Apr 24, 2020
Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti COVID-19 Briefing Transcript April 24
Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti held a press conference on coronavirus on April 24. Read the full transcript here.
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Eric Garcetti: (02:45)
Good evening Los Angeles. As we end yet another week, it’s always good to take a snapshot of where we are and where we were over the last seven days. And I want to thank each one of you as you hopefully have time with your families or over a meal tonight to reflect that we look at how much has been accomplished this past week, even as we acknowledge how difficult these days are for each one of us.
Eric Garcetti: (03:10)
You know that we have done so much in this fight against COVID-19. An enemy that’s unseen, one that we didn’t expect, but one that has challenged us to rise to this occasion and to this moment. And as always we can turn to an old friend, one of the greatest Angelenos to the first person I ever gave a key to the city, our beloved Vince Scully for some words of advice. He’s been the narrator of so many moments in LA history, so many incredible moments in our lives.
Eric Garcetti: (03:41)
And he said a few weeks ago from the depths of depression, we fought our way through World War II. And if we can do that, we can certainly fight through this. And he added in the way that only Vin can add the poetry, it’s the life of the world, the ups and the downs. Vin, I’m sending you so much love and strength from our entire city. From your fall on Tuesday. I’m glad that you are arresting comfortably.
Eric Garcetti: (04:11)
The Dodgers may not be able to take the field tonight because of this battle we are in, but we should take our cue from that team that you narrated for so many years and come together as a team, as a city and on this playing field of staying at home and helping one another out, do everything we can to turn this into the most improbable of seasons. So we love you Vin, get well soon. And for all of us, let’s remember that LA spirit that Vin has ignited in us so many years.
Eric Garcetti: (04:42)
Your actions don’t just help keep our family healthy, but they help keep all of us healthy. And this city, our actions aren’t guided by sensationalist facts or opinions, we look at science, we look at medicine and we make judgment calls based on those. Science and medicine have informed everything that you hear from me each night. As I’ve said from the beginning, I’ll share with you the information I have as soon as I get it.
Eric Garcetti: (05:09)
I hope some of you have been checking out this daily data summary that we have, a great way to look at the trends, look at the numbers in even more depth than I have time to share with you each evening. So tonight’s snapshot will offer a comparison to where we were a week ago, to see where we’ve come, how many challenges we have, and what progress we have made.
Eric Garcetti: (05:29)
Today the county reported 1035 new confirmed positive COVID-19 cases here in the county, bringing our total confirmed cases to 18517, a 6% increase since yesterday. One week ago we had 567 new cases last Friday and 11391 cases. We’re doubling our cases about every nine days. And even though we saw a backlog that spiked things up a little this week, we’re staying consistent, seeing that curve beginning to bend again and doing the work that we have together to make sure we slow the rate of increase of COVID-19 infections.
Eric Garcetti: (06:09)
In the city of Los Angeles, there were 428 new cases today, bringing the city of LA total to 8450, a 5% increase since yesterday. By comparison, we had 241 cases last Friday in the city and 5983 total cases. And as we add more and more tests, we’ll see some of those numbers go up. As more labs come online, we’ll see some of the backlogs or the new numbers come in and we want more people to test and we want to have a more honest number of how many cases are out there.
Eric Garcetti: (06:41)
And so we’re seeing about a thousand cases a day this week. We again, are trending down on that bending of the curve. But the one statistic I always say that is perhaps the truest and by far the saddest is the deaths. That isn’t something that is just about the number of tests, somebody we’ve lost is somebody we have lost. And today that number was 52 Angelenos. That brings the total number of Angelenos who have fallen to 848, a 6% increase since yesterday.
Eric Garcetti: (07:15)
A week ago we had 40 new deaths and a total of 495. So deaths, like our cases, are doubling about every eight days. It’s good progress from a week ago. When I stood here a week ago I said deaths were doubling every six days, but we want to see that number continue to go up, and at some point to see the number of deaths per day come down and hopefully one day be at zero.
Eric Garcetti: (07:39)
Each loss is incalculable and I send my deepest condolences to every family that is still mourning and those that are mourning for the first time this evening. Families like the Pigees. Bishop Anthony Pigee, Sr’s life was taken by COVID-19 on April 8th. He was the same age as me, he was just 49 years old. He was a devoted husband to LaVicia, a father of seven children, but his flock was so much larger.
