Governor’s Press Conference May 1st

Notes from Governor’s Press Conference on COVID-19 – May 1, 2020, 12:00pm

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

Governor Newsom

  • Today is May Day, international workers day, want to pause and thank essential workers;
  • Want to remind everyone of what we have been doing for essential workers;
    • Yesterday, announced a new portal for childcare;
      • There are 20,000 childcare vouchers set aside to address childcare needs of critical front line employees;
      • Right now there are 28,000 childcare slots available, those can be viewed online through the portal;
      • There will be additional money in this space from the federal government with $350 in emergency grants;
    • There has been work done on sick leave;
      • Closing the gap left by the CARES Act,  protecting smaller employers and employees;
      • Applauds Grocers Association and UCFW for contributing to the needs of these employees;
    • Also announced care for caregivers, front line health care workers, providing stipends for people working in skilled nursing facilities;
      • 36,000 out of 50,000 available stipends have already been distributed in this program;
      • 78,000 hotel room nights provided for caregivers;
      • Also doing wellness checks for skilled nursing facilities;
        • A total of 173,000 wellness checks have been done so far;
    • Launched the Health Corps, which addresses surge capacity;
      • Large potential workforce;
      • There are hundreds of people that were hired through this platform to aid skilled nursing facilities;
      • The response was overwhelming, and this could be very meaningful going forward if we see increases in community spread as we re-open the economy;
    • Have been securing personal protective equipment for front line workers;
      • 3.1 new surgical masks this last week;
      • There have been two additional flights with 5.2 additional surgical masks in last 48 hours;
  • On Monday we will talk about tracing and tracking and workforce efforts there;
    • Very close to making announcements in retail, restaurants, hospital sectors “serious modifications;”
    • Teams of people working on each type of industry with sectoral guidelines as a requirement of any meaningful re-opening;
  • The protests seen across the state are of concern and anxiety;
    • Want people to know that we are getting closer to making meaningful changes to the stay at home order;
    • Many days even not weeks;
  • Training is also important in efforts to identify the needs of workers;
    • Retraining workers in terms of opportunities for the existing workforce to meet the needs of this moment;
    • 17.8 million distributed in training grants to 42 workforce boards;
  • 3.9 million people have filed for unemployment insurance since March;
    • 340,000 people have signed up for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA);
    • 600 additional workers are being added to the Economic Development Department’s (EDD) call center;
    • Compared to this time last week, we are now 50% greater in terms of our engagement even with volume increases;
  • Earlier this week we talked about a phased approach to getting people back to work;
    • We are getting very close to making announcements around the second phase with serious modifications;
    • Understand urban and rural differentiations;
    • Working with the League of Cities and CSAC;
  • Averaging over 25,000 tests per-day, reaching our May 1st testing goal; 

Question and Answer:

  • Q: There has been a lawsuit filed by Orange County residents. What is your reaction to this? Also, hearing about sanitation for N95 masks in the bay area. What is that about?
  • A: Working to get these sanitation sites set up. We appreciate that sanitation for masks is not everyone’s first choice. That is why we have distributed over 44 million N95 masks to date. Lawsuits are not surprising, and we will see what happens.
  • Q: Obviously, you are aware of protests and lawsuits statewide. Can you make the case that your decisions are made by data and science?
  • A: We provide updates on this data every single day. We are being proactive and have optimism in our numbers, in terms of hospitalizations and ICUs. Also, have been consistently updating on our six indicators in the roadmap to recovery. A point of caution is that all of the progress made can be set back if the stay at home order is changed too quickly. We are open to argument, and we are interested in evidence.
  • Q: Rural parts of California are thankful for the state’s efforts to ramp up testing. However, there is still inadequate numbers of sites for testing in these communities. What is your message to those rural parts of California that are still experiencing testing issues?
  • A: Advancing 80 additional testing sites focused on rural California. There will be 42 additional sites up Monday. We are working to meet these needs. We did make maps of testing deserts. We need more tests, and we need a better sense of community spread. We just don’t know because there hasn’t been adequate testing.
  • Q: Looking at protesters not practicing social distancing at the capitol. Also looking at police not intervening. When should they enforce?
  • A: Can’t be involved in every protest in the state. I defer to our team at CHP, particularly at the capitol. I am not involved in permitting decisions. I am worried about public health and safety. Protesters, take care of yourself, practice physical distancing, you don’t want to contract this disease.
  • Q: Cities across the state are struggling financially. Are you looking to provide money to cities? The League of Cities is advocating for money from the CARES Act.
  • A: We were the first state to formally request $1 trillion from Congress to support states, cities, and counties across the country. Wrote to Speaker Pelosi about this, and you saw her similarly express that that funding is needed. We have been aggressive in that space. We are in the process of doing a may revise. We are looking at a deficit. We are working with cities and counties, but we are not in a position to provide for the needs of all cities or counties in California without federal support.
  • Q: Enforcement for Orange County beaches? Some law enforcement are allowing people on the beaches despite your announcement yesterday.

A: We have wonderful partnerships with law enforcement. Only thing that can hold us back from re-opening the economy is the spread of the virus caused by people not practicing social or physical distancing.

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