May 18, 2020
Governor Gavin Newsom May 18 California COVID-19 Briefing Transcript
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Governor Gavin Newsom: (00:00)
30 up here in Northern California, in Napa County at Mustard’s restaurant. We are here to update you, as we do on a daily basis, as it relates to the current status of those hospitalized, those in ICUs, number of deaths, and the like related to COVID-19, but also to make some announcements in relationship to some additional modifications to our stay at home order. Let me contextualize, as I stand here today, where we are in this state, as it relates to the broader trend lines, and then begin to unpack where I believe we will be going over the course of the next week too. And then of course, over the course of many, many months ahead until we have immunity, until we have a vaccine. We have 24 counties currently in the state of California that have self-attested, certified with containment plans, with protection plans, that we have put online as regional variants to the statewide stay at home order. 24 counties have self-attested.
Governor Gavin Newsom: (01:12)
We announced the self-attestation process on May 7th. Many counties began the process of organizing, and we saw the first number of counties, Butte County and others in Northern California, begin that process with the concurrence and the technical assistance and counsel of our state health directors. They were able to self-attest on the basis of a number of factors that were unique to their county and their region. It was a recognition in California, that’s larger in population than 21 states combined, that one size does not fit all. None of us naive about that. We recognize the conditions across the state are unique and distinctive depending where you are across the state. As a consequence, the modifications that we made statewide, we allowed for further modification into what we refer to as stage two in these 24 counties. We have been working very collaboratively and very closely with their health directors and we have put those self attestations up online at our COVID19.ca.gov website. We have allowed, through mapping technology, the simple ability for you and others not only living in the community, but even outside the committee to check-in, to see how those counties are doing against their commitments, against their self-certification in terms of their capacity to test, to trace, to track, isolate, to provide protection for the most vulnerable in their community, be it skilled nursing facilities, other congregate facilities, their capacity to deal with hospital surge, and the like. Today, we want to update you not only on that progress, but also update you on the conversations we’ve been having with other counties throughout the state of California and their health leaders. We’ve been tracking, over the course of the last 14 days, by seeing a decline in hospitalizations by seven and a half percent, 7.5% decline over a 14- day period in hospitalization statewide. We have seen an 8.7% decline in the number of ICU patients over a 14-day period.
Governor Gavin Newsom: (03:41)
The last few weeks, we’ve also seen an unprecedented number of masks be distributed. PPE throughout the state of California. Tens of millions of masks. Now, we’ve been able to distribute just in the last number of weeks since we’ve now moved into this next phase, phase two, of our stay at home order. All of these things matter. The PPE is foundational to furthering our efforts to make meaningful modifications to the state home order. We were able, I mentioned this last Friday, to distribute some 11 million masks just on Friday to critical sectors of our economy, our farm workers, our grocery stores, to in-home support service workers, folks that are on the front lines across the spectrum, including childcare workers and the department of education. More and more masks come in. In fact, the inventory this morning was 56.1 million masks that we now have in our possession. We were able to distribute some 46.1 million of those procedure masks.
Governor Gavin Newsom: (04:55)
This is an addition to the 45.5 million N95 masks that we’ve been able to distribute. It’s a long way of saying this. The PPE is coming in and it’s coming in and it’s going out as quickly as we can get it out. It’s going out into critical sectors of our economy. So, as we move to modify our stay at home order, having appropriate levels of PPE is foundational in terms of advancing that cause. We also are significantly advancing the cause of increasing our testing capacity in the state of California. 1.3 million tests have been conducted to date in the state of California. 57,000 tests just in the last 24 hours.