Eric Garcetti: (08:12)
He touched so many people in this city of angels, founding the Life of Faith Community Center in South LA, and he traveled the country to share his message of hope and humility of care and compassion. The people who knew him best say there was no ceiling to his generous spirit, making sure that members of his congregation had enough food to feed their families and to pay their rent.
Eric Garcetti: (08:37)
Accompanying single mothers to parent teacher conferences so they know they weren’t alone in bringing up their child. Helping other pastors to strengthen their ministries so that faith could take even greater hold throughout the community, even outside his own church. The things we’re doing to stop the of Coronavirus are in his memory and the memory of each fallen angel in this city and the honor of everyone that we have lost.
Eric Garcetti: (09:06)
I’ve been wanting to share some of the stories and I understand many families have kept that grief private, but I think it’s important to tell these narratives so that numbers don’t overwhelm, but that we see this is about human beings who we have loved, who we have held, who we have known, and who have touched us. Each night when I report on these figures, I think of these families of Bishop Pigee, of hundreds of lives that are cut short by this pandemic.
Eric Garcetti: (09:32)
We’re acting today to prevent more hospitalizations, we’re acting today to prevent more sickness and we’re acting today to prevent more needless deaths. And my job is not just to throw numbers at you without any context, but to turn these statistics into stories that make sense so they can be fuel for the work that you are doing to protect everyone. I want you to know that what we’re doing is working and we can tell by the infection rate. What we want is an infection rate of below one, which is the number of people that are infected by each positive COVID-19 patient. When we started this, that R0 rate, that’s a scientific term or a medical term of how many people each infected person re-infects, was probably above two, somewhere around two and a half. When we instituted the safer at home order on March 19th, the city’s infection rate was trending upward rapidly and was probably right there at about two and a half to 2.6.
Eric Garcetti: (10:38)
But because we applied physical distancing and Angelenos continue to observe the public health orders, we’ve been able to get this under control. And I’m so proud of each one of you. Today we’re fluctuating at an infection rate of between one and two. We won’t be all the way home until we’re under one, meaning that each new case infects less than one new person. But this is really good news and it’s a product of your work.
Eric Garcetti: (11:05)
So while our cases and deaths seem to be stubbornly high, the data suggest that we’re flattening the curve and just beginning to bend it back down. We don’t want to just flatten that curve, we want to see it come down and there’s some initial data showing that. Making sure that our hospitals can stay below their capacity and are not overwhelmed like we’ve seen in other places. This is critical to this mission because there will be surges throughout this year and maybe into next year.
Eric Garcetti: (11:34)
You see, as we saw in the USC study, 96% of us probably have not gotten COVID-19 yet, so we’re susceptible. And as we create the rules of the road to figure out how we can take steps towards reopening and recovering, we know there will be times we have to go back in. So as long as we can keep those numbers down, we can imagine what those days will look like and bring them to us at a sooner date.
Eric Garcetti: (11:58)
Across the county in our general emergency hospitals there are now 1205 beds available including 963 acute care beds, 242 ICU beds and an inventory of 1215 available ventilators. And even though we have seen the most cases this week, hospital admissions offer a glimmer of hope. This is the number of people being admitted for COVID-19 and we’ve seen this begin to stabilize. This is one of the most important measures and I haven’t shared it with you each evening, I’ve just started getting some of those, but it’s beginning to stabilize.
Eric Garcetti: (12:32)
It now ranges between two to 300 new people a day going into the hospital based on the number of people that are healing, the number of beds that are becoming available. This is a good number for us to stay under our capacity and I want to thank again our medical professionals and everybody working in our hospitals to ensure those patients get the care they need. When we’ve talked about flattening the curve, this is what we mean, doing everything in our power to prevent our hospitals from becoming overwhelmed, avoiding a devastating strain on our healthcare workers.
Eric Garcetti: (13:02)
… avoiding a devastating strain on our healthcare workers. And as you’ve heard me say each night, one of the other important tools in our fight against COVID-19 is aggressive testing.
