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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.

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LAist staff contributed to this report.