Governor Gavin Newsom: (07:06)
Partnership with UCSF and UCLA. That cohort is being distributed in real-time. Many are already in counties that have been trained through this partnership with the UCs, but that cohort now is being replaced with an additional 300 that are entering into that training. So, we’re seeing that increase in terms of the capacity to have more tracers and trackers. We’re seeing that happen in real-time and we’re seeing the spread of that capacity in a very meaningful way. We are also looking to identify hundreds and hundreds of others in that training capacity, as well as ultimately meeting that 10,000 goal in terms of the total numbers that we’ll be advancing in the very near term. So, testing is improving. Tracing. We are training and deploying our tracers. We’re getting PPE up and we’re getting it out, and we are seeing a significant steady rate of decline over a long period of time in the number of people hospitalized and in our ICUs. All of those very good trend lines.
Governor Gavin Newsom: (08:29)
Thus, the reason we’re here today, not just to talk about the past and those 24 counties that have self-attested, but to talk about additional counties that we believe are in a position with more prescriptive framework and guidelines to go into a phase two even farther. So, today we want folks to know that in our additional modifications, we are moving forward to allow some of the larger counties to continue to make progress deeper into phase two and to do so effective immediately, but on their own pace. I say effective immediately, meaning the guidelines are out there, meaning the processes are in place, but they can go at their own pace. We estimate plus or minus, again, it’s a dynamic number, roughly 53 of the 58 counties would be eligible to move into this phase. Again, not everyone will move into this phase and that eligibility is conditioned on the criteria that we’re putting out.
Governor Gavin Newsom: (09:43)
You’ll hear from Dr. Ghaly in a moment. He’ll talk more specifically about that criteria. The criteria though is foundational in this respect. We’re really starting to focus in on the hotspots within counties, particularly in and around our skilled nursing facilities and those areas within the counties that remain the most vulnerable and challenging in terms of protecting people and protecting the spread of this virus. So we, in this next phase, are looking to re-double the efforts around those hotspots within those counties. As well, we are looking to advance some guidelines related to total hospitalizations. No greater than 5% increase over a seven-day period and make sure that the tracing capacity is adequate to meet at least the needs of 15 tracers per 100,000 population, continue to make sure that the positivity rate, and this is a rate that I’ve brought up on few occasions in the past, tracks at less than 8%.
Governor Gavin Newsom: (10:56)
What I mean, if you haven’t been following the reference to positivity rates, that’s the simple percentage of people we’re testing that are tested positive. So, as an example, yesterday, we were able to test over 57,000 individuals. There were 1,591 positive tests. So, you have the denominator, the 57000+, and then you have the number of tests you come up with a positivity rate, and that’s the rate that we are tracking more and more closely as the testing significantly increases. The positivity rate becomes more important than the total number of positives in many respects. So, that rate is now spelled out in the attestations as we move forward as a rate that we are tracking very, very closely. Again, we want to see that rate below 8% and we want to make sure people are testing because there was some … well, I won’t get into too many details, but it’s not just the total tests because a lot of counties may pull back on the testing because they don’t want to see positives.
Governor Gavin Newsom: (12:04)
Again, it’s the rate of positives that is really the focus from our health perspective. So, that’s the framework today. Encouraging progress as we move forward deeper into phase two in the state. And I should just note that we are also looking forward in the next few weeks at a number of significant milestones that are worthy of highlighting. We expect, if we hold the rate of transmissions, we hold a positivity rate down, we continue to do justice to the hospitalization and ICU numbers, that we’ll be making announcements statewide, not just with the regional variances that would allow for retail, not just to be picked up, but in-store retail to be loosened up. In addition to that-
Governor Gavin Newsom: (13:03)
… for retail to be loosened up. In addition to that sporting events, pro sports in that first a week or so of June without spectators and modifications, and very prescriptive conditions also could begin to move forward. And a number of other sectors of our economy will open up again, if we hold these trend lines in the next number of weeks, and that includes, for example, getting a haircut, which is very meaningful. And that could be done on a regional variance, but it will be able to be advanced we believe in the next few weeks even statewide.