Eric Garcetti: (13:11)
Last week there were 30 testing locations; seven days ago; across the city and county. This Friday, we’re up to 33 sites. And across those city– and county-run sites, last Friday we tested a total of 67,000 people. But today, we’ve now exceeded 106,000 people tested in those sites.
Eric Garcetti: (13:35)
That is an incredible mark, and we have the capacity to test 12,000 people a day. By next Friday, we estimate we will have tested 150,000 people in Los Angeles County through those centers alone. That doesn’t include other tests being done directly by many providers.
Eric Garcetti: (13:54)
Simply put, we are adding more tests than cases to our county every single day. I want to thank the amazing teams that have stood this up from the county and the city; our volunteers, our firefighters, and others that are laying down the foundation for reopening and recovery here in the Southland.
Eric Garcetti: (14:13)
In the United States, the COVID tracking project estimates there’s about 150,000 tests each day in the United States right now. That we have the capacity, in L.A. County alone, to conduct 10% of all the tests in America; though we’re just under 3% of the population of America; is really astounding testament to all of you.
Eric Garcetti: (14:36)
So take advantage of that hard work and get a test. Go to coronavirus.lacity.org/testing. That surge in testing has made it possible for us to expand testing to any Angeleno with symptoms. Second, also to roll out high-capacity testing to some of our toughest and most vulnerable populations from skid row, which we did this week; to our senior centers, which I’ll get to more.
Eric Garcetti: (15:05)
And allowing our critical workers now without symptoms to be tested this week, going into, of course, next week. These are grocery store workers and pharmacy staff. These are folks working at hospitals, key city employees that are listed in each department’s continuity of operation plans; along with shelter workers, and L.A. DOT and Metro bus drivers.
Eric Garcetti: (15:28)
You are the critical workers that are helping us get through this. Even if you don’t have symptoms, get a test. We can offer that to you, and I hope next week we’ll open that aperture to even more people who are working right now on the front lines, and in essential businesses. These critical workers should contact your employer on how to get priority testing. Check it out again at coronavirus.lacity.org/testing.
Eric Garcetti: (15:52)
We’re not stopping there. Yesterday I mentioned that more than 30% of L.A. County residents who have died from COVID-19 were residents of long-term care facilities. And with the County Department of Public Health today mandating additional health measures; I want to thank Dr. [Ferrer 00:16:09], the board of supervisors for the great order that I know is coming out as we speak and that they announced today.
Eric Garcetti: (16:14)
I want to build on that in the city of Los Angeles and enact a companion emergency order that further expands protections for residents and workers at our skilled nursing facilities. We estimate there’s about 80 of them in the city of Los Angeles.
Eric Garcetti: (16:29)
My emergency order will require every skilled nursing facility within the city of Los Angeles to provide COVID-19 diagnostic testing for its residents, its employees, and contractors every month, administered by trained personnel. We believe this is the first city in the country to mandate that monthly testing.
Eric Garcetti: (16:48)
Additionally, operators of these facilities may request testing kits from our city’s emergency operations center, if they can’t figure out how to do it on their own. Please try to make those relationships, get that testing through healthcare providers in these facilities. But we are here to help you if that falls short. You can visit coronavirus.lacity.org/testing to help get that done too.
Eric Garcetti: (17:12)
We also aim to offer them trained personnel and help you set up tests. Because we want to protect the loved ones that we have in these facilities. We want them to stay safe. And we want the workers who care for our loved ones to be safe as well.
Eric Garcetti: (17:26)
So we’ve expanded, as I mentioned, starting Monday, our mobile testing teams that can roll out whenever we hear about an infection, when we see a case in a facility; from three teams to six teams. Again, I want to thank the Los Angeles Fire Department for their help with that.
Eric Garcetti: (17:42)
While this order requires skilled nursing facilities to provide the testing, it does not compel any resident, employee, or contractors to take a test. That’s the law. But the city is committed to protecting workers who are protecting us and our loved ones, and keeping our most vulnerable folks safe that are dying disproportionately, compared to the rest of the population.
Eric Garcetti: (18:02)
If we can get this right, it is another step forward in the work that we can collectively do to see a day when part of our county and cities will reopen parts of our lives.
