SACRAMENTO (CBS SF) — Gov. Gavin Newsom is expected to present a proposed $2.7 billion COVID-19 emergency response package Monday in Sacramento as part of his proposed 2022 state budget amid the surge driven by the Omicron variant, state administration officials said Saturday.
The governor’s proposed budget also calls for new legislation to put supplemental paid sick leave policies in place to help protect the state’s healthcare workers, according to state officials.
The money from the emergency response package would be used to bolster testing capacity, accelerate vaccination and booster efforts, support frontline workers, strengthen the health care system and battle misinformation, officials said.
The package allocates a proposed $1.2 billion to bolster testing capacity by expanding hours at state testing sites, distributing COVID-19 antigen tests to local health departments and supporting the state’s testing facilities. $583 million would go toward getting more Californians tested for COVID-19, among other things, while $614 million would be used to support healthcare workers and health care systems.
The package also allocates $200 million to enhance the state’s emergency response and public health capacities, including staffing and information technology at the state’s Department of Public Health, Office of Emergency Services and Emergency Medical Authority. $110 million would go to increase public health efforts at the California-Mexico border to keep migrants safe in various ways, including vaccinations. The funds would also be used to enhance contact tracing.
The California Medical Association and the California Hospital Association Saturday issued statements in favor of the emergency package.
“This emergency response package to boost testing, vaccine distribution and support health care workers comes at a critical time as cases of the Omicron variant surge nationwide,” said California Medical Association president Dr. Robert E. Wailes in a statement. “The California Medical Association appreciates Governor Newsom’s leadership.”
Carmela Coyle, chief executive of the California Hospital Association, said, “The governor’s request for this funding, including resources to shore up a depleted workforce, represents a vital step toward making sure the health care needs of every Californian are met.”
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