Governor Gavin Newsom: (13:44)
And so I want to just go back to that, because I know it’s important one, the hair issues for some, and getting a haircut. The regional variances that we’re announcing today will allow for modifications in that space statewide, we see that these trendlines hold within a couple of weeks to broaden with meaningful modification, that particular guideline and order statewide.
Governor Gavin Newsom: (14:11)
So I been, well, I continue down this path, but I’m sitting here just seven feet away from our doctor, Dr. Galley, who’s been working overtime with the regions on all of these guidelines and these modifications. And I’d be remiss if I didn’t ask him to the mic where he can talk more specifically about where we are and where we’re going into this next stage.
Dr. Galley: (14:45)
Thank you, Governor. It’s a pleasure to be here today to discuss the change to our County variants that the Governor began to outline for us. I want to begin by thanking all of the people, not just at the state level, but across the state, local governments, public health officers throughout the state, health directors, board members and boards of supervisors who really came together over the past many days to listen and give feedback on the criteria that this state is announcing today. And just a deep thanks to all the state employees who have made this possible and have worked over time to get the details right.
Dr. Galley: (15:29)
So as the Governor said, today’s criteria that we’re announcing for eligibility to attest for a County variance. And that is to move through stage two at a pace that is faster than where the state is. Focus on three distinct things.
Dr. Galley: (15:47)
First, the data on the one hand. So those two data points are hospitalizations looking at no greater than 5% increase in hospitalizations over the past days on average. And for some counties that have very few hospitalizations already, we’re looking at no more than 20 people hospitalized with COVID-19 throughout your County in any one of the last 14 days. And that’s to account for the fact that some counties have very few hospitalizations and even the addition of one or two people hospitalized with COVID-19 would represent a quite large percentage increase. So it’s meeting that first metric around hospitalizations.
Dr. Galley: (16:31)
The second one is looking at having no more than 25 individuals diagnosed with COVID-19 per 100,000 residents in your County over the past 14 days. It is that one or as the Governor mentioned, our test positivity rate of less than 8%. And I’m glad the Governor went through some description of that test positivity rate because it is what we are more and more focused on as testing increases. We want to look not just that you have a few number of absolute cases, but that your average number of people who test positive as you do 100 tests, for example, having fewer than eight positives means both that we understand the transmission of COVID-19 in your community. But then we also have an understanding of the level of testing that is happening in the community as well.
Dr. Galley: (17:25)
So together meeting the hospitalization metric of no more than 5% increase on average in the last seven days. And one of the other two, the 25 per 100,000 in the past 14 days of cases or the less than 8% test positivity. So that is on the data and showing that counties are both doing what it takes to demonstrate on the testing side stability, as well as stable hospitalization numbers.
Dr. Galley: (17:58)
On the preparedness side, we are asking counties to be able to attest to a number of things. Many of the things remain. Many of those items are the same as in the announcement on May 7th, where counties had to attest to having testing capacity of at least 1.5 tests per 1000 people per day, or having 15 individuals in their County trained and doing contact tracing per 100,000 residents in their account.
Dr. Galley: (18:28)
This second opportunity to meet criteria for our County variants are requiring that counties begin to work closer with the skilled nursing facilities in their County. So not only making weekly communication with each of those facilities, but bringing them together, elevating best practices on not just protecting residents, but also protecting the workforce in the facilities and having strategies to address challenges like staffing shortages or PPE shortages in those facilities. So working with not just the state leadership, but also the County leadership to partner with our skilled nursing facilities to work and protect a very vulnerable population in our state.
Dr. Galley: (19:21)
Additionally, we are asking counties to attest that they have ability to protect their essential workforce. We know that protecting our grocery store workers or those who work on public transportation and many, many others, including those in the health field need to have the protection in terms of protective equipment and testing and requiring that counties can demonstrate the ability to work with all of those partners on protecting essential workers is very, very important.