Eric Garcetti: (18:13)
Across the city, there are about 800,000 Angelenos who are over 60 years of age. About 80,000 of them live under the poverty line. And even those who aren’t under the poverty line quite often live on their own, can’t prepare their own meals, don’t have their own resources. We have focused from the beginning on expanding what we can do to make sure our seniors are fed.
Eric Garcetti: (18:36)
When we issued our Safer at Home Order, the number of home-bound seniors now has grown as well, and the number of those who don’t know where they will get their next meal. That’s why my team has been working so closely with our city’s Department of Aging to substantially increase the meals that we are providing our seniors.
Eric Garcetti: (18:52)
Last week I announced that my Emergency Senior Meals Program would try to double the number of seniors from 5,000; more than double; to 12,000, and ensure that 7,000 new seniors receive 10 meals a week for up to 10 weeks.
Eric Garcetti: (19:10)
Let me put that in perspective. We went from 5,000 seniors, five days a week, getting a single meal; 25,000 meals pre-crisis; to trying to get to 120,000 meals per week.
Eric Garcetti: (19:24)
This is a Herculean undertaking, but we’re up to it. And to get the job done, my team stood up a Senior Meals Program hotline staffed by more than 130 disaster service workers; your city of L.A. employees; that took on a new job and rushed in to help.
Eric Garcetti: (19:40)
So far they’ve fielded thousands of calls. And because of their work; we thought this would be maybe two or three weeks. In addition to the 5,000 seniors who now have doubled the number of meals they get, we’ve enrolled another 6,000 seniors just this week. So 11,000, close to that $12,000 goal. I’m sorry, 12,000 person goal we have gotten to in just a week. This is in addition to a wonderful program that we’ve worked with Governor Newsom on. I was so pleased to hear him announce that will help both our restaurants and home-bound seniors; the FEMA reimbursement for ordering meals from restaurants for seniors. We’re working out those details and we hope to be the first big city in California to roll that out next week. Adding even more to those 12,000 seniors who are receiving meals.
Eric Garcetti: (20:24)
Bottom line, we care about you. If you’re a senior living in a skilled nursing home facility; or whether you’re a senior just stuck at home, not sure where your meal is going to be. We are here to say we love you, we support you, we’ll feed you, and we will protect you.
Eric Garcetti: (20:40)
I want to thank every table who is our partner meal provider on the meal side, who is just doing an extraordinary job making the meals, employing people who were out of work, freezing those meals, and helping us get them delivered.
Eric Garcetti: (20:52)
I want to thank the folks who have also been working on this from my staff. My Director of Operations, Mary Hodge; my Deputy Mayor for City Services, Barbara Romero; and of course, Matt Johnson and Rick Jacobs, who are doing a great job raising funds. And my wife Amy, who has done an amazing job working on the details of this to make sure seniors in need are fed. Thank you all.
Eric Garcetti: (21:14)
If you need help, and we still have available meals; if you know a senior who needs help, make sure that they call 213-236-5226. Sorry, 213-263-5226. I believe that’s on a slide right now. It’s 263-5226. Or, just go to coronavirus.lacity.org/seniormeals; we will get you signed up.
Eric Garcetti: (21:43)
Helping our seniors and our most vulnerable Angelenos stems from our core commitment to make sure nobody is left behind, nobody is forgotten during this crisis. We have to save lives, and we have to save livelihoods. We have to do everything possible to support our families and our workers; our businesses, whose economic security hangs in the balance.
Eric Garcetti: (22:04)
Protecting our labor force and protecting our businesses are not mutually exclusive. It’s going to require creativity and cooperation. This week we saw that spirit in a new deal between SEIU, the union that represents custodial janitors, and custodial contractors and building owners, to keep thousands of janitors on the payroll.
Eric Garcetti: (22:24)
This agreement means that janitorial staff will hold onto their jobs, hold onto their income, their healthcare for themselves and for their families as part of the state’s work sharing program, which allows these employers to reduce employee hours while maintaining their benefits. And ensures that those workers are eligible for unemployment insurance to make up for lost hours.
