Jun 26, 2020
Governor Gavin Newsom June 26 California Press Conference Transcript
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Governor Gavin Newsom: (09:20)
Ready? All right.
Governor Gavin Newsom: (09:24)
Well, thank you all very much for the opportunity to check-in. Good afternoon and let me thank everybody that is here at this remarkable Tri Tool facility and warehouse in Northern California for the privilege of their time and tour and an announcement we’ll be making related to manufacturing support within the industry and focusing on California-based manufacturing. I’ll do that just in a moment.
Governor Gavin Newsom: (09:52)
I wanted to first though, begin by updating all of you on the numbers of and trendlines related to COVID- 19. I want to make an announcement about one particular county here in the state of California and then we will introduce this formal partnership with the California Manufacturing and Technology Association and partnership with GO-Biz, our state business arm, and Cal OES, our operations of Mercy Service Team. But first, let me just begin with the top line and that is the total number of new positive cases here in the state of California over the last 24 hours. We report today some 4,890 individuals tested positive for COVID-19. Tragically, we lost 79 lives in the last reporting period, and we have seen a modest increase, both in hospitalizations and total number of ICU patients in the state. Hospitalizations went up some 3.3% in the last 24 hours. ICU patient volume went up 4.4%.
Governor Gavin Newsom: (11:05)
As I’ve been doing over the course of the last number of days, we have been marking trendlines that increasingly are headlines across the nation as it relates to positivity rates in the state of California. And I’ll remind everybody that positivity rates become foundational as we increase the total number of tests. And remember, just a day or so ago, we announced over 101, 000 tests that were completed in a 24-hour period in the state of California. As we increase tests in the state of California, naturally, we are going to see an increased number and total number of individuals that test positive.
Governor Gavin Newsom: (11:46)
It becomes though important that we look at positivity rates. That’s the percentage of those that we test that positive to really give us a sign, an indication of what we refer to as community spread. I’ve noted on charts that I’ve provided over the last number of days, that when we did the first 14-day cohort, going back to April, in terms of the positivity rate, we had spiked at 40.8%. The last 14-day cohort period that is up to date, that includes the last 24 hours, our positivity rate is at 5.3%. That’s slightly higher than the 5.1% we saw a few days ago, and the seven-day trend higher still, at 5.7%. So positivity rate in the state of California over a 14-day period, 5.3%, over a seven-day period, 5.7%. We were able to conduct not 101,000 tests as we did 48 hours ago but in the last 24 hours, we conducted 77,000 tests.
Governor Gavin Newsom: (12:56)
Let me just take a moment on the test to mark a following consideration. I noted yesterday that we’ve averaged 88,000 tests a day over the last seven-day period, that hundred-plus-thousand testing marked certainly a milestone in the state. I want to say two things about testing. We still need to test more people, number one. Number two, I also want to Mark appreciation. Today, we end the formal task force, the testing task force that we put together a number of months ago. And I want to thank the co-chairs of that task force. Dr. Charity Dean and Paul Markovich from Blue Shield. They did an outstanding job. I cannot be more grateful on behalf of a grateful state for their efforts. The fact that we’ve averaged over 88,000 tests over the last week is testament to their efforts and their entire team that they put together.
Governor Gavin Newsom: (13:54)
Recall, just a few months ago, we were testing just shy of 2,500 people every day, 2,500 a day. Their efforts, they were able to achieve milestones that we set out at 15,000 a day, 25,000 a day, a goal of 60,000 a day, a stretch goal of 80,000. And here we are with their efforts, demonstrably advanced. And I want to just, again, congratulate them on a job well done and thank them for volunteering to take that role and that responsibility.
Governor Gavin Newsom: (14:32)
We’ll be reconstituting that task force now with a different frame of focus and a different energy in terms of now looking to more target our testing, what some would refer to perhaps lazily as smart testing, or just more targeted testing at communities that have been underserved, under-resourced. And so the next iteration of our testing, we still want to see the volume, but it’s not just the volume we want to see, we want to see a specificity of testing and a sophistication of the type and target of the testing. And so we’ll be making more announcements in the next number of days and weeks related to those efforts. But I just, again want to thank our co-chairs for their outstanding leadership.
Governor Gavin Newsom: (15:26)
We’ve been monitoring, and I’ve made this point abundantly clear over the course of the last number of days, we’ve been monitoring all 58 counties in the state of California for community spread. We’ve been looking at the positivity rates. We’ve been looking at ICU volume. We’ve been looking at total number of hospitalizations, not just deaths, the most lagging of indicators as it relates to this pandemic. We’ve been doing so recognizing, and I can’t again say this enough, that California is the size of 21 states combined. The size and scope and scale of California require a disciplined understanding that there are parts of this state that are very distinct and unique from other parts of this state.
Governor Gavin Newsom: (16:12)
So when I begin these presentations, as I’ve done today, I talk in the aggregate, but again, none of us live in the aggregate. We live in counties. We live in cities within counties, communities large and small, where conditions are very distinctive from one another. And so while we monitor all 58 counties in the state of California, we target our engagement in efforts based upon conditions that present themselves. We talk in terms of these attestations, these are the guidelines that we put forth at a state level that must be met in order for counties to come forward with their health officials, their health directors, and their county representatives to attest that they have plans, protection plans and containment plans for this virus. Those are point in time. As some of their attestations change based upon conditions, we offer technical assistance at the state level. We’ve done that now for 15 counties that are formerly on what we refer to as our watch list, where we’re providing more formal, more targeted support.
Governor Gavin Newsom: (17:24)
By the way, that’s not just for counties that have attested. I’ll give you an example. Imperial County has never moved forward with an attestation because they recognize they couldn’t meet the criteria the state of California has put forward, but nonetheless, we are engaging them with technical assistance. They’re one of 15 counties that we’re actively working to address considerations, concerns, trends within their various counties. As it relates to Imperial County, we’ve made it abundantly clear over the course of many, many weeks, arguably over the course of many, many months that Imperial County’s conditions required-
Governor Gavin Newsom: (18:03)
-many months that Imperial County’s conditions required a unique set of support and counsel. As a consequence, we have made it clear over the course of many months now that we’ve been sending additional resources down into Imperial County.
Governor Gavin Newsom: (18:19)
Imperial County is unique in this respect. We have now had over 500 individuals transferred out of the hospital system in Imperial County just over the last five weeks. We’ve averaged anywhere on a low of 15, but more about 17 individuals every single day that we’re transferring out of their system, decompressing their system in the county, and then providing supports in surrounding counties.
Governor Gavin Newsom: (18:49)
What has become crystal clear over the course of the many months is these interventions, while they’ve been forceful and they have been helpful and certainly allowed for decompression of that hospital system, provided additional supports, that we are now in a position where we are working with county officials and advising them to pull back and once again re-institute their stay-at-home orders.
Governor Gavin Newsom: (19:16)
We have been working with county health officers and with their city administrator, and I just want to thank the county health officer, city administrator, members of their elected body for their stewardship and their support and their collaborative spirit over the course of many, many weeks, including the conversations that we had today with our key health officials.
Governor Gavin Newsom: (19:40)
They are going to be convening their county supervisors and county leadership over the course of the next few days and making a determination to lead that effort at a local level. We are advising and counseling them to move forward and re-institute the stay-at-home order, but they will move at their discretion. If they are not able to come to some consensus, I am committed to intervening, as is my role and responsibility as governor in the state of California. But I am confident in their capacity to make that determination for themselves based upon, again, the criteria of conditions that continue to persist in the county.
Governor Gavin Newsom: (20:22)
Let me underscore what those conditions include, not only the need to decompress their hospital system, because they simply can’t absorb the number of patients with the limited resources in that county, but also a positivity rate. I noted a positivity rate over a 14-day period in the state of California at 5.3%. The positivity rate over a 14-day period in Imperial County is approaching 23%. We have sent what we call these FMAT teams down, 69 individuals that have gone down into the county to help support their efforts. I even brought 44 National Guardsmen and women and their medical unit down into the county over the last number of weeks.
Governor Gavin Newsom: (21:10)
We brought out support a number of weeks back, what we referred to as FMS. These are the field medical stations. We provided 80 beds to help decompress their system for non-acute patients. This was done in support with FEMA and our federal partners. CDC has been down. HHS has been down. We’re working with customs and border control because of issues as it relates to the border in Mexicali and Calexico and issues that we have to address around that border.
Governor Gavin Newsom: (21:47)
We obviously are at a point now where the impacts on surrounding counties, the impacts on the public health within the counties is such that we believe it is time to dial back as it relates to their efforts. Remember, they never moved forward as far as other parts of the state, but nonetheless, the conditions are such that it’s time to pull back further.
Governor Gavin Newsom: (22:10)
We have two OptumServe sites. You may recall that OptumServe our partnership for testing sites that are in the community. We’ve also provided 1.1, almost 1.2 million, 1.151, to be exact, million masks into a community that includes 180, 000 population. 1.1 million masks we have distributed down into the county, over half a million N-95 masks, just shy, excuse me, of half a million N-95 masks. We have provided gowns, gloves, face shields, and the like. We are committed to providing more resources in real time to help support their efforts as well, as I recognize good enough never is, and we are finally in a position with these large contracts where now we’ve received just from one contract, BYD, 33 million N-95 masks. We’re in a much better place now to even be more supportive to our friends, our partners, and the community in Imperial County.
Governor Gavin Newsom: (23:15)
So these are the efforts that we wanted to update you on today. We continue to press even more efforts. I want to just acknowledge Vice President Pence, who has reached out and to support those efforts in the county proper. I want to thank incredible leadership, Bob Fenton and FEMA, and their partnerships and their stewardship and focus on the needs of this county. I want to just think our team. That includes the Department of Labor, includes MSA and partnerships there, California Department of Public Health that has strike teams down there, in addition now to our agricultural partners and additional partnerships from state agencies that are now helping support the cause of mitigating the spread of this virus in the county.
Governor Gavin Newsom: (24:14)
Final point: I also want to acknowledge our leadership of Mark Ghilarducci at the Office of Emergency Service. There’s one county in the state where we are providing 100% of the costs related to the emergency response. It’s in this county, where FEMA traditionally will pick up 75% of the cost. 25% of the costs are borne by the state and local government. There’s no costs that we are assessing related to that partnership with FEMA in Imperial County, that partnership. We are absorbing those costs, rather, we are absorbing as well.
Governor Gavin Newsom: (24:51)
So look, we recognize the economic costs of what we are arguing for. We recognize the economic costs that COVID-19 has already impacted on the community, but we recognize now our responsibility to keep people healthy, keep people safe, and step up our efforts. So 15 counties overall that we’re monitoring very, very closely. All 58, of course, that we have oversight and continue to monitor numbers. 4,890 positive tests, a little bit better than yesterday. A little bit better than that record number north of 7,000 a few days ago.
