this, that California is larger than many, many states combined. And so we have to have a local prism to which we make decision making.

Governor Gavin Newsom: (31:49)
Many of you watching live in different parts of the state, some in rural parts of the state, some in dense, urban parts of the state, well, along the coast, many of you in the inland part of California. And so I encourage you to take a look at the conditions in your part of the state, go to COVID19.ca.gov website, go to the COVID19.ca.gov website. You can learn more about how your community is doing, how your attestation process is going, whether or not your county health directors are moving forward or whether they’re holding back as is the case in many parts of the state.

Governor Gavin Newsom: (32:26)
Let me just close with a point of reference and consideration. The increase in numbers we’ve seen, a lot of those numbers are reflected and increases in the Bay area and that’s part of the state that’s moved the last into this new phase. They have moved more slowly and now have experienced an increase in the last number of days in cases. And it’s Alameda, Marin, San Francisco, San Mateo. We’ve also seen increase in San Bernardino areas, Riverside continue to be very concerned about what’s happening in Imperial County, Kings County. There’s concern LA County because the size, scope and scale remains a point of focus and emphasis. That those counties are reflected in the data and the increase that we’re seeing in the total number of those tested positive in this state. We continue to be mindful. We continue to be vigilant. We continue to prepare and just want to under score that before opening up officially now to questions.

Governor Gavin Newsom: (33:39)
We are not only doing more testing, we’re not only training this cohort of tracers and activating our tracing core, we are also not only procuring more PPE, but we’re distributing an unprecedented amount. We have received over 22 million N95 masks just in the last week or so. Tens of millions more, hundred plus million N95 masks will be coming into the state of California over the next couple of weeks. We actually were able to help a neighboring state Arizona with over 14 million masks recently. We want to get these masks out. We want to be as supportive as we can be to meet the needs throughout our healthcare delivery system in the state, to meet the needs of those sectors of our economy that are reopening, that need personal protective gear. We continue to be very grateful for FEMA for their partnership and their demonstrable leadership in helping us secure this PPE and helping also identify needs for some of our neighboring states.

Governor Gavin Newsom: (34:46)
We continue to focus like a laser on the data and continue always to consider as is I’m sure likely question in a moment to consider this data in relationship to the stay at home order itself. We’ve given an enormous amount of power, control and authority to local government, but what we’re now looking for is accountability at the local level. I just did a budget deal with the California legislature. $2.5 billion in that budget, $2.5 billion is conditioned on counties meeting their criteria under the emergency declaration related to COVID-19.

Governor Gavin Newsom: (35:31)
And this is a point of emphasis. We talk a lot about enforcement and we talk a lot about accountability. We believe, I believe the legislative leadership certainly concurred that we cannot support bad behavior, but we want to encourage and reward good behavior. And if counties simply are going to flaunt the rules and regulations that they attested to, information that they put online said, “We agree to this criteria. Here’s what we agree together to monitor that criteria. We’ll provide technical support, technical assistance, do what we can to be helpful and informative.” If they decide well, you know what? Even though the numbers are going up, we’re done, we got this, and we’re going to dismiss these new rules and regulations. We’re going to attach some considerations and consequences to that. There’s $2.5 billion in this budget that simply will not flow to those counties that do that.

Governor Gavin Newsom: (36:33)
Now here’s the good news, I don’t expect that to happen. The vast majority, the overwhelming majority of county elected officials, health officials have been extraordinary. Absolutely extraordinary. In fact, so much so that some of the health directors have literally put themselves out where they’re getting attacked, getting death threats, they’re being demeaned and demoralized. And let me just say this crystal clear, I appreciate someone feels significant when they threaten other people, but there’s no nobility in that. You’re not a bigger person because you threatened someone else. You’re weaker person. And I just want to apologize to all those health directors that have been attacked, that are being attacked, that are being threatened. Many that have had to quit their jobs because all they want to do is keep you healthy and safe using data, using science, not a political issue. I get the same emails, this is not about George the… This is not some ideological issue. This is about keeping you safe and your loved ones safe. And so I just want to thank the health officers in the state for doing the best they can under extraordinarily difficult circumstances. And I want them to know we have their back and I hope you’ll have…

