Update (3:55 p.m.): California Gov. Gavin Newsom continued his statewide COVID-19 vaccination site tour on Monday, visiting the Kern County community of Arvin.
The Arvin Veterans Hall is one of 11 vaccination sites in the Central Valley that will be going live this week, Newsom said. All of the locations will also serve as mobile sites, which are designed to give rural residents greater access to the vaccine.
Newsom said that the Central Valley will see an increased supply of the coronavirus vaccine. California will increase the Valley’s supply by 58%.
The Central Valley is also getting a boost in the form of 34,000 vaccine doses from a pharmacy that was not efficient with its distribution. Newsom said those doses will be provided to farmworkers across the Valley.
With the efforts to recall the Democratic Governor gaining steam, Newsom was asked about if he heard the calls from Kern County officials last week for him to visit the area.
Newsom’s response: Yes. He heard them, and he wanted to make it clear that he cares about the Central Valley.
“Those calls matter, they do matter, and we do care,” Newsom said. “I know people often don’t feel that way. When I read that, I hear that – honestly it breaks my heart. I’m dead serious. I give a damn. I do… People don’t think we care? Literally you don’t sleep well at night. You do care. Why else do you do this stuff? You don’t want to see people suffering or feel inferior or less than. That’s horrible.
“I’ve made this point from day one: I’m not some guy from San Francisco that doesn’t give a damn about the Valley. I said I’m not going to let that happen. And I know we’re not perfect, and I know we’re not doing everything, but I’m trying to bridge that. And I really have. It’s not my first time out here.”
Newsom said he is trying to do work on the ever-present water issue, and he is mindful of one of the other top issues in the Valley: homelessness.
“I don’t care if you’re Republican, Democrat – I want to be helpful. We don’t have to agree on everything, but dammit I care about your kids, your family, your community. We all do. I don’t care who you vote for.”
For the second time in as many weeks, California Gov. Gavin Newsom will make an appearance in Fresno as the administration of the COVID-19 vaccine ramps up throughout the state.
Newsom visited Fresno County’s mass vaccination site at the Fresno Fairgrounds on Feb. 10 following reports that he would announce the Save Mart Center as the location for the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) mass vaccination site that is coming to the Valley.
The Governor did not confirm those reports, and the Central Valley is still waiting to find out where the FEMA site will be located.
Sources at Fresno City Hall told The Sun that Newsom will be in town on Friday, although his intention at this point is unclear.
That will be the second stop through the Valley this week, following a scheduled visit to Kern County on Monday afternoon to highlight farmworker vaccinations.
Fresno County Supervisor Buddy Mendes challenged Newsom’s work on Ag industry vaccinations.
“All they’ve done is hinder our work to vaccinate farmworkers,” he said of state efforts. “We’ve received zero help from the Governor’s office.”
Newsom toured the mass vaccination site at the Long Beach Convention Center Monday Morning, where he highlighted the city’s success administering the vaccine and focussed on the efforts from Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia to vaccinate teachers and reopening schools.
“There’s nothing more essential and important we can do to support working women, and single moms in particular, than getting our youngest kids back into school in cohorts where we can do it safely,” Newsom said. “And Long Beach is not waiting around to do that. This mayor has been doing that for weeks and weeks – 35 counties have been for weeks now, administering doses of vaccines to teachers, but none at the level that Long Beach is doing.”
Newsom was also encouraged by the latest COVID-19 numbers in the state: a 3% positivity rate, a 41% decline in coronavirus hospitalizations in the last two weeks and a 39% drop in ICU admissions over the last two weeks.
The overall vaccination numbers are stepping up. Newsom said that nearly 7.5 million Californians have been vaccinated so far, and the state is administering about 200,000 doses every day.
The federal government will send 1.4 million doses to California next week, which matches the number of Californians that were vaccinated over the past week.
“While that’s important and significant to highlight, it’s also important and significant to highlight this stubborn fact: There’s not enough vaccinations,” Newsom said. “There’s not enough doses. There’s not enough vaccines to accommodate the need and demand. Just at this [Long Beach] site, they’re running about a third of capacity. Sites all across the state of California are toggling back based upon limited supply. That’s a manufacturing issue. Manufactured supply in the United States of America is limited.”
The stop in Long Beach is a continuation of a state-wide tour that the Governor has taken the last few weeks to visit various vaccination sites at a time when he is facing serious concerns about the recall push.
Proponents of the recall campaign announced earlier in the month that they have collected more than the 1.5 million signatures needed to recall Newsom. The latest report from the Secretary of State on Feb. 5 revealed that over 600,000 of those signatures have been verified.
Steven Maviglio – the former press secretary for Gray Davis – compared Newsom’s vaccination site tour to Davis’ power plant tour before he was recalled amid the California energy crisis of 2000 and 2001.