Governors Press Conference May 7th

Notes from Governor’s Press Conference on COVID-19 – May 7, 2020, 12:00pm

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

Notes are from Ca League of Cities

Governor Newsom

  • The Department of Finance put out a memo in anticipation of the May revise;
    • We are projecting tens of millions in shortfalls related to COVID-19;
  • Not surprising, have been foreshadowing this for many weeks and months as this is a global pandemic;
  • Every state will be struggling with unprecedented shortfalls, California is no different, what is different for us is that we are the fifth largest economy in the world;
    • Gives you a sense of the scope and scale of this state;
  • What may not get as much attention, but deserves recognition is we are better positioned to deal with this shortfall than we have been in the past;
    • We are in a better position than we were in 2008 due to our fiscal management;
    • We will get through this, it will be challenging, but we will get through it by working together;
  • Confident we will be able to continue to protect vulnerable populations;
  • This optimism is banked on more federal support;
    • Have seen record unemployment numbers just since March 15th;
    • The budget is manageable if the federal government helps to support states like ours;
    • It is incumbent on our federal partners to support states in this crisis;
    • The federal government needs to recognize this because our firefighters, nurses, and front line employees are the real victims at this moment;
  • This moment requires historic partnership between states and the federal government;
  • Sadly the enormity of this moment calls for more support not just for states but for cities and counties that are on the front lines of this pandemic;
    • It is cities and counties who hire local heroes;
    • City and county employees will be impacted, particularly counties, in profound ways;
  • We need the federal government to do more to help us through this moment;
    • We will come back stronger and more vibrant and resilient than ever;
    • We are reimagining the future in real-time;
  • It is not a partisan issue, it is about human beings needing government to do more than they ever have in our lifetimes, and we are capable of meeting that moment together;
  • Today we are releasing guidelines to move into phase two of our re-opening of the economy;
    • On Tuesday, we will release details on what we are looking for from counties that wish to go beyond the statewide order;
  • We have made 33 modifications of our own guidance through the work of the jobs and recovery task force;
    • Our guidelines will extend opportunities in retail, manufacturing, and logistics sectors;  
  • We’re moving forward with an eye on data and science; and
    • If we see numbers go up, we have the ability to toggle back in a more restrictive fashion.

Dr. Mark Ghaly, California Health & Human Services Agency Secretary

  • Reminder: California’s decision to modify the stay at home order is based on science, data, and public health;
  • What does stage two mean?
    • It does not mean a return to normal;
    • COVID-19 is still spreading;
    • California is gradually re-opening only where we can reduce risk;
  • What will be starting on May 8th?
    • Retailers should increase pickup and delivery options;
      • Encourage physical distancing during pickup and install hands-free devices;
    • Manufacturers should close breakrooms and create outdoor break areas with physically distanced seating;
    • Warehouses should carry sanitization materials during deliveries and use personal protective equipment for each stop;
    • As we continue into stage two we will gradually re-open more industries;
  • What will be opening later?
    • Offices (can telework);
    • Seated dining at restaurants;
    • Shopping malls;
    • Outdoor museums;
  • What will industry guidance look like?
    • All industries should do the following:   
      • Perform a detailed risk assessment;
      • Train employees on limiting spread and how to screen for symptoms;
      • Employees should stay home if sick;
      • Implement site-specific protection plans;
      • Cleaning and disinfecting protocols;
      • Physical distancing guidelines;
  • What is Regional Variance?
    • Counties can move further into stage two when they attest they meet California public health criteria;
  • What does Regional Variance look like?
    • Epidemiologic stability:
      • No more than 1 case per 10,000 people in the last 14 days;
      • No COVID-19 deaths in the past 14 days;
    • Protection of stage one essential workers:
      • Ability to support employees when sick or exposed;
      • Availability of disinfectant supplies and protective gear;
    • Testing capacity:
      • Minimum daily testing of 1.5 per 1,000 residents;
    • Containment capacity:
      • A least 15 contact tracers per 100,000 residents;
      • Ability to temporarily house at least 15% of county residents experiencing homelessness;
    • Hospital capacity:
      • County or regional capacity to accommodate a minimum surge of 35%;
    • Vulnerable populations:
      • Skilled nursing facilities must have more than 14 day supply of personal protective equipment on hand for staff with ongoing procurement from non-state supply chains;
    • Triggers for adjusting modifications:
      • Metrics that serve as triggers for either slowing the pace through stage two or tightening modifications;
  • These guidelines will be on the California Department of Public Health’s website; and
  • There will also be a team created to work with counties and review the criteria that will be publicly posted for public view.

Governor Newsom

  • This is a dynamic process, there will be more work to be done to address any consequences of the stay at home order modifications;
  • These are meaningful modifications, as we move through phase two, 70 percent of the economy will have the opportunity to modify and adapt to this new phase;
  • Just because you open, doesn’t mean you have customer confidence;
    • Will be providing checklists for businesses to show customers what is being done to protect their health;
  • When we get the guidelines out next Tuesday for regional variations, many counties will move to self-certify; and
    • Has to be done in conversation with the Department of Public Health, and all of this will be made public.

Question and Answer

  • Q: What is the state’s vetting process for supplies and services, and how does it vary from other circumstances?
  • A: Protocols have been put into place. 21.1 million procedural masks in our inventory that we are distributing right now. Mark Ghilarducci, California Office of Emergency Services: Emergency procurement is different. Time is of the essence as we need to get personal protective equipment out to public health providers. Also, very complex dealing with worldwide shortage of a common commodity that every health care provider worldwide was trying to obtain. We have a vetting team of individuals from various entities. A lot of this was done in real-time, and rapidly. The idea was to get as much of this commodity as possible.
  • Q: You mentioned the restaurant industry could open soon for dinning. Does that mean weeks or months? For sports, the NFL is announcing its schedule today, are you comfortable with sports continuing without fans with adequate testing of players?
  • A: It is hard to imagine a stadium filled without a vaccine. Hard to imagine what to do when key personnel test positive. What happens to the rest of the team? This is a very fluid situation. Hope to be able to answer that question sooner rather than later. Very soon, counties will meet the criteria for variances. We will release guidance on dining next Tuesday. These restaurants could open in the next week or so.
  • Q: Clarify why churches and salons are not included in phase two? Why are they more high risk than schools? What is considered in making these determinations?
  • A: Looking at low risk, high reward. Also, best practices from other states and nations. The spread of COVID-19 started in California from a nail salon. Very worried about that. Did release faith based guidance, there were augmentations that were already made in faith communities. Our fear is congregations of people mixing from far and wide in a small space.
  • Q: Evictions are still happening despite your executive order. Was your order to halt evictions too weak?
  • A: Right now, you can’t legally evict someone. Take these concerns to heart. Also, cognizant that executive orders have timelines and expiration dates. We are looking to extend some executive orders and strengthen or augment them as necessary.
  • Q: Many retailers are already doing pickup. What is the point of your announcement? Is it largely symbolic?
  • A: These retailers will now how have health guidelines, and will be authorized to provide these services legally. On manufacturing and logistics, look to the guidance, this is meaningful. Released 17 sectoral guideline augmentations today that will increase activity and move cautiously into the next phase.

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