Newsom Proposes $2.7 Billion for Emergency COVID Response

Gov. Gavin Newsom proposed a new $2.7 billion COVID-19 emergency response package on Saturday, which includes a $1.4 billion emergency appropriation request to combat the current surge.

The biggest chunk of the proposal — $1.2 billion — is aimed at expanding testing capacity. To ensure adequate testing, Newsom’s plan would expand hours of operation and overall capacity at testing sites. The state would distribute millions of COVID-19 antigen tests to local health authorities, community clinics, and county offices of education and schools.

In addition, the proposal would allocate $583 million for expanded vaccinations, boosters, and education. This entails support of the in-home vaccination program, free transportation to vaccination appointments throughout the state, outreach campaigns, and the ongoing effort to fight health and vaccine misinformation.

Another $614 million would be used to support health care systems and frontline personnel. $200 million would bolster the state’s emergency response and public health capacities. Finally, $110 million would be used to support vulnerable populations and to expand contact tracing.

The proposal was unveiled one day after Newsom announced he was deploying the California National Guard to boost capacity at testing sites around the state. Newsom’s strategy differs markedly from some red state governors, such as Ron DeSantis of Florida. DeSantis appeared to discourage asymptomatic COVID-19 testing at a press conference Friday, calling it “lockdown by stealth.”



Wednesday, January 12, 2022 - 05:29

Governor Gavin Newsom unveiled his 2022-23 state budget proposal on Monday amid a protracted public health crisis and ongoing concerns over housing, crime and climate change.