Eric Garcetti: (22:45)
This is a victory for everyone involved; for 8,000 unionized janitors who support their families here in Los Angeles; 20,000 across California who get to keep their jobs and health insurance. And employers will keep a trained, experienced, great workforce that they know and that already do an amazing job in our office buildings and hospitals all around the Southland.
Eric Garcetti: (23:09)
The state saves public dollars because janitors will only apply for their unemployment insurance to cover lost hours, not for their full wages. So it’s really a win, win, win. Win for the budget of the state, which is in tough, tough straights; a win for these employees. And a win for their employers.
Eric Garcetti: (23:27)
Let me turn to this weekend because I know we’ve all noticed the temperature ticking up; feels like summer is here. That’s what life in L.A. is like. One day it feels like winter, and the next day it’s summer. I know what that does to us. Our primal nature is want to get out. The vast majority of Angelenos, though, will be at home this weekend.
Eric Garcetti: (23:47)
Unless you’re in a critical job, please stay at home. No matter what the temptations are, no matter how badly we want to go out, the beaches remain closed, our trails remain closed. You cannot play on playgrounds. You cannot go and have basketball or tennis or our golf courses. We need to stay at home. And we need to do this to keep everyone safe. We can’t let one weekend reverse a month of work that you have invested in.
Eric Garcetti: (24:15)
But, we know it’s going to be hot. That’s why in partnership with L.A. County, we are standing up cooling centers for many people who don’t have anyplace to go. We’re expecting some high temperatures; even though it’s under the threshold where we sometimes trigger these, we think during this crisis we should open them up no matter what.
Eric Garcetti: (24:33)
In Baldwin Hills, in Lincoln Heights, in Panorama City, in Northridge and Sherman Oaks, you can find a cooling center. If you want to know where those locations are, please go to emergency.lacity.org/heat.
Eric Garcetti: (24:48)
These centers opened today. They’ll be open tomorrow from 12 p.m. to 6 p.m. And everyone coming to them is screened before entering. You’re required to wear your face covering, so bring them; and must follow strict physical distancing orders. I’m so grateful to the City Rec and Park staff, L.A. Public Library, L.A. County staff, and others who are helping oversee these facilities.
Eric Garcetti: (25:11)
As I mentioned, these temperatures are slightly below the threshold, but this moment is not ordinary. We need to all take extraordinary actions. And I hope this is one that can keep people not only safe, but cool as well.
Eric Garcetti: (25:23)
Let me be clear: these centers are only for the people who might not be able to survive the heat wave at home, so don’t misread our abundance of caution. Don’t go outside; don’t gather with others and put lives at risk.
Eric Garcetti: (25:38)
We’re all in this together. From the beginning, we all have been. And it’s in that spirit that I want to thank the Get Together Foundation, in partnership with Rock Cellar Productions and council member John Lee; who I’ve known since we were both in seventh grade together; for producing Saturday’s All Together Now concert event to benefit the Mayor’s Fund for Los Angeles and the Angeleno Fund, getting assistance to people for their basic necessities.
Eric Garcetti: (26:03)
… and the Angeleno Fund, getting assistance to people for their basic necessities. This is going to be a great event tomorrow. Bring the support, the next round of the Angeleno cards that we’ve talked about, and we’re in the process of distributing the first round of cards that will help 45,000 Angelenos meet their basic needs. We provided already two million dollars in assistance to families this week, just over the last three days, with thousands of more families and millions of more dollars lined up for this coming week, and we know that people need more help, and so please donate. Go to Mayor’sFundLA.org/Angeleno, but tune in for this great concert. Starting at 2:00 PM Saturday, watch an incredible lineup. It includes Jeff Bridges, Smokey Robinson, Carol King, Lisa Loeb, Tim Allen, Bobcat Goldthwait and many others delivering performances that will take our minds off all the stress and all the tension of this moment and also help support a great cause. Visit that website at AllTogetherNowLA. That’s AllTogetherNowLA.org for more information to tune in and to help support a great cause.
Eric Garcetti: (27:12)
On this date in any other year we would probably see flags and marches on the streets of Los Angeles. Each year we gather to commemorate the 1.5 million lives lost in the Armenian Genocide, a fact of history that we recognize every year here in LA, but in this past year, in December, was finally recognized by the United States Congress as well, and while we could not March this year, our promise remains the same, that in the face of any denial we will speak the truth, and that we will honor those who have perished in the name of justice. I’m grateful to Armenian brothers and sisters who stayed at home today, but I want to recognize you and say that we are all with you today, and I’m grateful to everyone who is doing the same, staying indoors.