Dr. Galley: (19:51)
In addition, we are asking counties to work with their local hospital coalitions or hospitals themselves to demonstrate the ability to maintain a surge capacity adequate, to respond to the needs of potentially a growing number of individuals who need care for COVID-19. That requirement, we did a great job over the last many weeks and months, building up our surge capacity across the state. Now we need to make sure that that’s maintained as counties begin to increase the number of sectors open throughout their County.
Dr. Galley: (20:27)
The last element of these criteria that is very essential is that we work and have counties demonstrate the ability to pull back if they need to. If we see a sudden number of surge in the hospitalizations or a number of increase in cases throughout a County, we want to make sure that the counties have thoughtful plans to be able to potentially re-institute parts of the Stay At Home Orders, that we are loosening our relaxing today and be prepared to meet the needs of the residents in their counties to make sure that we can serve their clinical needs as quickly and adequately as possible. And that if we need to reduce movement within a County for a period of time to reduce the number of cases that we’re seeing, that we have the strategies and ability to do that. So as the state, we are certainly looking forward to working with our County partners to make sure that this can be done as safe as possible.
Dr. Galley: (21:31)
And especially as we move into additional sectors, being available with the guidelines posted from the state to open up, we also want to make sure that we are getting continuing to receive data on a very regular basis. And on our state COVID-19 website, we will have links to County specific data that shows each County is doing as it relates to cases and hospitalizations and testing numbers, so that we can keep you informed on your local conditions and conditions throughout the state.
Dr. Galley: (22:08)
So we continue to move forward as a state on the one hand, but recognizing that the state is a very big state, that different regions of the state have experienced COVID-19 in different ways. Different counties have prepared differently over time and acknowledging that County leaders and County health officers have a very strong and historical responsibility for guiding their counties. And with the support of the state, we are confident that we can begin to do this in a safe and modulating way, that we can come back to you in the next many weeks with additional sectors and the guidelines for those sectors to open back up and all the meanwhile watching closely the data.
Dr. Galley: (23:00)
So if we have to make any other changes to reinstate some of those Stay At Home Orders or other modifications, that we will be able to do that in strong partnership with our local partners and local leaders. So with that, I’ll turn it back to the Governor.
Governor Gavin Newsom: (23:20)
Thank you, Doctor. Bottom line is people can go at their own pace and we are empowering our local health directors and County officials that understand their local communities and conditions better than any of us. The same time we need to hold all of ourselves to account, transparency, real accountability in terms of the application and the implementation of these rules and regulations. We’ve been saying this now for many, many weeks, this is a dynamic period that we’re in. It’s an internum period. It’s not an ideological one, meaning we are not locked in to pre suppose anything. We are open argument. We’re interested in evidence and we are engaged in two way conversations all up and down the state. I know this has been frustrating for many people. They want to see us move more quickly. Others very concerned that in some respects they feel maybe we’re moving a little too quickly.
Governor Gavin Newsom: (24:21)
And as a respect, as I express the localism frame, let me also respect that decision making at the local level. The Bay Area is in a different position than some parts of the state. LA County is in a different position than other parts of the state. They can move at their own pace based upon their own local conditions. But now we are broadening the pace to which people can enter in to phase two and begin the process of making subsequent decisions to move more broadly into other sectors of our society.
Governor Gavin Newsom: (24:58)
I should note that we are also working with faith based leaders, and I want to just express my deep admiration to the faith community and the need and desire to know when their congregates could start. Once again, coming back to the pews, coming back together, I will note that the order that we put out today will allow for counseling services and will allow for churches to meet more broadly as opposites, but for the congregates, that’s a few weeks away, not months, weeks if everything holds. And so I just want people to know that we are encouraged by the progress. And the only thing that will set us back is that we move too quickly, no longer practice the social distancing, the physical distancing that got us so far together. And it is incumbent upon all of us to listen to our local health directors to take seriously these statewide orders. Despite again, I recognize-
Governor Gavin Newsom: (26:03)
… the statewide orders. Despite, again, I recognize the cabin fever and the need and desire so many people have to quote, unquote, get back to work. But there would be no greater mistake than us dream of regretting that we moved too quickly and there was a setback, that set back not only our local community, but more broadly the entire state of California. So I just want to encourage people to continue to hold the line, continue to move as we are moving deliberatively in a phased approach. We’re looking always at those indicators as our guidance and the data and public health as the prerequisite to moving forward to more meaningful modifications of our stay-at-home order. But this is an important period of time. We’re moving into important a few weeks ahead of us and we’re going to start seeing a lot more activity. Let’s just make sure we do it thoughtfully and very, very strategically.
