SACRAMENTO (CBS SF) — California Governor Gavin Newsom on Monday requested that the legislature make up to $20 million available from the Disaster Response Emergency Operations Account to help fund the state government response to the growing spread of coronavirus.

The request was announced Wednesday afternoon and will be an early action item for the 2020-2021 state budget.

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The governor also activated the State Operations Center (SOC) in Mather, California, to its second highest level in order to provide support for state, federal and local emergency managers, public health officials and first responders during the COVID-19 crisis. The SOC will provide operational and logistical support to the California Department of Public Health’s Medical and Health Coordination Center (MHCC), which has been activated since January to coordinate the state’s public health response to COVID-19.

Over the weekend, California received additional COVID-19 test kits from the CDC after the governor made the request on Friday. This will allow health workers to test thousands of specimens and get test results sooner, allowing medical staff to identify and treat cases and trace potential exposures more quickly, better protecting the public health.

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The test kids have already been distributed to California public health labs including locations in Richmond, Alameda, Contra Costa, Sacramento and Santa Clara counties. The CDPH labs will provide diagnostic testing within a 48-hour turnaround time with additional public health labs soon getting the ability to test for coronavirus. The state will ramp up to a total of 20 public health labs in California.

While additional positive tests have been reported by county health officers in the past few days, state officials noted that the reports show that swift action is being taken to detect cases early, isolate and care for patients and trace contacts.

Speaking at a school in Oakland Monday, Governor Gavin Newsom said his administration was working on acquiring more test kits for labs.

“I’m confident where we need to be right now and you’re going to see a significant increase in the number of test kits distributed and the number of tests coming back. As a consequence, none of us should be surprised the more we test, the more positives will come back from those tests. We are anticipating this,” Newsom told gathered reporters.

He said special protections need to be made for senior citizens to prevent their infections of the pneumonia-like illness.

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“Obviously the older you are, you come in with pre-existing conditions, they complicate matters. And that’s when we need to be the most vigilant,” said Newsom. “Obviously, skilled nursing facilities, other areas where there’s large concentrations of seniors, assisted living facilities.”