How will Newsom’s request for $2.7 billion to fight the pandemic be spent?

Politics

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KTXL) — As new coronavirus variant cases surge across California, Gov. Gavin Newsom’s administration is calling for spending another $2.7 billion to expand vaccine distribution, testing and hospital staffing.

The funding also looks to slow the surge within prisons and implement supplemental paid sick leave for frontline workers.

People who want a COVID-19 test in Sacramento County are experiencing long lines.

“Been in contact with somebody who has tested positive for COVID,” said Sacramento resident Sandy Kassis.

Kassis told FOX40 that a getting a COVID-19 test was tricky and waiting for the test was even more so.

“I was a little surprised. I thought I could just walk right in. Obviously, I can’t. I’ve been here about 35 minutes for my appointment, and I got here right on time,” Kassis said.

This week, Sacramento County Public Health officials said the long wait times are a challenging situation as the demand for testing increases.

“We are seeing significant demands and we are seeing wait time ranging from 1-3 hours,” said Sacramento County Public Health’s Liz Gomez. “In three days, this week, we did as many tests as we did in five days last week. Last week, we did 50% more tests than two weeks prior. We expect to do over 15,000 tests this week.”

Health officials said the omicron variant spreads even more easily than other coronavirus strains which is the reason for the added demand.

Gov. Gavin Newsom’s administration is proposing spending more money to battle the pandemic.

Out of the $2.7 billion price tag, $1.2 billion looks to bolster testing, nearly $600 million to get more people vaccinated, boosted and to combat misinformation, and another $600 million for hospital staffing.  

The governor hopes the state legislature approves $1.4 billion as soon as possible. The budget also calls for the implementation of supplemental paid sick leave for frontline workers.

While many people wait in line, the state leaders hope spending more will lessen the burden, but the California Legislature will need to give the green light.

“Just want to make sure I keep my family safe,” Kassis said.

Newsom will be presenting his proposed state budget on Monday.

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