Governor Gavin Newsom: (27:03)
To that end, I want to just give you update in terms of what guides our thoughts and our strategies and once again, those are the issues that I bring up on a daily basis. Hospitalizations and ICUs, I gave you the trend line over the last two weeks in those categories, seven and a half percent decline in hospitalizations over two week period, eight point seven percent in ICUs over a two week period. Both the hospitalization rate and the ICU rates over the last 24 hours went up modestly, point four percent and point seven percent respectfully. It gives you a sense again, stability, modest decline, but with those tracks over the course of the last few weeks and the capacity within our hospital system to address the surge and amount of PPE that we’re providing, including the number of tests that identified 1,591 additional positives. We feel we are well positioned to move into this next phase more robustly than we have to date.
Governor Gavin Newsom: (28:10)
Accordingly, the number that is the most tragic and most difficult on a daily basis to express, the number of lives lost. Tragically, we lost 41 lives over the last 24 hours in the state of California. Just a reminder of the deadliness of this disease, the spread of this disease, the virulence of this disease, the transmissibility of this disease. We cannot impress upon folks more that this disease has not gone away. It’s still ubiquitous. It’s still invisible, but it’s made very visible in the lives of those that have been torn asunder because of loss of a loved one and a family member. And so, I again express our condolences and our heart goes out to each and every one of those families that once again lost a loved one to the deadliness of this virus. I want to just before I open it up to questions, also, just remind all of you that if you choose or wish to be tested, we encourage that, the extent that you fall into a category of concern, you have symptoms, you’re asymptomatic but you’re concerned about family members of a possible spread.
Governor Gavin Newsom: (29:23)
The testing, again, capacity is increasing significantly in the state. Over 57,000 again, tests that were done in the last 24 hour period, over one point three million to date. Not where we need to be, but we are moving a pace on the goals that we set forth over a month ago when we completely did a reset on our testing capacity. But part of that reset was targeting our testing as well. And that’s why I want to encourage you to go to the COVID19.ca.gov website, COVID19.ca.gov website, and type in your zip code, your address, to determine the closest testing site in your community. More sites are going up on a weekly basis, more and more rural sites and inner city sites. OptumServe, we announced the expansion of that partnership from 80 sites to additional six sites, 86, total up in Mendocino and Lake as examples. Again, these are starting to roll out and we encourage you to make a reservation and avail yourself to free testing, free testing across the state of California.
Governor Gavin Newsom: (30:38)
Before you go out of pocket on a test, go to that COVID19.ca.gov website and avail yourself to these community test sites and these other test sites where that cost should not be a factor. With that, we’re happy to factor any of the questions and concerns that are raised today and now happy to answer any questions.