Governor Gavin Newsom: (38:03)
… Stances. And I want them to know we have their back and I hope you’ll have their back as well. And I want, also, folks to know that we have the back of local elected officials. We don’t have to always agree on every nuance and detail. And some folks are just saying, “I’m not going to do this or that.” Again, we’re not here to threaten anybody, but we are now at a stage in this pandemic where we have to demand more accountability. And that’s why we’re attaching $2.5 billion to that pledge. It’s not rhetorical. It is literal. And what I mean by literal, let me extend, as well. When it comes to the appropriation of that $2.5 billion, we’re not going to do it on an annual basis. I know how people game the system. I’m going to do it on a monthly basis. We mean business. Again, we’re just trying to keep people in business in a responsible and safe way.

Governor Gavin Newsom: (38:53)
We focus so much in this state on the when question. All of us have, let’s be candid, on the when. When are we doing that? Not on the how. It is incumbent that we get back to the, how question. How to safely reopen. I would prefer to have gone earlier safely than to go later in an unsafe manner. It’s not about when, it’s about how. Let us go back to reading these guidelines, monitoring the progress related to these guidelines. Let us be more authoritative in terms of advancing and promoting those guidelines at a local level. And let me, again, humbly submit that localism is determinative. That local government knows best. A state as large as ours, I recognize there’s so many different nuances, and so many different conditions, so many different environments, so much information at the local level that we are not privy to in real time at the state. We have a dashboard, we have a prism, but not like local authorities. We want to empower local authorities. Go at your own pace, go safely and thoughtfully. But again, with that autonomy now, we need a little bit more accountability.

Governor Gavin Newsom: (40:17)
We’ll enforce that financially. We can enforce that through a regulatory structure. There are many other mechanisms. And of course, don’t forget, localism also includes local enforcement. And that’s the primary enforcement around all of these rules and regulations. That’s the dominant framework of enforcement. I don’t want to be that guy, that one talking in punitive terms, because I just believe we all have a wellspring inside of us that connects to our better angels. And if we can just rediscover that and we could re-commit ourselves to a cause that united this state 40 million strong just a few months ago, and that’s the cause of public health and public safety. To thoughtfully and judiciously move forward as we move to reopen the economy. We’ll get through the summer months. But remember, COVID-19 didn’t take summer recess, didn’t take a summer vacation. It hasn’t gone away.

Governor Gavin Newsom: (41:23)
I know a lot of us thought, okay, it’s going to get warm. Once it gets hot, it all goes away. Look what’s happened in some of those states that are experiencing triple digit weather consistently and are experiencing record numbers as well. We have to sober up to this reality. We’re still in the first wave. We’re not in a second wave. We’re still in the first wave. We’ll get through this. There will be a vaccine. We will get to a point where we could substantially go back to the way things were with modifications, so we never go through this again.

Governor Gavin Newsom: (41:59)
There’s no doubt that will happen. Be optimistic, not pessimistic. But let us be responsible at this moment to meet it head on with the new reality that we’re seeing an increase in spread as more people mix, as the economy opens up, as more people are out and about. Wear a mask. Please do so not only for yourself, but for others. Be responsible and all of us, let us hold ourselves again in the spirit of our higher angels and the spirit that defines the best of our state. With that, happy to take any questions.

Moderator: (42:38)
David Baker, Bloomberg News.

David Baker: (42:43)
Yes, Governor. Given the numbers that you were reading earlier, do you think perhaps we need to pause the process of reopening in some way? And given I understand your motto that localism is determinative, but you did issue that statewide mask order when you were not seeing enough people wearing masks. Are you thinking of any other statewide efforts to slow these numbers down?

Governor Gavin Newsom: (43:09)
We’re just encouraging people to do the right thing. Wear face coverings, practice physical distancing, read the guidelines that we put out to help support safely reopen the economy. It’s not a binary choice. It’s not about shutting down the world’s fifth largest economy or advancing these efforts. We can do both, but we have to go back to a foundational premise that so much of our focus is on when, not how. I cannot impress upon you more to focus on how to safely reopen. We took a great deal of time, a great deal of time working with County health officers, working with industry leaders, looking at best practices around the globe, to look at safe ways to reopen our economy by sector. We put all of those guidelines out. The guidelines did not say, “Go.” They focused on how to safely move when local conditions presented themselves. As you know well, there are a number of counties that still haven’t gone as far as other counties.