Eric Garcetti: (28:01)
I know as we head into this weekend we’re going to be tempted to embrace the warm weather, but I can’t say it enough, stay at home. Beaches remain closed, do not go to the beach. Public trails remain closed, do not go hiking. Sports and recreation facilities, fields and playgrounds, skate parks and pools are closed, and there’s a direct correlation between what you choose to do this weekend and how long this will take and how many lives we will lose, so keep that in mind and do the right thing this weekend. If you go out and hit the beaches and the trails, the Safer at Home orders will last longer, more people will be sick and more will die, but if you stay home this weekend our case numbers will drop and it will stop the spread of this virus and be able to start reopening this city sooner. So if you made plans, it’s a good time to cancel them, because by staying home you protect your neighbors, you protect your family and you protect your city. I know this is hard. I hate saying this every single day, because as the mayor of LA, and forget being mayor, just being a fourth generation Angeleno, I love this city so much. I want to be out there as badly as you do, but we know we show our love in many different ways and your sacrifices are making a difference, and when we look back on this time we will remember proudly what we all did together. So let’s keep it up by staying safe, by staying healthy and by staying at home. Have a good weekend, Los Angeles, all strength and love to you as always. I’ll see you on Monday, but before that, I’m happy to answer some questions. Thanks.
Eric Garcetti: (29:46)
First question, please.
Speaker 1: (29:49)
Our first question [inaudible 00:29:50] Claudia Peschiutta with KNX News Radio. Please, go ahead.
Eric Garcetti: (29:54)
Claudia Peschiutta: (29:55)
Hi. I caught that you are still working out the details on how the governor’s program to feed seniors through restaurants is, that’s still being worked out, but I’m wondering if you can give us an idea of, a rough idea of how many restaurants might be able to participate and how they might be chosen? And then also, if you could give us an update on the impact that COVID-19 is having on the city’s workforce?
Eric Garcetti: (30:23)
Claudia Peschiutta: (30:23)
How many cases, how many deaths, how many isolated in quarantine? Thank you.
Eric Garcetti: (30:28)
Sure. So let me start with our city workforce. We’ve had two deaths of city employees. Two for sure, unfortunately, and our heart not only breaks for those families, but for a lot of city employees who knew these folks as well, and we’ve had other deaths of city employee’s direct families as well, family members, even though they weren’t employees. We have 189 confirmed cases and 305 people currently in isolation, as much as we can count. LAFD, our fire department, has 20 cases still, 19 sworn, and one civilian, with 14 already returned to duty, and LA PD has had 75, including 59 officers and 16 civilians, and 33 of those officers have already returned to duty, and we have not had a death in either our fire or police department, which we thank God for. We’ve such terrible cases and numbers in places like New York.
Eric Garcetti: (31:33)
In terms of the meals program, we were consulted at the beginning of it, helped do some of the architecture of this with other big city mayors in California, so we just got the guidance today and we’re going to work as hard as we can to set that up in the coming days, so we don’t have the details yet of how a restaurant would sign up, but I hope that it really can allow a lot of restaurants to go to a simple place. We’re going to try to put together, if we can, a website that’ll abide by what the state requirements are, and through restaurants and other providers, like Every Table, that are working here, we’ll be able to allow seniors to sign up, get meals, and allow restaurants to know that they’re going to have a steady stream of those meals.
Eric Garcetti: (32:16)
I also hope that we can continue to put out of work people to work in the delivery of these, because many restaurants don’t have that capacity. That could be through some of our existing programs, existing companies like Postmates and Uber Eats and things like that, but also hopefully our taxi drivers and others who right now don’t have a lot of business. So we’re going to work those details out this weekend. Like I said, it’s kind of a start date now for all cities to figure that out with the state. We hope to be the first one to launch, since we are already doing that with other senior meals. So, hold tight, maybe as soon as Monday or Tuesday we’ll have the news on that. Thanks, Claudia.
