Governors’s Press Release 4/28

Notes from Governor’s Press Conference on COVID-19 – April 28, 2020, 12:00pm

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

Governor Newsom

  • Two weeks ago today we released a detailed roadmap to recovery consisting of six indicators that will drive decision making;
  • Real progress has been made on each of the six indicators:
  • First, testing:
    • The state has conducted 578,000 tests so far, averaging over 20,000 tests per-day, on our way to meeting 25,000 per-day goal;
    • 80 additional locations are being set up in rural California, specifically in Sutter and Shasta County today;
    • All of these testing sites will be up and operational by Monday;
    • Training workforce of 10,000 people to do tracing and tracking is well underway;
  • Second, protecting our most vulnerable populations:
    • There are over 8,500 congregate living facilities in California;
    • Advanced a series of announcements related to the homeless population;
    • Particularly, Project Room Key in partnership with FEMA has resulted in thousands of people being off the streets;
  • Third, securing surge capacity in and out of the hospital system:
    • Working with cities and counties to provide assets as points of surge if necessary to address increases in hospitalization and increases in isolation for vulnerable populations;   
    • Procuring a workforce through the HealthCorps, who have been identified for a potential surge based on individual skills;
    • Beginning to see more personal protective equipment, but not even close to where we need to be;
    • 3.1 million masks arrived on Saturday;
    • 2.87 million masks distributed yesterday;
    • Another plane will land tomorrow with more supplies;
    • Want to provide testing gear beyond the health care space;
  • Fourth, therapeutics:
    • California is well resourced in the therapeutics space;
    • California is the birthplace of biotech;
    • There have been advances in trials, working with UC medical centers and the private sector to increase understanding of the virus;
  • Sixth, ability to reinstitute stay at home orders:
    • If we pull back and modify stay at home orders too early and there is an increase in cases, we need to be able to toggle back and adjust;
  • Today’s focus will be on the fifth indicator: The ability for businesses, schools, and child care facilities to support physical distancing; and
    • We believe we are weeks, not months, away from making meaningful modifications to this indicator, based upon data.

Dr. Sonia Y. Angell, California Department of Public Health Director and State Health Officer

