California governor asks for $2.7 billion to battle pandemic – KTXL FOX 40 Sacramento

Medical assistant Leslie Powers carries swab samples collected from individuals to course of them on-site at a COVID-19 testing website in Lengthy Seaside, Calif., Thursday, Jan. 6, 2022. (AP Photograph/Jae C. Hong)
SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — With new coronavirus instances surging throughout the state, California Gov. Gavin Newsom’s administration on Saturday proposed spending one other $2.7 billion to develop testing and enhance hospital staffing, whereas calling for a brand new regulation to provide staff extra paid break day in the event that they get sick.
California had greater than 10,100 individuals hospitalized with the coronavirus on Friday, or about half of of the height reached throughout final winter’s surge. Demand for coronavirus testing has soared together with the state’s case charges, making it tough for a lot of to get examined in lots of elements of the state.
Of the $2.7 billion in new spending, about $1.2 billion of it might be for testing, together with cash to pay for extending the hours and capability at state-run testing websites, whereas additionally sending tens of millions of checks to native well being departments, group clinics and colleges.
Newsom, a Democrat, needs the Democratic-dominated state Legislature to approve $1.4 billion of the cash immediately so he can spend it now as an alternative of ready for the beginning of the brand new fiscal 12 months on July 1.
The state already has $1.7 billion to spend combating the pandemic, cash the state Legislature permitted final summer season. However the Newsom administration says they want more cash to proceed spending on the similar degree because the omicron variant continues to unfold.
The omicron variant spreads much more simply than different coronavirus strains, and has already change into dominant in lots of international locations. It additionally extra simply infects those that have been vaccinated or had beforehand been contaminated by prior variations of the virus.
Nevertheless, early research present omicron is much less more likely to trigger extreme sickness than the earlier delta variant, and vaccination and a booster nonetheless provide robust safety from severe sickness, hospitalization and dying.
“From day one, California has taken swift and direct motion to battle COVID-19 with insurance policies which have saved tens of hundreds of lives, however there’s extra work to be performed,” Newsom mentioned in a information launch.
Along with testing, about $614 million could be for hospital staffing and $583 million could be for vaccine distribution, which features a public data marketing campaign the governor’s workplace mentioned would “fight misinformation” and encourage individuals to get vaccinated.
It’s unclear if lawmakers would conform to spend the cash early. Final month, Meeting Funds Committee chair Phil Ting, a Democrat from San Francisco, mentioned he didn’t suppose there was any have to rush to approve new spending. However on the time, Ting mentioned issues might change.
One factor that has modified since final month is extra persons are testing optimistic for the virus. Over the previous seven days, 21.7% of these examined for the virus have examined optimistic. That’s the very best price ever for California.
With extra individuals testing optimistic, Newsom is asking the state Legislature for a brand new regulation requiring firms to provide staff extra paid break day in the event that they get sick. Final 12 months, California had a regulation that required firms with 26 workers or extra to provide their staff as much as an extra 80 hours of paid sick go away for issues like having coronavirus signs, scheduling a vaccine or caring for a kid who’s doing faculty at dwelling.
That regulation expired in September and state lawmakers didn’t lengthen it. Now, Newsom needs to carry some type of it again. It’s unclear what he’s asking for, nevertheless. A information launch from his workplace referred to as for “new laws to implement supplemental paid sick go away insurance policies given the present state of affairs being pushed by the Omicron variant to raised defend our frontline staff.” It didn’t present extra particulars.
Final 12 months’s regulation was a little bit simpler for companies to adjust to as a result of a lot of them certified for a federal payroll tax credit score that will reimburse them for a lot of the cash they needed to pay their staff whereas they took the additional break day. However that tax credit score expired on the finish of September, in accordance with the Inner Income Service.

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