Eric Garcetti: (32:51)
Speaker 1: (32:52)
The next question [inaudible 00:32:56] of Elex Michaelson with Fox 11 News. [inaudible 00:00:32:58].
Eric Garcetti: (32:58)
Elex Michaelson: (33:00)
Hi, Mayor, and happy Friday.
Eric Garcetti: (33:02)
Elex Michaelson: (33:02)
That concert sounds like a lot of fun.
Eric Garcetti: (33:04)
Elex Michaelson: (33:05)
I know though, you’re talking about the beaches, we’re seeing pictures from Orange County beaches that are just packed today despite all of what you and other leaders have been saying. Why do you think that message is not getting through, and if the beaches and other areas continue to be packed this weekend what are you going to be doing in terms of enforcement?
Eric Garcetti: (33:27)
So we’ll have folks out there, whether it’s police officers, we’ll have our mounted patrol horseback, others, with guidance. I was with the Police Chief, we’re not seeking, again, to kind of bring the heavy hand of the law down, but we’ll let people know that these spaces and places are closed. We ask people’s cooperation. It is unfortunate to see that in Orange County, and I think that it could be predicted that when we do this these places are going to be overwhelmed, and a day or two of fun leading to weeks more of us being in homes and not able to go out simply isn’t worth it.
Eric Garcetti: (34:01)
I convened a call this morning with the 88 LA City, sorry, LA County mayors that I’m a part of, and together with Mayor Robert Garcia we talked about everything from how do we march together to opening up, and was pleased to hear all the beach cities in LA County saying, “Look, we’re talking to the county, we’re speaking with public health, we’re talking to the supervisors,” but there wasn’t a single mayor who said “We should be opening that.” I know there’s been petitions and other things, but we can’t just react to petitions and signatures, we have to look at the evidence of what this causes, and there’s a few places around the country and around the world that have done that, but I’ll always tell people, it’s not until two or three weeks later that you’re going to see the spikes from these things. So people might say, a day or two, “Hey, we opened it up, it wasn’t any worse.” Remember, people’s infections spread over a period of time. People go from the beach and bring that back to their household, people will go shopping and pass that on to people who are shopping, not even knowing that they have it because they’re asymptomatic. It’s just playing with fire.
Eric Garcetti: (34:58)
And so, they’re now going there to spite our advice, because our advice has been in LA County, not only advice, but our dictate has been that these are closed, whether it’s Santa Monica, Malibu, Los Angeles. The police chief was talking to me about, he drove up even outside of LA to look at all those beaches, and sure, once in a while he’ll see one or two people, those people need to reminded and brought out, but then there’s stretches that are a mile long with nobody there, which is proof that of the tens of thousands, even hundreds of thousands of people who could be there, this is a very small minority of folks and we’ll make sure there’s a presence to remind them what the order is in LA County. That’s the purpose of this press conference and this briefing as well, to let people know, no matter how badly you want to be out there this is not a weekend that you’re allowed to go to the beach, not in LA County. Thanks.
Eric Garcetti: (35:41)
Elex Michaelson: (35:43)
Can they get arrested? Do they get fined? What happens to them if they violate it?
Eric Garcetti: (35:47)
No. People comply. We haven’t had any strong issues with people not complying once we find them, so we put a presence. We never go straight to that. If that develops and becomes a bigger problem, obviously they could be, but that is never how we lead. That’s never step one, two, three or four. Just as we have with businesses, we could have gone into businesses that were still open the first day and arrest, or fine or do all sorts of things. We didn’t, and 99% of the time we got what we needed, and that 1% of the time we had to do that with businesses, and we keep that on the table too if people refuse to abide by the law of these county and local city orders, but we haven’t had to do that cause people do obey and do respect the law when they come there.
Eric Garcetti: (36:27)
Elex Michaelson: (36:28)
Eric Garcetti: (36:30)
Speaker 1: (36:30)
The next question will be from Rosa Ordaz with KNBC Channel Four. Please, go ahead.
Eric Garcetti: (36:39)
Hi, Rosa. How are you doing?
Rosa Ordaz: (36:39)
Hello, Mayor. You’ve talked about skilled nursing homes and that you’re mandating additional health measures, and I know the National Guard has stepped in, and this is a question from my colleague Patrick Healy.