Governor Gavin Newsom: (25:28)
But these trend lines over the last 7 days, over the last 14 days are disturbing, and that’s why I cannot impress upon people more to wear these masks when they cannot practice physical distancing, to continue to be vigilant about the spread of this virus. We are entering into a weekend, where so often it’s the case people let their guard down. Do not be one of those individuals. Continue to practice physical distancing, social distancing.
Governor Gavin Newsom: (25:57)
If you are going to break with tradition, common sense, and you’re going to invite your neighbors or friends or extended family members over against the advice and counsel of local health directives, wear a mask. Practice physical distancing. Express your appreciation, your friendship, and your willingness to reach out and connect with others in a way that keeps them safe and keeps you safe as well. That said, and I will repeat this message before I let y’all go, unless you want to turn off this communication, which I appreciate. But first, I want to ask Dr. Angel to come up and talk a little bit more about the 15 counties that we’re monitoring, but particularly this one county in Southern California that needs particular attention. Then I’ll get to why we are here at this wonderful warehouse facility in the first place, update you on a new partnership to help support California manufacturing and help support job creation in the state of California as well. Dr. Angel?
Dr. Angel: (27:15)
Thank you, Governor, for this opportunity to talk a little bit about Imperial County and why we are sharing this announcement today about our actions in that community. As mentioned, Imperial County is one of 15 counties that are on our county monitoring list. This county monitoring list was created for California to be able to work very closely with our counties, but be there particularly when the needs are most. Those needs that are identified to put one on the county monitoring list includes variables that let us assess the movement of disease, so epidemiologic measures, our understanding of the capacity in the hospital and the care delivery system, and also an understanding of testing capacity.
Dr. Angel: (27:56)
Those are sort of three simple areas in which we review in order to identify those counties that should be watched and worked with more closely, and we really appreciate the collaboration of all of our counties as we work through this process.
Dr. Angel: (28:10)
Imperial County, as mentioned, has been on our monitoring list, and we’ve been working very closely with them. They’ve been excellent partners as we move forward. But there are a couple of indicators at this point that make us particularly concerned. This includes their case rate over the past seven days, which is 680. That’s vastly above the 100 over the last 14 days that’s required to get onto the monitoring list as part of the threshold, well above, and it has been maintained at that level.
Dr. Angel: (28:43)
Additionally, the test positivity at 23% is particularly concerning as well. That’s well over the 10% threshold that is noted to get onto this monitoring list. The 23% tells us not only that there are many cases, but there are likely very many undetected cases. So that together, combined also with the conversations we have had with the counties and most particularly our understanding of the impact that it’s having on the care delivery system has moved us to take this much more directed and focused attention effort with Imperial County at this time.
Dr. Angel: (29:18)
So we’re working very closely with county officials on this, and we will be working with them as we advise them to be stepping back, moving back from where they currently are in terms of their movement through the stages in California, and looking at ways in which we can work much more effectively through on-the-ground attention and support also from many of our different agencies to help support that county moving back and addressing the really concerning increased rates and continuing increased rates that we’re seeing in Imperial County at this time.
Governor Gavin Newsom: (29:57)
Thank you, Dr. Angel, and thank you for your outstanding leadership, stewardship, and support of the efforts to work through this recent increase in total number of positive cases in the state of California.
Governor Gavin Newsom: (30:12)
I want to now just briefly turn to the reason we are here in the Tri Tool manufacturing facility and update you a little bit on some of our efforts to really focus in on California state businesses, California state manufacturing. It is not often stated and not well known that California is the largest manufacturing state in the United States of America. It’s a point of pride for many of us that live here, work here, and reside here.
Governor Gavin Newsom: (30:45)
Demonstrably, this is one of our more successful manufacturing facilities that you see here, and we’re here with a purpose. That is to emphasize the need for all of us, as we work through this pandemic, to make sure that California-based manufacturing companies are procuring products for Californians and producing products, for that matter, for the rest of the nation. We want to incentivize more California-based manufacturing, and we want to encourage purchasers of protective gear, gowns, gloves, sanitizers, things like face coverings, face masks, plexiglass shields, and the like, we want to encourage people to purchase from California-based manufacturers.
Governor Gavin Newsom: (31:37)
By the way, that includes the state of California itself. It’s not lost on me. The magnitude of this crisis required many of us, including the state itself, not just our federal partners to purchase so much product to get it at volume overseas. This is an opportunity to learn from this crisis experience and reposition our state. For that matter, we should be repositioning our nation to be better prepared for the second wave of this pandemic and certainly better prepared for the future to be able to maximize volume at the kind of scale that’s required of a state and a nation as large as ours.
Governor Gavin Newsom: (32:17)
So we’ve been working in partnership with GO-Biz, again, our economic development arm in the state, working with California leadership at our Office of Emergency Services to really look at our supply chain needs and to look at the needs of supporting manufacturers in the state of California. That partnership is led, and I’m going to ask Lance to come up here in a moment, by what we refer to in the state as CMTA. They are the organization that is the champion for more California-based manufacturing.
Governor Gavin Newsom: (32:52)
We’ve been in discussions for the last few months to talk about how we can be more supportive of California manufacturers, how we can encourage California manufacturers to retool their assembly lines, potentially, to help meet the needs of these critical products, particularly eight specific products that are nonmedical grade products that can help support our efforts in the state of California to keep people healthy and protect them as we work through this pandemic.
