Notes from Gov. Press Conference 4/27

Notes from Governor’s Press Conference on COVID-19 – April 27, 2020, 12:00pm. by CA League of Cities

** Information transcribed and truncated for audience;
notes may not fully capture all information provided **

Governor Newsom

  • Want to extend gratitude to the 40 million Californians that have bent the curve, there has been real progress in the state;
  • Want to discuss the images we saw on beaches in Southern California, specifically, Orange County over the weekend;
    • This is an example of what not to do if we’re going to make progress towards making meaningful and measurable changes to the stay at home orders;
  • Reality is we are just a few weeks away from making changes to the stay at home order;
    • However, these changes are driven by data and behavior;
    • The likelihood of having a virus free world is not likely in the coming months;
    • Until then, we need to manage and augment behavior;
  • There were a lot of people at beaches that were still practicing social distancing in places like Los Angeles, San Diego, and other parts of the state;
    • Encouraged by the Newport Beach city council and Orange County, which are considering more deliberate engagement to address these concerns;
  • California Highway Patrol (CHP) is patrolling state parks, and we will avail ourselves to more aggressive enforcement of stay at home orders if necessary;
  • Respect local decision making and the work of local officials, we understand the anxiety and social pressures to re-open;
    • Only thing that will set us back is our behavior, it slows down our ability to re-open the economy;
  • Looking forward to working with local governments, and working harder on enforcement of these stay at home orders;
  • Tomorrow, we’ll be laying out more detail on indicator number five, related to the ability for businesses, schools, and child care facilities to support physical distancing;
  • The hope and expectation is that in a number of weeks, the state will be in a position to make changes to the stay at home order;
    • The only thing that can slow down this capacity is behavior that is inconsistent with statewide guidelines;
    • Thank you to those that did act appropriately and complied with state orders;
  • Over the weekend, had robust conversations with the governors of Nevada and Colorado;
    • Both states have joined our western states coalition with Oregon and Washington;
    • This coalition allows all five states to work more closely and collaboratively, sharing best practices and data;
  • Economic recovery taskforce is having conversations about breaking down sectors of the economy and what that will look like;
    • We are inviting the press and others in a series of digital roundtables to help guide these conversations;
    • Talking about the future and what these experiences will look like going forward both in the short term and the long term;
  • Pleased that we made some progress in procuring personal protective equipment;
    • 43.7 million N95 masks have been distributed;
    • About 4 million surgical masks have been distributed;
    • Procured an additional 3 million surgical masks over the weekend;
  • Working on unemployment insurance claims;
    • $4.4 billion in unemployment insurance claims have been distributed since March 15th, an unprecedented amount of money;
    • 4.3 million checks have been cut;
    • Continue to see claims increase;
  • Continue working on Employment Development Department (EDD) call center;
    • 1,340 people have been re-deployed to support this process;
    • Added 600 additional people this last week;
    • Also, are adding texting capacity to answer questions, added a new chatbot a few days ago, and released an FAQ;
    • 15 million calls came into that call center just last week;
    • Want to reduce call volume, think adding texting capability will help;
    • Also, looking at loosening rules and regulations to reduce amount of inquiry needed;
  • Last week’s update, touched on increasing testing and testing centers with a focus on rural communities, and underserved urban centers;
    • Where we are testing is becoming more tailored to serving all Californians; and
  • Thank you to those who are doing everything you can to meet this moment, including those who have signed up for californiansforall.ca.gov.

Question and Answer:

  • Q: You mentioned working with law enforcement to begin enforcing stay at home orders. Does this mean you want to take a step towards enforcement or are you continuing your focus on education?
  • A: The predominant focus continues to be on education. We have been meeting with the Police Chiefs Association, County Sheriffs Association, and California State Association of Counties (CSAC) to see if we can work closely to keep momentum going on stay at home orders.
  • Q: You talked about increasing testing in rural towns and underserved areas. We are hearing there are challenges with testing the uninsured population. To what extent are California’s testing goals being complicated by a lack of health coverage?
  • A: Dr. Mark Ghaly, California Health & Human Services Agency Secretary: We continue to establish sites across the state that have not had enough testing, and are looking at data to target communities with disparities in outcomes with COVID-19. Early on in this response, the Governor announced that commercial health plans will support COVID-19 testing regardless of which plan an individual has. Additionally, the Department of Health Care Services is making sure that tests run on the uninsured are reimbursed. We expect to see more of these questions as testing increases. We want to ensure that if you think you need to be tested, there is no impediment to getting that done.
  • Q: A lot of people want to get back to work. What sectors of the economy are you looking at to re-opening first?
  • A: We will be discussing this in detail tomorrow. There will be meaningful changes to stay at home order in the coming weeks.
  • Q: Are you working with tech companies to automate contact tracing? Do you have an update on the state’s tracing/tracking workforce?
  • A: So far 22, counties have robust tracing capacity, we are building off that existing capacity. Also are looking to re-deploy workforce, building on existing expertise at county and state level. We are well on our way to meeting our 10,000 workforce goal. We have been doing contact tracing for years in California. Some counties have more expertise in this space than others, and we are expanding this with surge workforce. There will be more specifics on this in the coming days.
  • Q: Did the state receive the swabs from the federal government, and if so, are there other testing bottlenecks out there?
  • A: We received 90,000 swabs, and those have been distributed. We believe we will receive 260,000 more swabs this week. When they come in, we will let you know. It is not enough, but we will continue to receive more. Continue working with federal partners to procure additional supplies. You heard us mention there are issues getting transport media.
  • Q: You mentioned that Nevada and Colorado are joining the western states coalition. I am curious if that regional framework would include policing borders to stop people from coming into western states?
  • A: That is a potential, but that has not yet been part of the conversation. Tomorrow there will be more detail on the roadmap to recovery and indicator number five. The purpose of the western states coalition is to have coordination along those lines.
  • Q: Do we have information about how long the virus is infectious on surfaces?
  • A: Dr. Mark Ghaly, California Health & Human Services Agency Secretary: We are learning more and more about the transmission of the disease. Learning based on what other countries are publishing. Because we are not 100% certain of how the virus lives on surfaces and if it transmits on surfaces, we continue to push out basic practices of washing hands, avoiding touching the face, covering coughs, using face coverings, and socially distancing. As we learn more about the virus, recommendations on behavior can change.

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