Governor Gavin Newsom: (44:21)
Back to the frame, we recognize local conditions are different throughout the state of California. 11 counties, we’re monitoring. 11 counties, we’re working on technical assistance. And they’ve been incredibly responsive. All of the counties are working with us. And as long as we’re working together, as long as we’re attacking these issues together, and as long as we start to see more and more compliance with our mask mandate, then I think we can move forward more safely and work our way through this without having to toggle back, without having to answer the question in a binary frame.

Moderator: (44:59)
Tiffany [inaudible 00:07:01], CNN LA.

Tiffany: (45:04)
Hi, governor. I’m wondering here is when you look at how these numbers are going up, there’s a perception that California was leading the charge and was ahead, and now has slipped behind and has kind of lost control. So if you could address that. And also do you think the president’s refusal to wear a mask and the politicization of that, is that also playing into why we’re seeing the numbers grow here? Thank you.

Governor Gavin Newsom: (45:29)
Yeah. I don’t know about this horse race frame. California led the nation as the first state to do a stay at home order. We crushed the curve. And we made it crystal clear when we did that. We never experienced the big spike where we weren’t prepared for an increase in hospitalizations, ICUs. We didn’t have the appropriate protective gear and the like. We were able to crush that curve. But we made it crystal clear throughout, we were extending that curve. In so many ways that’s exactly what is happening. And the reason I’m proud of the fact that we never experienced that spike is it allowed us all this time to build the inventory of assets so that we can absorb an increase in the total number of positive cases that may manifest in needs to increase hospitalization, increase support in our ICU, increase the capacity of support for protective gear.

Governor Gavin Newsom: (46:32)
All of that is in place and in play. And so I think we did it the way, the best way we could. And I’m very proud of that. And we’re not timid. I mean, this is a mandate at scale. That is equivalent to a mandate for 21 states in terms of population, 40 million, that we are requesting to put masks on. And again, a real framework of supporting local government based on different conditions and criteria that we mutually set out and monitor.

Moderator: (47:06)
Elex Michaelson, Fox 11.

Elex Michaelson: (47:10)
Hi, governor. Two questions. One, governors in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut are now considering or have now implemented a 14 day quarantine for people coming from states that are hotspots. Are you considering that in California? And more broadly, I’m wondering about what you think this state has learned about outdoor transmission from the protests? Because there’s some people watching this that will say, “You’re telling me I can’t hug my cousin at a barbecue. When tens of thousands of people were mixing, some in masks, some not, out on the streets.” I’m wondering what we learned scientifically from now seeing the data from those protests?

Governor Gavin Newsom: (47:48)
Well, we’re still getting that data. The numbers are still coming in. Again, I mentioned in the outset that a lot of these protests have started to occur, different parts of the state, at different size, scope, scale, about two and a half, three weeks ago. So the information as it relates to those that are getting tested, those that are developing symptoms, those that are getting tested with no symptoms. All that information’s coming in. Again, hospitalizations lag, deaths lag even further. All I’m saying is to people use common sense. Just because someone else did something that wasn’t good for their public health doesn’t mean you should do something that’s not good for your public health. That’s common sense. I’m telling you just to be responsible, not only to yourself, but to others. Consider that when you’re inviting grandma Jean, at least my grandma Jean, over. Just think about that.

Governor Gavin Newsom: (48:51)
Not because you saw someone on TV doing it. Now okay, well, they did it. I can do it. We know better than that. Use common sense. And so we’re learning more and more in real time. I can’t emphasize this enough. We have used our time wisely. We are in a very different place than the beginning of this pandemic. What California did to lead on a statewide stay at home order, saved lives and bought us time to build out our infrastructure. And we have done just that. That’s why today we’re at roughly 8% capacity in our hospitals. And that doesn’t include the alternative care sites. That number percentage-wise would go down if you included those alternative care sites. Our ICU capacity, our ventilator capacity, the amount of PPE we have now is unprecedented, because of the work we did in the last few months.

