Governor signs SB 115, early budget action that invests $1.9 billion to supplement vaccination and testing efforts, support workers, strengthen the health care system and combat misinformation
SACRAMENTO – As part of his proposed COVID-19 Emergency Response Package, Governor Gavin Newsom today announced that he has signed a $1.9 billion early action measure to meet the state’s immediate COVID response needs, including funding to boost testing capacity and vaccination efforts, support frontline workers, strengthen the health care system and battle misinformation, with a focus on the hardest-hit communities. The Administration continues to work with the Legislature through the budget process to advance an additional $1.3 billion to support the state’s ongoing pandemic response.
“California has led the nation’s fight against COVID-19 with a comprehensive response that has saved countless lives. As we emerge from the Omicron surge, we’re not letting our guard down,” said Governor Newsom. “The COVID Emergency Response Package will ensure the state has the resources to continue tackling this challenge head-on, with funding to enhance our testing and vaccination efforts, support frontline workers, strengthen our health care systems and battle dangerous misinformation. I thank our legislative leaders for their continued commitment to protecting the health of our families and communities as we navigate the evolving pandemic.”
Unveiled in January, the Governor’s proposed COVID Emergency Response Package initially included a $1.4 billion emergency appropriation request, which expanded to $1.9 billion to meet the state’s changing needs in responding to the Omicron surge.
The $1.9 billion emergency appropriation in SB 115 by Senator Nancy Skinner (D-Berkeley) includes:
$806 Million to Bolster Testing
- Expand hours and capacity at testing sites throughout the state to help slow the spread of the virus.
- Distribute millions of COVID-19 antigen tests to local health departments, community clinics and county offices of education and schools.
- Support the state’s testing facilities, including specimen collection and expanding capacity in order to meet demand.
- Assist state departments in testing their staff and congregate populations.
$400 Million to Get More Californians Vaccinated & Boosted, Combat Misinformation
- Continue the “Vaccinate all 58” public education campaign to provide reliable information and build vaccine confidence while combating misinformation, all of which is in partnership with 250 ethnic media outlets.
- Maintain a robust community outreach and direct appointment assistance campaign by conducting door-to-door canvassing, phone banking and texting with over 700 CBOs and community partners in partnership with philanthropy.
- Support in-home vaccination and testing programs and transportation arrangement, for those unable to travel, to meet Californians where they’re at.
- Provide free transportation to vaccination appointments throughout the state to help get more Californians vaccinated and boosted.
$486 Million to Support Our Frontline Workers and Health Care Systems
- Support and distribution of critical personnel resources for health care systems to help protect frontline workers, patient care and hospital surge capacity as well as additional staffing for vaccination sites.
$141 Million to Maintain State Response Operations
- Provide resources to enhance the state’s emergency response and public health capacities, including staffing and information technology at California Department of Public Health, Office of Emergency Services and Emergency Medical Services Authority.
$100 Million to Support Mutual Aid, Bolster Contact Tracing Efforts, Procure Personal Protective Equipment
- Provide mutual aid to support local governments.
- Continue statewide contact tracing activities to help keep Californians safe and slow the spread.
- Procure additional personal protective equipment, including children’s N95 and surgical masks, and other durable equipment
Governor Newsom yesterday signed legislation to extend COVID-19 supplemental paid sick leave for workers, and provide $6.1 billion in tax relief, tax credits and direct grants for small businesses hit hard by the pandemic, bolstering the state’s historic COVID relief efforts. The state has implemented nation-leading public health measures to protect Californians from COVID-19 and has administered more than 70 million vaccinations and boosters. During the Omicron surge, California ramped up testing capacity at an unprecedented speed – deploying the National Guard, expanding hours and access to California’s testing sites, delivering 14.6 million tests to schools since early December, supporting testing at 4,400 school sites and ensuring that over 90% of Californians are within a 30-minute drive of testing sites.
Governor Newsom today also announced that he has signed the following bills:
- SB 116 by the Committee on Budget and Fiscal Review – Human services.
- SB 117 by the Committee on Budget and Fiscal Review – State employment: State Bargaining Units: memoranda of understanding: addenda.
For full text of the bills, visit: http://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov.