Governor Newsom held a press conference to provide an update on the state’s response to the COVID-19 outbreak. He spoke for approximately 20 minutes and then opened it up for Q&A:
· The issue of how the statewide stay at home order interacts with local orders was raised, and specifically, if the statewide order supersedes the local orders. The Governor did not offer a definitive response, and instead, he said his team is working to answer that question in real-time.
· The Governor noted an increase in masks, gowns, gloves and other supplies statewide. These resources are coming from the Strategic National Stockpile as well as private sources. In this vein, he thanked manufacturers and a handful of companies for stepping up to “meet this moment” and offering their assistance to address the crisis.
· California is also getting 2,000 beds from the Federal Government in field medical units.
· Based on his remarks, it is clear that the state continues to prioritize the most vulnerable residents, including the homeless population. As of today, 2,400 hotel rooms have been secured for the homeless, with 7 counties having secured beds.
· Governor Newsom noted that daily unemployment claims now over 100,000 – with 114,000 yesterday.
· He also called for “targeted” COVID-19 testing so we can get a better understanding of what the spread is and if migration efforts are working/bending the curve.
· In terms of enforcement, the Governor again noted social pressure rather than licensing penalties or fines.
· Towards the end of his comments, Newsom made mention of the corrections system. Specifically, he said the state is working aggressively to make sure people – both inmates and employees— are protected.
The https://www.covid19.ca.gov/ website continues to be updated continuously (and the Governor mentions it during every press conference). The site now contains an FAQ page as well as a list of Essential Critical Infrastructure works.
· Earlier in the day, the Governor directed more than $42 million in emergency funding to expand California’s health care infrastructure and secure equipment and services to support California’s response to COVID-19. A copy of the news release can be found here.
· On Friday, March 20, the Governor issued an executive order to permit vote-by-mail procedures to be used in three upcoming special elections. The order further extends the deadlines for ballot counting, tabulation, and other responsibilities related to the official canvass of California’s Presidential Primary Election. A copy of the executive order can be found here.
· Also on Friday the Governor also announced the deployment of California National Guard members to assist food banks statewide with the goal of providing short-term food security to isolated and vulnerable Californians. A copy of the news release can be found here.
As of March 20, 2020, at 2 p.m. Pacific Daylight Time, the California Department of Public Health said there are a total of 1,224 positive cases and 23 deaths in California (including one non-California resident). For more information, please see https://www.cdph.ca.gov/Programs/OPA/Pages/NR20-029.aspx.
Be well, stay safe.