Doug Sovern: (31:03)
Hi, Governor, I’m Doug Sovern, political reporter at KCBS Radio in San Francisco. And I’m the pool reporter today asking questions on behalf of my colleagues around the state and I suppose the nation too. I just want to ask, first of all, so you said you think 53 of the 58 counties would qualify under these relaxed restrictions to move forward with the variance, which five do you think wouldn’t, might not-
Governor Gavin Newsom: (31:24)
That’s a rough estimate and we’ll provide that information. But I want again, caution what I said and I’ll repeat it, it’s an opportunity, plus or minus because of the dynamic nature of this virus. As I stand here today, roughly 53 counties would be eligible, but as we move forward, that may not be the case depending on trend lines. It’s not surprising but there are concerns. As an example, in Tulare County, the skilled nursing facilities, in Kings County related to meat packing, issues that we’re still addressing, in L.A. County more broadly. And again, I want to reinforce that just because we’re creating the capacity and the availability to move into phase two, doesn’t mean that every county is ready. L.A. County, as an example, I imagine will be cautious in that respect. And again, I want to just extend my deep gratitude and appreciation for their local leadership, both at a county level and a city level, in particular for their stewardship during this difficult process.
Doug Sovern: (32:37)
And given these new parameters, it still leaves us in a sort of patchwork situation where some counties have one thing, some have another, some have to apply. Why not move forward this with these new restrictions at a statewide level and maybe make exemptions-
Governor Gavin Newsom: (32:51)
Because we’re many parts, and every single part of the state of California is unique and distinctive. I think someone estimated size of the state is 150 times larger than the smallest state in this country. I began my comments today by mentioning that we are larger than 21 state’s populations plus the District of Columbia combined. And as a consequence of that, the simple land mass and the approximate nature of density in terms of urban settings versus rural settings, the capacity to physically distance, social distance of being distinctive on the basis of different regions. The fundamental criteria of local conditions that drive those decisions, I think make it almost essential that we move into this on a regional basis.
Governor Gavin Newsom: (33:41)
And that’s why many, many weeks ago we announced our intention to do that on May 7th and 24 counties now have self-attested to have containment plans and protection plans in place. And with this modification more, we’re able to do the same based upon again, local conditions.
Doug Sovern: (34:02)
Taryn Luna, the Los Angeles Times would like to know while this was happening, more businesses opening across the state each day, the number of infections is at nearly 80,000 up from 50,000 on May 1st, according to state numbers. We still don’t have a vaccine or herd immunity and testing is still limited in some areas. What is fundamentally changed about the spread of the virus that makes you believe it is safe now to ease these restrictions?
Governor Gavin Newsom: (34:24)
Well, nothing’s fundamentally changed except the data continues to be stable and continues to look favorable from ICU perspective, in a hospitalization perspective. I cannot impress upon [inaudible 00:34:39] more and you and others, how often it is the case that we update you on the hospitalization, the ICU rates, because that is a particular focus of attention in terms of our capacity to meet surge and needs in this state. I mentioned and I’ll repeat it, that we have seen a 14 day trend line down in hospitalizations, a 14 day trend line down in the number of ICU patients. We are seeing our positive rate with substantial increase. Remember, it was a little over a month ago, we were averaging 2,000 tests a day. I mentioned just yesterday it wasn’t the higher end, but nonetheless, we tested over 57,000 people in just one day. The positivity rate in terms of the total number of people infected continues to be in that range of stable. I mentioned on May 7th, that we will be looking on a daily basis at the stability of those numbers across the spectrum and moreover our capacity to meet needs.
Governor Gavin Newsom: (35:49)
Remember, the whole purpose of the state home order was to prepare and to respond in the worst case scenario. The preparation came in many different shapes, alternative care facilities, the capacity to procure enough PPE, capacity to test, and then begin the process of tracing and tracking. Well, what’s changed in the last few weeks. Testing has substantially increased, amount of PPE has substantially increased, the number of hospitalizations as decreased, the number ICU patients has decreased. Our capacity to meet surge has been, I think, advanced and moreover, we now have and this is fundamental in terms of clarification of the question. We now have new requirements for these new counties that require real containment strategies, as Dr. Ghaly said around skilled nursing facilities, to really hone in on the most concern that we have, epidemiologically speaking in terms of the spread of this virus. And so stronger criteria combined with those broader trend lines, a lot has changed since May 7th.