Governor Gavin Newsom: (33:23)
I have been out, and some of you may have noticed, in some of these manufacturing facilities. Bloom Energy a number of months ago, down in Silicon Valley, they were helping us with re-purposing and upgrading some of our ventilators that we had received from the federal government, some from our own cash in the state of California. Today, I’m very pleased that through this partnership with CMTA and a new online portal called safelymakingCA.org, safelymakingCA.org, that we now have an online portal where people can match their talents, their skills with their needs.
Governor Gavin Newsom: (34:01)
This portal is special for a number of reasons. Not only have we vetted the manufacturers, now over 300, that are on this new platform, but we’re also making available PPE at no cost to industry associations in this state. I want to repeat that. We are making PPE available, particularly face coverings and hand sanitizer, for trade associations in this state so they can more safely reopen their facilities. The reason we’re here at Tri Tool is they’re one of those facilities that has taken advantage, understandably taken advantage of the procurement of these resources so they can safely reopen this facility, reopen to 150-plus people that are working here today.
Governor Gavin Newsom: (34:56)
So we want to encourage people to go to this website, safelymakingCA. org, avail themselves, as they say, as supplies last to the free PPE, face coverings and sanitizers, and also match up their needs to those that are being made available and those that have been vetted through this site.
Governor Gavin Newsom: (35:19)
Let me give you some specific examples. One of the most well known sunglass manufacturers in the world, Oakley, down in Irvine, California, they have retooled a portion of their facility and made available face coverings, face shields, to be specific, as part of the product that they are now producing and making available to others. We have Align Manufacturing. That’s another company, well-known, Invisalign that does a lot of 3D-related printing related to dental needs. They are now retooling for ventilator needs some of their manufacturing here in the state of California.
Governor Gavin Newsom: (36:03)
Needs some of their manufacturing here in the State of California, interstate manufacturing, nearby Sacramento-based company doing those plexiglass shields that are being made available, that you see a lot of grocery stores and other outlets. Just three proof points, three examples of companies that are meeting this moment that have really stepped up, retooled, to be supportive, not just retooled to make a profit, but to really make a difference. And so we want them to make a difference and make product or rather profit. And so we’re hopeful that folks will take a look at this portal, take a look at this website, avail themselves to the work that Lance and his team have done. And with that, let me just ask Lance to talk more about that work more specifically and the kind of vetting that he’s done and the kind of products and protocols that he’s advanced to help support California-based manufacturers. Lance.
Thank you very much Governor Newsom for the opportunity and your leadership during this crisis, the worst in the generation that California has faced. I want to thank the agencies that he mentioned at the beginning because several months ago we got together and realized that if we didn’t do something, the pandemic would get worse. So we sat down with the Governor’s Office, GO-Biz, the Office of Emergency Services and the Department of Technology on the concept of establishing a marketplace for PPE so that we could reopen the economy. And here we are today, announcing that as the Governor said, it’s safely making ca.org. We’re very proud of the program. It’s a marketplace that will link manufacturers with consumers. But in order of us to make that effective and successful we had industry partners that worked with us, including the California Restaurant Association, the California Groceries Association, California Retailers Association, the Western Growers, Agricultural Council of California, California Farm Bureau Federation, the California League of Food Producers. And locally here, the Sacramento Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce.
It’s this collective effort through our trade associations that we’re going to really make this project successful and effective. But behind the scenes we’ve had partners like Autodesk and Intel that are dedicating their resources to make this work very well in the background. So when you’re visiting that website, it’s going to be through the good works that Autodesk and Intel have done. And I’d be remiss if I didn’t thank the CMTA team to get us to this point. We are primarily an advocacy organization, but we’ve pivoted our own operations to make sure that we are able to launch something like this, which is a Californians for Californians initiative. So I’m very pleased with them.
We are here at Tri tool, a great CMTA member. As the Governor said, they’re a recipient of some of the OES-provided PPE. Was just delivered yesterday and they’re using it now. So it’s really great. And the Governor also mentioned Interstate Plastics which is just across town right now, making those shields so that restaurants and grocery stores can open up and serve Californians altogether. We look forward to this being a successful regional program. That’s the magic of it all. And for the coming months ahead that the program will adopt and adapt as necessary. But thank you Governor for the opportunity to do this and for helping us launch that very important initiative today.
Governor Gavin Newsom: (39:12)
I want to thank Lance in particular. He is no greater advocate for California-based manufacturing and make a case California’s future being a manufacturing future. And I could not agree more and I just want to thank him for his patience, not just his stewardship and leadership with this partnership as we put it together and as we’ve formed it. I also want to thank Chris and Joe and Pat and the team that allowed us here today for providing us this opportunity and being a proof point of being beneficiaries of some of the PPE that we are providing at no cost to manufacturers in the state. I should note and I appreciate Lance referencing this, from the Grocers Association to the Ag Council, the Council to the Restaurant Association, we have already distributed 35 million units of PPE within those associations. 35 million units at no cost within those associations already again to help us safely reopen the economy in this state.