  • Message of cautious optimism, based on data and understanding of where the state might be in the coming weeks and months;
  • Every decision regarding the stay at home order is a reflection on the six key indicators as a way to minimize risk;
  • The six indicators include:
    • The ability to monitor and protect our communities through testing, contact tracing, isolating, and supporting those who are positive or exposed;
    • The ability to prevent infection in people who are at risk for more severe COVID-19;
    • The ability of the hospital and health systems to handle surges;
    • The ability to develop therapeutics to meet the demand;
    • The ability for businesses, schools, and child care facilities to support physical distancing;
    • The ability to determine when to reinstitute certain measures, such as the stay-at-home orders, if necessary;
  • COVID-19 is not going away soon, but we can begin to think about modifying the way we move;
  • Modifications to the stay at home order must be guided by health risk and commitment to equity;
  • Taking responsibility is key at all levels–individuals, businesses, and government;
  • There are four stages to the resilience roadmap:
    • Stage 1: Safety and preparedness;
      • Making essential workforce environment as safe as possible;
      • This is where we are now;
      • We need to continue to build out testing, contact tracing, and hospital surge capacity;
      • Also, prepare sector-by-sector safety guidelines for an expanded workforce;
    • Stage 2: Lower risk workplaces;
      • Creating opportunity for lower risk sectors to adapt and re-open;
      • Modified school programs and childcare ready to re-open;
      • Gradually opening some lower risk workplaces with adaptations:
        • Retail, manufacturing, offices, opening more public spaces
      • Need to expand workforce safety net to ensure that workers can stay home when they are sick;
      • School and childcare facilities with adaptations:
        • Summer programs and next school year potentially starting sooner (July/August);
        • Childcare facilitates to provide more care;
        • Address learning gaps;
        • Ensure that students and staff are protected;
        • Allow for broader workforce to return to work;
    • Stage 3: Higher risk workplaces;
      • Creating opportunities for higher risk sectors to adapt and re-open;
      • Open higher risk environments with adaptations and limits on size of gatherings;
        • Personal care (hair, nail salons, gyms);
        • Entertainment venues (movie theaters, sports without live audiences);
        • In-person religious services (churches and weddings);
    • Stage 4: End of stay at home order;
      • Return to expanded workforce in highest risk workplaces;
      • Requires therapeutics;
      • Re-open highest risk workplaces with all indictors satisfied once therapeutics have been developed;
        • Concerts;
        • Convention centers;
        • Live audience sports;
  • Actions needed to go from Stage 1 to Stage 2:
    • Government actions:
      • Policies that allow people to stay home when they’re sick;
      • Guidance provided on how to reduce risk;
    • Business actions:
      • Wage replacement so workers can stay home when sick;
      • Implement adaptations to lower risk workplaces now;
      • Employees continue to work from home when possible;
    • Individual actions:
      • Safety precautions – physical distancing, face covering, etc;
      • Avoid all non-essential travel;
      • Support and care for people who are high risk;
  • When are we ready for stage two:
    • Key indicator considerations to move to stage two:
      • Hospitalization and ICU trends are stable;
      • Hospital surge capacity can meet demand;
      • Sufficient personal protective equipment supply to meet demands;
      • Sufficient testing capacity to meet demand;
      • Contact trancing capacity statewide;
    • Transition to stage two will occur through a statewide modification of the stay at home order;
  • Opportunity for regional variations:
    • During stage two, counties may choose to relax stricter local orders at their own pace;
    • Following stage two, once a statewide COVID-19 surveillance system is made possible through testing, further regional variations could be supported;
    • State will consult and collaborate closely with local governments;
  • Be part of the solution:
    • If you want to be part of the solution stay home, and practice social distancing;
    • If you are not part of an essential workforce, then stay home when you are not working;
    • We are enlisting all Californians to help inform the development of guidance for sectors across our economy; and
    • This guidance will provide a framework for how to safely re-open.

Questions and Answers:

  • Q: When can childcare providers expect more support?
  • A: As soon as we get supplies, we send them out. We are seeing increases in personal protective equipment, not just for childcare workers, but for all front line workers. There are over 300 childcare popups set up already. This can’t come soon enough. The Department of Social Services is working hard in this space. Childcare is foundational to economic development and getting people back to work.
  • Q: Can you elaborate on your plan to open schools early? When will that decision be made? California’s model seems to be an outlier compared to other models. Have you tweaked the state model, are we beyond our peak?
  • A: We want to get people back to work, and our kids have lost a lot in this process. We have been working on the needs of distance learning, but there has been a learning loss. We can just accept that, or do something about it. Starting school earlier would close that gap a little bit. Over the next few weeks, there will be more clarity about what that looks like. Dr. Mark Ghaly, California Health & Human Services Agency Secretary: We have conveyed a message of cautious optimism. We knew that these models were not going to be precise, but they would point us in the right direction. We continue to make sure we are not being misguided. We are always updating these models, and looking at data points to guide our decision making.
  • Q: How much testing are we doing at skilled nursing facilities, and how much more do we need to do to feel satisfied?
  • A: It is not enough. We are working with the testing task force on this. We have organized ourselves in this space. We are monitoring 192 skilled nursing sites that have a positive test results, along with 2,302 individuals. We know we need to do more.
  • Q: What are your thoughts about the Legislature re-opening and Assembly members expressing concern about the need for physical presence? Why is the Economic Development Department (EDD) website frozen and not working?
  • A: The Legislature is an independent branch. They can make their own decisions. We respect the decisions they make, and have confidence in their leadership. We have been aggressive on working to address the magnitude of calls that are coming in every day to the EDD call center. $926 million unemployment insurance claims were distributed on Sunday alone. Dealing with an unprecedented amount of inquiry. This is a key concern for us.

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