Governor Gavin Newsom: (49:44)
Again, it’s not a horse race. It’s about dealing with conditions as they manifest. And we’re seeing these conditions manifest all throughout the country. In those states that did not experience the peak and had to respond and react to that. We had the chance to learn from those examples, to the question of what are we learning. And to incorporate strategies to prepare, because we extended that curve and we mitigated the acuity of that spike to prepare for this moment. And that’s what we’ve been doing for many, many months. And that’s what we continue to do every day. As it relates to, forgive me for not answering. And I imagine it’d be a followup if you were in the room, the question of the president’s example. I would encourage those watching to look at the example of Dr. Fauci. That would be my response to that question.

Moderator: (50:43)
Rachel Bluth, CalMatters.

Rachel Bluth: (50:48)
Hi, governor. It’s actually Kaiser Health News, no big deal. I wanted to ask you about testing. Some counties are telling me that they’re still having trouble testing all of their residents and getting to everyone. Are there plans or are there funds available to expand testing and create more sites?

Governor Gavin Newsom: (51:09)
Yeah. We want to continue to increase testing. Again, the 96,000 tests that we conducted over the last 24 hour period, 85,000 in the previous reporting period. We are now exceeding our goal of 60,000 tests on a daily basis. I want to remind people these tests, and this shouldn’t be a factor, but it’s an important consideration. These tests average about $100. Just consider we’ve done 3.6 million tests. Do the math on that. And by the way, average $100. Some of the tests when it includes diagnostics, the media, transport media, getting the swabs, doing the whole thing. It’s north of $130 in many instances. We have mobile testing capacity. These are by the way, the PCR tests I’m referring to. Not the antibody test, that got a lot of attention, but don’t have the kind of specificity of results that gives confidence. PCR tests are the backbone of our testing.

Governor Gavin Newsom: (52:08)
We have substantially increased access. We, however, have a lot more work to do. I would encourage, and I’m going to get back to your question, those of you that haven’t been tested, that want to be tested, go to the COVID-19 site, COVID-19.ca.gov, COVID-19.ca.gov. There’s a testing bar on that site, and then you could type in your zip code and determine the most proximate testing site in your area. The goal is to get to rural Californians and to go deeper in the inner cities. So we’re testing diverse communities and testing people all throughout the state of California. We’ve made a lot of improvement in that space. But if you go to that site, you’ll also see there are some testing deserts in this state. And it’s a way of acknowledging the frame of your question. We have more work to do. At a certain point, what you’re seeing happening is the cities and counties are saying, “We’re dealing with unprecedented shortfalls,” at least in modern terms, “On our budgets. We have competing responsibilities demands. We have to make investments at the same time we’re making cuts.” And they’re putting more and more on the testing onto the state. The problem is we have limited capacity ourselves. And so it’s incumbent upon the federal government not to let the states down, not to let the cities and counties down, not to let the people of this country down by pulling back from testing. Here’s the good news. I have all the confidence in the world that speaker Nancy Pelosi gets that and they will get something done.

Governor Gavin Newsom: (53:41)
It doesn’t matter to me what one individual may be saying about testing and their personal opinions about it. I think moreover, there’s collective wisdom and resolve across the political spectrum, across this country of the power of potency and importance of doing more testing so we get a handle on community spread, so our interventions come in real time, not too late. So we can mitigate the spread of this disease. Prepare not just to get through the next few months in the first wave, but prepare for a second wave and potentially a third wave as we get to the immunization process. And so I’m confident that we ultimately will get that federal support to help amplify the efforts. But we’ve made tremendous progress. 96,000 tests, again, in our last reporting period. But we have, you’re right, more work to do.

Moderator: (54:31)
Jim Roope, Westwood One News.

Jim Roope: (54:35)
Thank you very much, Governor. Good morning. I wonder if you could address the competing science out there, quote unquote, “Science.” Some of the problem is that you can find someone on the radio, someone on television, or an elected official to tell you what you want to hear if you don’t want to do something. And if you don’t want to wear a mask, you can find someone that can tell you they don’t work. You can find someone to tell you the sunlight and the heat is making the coronavirus weaker. You can find that in anything out there to fit your narrative. So how do you compete with that kind of information, the twisted facts, that twisted science that’s out there so that people comply with what you want? How do you deal with that?

