On Wednesday, July 22nd, at noon PDT, Governor Gavin Newsom held a press briefing to provide a COVID-19 update on the state’s response to the pandemic and the state’s efforts to secure more PPE.
Newsom opened his comments at a state warehouse in Sacramento amid a backdrop of stacks of boxes of PPE with a focus on providing an update on the state’s efforts to procure adequate PPE for critical needs as well as providing key COVID-19 statistics regarding the continued increase in the positivity rate leading the state to be on the verge of the highest number of cases in the nation. Additionally, the Governor highlighted efforts to establish a workable strategy to address surge within hospitals; the state’s ability to support alternative care sites; identifying key needs related to key personnel via the Health Corps Program established earlier this year; efforts to support contact tracing; and more.
The main focus of his comments, however, pertained to the state’s PPE strategy, “a success predicated on the lack of a federal strategy recognizing the competition with other states and the federal government itself.” Because of the sheer size of California, California “decided to change the name of the game and how we procured PPE.”
In this regard, Newsom highlighted the state’s efforts to develop key contracts, such as the “bold” decision to contract with entities like BYD with the goal of maintaining a consistent supply chain for N95 masks through May and June, with 193 units of surgical masks out of 200 million already having arrived in California. He expects to see fulfillment of an additional 150 million more N95 masks in the next few weeks as part of the contract with BYD. He also acknowledged that although there was a delay with the NIOSH certification of the masks, the state was nevertheless able to work through the certification challenges and delays with federal partners.
In terms of next steps on PPE procurement, Newsom spoke to a clear need to maintain a level of safety and confidence among first responders, medical professionals, farm workers, grocery workers and more to support the essential services and needs in our society. To that end, he highlighted the broader efforts to distribute 297 million procedure masks into essential sectors within counties large and small. The state currently has an inventory of 111 million units of N95 masks and 147 million procedure masks still in inventory to distribute. However, he was clear that this is not adequate and demonstrative of where the state needs to be. To that end, Newsom announced a commitment just made to extend, as a bridge contract with BYD, the procurement of an additional 120 million masks and 300 million N95 masks for surgical and procedure efforts. He shared that statewide we are burning through 46 million masks a month, making it clear that the current inventory will dwindle quickly. “We need to go big and continue to be bold.”
Additionally, Newsom highlighted the state will be putting out a new RFP seeking a larger master contract to get more bidders for PPE and to try to get prices down over the next few months. With such a goal in mind, Newsom highlighted conversations his team has had with companies like Honeywell, 3M and other California-based manufacturers entering the market that can scale and retool to address the state’s PPE needs. He wants to see more competitive bids and ensure opportunity for more California-based manufacturers to be in the mix for providing PPE. Specific to his interest in working with California-based manufacturers, he reiterated the work that the state has underway with the California Manufacturers & Technology Association (CMTA) on the Safely Making California site and with California manufacturers who are stepping up and retooling to help address the state’s needs with a deep focus on domestic manufacturers and creating California jobs.
As he does regularly, Newsom addressed the latest COVID-19 numbers, including the hospitalization and intensive care unit (ICU) patient figures. There are 8,820 positive COVID-19 hospital patients. Of those patients, 2,284 patients are in the ICU. Over 14 days, there has been a 14.5 percent hospitalization increase, representing 9.2 percent of all available hospital beds statewide. Further, he said, the positivity rate is important to consider. The 14-day positivity average is over 7.4 percent.
Currently, there are 33 counties on the state’s monitoring list. The list can be found here: https://covid19.ca.gov/roadmap-counties/.
The briefing concluded approximately at 12:59 PM PDT.
The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) has announced the most recent statistics on COVID-19. There are now a total of 413, 576 (+3.2 percent) confirmed positive cases and 7,870 (+1.5 percent) deaths in California. As of July 21st, there have been 6,536,932 tests conducted in California and reported to the California Department of Public Health. This represents an increase of 122,611 tests over the prior 24-hour reporting period. More information regarding the most recent COVID-19 statistics can be found here.
The https://www.covid19.ca.gov/ website is being updated continuously. A complete list of the state’s ongoing COVID-19 response efforts can be found here.
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