Governor Gavin Newsom: (40:29)
We want to continue to do more as we get more PPE and as we continue to develop the kind of scale of partnership and capacity with these large contracts that we have procured. We’ll do more but again, we want to get these smaller contracts going and help support California-based manufacturing. And there’s no reason why after this pandemic’s behind us, that we can’t as a nation, create the framework so that we have American manufacturers, California-based manufacturers that can produce hundreds and hundreds of millions of units of PPE. There’s no reason that we can’t do that as a nation and as a state. And we’re committed in the long haul to do that, but we want some proof points in that interim. And that’s what this partnership really is all about. Let me just circle back and close as I began. We talked about Imperial County and the need to begin to toggle back.
Governor Gavin Newsom: (41:28)
We as well a few days ago talked about our appreciation to Disney and their willingness not to move forward with a July opening or reopening of their theme park. It was noted in Disney’s announcement that the State of California has paused their further efforts to open up more sectors of our economy meaning the state had all over a week ago, paused in putting forward new guidelines. Again, guidelines don’t mean go, guidelines are how to safely reopen. We allow that determination at the local level of when to move forward, but the guidelines are predicates to even doing that. We have delayed those guidelines. Disney to their credit recognized that and made that public. That is the case. We are at pause, have been for over a week now and there is nothing to suggest based upon the criteria and conditions in those trend lines that are developing, the headlines across this nation, but substantive here in the state as well, that we’ll be moving anytime soon, by pushing further with those protocols and those announcements.
Governor Gavin Newsom: (42:46)
That said, it was just announced in San Francisco that they are also pausing their next phase of opening and reopening that they were looking for to this Monday. And this is exactly how the system is designed in the State of California. Again, parts of the state, rural parts of the state, parts of the state that haven’t been impacted by this pandemic, going at different paces with a dashboard responsibility that we have placed on local health officials that we monitor other parts of the state going at different paces and a willingness again as always, what we refer to as a sixth indicator, we’ve talked a lot about last few months to be able to toggle back and working with partnerships at the local level in Imperial and elsewhere. I expect we’ll see that kind of pause, that kind of movement you’re seeing in San Francisco. And we hope to see in Imperial County take shape. So that’s the update for the day. And as always, look forward to answering a few questions.
Sophia Bollag: (43:47)
Hi Governor. Sophia Bollag here with The Sacramento Bee. I’ll be asking questions on behalf of the press today. You mentioned toggling back. Are you planning to toggle back any statewide guidance or orders at this point? And specifically, are you planning to allow bars to continue to stay open given the higher risk of transmission at those businesses?
Governor Gavin Newsom: (44:08)
I think exactly what San Francisco did is exactly what the system was designed to do. And that is to empower local health officers based upon the conditions in their communities. Remember, I can’t say this enough, California is not one size fits all. This is not a small state. The population of the state is equivalent to 21 states combined. So when you look at the prism of California, what’s the only responsible way to look at it is through a bottom-up lens, not just a top-down lens. Each county being monitored, each county that has unique criteria and conditions. And within those counties, unique conditions as well. One county Imperial, clear that the conditions persist that have generated consternation and we are encouraging and advising them to now pull back and re-institute a stay at home order.
Governor Gavin Newsom: (45:02)
I’m very pleased. The leadership in San Francisco, their County Health directors, I imagine you’ll see others doing the same. We have already paused well over a week ago, further reopening certain segments of our economy. And we certainly reserve based upon conditions at the local level, based upon particular criteria that we put forth. And the monitoring of these 15 counties reserve the right to consider the specifics of the question as it relates to specific sectors within our economy and whether or not we want to pause the reopening or toggle back as well. And we’ll make that determination in real time.
Sophia Bollag: (45:39)
So, just to clarify, at this point you’re not planning any sort of statewide toggling back, or is that something that’s still being considered?
Governor Gavin Newsom: (45:46)
We, well over a week ago, we were putting out new guidelines. We paused those guidelines. That was exampled in the press release that came out from Disney. Disney to their credit did the right thing recognizing the state was not forthcoming with the new guidelines. There are a number of other guidelines that we were putting out that we had paused over a week ago. City and county of San Francisco, cities and counties, large and small that have unique and distinctive concerns. We encourage them to act as the Health Director in the City of San Francisco just did and others, to the extent they don’t, we will advise as we have in Imperial County that they do and we’ll reserve the right and our authority as a state to pull back.
Sophia Bollag: (46:29)
The next question is from Dustin Gardiner of the San Francisco Chronicle. He’d like to know if you think that Arizona’s lack of restrictions and soaring case numbers have contributed to the crisis in nearby Imperial County.
Governor Gavin Newsom: (46:43)
I think it’s too early to tell. We had that conversation with our health officials, not only around neighboring states but neighboring nation. And that is quite literally when I say literally, I mean quite literally being reviewed, has been for well over a week. Where there’s a deep dive in partnership with the CDC, where that is being determined with the kind of specificity that’s required of their analysis, not just political punditry. So as soon as I get that study back from CDC to truly understand the specific indicators that have led and continue to persist in reflection of the numbers and the data coming out of that county, I’ll be providing that to you. I was hoping to get that yesterday. We’re hoping to get it as early as today.
Sophia Bollag: (47:35)
The next question is from Jill Replogle of KPCC. The federal government is considering moving toward a strategy of pool testing or testing groups of people together to expand the scope of testing with fewer resources. Is that something that California health officials are considering.
