by Photo by Anne Wernikoff, CalMatters

California Governor Gavin Newsom proposes a $2.7 proposal in response to the recent spike in COVID cases. 

The proposal was announced Saturday by the Governor's office, which results in almost a 60% increase in COVID funding from last year's budget surplus. 

According to the governor's office, the funding will be used to increase vaccine and booster production, increase medical resources throughout the state of California. 

“From day one California has taken swift and direct action to battle COVID-19 with policies that have saved tens of thousands of lives, but there’s more work to be done,” Newsom said on Saturday. “Our proposed COVID-19 Emergency Response Package will support our testing capacity, accelerate vaccination and booster efforts, support frontline workers and health care systems, and battle misinformation.”

This funding proposal is announced just 2 days before the Governor is expected to display his full budget proposal for the fiscal year 2022-2023. Experts are predicting that California will see a $31 billion budget surplus in the state. 

Saturday's announcement comes in the midst of a concerning surge of COVID cases, including the alarming rise of the Omicron variant. The Governor's plan also comes as hospitals, schools, and businesses alike as facing shortages within their staff. 

According to public health officials, over 10,000 patients infected with the virus are hospitalized as of early Saturday. However, health experts are anticipating a decline in COVID-related cases by early next month as time moves away from the holiday season. 

The Governor reportedly would want California Legislature to give the green light to $1.4 billion of the funding immediately, rather than waiting for the beginning of the upcoming fiscal year starting July. 

California Hospital Association President and CEO Carmela Coyle is hopeful with the Governor's proposal, commenting that this is an important move going forward in the combat against COVID-19. 

“As the current Omicron surge demonstrates, no one knows for how long the COVID-19 pandemic will endure or the enormity of its impact on California for years to come,” Coyle said on Saturday. “What we do know is that the demands on our state’s health care system have never been greater, and we need all the support we can get." 


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