Governor Gavin Newsom: (55:15)
God bless you. I mean, that’s a question that transcends this issue, doesn’t it? And that’s a foundational question around can a democracy survive, let alone thrive, when all of us come to each other with their own different sets of facts. I never knew him, but I miss Walter Cronkite. I wish beginning, at the beginning, and at least adjudicating the veracity of the facts presented, but at least sharing those same sets of facts to which we then can begin to debate. We live in a filter bubble. You’re absolutely right. Good news is, I don’t. Trust me. I live in a world where people have ample access and are able to communicate to me their pleasure and displeasure.

Governor Gavin Newsom: (56:06)
And so I have been privileged personally, to see those points of view that you are referencing. I also go to great lengths personally, to watch different news outlets, and also absorb different blogs and different perspectives. So you’re absolutely right. Nothing about your question surprised me, because you’re 100% accurate. We are nothing but a mirror. I’ve said this before, of your consistent thoughts, our consistent thoughts. Whatever we focus on, we’ll find more of. If we’re exclusively focused on one perspective, we will find ample evidence to bear fruit to that bias. It’s incumbent upon us to consider the bubbles that we live in on both sides of the political aisle as we adjudicate the facts. I watch every night, multiple cable outlets. We’re living in completely different realities, as you suggest. So-

Governor Gavin Newsom: (57:03)
…Completely different realities, as you suggest, as it relates to this virus and so many other issues. And this foundationally has to be addressed at a societal level, private, public, social media, platforms, our own behaviors, our own cohorting, by zip code. I mean, this is something that, again, is foundational and much more challenging than even the frame to which you introduced this question, with COVID-19. And so I would just encourage people, if they haven’t, to flip the station, check out a website that you don’t normally attach much veracity and credence to. Listen to those that you may find offensive sometimes, and just consider their points of view this time. Just consider it. It doesn’t mean you have to absorb it and accept it. Just consider it. Be open to argument, interested in facts. Do not be ideological either way in this pandemic.

Governor Gavin Newsom: (58:08)
And I’ve seen ideology, again, it holds no boundary by political party. Ideology persists across the spectrum. I have strong values. I am a proud Democrat, and I have a bias towards the work that our health advisors and directors are doing and the science and data that Dr. Fauci and others present every single day. I openly submit to you, that’s where I tend to land, but it does not deny me my responsibility or afford me my responsibility to learn more from the other side, as well. And I would just encourage some of you, all of us, to consider doing a little bit of that, as well.

Speaker 1: (58:52)
[inaudible 00:58:52], LA Times.

Speaker 2: (58:56)
Governor, you mentioned before that you may, I guess, withhold funding to counties that aren’t abiding by your regulation and coronavirus rules. What exactly does that mean? Does that mean if a sheriff’s department refuses to write citations to people that aren’t wearing masks that the county will be cut off, funding wise? Does that mean that if a city or county does not crack down on a bar or restaurant that doesn’t have the social distancing that’s in the guidelines that they won’t have money? Can you give us specifics about what exactly that means?

Governor Gavin Newsom: (59:30)
I encourage you to take a look at the language that the legislature will be considering in the budget, the legislative language that we put together in what we referred to as our budget trailer bill, that was agreed to by legislative leaders, myself, that was announced a few days ago. You’ll see the framework, the criteria to which we advance. And within that criteria are many of the questions you’re asking. We’re not trying to be prescriptive on what that means. We want to be collaborative. Again, this is not a closed fist. This is an open hand. Please, I imagine we all are [inaudible 01:00:02] to run with headlines in order to create anxiety and stress. My intention today of mentioning that was not to do either, create anxiety or stress.