Governor Gavin Newsom: (47:53)
I made the announcement many, many weeks ago about this during our noon press conference. And this is something you see and I’ve referenced it a few weeks back. You see this at blood banks, they do this. Basically they pool blood, they put it into a larger sample. Then you test the larger pooled sample. Cost of that is substantially lower than having an individual test. If that sample, pooled sample comes back negative, you alert everybody that their tests have come back negative. If that sample comes back positive, obviously you have to alert everybody that they may have been that individual that submitted that blood to that pool and everybody then is retested. So it’s a way of leveraging your resources. It’s a tried and true method that exists and persists for many, many years in our blood banks. And it’s a protocol and process that Dr. Angell and her team are familiar with and are working at local level to advance.
Sophia Bollag: (48:51)
The next question is from Angela Hart of Kaiser Health News. She notes that counties say a lack of public health messaging is making their jobs even more difficult as you’ve given them more responsibility. You put out a quick video on COVID-19, but where’s the state’s broader public messaging campaigns to help people cut through the confusing maze of shifting guidance and rules from mandated masks to universal testing?
Governor Gavin Newsom: (49:14)
We’re very proud of the culturally competent messaging we put out, I announced on multiple occasions, I believe Ms. Hart’s well aware of that and perhaps they reported some of the cultural competent messaging we put out on contact tracing. I’d encourage people to look at the number of PSAs that we put out. We had a portal going back months where we had a number of people encouraging face coverings with the mandate of face coverings we put out earlier this week, something I’m not aware that any other state’s been able to do, and that’s have every former Governor that served in that state, that’s living, that we’re together, Republicans, Democrats, Pete Wilson, Gray Davis, Governor Schwarzenegger, Governor Brown, put out a PSA on our mandatory face covering guidelines. We’ll continue to put out more and more PSA, more and more efforts to reach out to diverse communities. We have a whole cohort of volunteers at the local level that are not just doing top-down broadcast.
Governor Gavin Newsom: (50:14)
Let us not forget that many people do not tune in to broadcast news or programs like this. They get their media very, very differently. And so we’ve tried to get in to those devices in a more granular way to the extent that we now want to do more. It is absolutely right to ask the question Ms. Hart has asked that is, what more can we do to reinforce the message of staying at home if you’re a senior or you have a preexisting condition? To answer the call as it relates to contact tracers that may make a call to you to keep you healthy, keep you safe, and the community and the contacts you’ve had safe and healthy, and obviously to encourage physical distancing, social distancing, and to abide by our mask mandate. And you will see very, very shortly the fruits of new efforts in that space. We have a whole new campaign we’ll be launching. And I believe Angela will be very, very enthusiastic to share that with people.
Sophia Bollag: (51:20)
Carlos Grande of ABC would like to know what we’re finding out about the data from the protests over the last few weeks. Do we know at this point, how many people who attended those protests have tested positive?
Governor Gavin Newsom: (51:34)
Yeah. Dr. Angell, why don’t you talk more specific about that more appropriate?
Dr. Angel: (51:42)
This is a very important question because it’s part of a larger question also of where our cases are coming from and where people are getting exposed and testing positive from particularly during these times of increased population movement through the protests. At this time, we don’t have exact numbers, but we do know from speaking with our counties, that we do think it is a contributor. Of course it is difficult to tease out exactly because at the same time, the people we’re going out to these protests, we also had increased movement for other reasons in our communities because our economy is also opening up and people are going out for other reasons. So while we will not be able to distinguish exactly where somebody may have been exposed who tested positive, what is incredibly important is that we all pay attention and realize that anytime we are in public, particularly in large crowds, that we must maintain physical distance. That is the thing that will protect us along with face covering. But more than anything, staying out of those larger crowds is what helps to keep us safe.
Governor Gavin Newsom: (52:44)
One trend line that you see in other states and it holds here in the State of California is younger and younger people now testing disproportionately higher numbers, particular that cohort 18 to 34. We look on a daily basis at that data and it is bearing out not dissimilar to other states that that age cohort, that believes in many cases they’re invincible and they’re somehow immune from the impacts of COVID-19. We are seeing higher and higher rates of that age cohort now testing positive for COVID-19.
Sophia Bollag: (53:24)
The next question is from Kathleen Ronayne of The Associated Press. She notes that some of the projections in the data portal you released yesterday are quite stark, hundreds and hundreds of deaths within the next month. Do you think Californians understand the urgency of the situation we are in and how worried should they be?
Governor Gavin Newsom: (53:42)
I don’t know what more we can do to impress upon people. We don’t lightly put forward a mandate to wear face coverings unless we think that will not only protect you but protect others and mitigate the spread of a deadly disease. I don’t know what more evidence we need. 79 human beings lost their lives. 79 families torn apart because they lost a loved one.
Governor Gavin Newsom: (54:03)
Families torn apart because they lost a loved one just in the 24 hours. What more evidence do you need? Looking at the nightly news, the headlines all across this country, states large and small experience record numbers of COVID-19 cases. Hospitalizations going up. Number of people in ICU is going up. Number of people on ventilators, going up. I just sent 76 ventilators down to Imperial County. We are in the midst of the first wave of this pandemic. We are not out of the first wave. This disease does not take a summer vacation. And let us disabuse ourself that somehow the lazy punditry that was out there, that somehow this is season disease and triple-digit weather will annihilate it. Look at these states that are seeing unprecedented, record increases. There’s no correlation in that respect. Quite the contrary.