Eric Garcetti: (36:51)
Rosa Ordaz: (36:52)
The nursing homes are the hungrier tiger of the group here unfortunately, and the National Guard is stepping in. Is there a need for more resources from the National Guard to go to more nursing homes and what is the role of the National Guard?
Eric Garcetti: (37:11)
We will take help wherever we get it, and it’s great to see the National Guard helping out there, but we need trained medical professionals. Some of these homes have them, and so it’s a matter of training them, connecting them with a source to get tests, and like we’re doing with our order here in the city, just mandating that they need to do this for employees and for residents, to make tests available and to do this at least monthly. Hopefully, if we expand tests even more we could do that even more frequently, because this is really about protecting those lives, so they are coming in to help with that. We also have doctors and medical personnel from the United States naval ship Mercy leaving the ship and going out. We’ve had some patients come in, but it’s wonderful to see those trained personnel from the Navy going and helping out as well in Los Angeles and in Orange County.
Eric Garcetti: (37:56)
I spoke yesterday with the Secretary of Defense, Secretary Esper, and he said “We remain here to help.” I know that it looks like the Comfort will be leaving New York, but we have no plans to have the Mercy leave here. It’s a great asset to have, whether we need the surge beds, whether we need personnel to go out from there or whether we need to bring people in, so they’re helping with those sorts of medical tasks, taking people’s temperature, where we have testing capacity, they can help with that, and we have of course, the six surge teams starting Monday, building on the three that we already have, and now with this mandate we also do have backup for nursing homes that don’t have access, can’t figure it out, don’t know where to get tests, where we feel like we can confidently help the number that are in LA city and hopefully inspire that across LA county too. Thank you.
Rosa Ordaz: (38:46)
Thank you, sir. Appreciate it.
Eric Garcetti: (38:46)
You got it. Next question?
Speaker 1: (38:51)
Our final question of the night will be in Spanish and comes from the line of [Abel 00:38:55] [Alimio 00:38:55] with Telemundo 52. Please, go ahead.
Eric Garcetti: (38:57)
[foreign language 00:38:59], Abel.
Abel Alimio: (39:01)
[foreign language 00:13: 02]. Regarding the partnership announced today …
Speaker 2: (39:03)
[foreign language 00:39:00] regarding the partnership announced today by Governor Newsom on the Home Meals for Seniors program, do we know which type of restaurants can benefit from this partnership? Are we looking more at possibly fast food restaurants or more of the small business owned restaurants?
Eric Garcetti: (39:16)
No, we hope that it will especially those mom and pops because fast food restaurants have been able to stay alive during this. But we know for so many of the mom and pop restaurants, these are the ones who had to lay staff off, who have closed up, who aren’t getting the regular meals. And it’s a good, generous amount that FEMA is willing to reimburse. It’s 75% from FEMA. The state will kick in 19% and 6% we will have to pay for at the local level. Whether it’s the counties, cities, other local government. But this is a great model. It’s the first time FEMA has done this and I believe to that we won’t just be looking at seniors. There’s other folks that have pre-existing conditions that FEMA is willing to reimburse.
Eric Garcetti: (39:55)
So again, it’s brand new. We’re looking at how the final negotiations got worked out. But the intention is that this is for every restaurant that can build this capacity, that wants to participate in this. And we hope that that is really a shot in the arm to help so many of our small, locally owned restaurants, not just national chains. To stay alive, get through this, and provide some good help and be there for when we re-open. I’ll say that in Spanish as well. [foreign language 00:40:24]
Eric Garcetti: (40:24)
So with that I’m going to go to Spanish. Again, to everybody out there, stay home. I know it’s going to be hot. If you’re worried for your health, go to one of the cooling centers. Everybody else, I promise when we get to the beaches and the trails together, I’ll be the first one waving at you, leading the way, and celebrating. But we’ll get there sooner if we continue to stay at home and stay safe. God bless you all with that, I’m going to switch over to Spanish for my address for the evening. [foreign language 00:42:16] Get Together Now. [foreign language 00:48:11] All Together Now. [foreign language 00:48:15] (silence)