Governor Gavin Newsom: (01:00:14)
It was however, to impress upon everybody the importance of this moment and the importance that we all must place on being responsible, but moreover, accountable to the rules and regulation. The system was designed where certain expectations were set. When rules and regulations come out, we need to abide by them, and we need to work collaboratively together. To the extent that we can’t, we don’t want to be punitive as long as we’re in a spirit of collaboration. But when people, and this feels closest approximation to answer your question, when people simply thumb their nose and do not come with a collaborative spirit and are simply unwilling to work, to keep people safe, and to keep people healthy, if you’re unwilling to keep people safe and keep people healthy, then by all means the state of California has a responsibility and obligation, legally and otherwise, to enforce those laws and to utilize the tools that are afforded us.

Governor Gavin Newsom: (01:01:16)
And one of those tools is power of the purse. And if counties that have submitted that they need more state money to address this pandemic, but are unwilling to enforce the rules and laws related to mitigating that pandemic, it seems not only counterintuitive that you would continue to provide those resources, but actually harmful to a broader effort. And so we don’t want to be harmful. We want to be helpful. We want to be collaborative. We have language in that trailer bill, I encourage you to take a look at it. And we continue to maintain a collaborative spirit of cooperation, and hope and expectation, that we don’t have to trigger any reduction in funds for individuals, or rather counties, rather, that choose not to be supportive of public health efforts.

Speaker 1: (01:02:16)
[inaudible 01:02:16] SF Chronicle.

Speaker 3: (01:02:21)
Hey, governor, given the recent outbreaks at San Quentin and Corcoran, which are rapidly spreading among the inmate populations there, do you have any plans for further widespread releases of prisoners in California, particularly those who may be older or medically vulnerable to the coronavirus?

Governor Gavin Newsom: (01:02:42)
Well, we have 456 individuals that have tested positive at San Quentin. We have 1,818 tests that are outstanding. When those tests come back, we expect that number to increase. You’re right. San Quentin is a concern. We’ve had other prisons that have been a concern, Chino being a primary one. I think you may recall a few, it seems months ago, X number of weeks ago, talked about Lancaster prison. We’ve seen some things begin to improve there. Chuckawalla, we’re seeing some issues. There are a number of other prisons.

Governor Gavin Newsom: (01:03:23)
We currently have about 355 staff members that currently are COVID positive throughout the entire system. And a little over 1,780, I think it’s 1,785, individual inmates that have tested positive for COVID-19, a cohort of well in excess of 120,000. So it’s a concern, always has been. We’ve not been shy about leaning in on this over the course of many, many months. Tens of thousands of prisoners have been tested. We still have a lot more work to do in that space, and we recognize our responsibility to do so.

Governor Gavin Newsom: (01:04:05)
We, as you’ve referenced, have done a number of things to address the issue of movement within the prison system. One, again, just like with our family, to keep people cohorted that have been together. So they stay together, so that we’re not transporting people to other prisons that may be pre-symptomatic or asymptomatic, or haven’t been tested at all, only to find out that this virus is being transmitted. And so we have done a number of things over the course of months on the intake side. And as you referenced, we also looked at some of our spacing and capacity issues and went through a very methodical process where people that were within 180 days of already being released, that met a criteria of being non-sex offender, we call it non, non, nons, and no domestic violence, that we would move that cohort out with roughly 3,500 people plus or minus.

Governor Gavin Newsom: (01:05:08)
Now, we moved out in a very deliberative manner, and we did that to what we refer to as decompress the system, a number of months ago. We submitted to the courts a number of days ago an additional strategy and plan, this goes to your question, of roughly similar cohort of roughly 3,500, that would begin the process of reviewing their plans, making sure they have housing plans, parole plans. We don’t want to just throw people out in the streets and sidewalks. That wouldn’t be humane, either. And to make sure that those that also are in a condensed period, where they are about to be released in the next number of months, that we would start moving that cohort. That begins July 1st, next week.

Governor Gavin Newsom: (01:05:54)
For San Quentin specifically, we are moving to expedite that, moving it closer, moving it before, moving that process before July 1st, to decompress that system, again, in a very thoughtful, methodical way, based upon, again, a parole probation framework, working within the system, health and human service agency, as well, to make sure we do it in a manageable and thoughtful way, but with a sense of urgency.