Governor Gavin Newsom: (55:02)
I cannot impress of people more as you move in to, understandably, a festive mode reflecting on the birth of a democracy and freedom and we celebrate our independence as a nation to do so responsibly. And what so often is the case is we get so fatigued that we say, “Well, to the cohort that we’ve been with, our immediate family, we love you but boy we miss uncle John. And why don’t we bring uncle John and the kids over this weekend for a festive barbecue?” Well, you may be putting uncle John’s life at risk if you do that the way you used to do that. And I cannot impress upon folks more the virulence of this disease, the nature of the transmission of this disease and how we are experiencing unprecedented growth in the total number of cases.
Governor Gavin Newsom: (55:57)
And you will see … Mark my words, I don’t say this lightly, I don’t say this to be maudlin, I don’t say this to portend any negativity. I want to maintain a spirit of optimism and I maintain that in terms of our capacity to get through this. We can. We will. But you will see with the death rates, they’re lagging. You will see with these positivity rates going up in the last week or two that in the next week or two you will start to see numbers increase not just in the hospitals, which we have seen in this state. Remember, just in the last 24 hour reporting period, went up another 3.3%. But you’ll start seeing that tragically in the number of lives lost. And it’s not just 80 and 90 year-olds that are losing their lives. And it’s not just 65 year-olds and over that are getting positive test results back.
Governor Gavin Newsom: (56:50)
Please. Even if you don’t feel sick, you may be transmitting this disease. You may be presymptomatic. You may be asymptomatic. But you still may be a vector for transmitting this disease to vulnerable people. Someone that may appear healthy in line with you at a grocery store wearing a face mask, you may be presymptomatic and that person may have leukemia and you may put that young girl’s life at risk and never even know you did it. Please, please, practice common sense, common decency. Protect yourself but also protect others. In that environment where you’re mixing with strangers or you’re in crowds where you can’t practice physical distancing, where you’re close in proximate with other people, please wear a face covering. Please take this pandemic seriously. What more evidence do we need? Turn on your nightly news and let us, again, recommit ourselves to your health and the health of our community, the state, the nation, and the world, collectively, we’re trying to build.
Sophia Bollag: (57:57)
Governor, your administration has really had a focus on the past month or so on putting out guidance so businesses can reopen safely. Has your administration and you … Have you done enough to inform people about the dangers at these small family and friends gatherings where you say that there’s an increase in spread?
Governor Gavin Newsom: (58:17)
Well, I’m saying increase of responsibility. I don’t know that I could repeat what I just repeated enough. And I’ve repeated that on every opportunity, every occasion that I’ve been in public. So, I’ll do more. I’m trying to do these on a daily basis, the extent I can have multiple messaging, get other messengers; former governors, getting celebrities, getting people that truly can reach out to diverse communities in the state of California. Trusted messengers to deliver this message. We’ve been doing that for months and months and months. I have made this point on ad nauseum occasions. You, among others, have written about it. I’ll say it again. Guidelines don’t mean go; that putting out guidelines is how to safely reopen, not when to safely reopen.
Governor Gavin Newsom: (59:07)
And I say that also in the context of the way we have organized our reopening strategy in this state. It’s not been top, down. It’s been bottom, up. So, it has another layer of consideration and that is local health officers that understand the unique conditions in their community that also have to attest to conditions and criteria. That also have a responsibility to put out information and guidance at the local level and monitor their success as it relates to safely reopening. You’ve seen counties that have done that very effectively. Some counties like Imperial, they have not been able to even move into that attestation process because they can’t meet that criteria.
Governor Gavin Newsom: (59:52)
And you’re seeing a lot of leadership local level that’s also amplifying this message. It’s not just one person selling down a vision. It’s all of us that have the responsibility to communicate this message. And one thing that communicates the message is not just the substance of wearing a mask, but the symbolism of wearing a mask because when you’re wearing a mask you’re also sending a message that we’re not out of the woods, that we’re still in crisis. This pandemic is still real and that’s why it’s so important. And we’ve been reinforcing that on a daily basis and I’ll continue to do as much or more than we have in the past in the next days and weeks and months. And as I said, we paused a lot of the next phases. We’re grateful for local elected officials and local health officials for making determinations on their on not to move forward in the next phase. And as we have in Imperial County in the announcement today, we reserve the right to toggle back if we don’t see movement at the local level.
Sophia Bollag: (01:00:53)
I wanted to also ask you about the state budget that lawmakers are slated to pass and send to you today. Your administration had initially asked for close to three billion dollars in funding to spend on Coronavirus response. The legislature has agreed to a smaller number; about 716 million. Do you think that’s going to be enough going forward, especially after the legislature goes on recess, to respond to COVID-19 in the state?
Governor Gavin Newsom: (01:01:23)
I think we will sign. I hope they pass what I believe is a responsible budget under the historically difficult circumstances that have been presented the state; 54.3 billion dollar budget shortfall. Just four months ago, we announced a six plus billion dollar projected budget surplus, which we believe likely would have been substantially greater than that based upon information that came in, in terms of revenue growth in the weeks and month after I made my January budget announcement. Under those circumstances, the ability and needs to address the needs of so many in this state and desires for people not to see cuts but actually see greater investments, our ability to draw down our reserves in a responsible way, including our safety net reserves, not just our general fund Prop 2 reserves, I believe we’re in a position where those numbers will be adequate to the task. But we have authority and we have a great spirit of partnership with legislative leaders to do what we must to keep people safe if conditions require that.