Doug Sovern: (37:04)
Rachel Becker with CalMatters. You mentioned that now instead of a raw number of how many positive tests, it’s now a positivity rate and that some counties are avoiding testing in order to keep their case count down, which counties are those?
Governor Gavin Newsom: (37:19)
Well, I said that we are looking both at the total number of positives and we’re looking at the positivity rate. We’re introducing, have been for a few weeks, the positivity rate as a point of consideration, we are not excluding the total number from consideration. I, again, every single day at noon announced the total number of positive cases. But we are making the point, that’s an important point as we exponentially increase, again from 2,000 to now averaging over 40,000 a day, 57,000 yesterday, tests that it’s good to see the [inaudible 00:37:57] number of positive tests still within a range, even though the total number, the nominator tests is substantially increased. So positivity rate is an important one. There were some conversation, there was some anxiety with health officials around some communities that may not be willing to test based on the old criteria. And then based upon those conversations with our health professionals, our health directors, Dr. Ghaly and his team in particular, the positivity rates became then a more essential area of focus. And that’s where we are landing in terms of the new guidelines that he announced just a moment ago.
Doug Sovern: (38:40)
Quite a few people are asking about haircuts. I guess we’re all getting a bit shaggy, but we’ll credit Kathleen [inaudible 00:38:46] with AP for this. She would like to know, can you be more specific on moving further in phase two into shopping in stores and getting haircuts? Can counties that get the variances under the new rules do that now, or is that still a few weeks away, there’ll be a later announcement.
Governor Gavin Newsom: (39:00)
We’re within a window of a few weeks. We’ll be putting-
Governor Gavin Newsom: (39:03)
We’re within a window of a few weeks. We will be putting out guidelines in the space for counties that can self-attest in the next week or so. And then within a few weeks, more broadly statewide, those guidelines will be forthcoming.
Speaker 1: (39:18)
And there’s also quite a few about houses of worship. People would like to know about religious services, how that will be handled under the new variances.
Governor Gavin Newsom: (39:25)
Yeah. As I mentioned a moment ago, and I’ll take the opportunity to reinforce it yet again, we are within a few weeks of some meaningful modifications as it relates to houses of worship. Working with the faith-based community today we made some progress on counseling services and clarifying counseling as an appropriate advancement under the stay at home order for houses of worship, as well as allowing clergy to congregate together as you would otherwise with these office guidelines that have been modified. But as it relates to congregants coming back into the pews we are a few weeks away, but we are working overtime with leaders in the community to come up with those guidelines and restore that capacity, and we hope in the very, very near future.
Speaker 1: (40:18)
Carla Marinucci of Politico points out that increasing studies show that the outdoors is healthier for Californians and presents less risk of infections. She’d like to know, when will you open up state parks’ parking lots, since many people are being forced to park along highways? This virtually bars access for disabled and the elderly. Isn’t it time to open up state park parking lots so people aren’t parking on the streets?
Governor Gavin Newsom: (40:37)
There’s 27 proof points that that was done in the last few days.
Speaker 1: (40:42)
There you go. Also, let me get to these questions here. I’m sorry. There are some budget questions regarding prop 13. Are you going to support the split roll initiative to modify prop 13?
Governor Gavin Newsom: (40:56)
I was clear in my budget presentation last week that we are looking to engage the legislature, constituents all across the state, the people of the state of California, and make a determination as to what we will support and what we can do together to advance our collective cause as a state on the November ballot. We’re not wedded to any ideas at this moment, but all things are on the table. It’s one of many issues that are likely to be presented to the voters in November. Each issue connects to other issues. All of these things, we need to work together in collaborative spirit with the legislature and again, with the people of the state of California to make the best assessment of what’s achievable, what’s reasonable, what’s possible, and ultimately what would be supported by the people of the state.
Speaker 1: (41:48)
Another one asked by multiple people. You told Jake Tapper yesterday that if California doesn’t get the federal relief it needs for coronavirus, fire and police would be the first to get cut. We know that’s to counties and cities, but among the questions asked is, why wouldn’t sending cash to undocumented workers, paying for homeless to stay in hotel rooms, etc., be cut before first responders?
