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Newsom's State Budget Out Monday Will Propose $2.7 Billion In New Spending To Combat COVID

A long line of people wearing masks stretches along a sidewalk.
People wait in line to be tested for COVID-19 at Union Station on Friday. A new state budget released Monday proposes major new spending to combat the pandemic.
(Mario Tama
Getty Images)
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Gov. Gavin Newsom’s new budget proposal comes out today (Jan. 10). Over the weekend, Newsom previewed some $2.7 billion dollars in new spending to combat the pandemic.

Newsom wants that spending to include a $1.4 billion emergency appropriation request that could be approved in advance of the full budget.

The emergency money would:

  • add hours and expand staffing at COVID testing places
  • distribute millions more test kits for health clinics and schools
  • add staff to help hospitals cope deal with higher case loads.
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There’s also money in the proposal to continue media ads and more person-to-person outreach to get people vaccinated and reduce misinformation about the pandemic.This is all on top of some $11.2 billion dollars the state has already spent on pandemic response, much of it coming from federal COVID relief acts.

The new proposed spending comes at a time when many counties are struggling to increase current vaccination rates, which have plateaued despite omicron driving the highest daily case numbers of the nearly two-year old pandemic. In recent days, CalMatters reported that fewer than 40% of eligible Californians have gotten booster shots.

Some of the governor's previous COVID-related spending has come under scrutiny, including questions about whether the state got it's moneys worth from a $1.7 billion no-bid contract with a public-private testing lab.

The governor also ordered more than 200 members of the California National Guard to help staff 50 COVID testing sites around the state.

What questions do you have about vaccines?

LAist staff contributed to this report.

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