Governor Gavin Newsom: (01:06:27)
And let me just close on that. Roughly 42% of the prisoners at San Quentin are medically vulnerable. That doesn’t surprise many people. I grew up in the Bay Area, just moved here to Sacramento from Marine County, very nearby San Quentin. San Quentin is interestingly one of the most highly desirable prisons, because of many different reasons, including a more relatively speaking, more robust rehabilitative framework. So you have a lot of older prisoners that after a period of time spend the rest of their sentences at San Quentin. Of course, you also have death row at San Quentin. And so there’s a higher number of people that are vulnerable to the spread of any disease, including the regular flu, but substantively in relationship to COVID-19.

Governor Gavin Newsom: (01:07:22)
We are concerned about that cohort, and I know that the courts are, and the advocates are, as well. And so we are in real time working to address the need to decompress, to cohort, to segment within that jail, or, rather, prison, and also do the same more broadly throughout the rest of the prison system. So it’s always been top of mind. It’s always been a point of concern. Not surprising, as you see the numbers more generally increase, that we’re going to potentially experience some challenging in these congregate facilities, both those that are incarcerated in CDCR, the state system, but the jail system. And again, dominant vigilance for our skilled nursing facilities and our adult and senior care homes, as well as our homeless, which remain a top concern, as well.

Speaker 1: (01:08:15)
[inaudible 01:08:15] AP.

Speaker 4: (01:08:21)
Good afternoon, governor. You talked about the fist here, and trying to get compliance, but several counties that already had state attestation to begin opening are out of compliance with the metrics that you laid out for their safe reopening. Others are pretty blatantly flouting the mask requirements. You talked about the financial repercussions, but are you considering revoking any of those authorizations, and what can you do or what are you prepared to do beyond monitoring them?

Governor Gavin Newsom: (01:08:48)
Well, I think we laid out our prioritization, and I think I’ve been very clear terms of how we want to engage those counties. You saw just two days ago, and I’ll update you on a consistent basis. We unfortunately today are focused on some other information, but we have 11 counties that you are correct, that are getting support, what we refer to as technical assistance from the state, and different categories are not where they would like to be and where we believe they should be, as it relates to their own procurement, or rather containment, plans, protection plans, what we refer to as these attestations. Most, if not all, in fact, let me just resubmit. All are working very collaboratively with the state to address those specific issues.

Governor Gavin Newsom: (01:09:42)
You recall, just two days ago, we put those out, and there were checkmarks where they’re doing well, and there was a few categories where they’re not. Again, all that was put out in a very public way. And so that’s the spirit that we look to engage, but you’re right. There are some that have made rhetorical comments about not giving a damn, flouting any consideration of supporting the broader health directives coming out of the state of California. And that’s exactly why I look forward to signing this budget that will afford me a little bit of leverage in that conversation.

Governor Gavin Newsom: (01:10:17)
And I think that’s the appropriate next step. But as I said, that’s going to be an exception, and we hope we never have to trigger that. I think the vast majority of local officials care deeply about their constituency, about their community, want people to self enforce, and to the extent that they can advise and they can counsel and they can educate, they will. They can warn. There are many gradations of enforcement, but clearly we have our tools, not just financial, but as I said on Monday, as I said at least on a dozen other occasions, very publicly, alcohol beverage control, OSHA, many other state agencies also can enforce and anticipate, if only necessary, that we do just that.

Governor Gavin Newsom: (01:11:07)
Let me thank everybody. It wasn’t necessary that any of you even tuned into this, paid attention to all this, but I hope you are in tune with the fact that we have a virus. We are not out of the first wave. This virus is virulent. This virus knows no boundaries, and it knows no age cohort. It is a deadly virus, and your increased likelihood of getting it as we reopen the economy, as you cohort with strangers in mixed crowds, increases, not decreases.

Governor Gavin Newsom: (01:11:42)
And that’s why it’s incumbent upon all of us to step things up to the extent we can, be more vigilant, practice social distancing, physical distancing, not let our guard down, go about responsibly our day to day lives, socializing, but again, safely. And wear a mask. It’s a mandate in the state of California because it not only protects you, it protects others, and it sends a message to people that we are not out of this pandemic. And we are here to remind you of that, and we encourage you to share that message to the extent you can. And as always, go to the website covid19.ca.gov to learn more. Take care, everybody.