Governor Gavin Newsom: (01:02:35)
I also cannot just say enough about our partners at FEMA, who have been extraordinary, and my confidence in the incredible partnership and leadership of Speaker Nancy Pelosi and my expectation that the federal government … And I really believe this … We’ve been calling for this probably as aggressively as any state in the country … But my confidence in her leadership and the leadership in the Senate that will do the right thing in the next few months and provide even more supports for states like California to address COVID-19-related expenses. And I think that will also be additive and help with that task.
Governor Gavin Newsom: (01:03:14)
Any other questions?
Sophia Bollag: (01:03:18)
Yes. Melanie Curry of Streets Blog California has a question about farm workers who are essential workers and at high risk of exposure to COVID-19. She’s wondering if you can discuss what’s being done to protect their health, inform them of the risks and make sure that they are cared for and isolated and that the food supply chain is protected.
Governor Gavin Newsom: (01:03:39)
I was very proud to sign an executive order protecting critical essential workers and provide them sickly protection. As a state, we highlighted that. We highlighted the essential nature of that workforce, in particular our farm workers. We’ve been working with seasonal farm workers; Monterey Coast, Salinas Valley. We have a lot of seasonal workers who will be coming into the central valley, working with local elected officials and community based organizations to help with that specific kind of outreach to protect those workers. As Lance just said, because of the CMTA partnership … I couldn’t be, again, more pleased, proud of their work … We referenced a moment ago 35 million masks that we’ve distributed into the restaurant associations, the grocer associations, but also, as I referenced, the ag councils to help our agricultural workforce as well.
Governor Gavin Newsom: (01:04:35)
We’ve been targeting PPE in that space not only through the CMTA partnership but also directly. We’ve been targeting workplace protections to the farm workers and seasonal workforce that’s come in. We have a lot more work to do but we cannot thank our farm workers and those essential workers more because those are the folks that fed us in the midst of this pandemic, those stay-at-home orders, and we owe tremendous debt to that workforce.
Governor Gavin Newsom: (01:05:06)
And my gosh, if there was any moment in our nation’s history, particularly this moment with so much division, consternation, fear of the other, focus on xenophobia and nativism, to pause and reflect on what’s on our dinner table every single night and the champions and the heroes that didn’t take a day off, put their lives on the line and risked themselves as we were staying home, it’s those farm workers not just in the state of California but all over the country that deserve praise and deserve, finally, recognition. Many, yes, forgive me, that are here without documentation but were essential workers that you counted on so you can eat and feed your children. Forgive me for moralizing that, but it needs to be said. It needs to be said much more often than it’s been said.
Sophia Bollag: (01:05:56)
Final question from Doug Sovern of KCBS. As you know, New York and the Tri-State area are quarantining visitors from high-risk states. California is still not on their list, but we do exceed their criteria. Have you had any conversations with Governor Cuomo or the other governors about this? Do you agree with their decision to quarantine people from states such as ours? And since we are, by their definition, a high-risk state, why shouldn’t be reinstating shelter-in-place orders?
Governor Gavin Newsom: (01:06:26)
I’ve got to unpack that. I’ve not had any conversations with the governor you referenced on this and am unaware of what really went into their decision making because I haven’t been privy to those conversations. As it relates to what we are doing here in the state of California, we are monitoring the situation in real time. We are advising and encouraging counties like Imperial that have conditions that have presented themselves to toggle back and to reinduce their stay-at-home order. We are acknowledging as a state well over a week ago that we’re not moving forward, that we already paused the reopening of certain sectors of our economy with guidelines that were coming out. And that was demonstrably exampled in reference to Disney’s announcement a few days ago.
Governor Gavin Newsom: (01:07:19)
I also just a few moments ago reinforced my appreciation for local leadership, not least of which leadership in the city and county of San Francisco where I once served, their health department and their mayor and others. They have also made a determination based upon local conditions to pause. We make decisions in real time based on data. I’ll reinforce that we currently are monitoring 15 counties. Dr. Angel came up a moment ago to discuss some of the technical assistance we’re providing those counties. We reserve the right in real time to make adjustments. I’ve made that case over and over and over and over again over the course of many, many weeks, over the course of many, many months. We’re very grateful to the substantial increase in testing in the state of California. It’s getting us a better sense of community spread. We are concerned about the seven and 14-day trend lines, 5.3% over 14 days of a positivity rate. I am not here to judge the actions of other governors. All I can say is humbly I submit as a governor. I recognize the responsibility and the weight of decision making and I respect their determinations based upon their particular insight and their expertise.
Governor Gavin Newsom: (01:08:35)
With that, let me thank you all for your questions. Let me again encourage each and every one of you … If I haven’t been clear, let me reinforce with clarity and conviction, wear a face covering. Wear a face mask. Not only to protect yourself but to protect others and to send a message to people that think somehow we’re out of this crisis that we are not out of this crisis. We are still experiencing the first wave of this pandemic. Each county in the state of California is entrusted with deep responsibility and now, more and more accountability. We provided local decision making but now we need to be accountable to that decision making and we look forward to continue to monitor these 15 counties and work with county health officials to make sure that we’re doing everything in our power not just locally, regionally, but at a state level to keep people healthy and keep people safe.
Governor Gavin Newsom: (01:09:34)
We look forward to the determination in Imperial County and we look forward to the partnerships we’re forming throughout the state of California, including the CMTA and the partnership we came here to announce today. We thank Lance for his leadership and we thank Scott, Chris, Pat and others that invited us here, Tried Tool. And now I’m looking forward to having a tour of this remarkable California manufacturer. Have a good weekend everybody. Stay safe. Wear a mask.