SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Gov. Gavin Newsom on Saturday proposed a new $2.7 billion COVID-19 emergency response package for California, with $1.2 billion dedicated to bolster testing.
According to the governor’s office, the package, which includes a $1.4 billion emergency appropriation request, is targeted to help bolster testing capacity, accelerate vaccination and booster efforts, support frontline workers, strengthen the health care system and battle misinformation. It also calls for new legislation to implement supplemental paid sick leave policies.
“From day one, California has taken swift and direct action to battle COVID-19 with policies that have saved tens of thousands of lives, but there’s more work to be done,” Newsom said. “Our proposed COVID-19 Emergency Response Package will support our testing capacity, accelerate vaccination and booster efforts, support frontline workers and health care systems and battle misinformation, with a focus on the hardest-hit communities.”
Here’s a breakdown of what the package features:
$1.2 BILLION: BOLSTER TESTING
- Expand hours and capacity at testing sites throughout the state to help slow the spread
- Distribute millions of COVID-19 antigen tests to local health departments, community clinics and county offices of education and schools. This is critical to the state’s operational readiness and continued efforts to combat COVID-19, and it includes a $1.4 billion emergency appropriation request to the Legislature for California’s immediate needs
- Supporting the state’s testing facilities, including specimen collection and expanding capacity in order to meet demand
- Supporting state departments in testing their staff and congregate populations
$583 MILLION: GET MORE CALIFORNIANS VACCINATED & BOOSTED, COMBAT MISINFORMATION
- Continue the “Vaccinate all 58” public education campaign to provide reliable information and build vaccine confidence while combating misinformation, all of which is in partnership with 250 ethnic media outlets.
- Continue a robust community outreach and direct appointment assistance campaign by conducting door-to-door canvassing, phone banking and texting with over 700 CBOs and community partners in partnership with philanthropy.
- In-home vaccination and testing programs to meet Californians where they’re at.
- Provide free transportation to vaccination appointments throughout the state to help get more Californians vaccinated and boosted.
$614 MILLION: SUPPORT FRONTLINE WORKERS AND HEALTH CARE SYSTEMS
- Support and distribution of critical personnel resources for health care systems to help protect frontline workers, patient care and hospital surge capacity as well as additional staffing for vaccination sites.
$200 MILLION: SUPPORT STATE RESPONSE OPERATIONS
- Resources to enhance the state’s emergency response and public health capacities, including staffing and information technology at California Department of Public Health, Office of Emergency Services and Emergency Medical Services Authority.
$110 MILLION: SUPPORT VULNERABLE POPULATIONS AND BOLSTER CONTACT TRACING EFFORTS
- Increased public health and humanitarian efforts at the California-Mexico border to keep migrants safe, including vaccinations, testing and isolation and quarantine services.
- Expanded statewide contact tracing activities to help keep Californians safe and slow the spread.
California Medical Association President Robert E. Wailes, M.D. said the governor’s announcement “comes at a critical time as cases of the Omicron variant surge nationwide.”
“The California Medical Association appreciates Governor Newsom’s leadership as his administration continues to work to anticipate the state’s needs and implement strong public health measures that will save lives,” Wailes said.
On Friday, Newsom announced the activation of more than 200 members of the California National Guard to help provide staffing for COVID-19 testing centers amid the surge of cases due to the omicron variant. In the coming days, members of the National Guard will be helping people get checked out at six San Diego County sites.