Governor Gavin Newsom: (42:08)
The magnitude of those budgets specifically as relates to providing support for people regardless of their immigration status, many that have been perhaps the most essential of essential service providers as it relates to our food delivery in this state, that have kept this country moving, that’s diminimous compared to the costs ultimately associated with personnel. As a former county mayor, I know firsthand the pain of those budget cuts in ’08, ’09, ’10, ’11, ’12. And those were felt at the county and local level disproportionately. And the reality is, those that know a little bit about the local government responsibilities know that police and fire disproportionately are responsibility of local government. The vast majority of those budgets are salaries and personnel related.
Governor Gavin Newsom: (43:02)
And this pressure that will be borne on those county budgets, the magnitude is such that one should not be surprised that police officers and firefighters, other essential workers, will likely be those in line to be cut. No one should be surprised by that. But I am not here by any stretch of imagination to suggest or even to allow the implication that somehow we’re pitting one group against another. The magnitude of these budgets dominantly is personnel at the county and city levels.
Speaker 1: (43:36)
Final question. You just mentioned that sports could possibly reopen in June with no fans. Could you clarify what that process would be, what the timetable you’re looking at, and what do you envision?
Governor Gavin Newsom: (43:47)
Well, that’s deep conditions, deep modifications, deep stipulations in terms of protecting not only the players, but more broadly their support staff. Again, we’re not talking about fans in this respect. We’re just talking about the opportunity to begin to work with county health directors and work with the state to begin the process of organizing around what that may or may not look like. And so we’ve been moving in that direction. As I noted on at least two or three occasions very publicly, we’ve been talking with league representatives from all the major league sports and working with our collaborative through the Western Governors Association and others, comparing and contrasting best practices, what’s happening in a number of other states that have professional sports in their states. And we are looking to advance those conversations now, not just more publicly, but advance them at a county level, working with county health officials to put out those guidelines on what that may or may not look like.
Governor Gavin Newsom: (44:58)
Well, with that I want to just thank everybody for their time and attention. I want to thank Dr. Galley and his team for all their hard work over the course of the last few weeks working with county health officials in parts of the state, large and small, to come up with these new guidelines, this new attestation process, this new self-certification process that we think will continue to provide for meaningful modifications that will ultimately manifest in more people getting back to work, more people having more opportunities to go to places like Mustard’s Grill up here in Napa County. And I just want to thank all the business leaders, including the leadership and ownership here at Mustard’s. There’s a reason we’re here, and that’s the spirit of collaboration and cooperation. It’s just one of many businesses, hundreds of thousands of businesses across the state, that will benefit from the announcement here today.
Governor Gavin Newsom: (45:53)
And I can’t impress upon all of us watching more, as we move into this phase, this notion of responsibility is, I think, foundational. Responsibility across the spectrum. Individual responsibility to protect yourself and to protect your loved ones and your community, business responsibility to protect their employees and to make sure that those customers are being protected at the same time. For all of us in government level, governmental level, local, regional, state, and federal to support businesses as well as they go through this devastating and trying time, to make sure that they have the support that they deserve and they need across the spectrum.
Governor Gavin Newsom: (46:41)
All of us have to do more and more of our own work to advance the collective effort to move into a new phase and ultimately move through this crisis head on, meeting the moment as we have in this state. Continue do what you can, listen to those local health directors, wear face coverings when you can’t otherwise practice physical distancing, and do your best to do more and do better, to reach out to your loved ones as we reach out to you and others to just, again, express gratitude and thanks for all the work you’ve done today to get us to this point here in the state of California. Take care, everybody. As we reach out to you and others to just, again, express gratitude and thanks for all the work you’ve done to date to get us to this point here in the state of California. Take care, everybody.