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California Gov. Gavin Newsom on Saturday proposed $ 2.7 billion in emergency funding to combat the latest increase in coronavirus cases in the state, according to reports.
The money will be used to strengthen test capacity, support frontline health professionals, speed up vaccination efforts and combat misinformation, the governor’s office said in a statement.
The Democrat’s spending plan arrives as many Californians say they are finding ways to live with the pandemic.
COVID-19 cases have risen across the country since Thanksgiving as the more contagious omicron variant continues to spread.
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“From day one, California has taken swift and direct action to combat COVID-19 with policies that have saved tens of thousands of lives, but there is more work to be done,” Newsom said in a statement. He said the response package would be focused on the “hard hit communities”.
The budget proposal for 2022-2023 includes $ 1 billion more for the pandemic than last year’s budget, according to Bakken.
His office has called it “the largest emergency response package in the country.”
Of the $ 2.7 billion, $ 1.2 billion would be used to increase capacity and number of hours at test sites, distribute COVID-19 antigen tests to health centers and schools, and support government departments in testing their staff.
An additional $ 583 million would go to increase vaccinations and combat misinformation.
The last $ 924 million will be used to provide critical resources to health workers, improve the state’s emergency preparedness capacity and increase humanitarian efforts at the border to keep migrants safe, including vaccinations and testing.
Newsom on Friday also activated the National Guard to help at test sites, and on Saturday he signed an executive order banning price spills on test kits at home, which have flown off the shelves in the middle of the climb.
‘Rolls with blows’
Two years later, many Californians say they are learning to live with the pandemic.
“My belief is that we’ve made all the adjustments here, and we’re just kind of getting on with the battles,” the owner of Nicholas Dance Studio in the Los Angeles area, Cathie Nicholas, told the Los Angeles Times, after teaching was restarted. “It has not been easy, but we have to go out and live.”
Valerie Hanley, Treasurer of Olvera Street Merchants Assn. Foundation, said their community was grateful to see the return of the Olvera Street Three Kings procession last Thursday. In the Christian tradition, January 6 marks the Feast of the Holy Trinity, the memorial service for three kings’ visit to the newborn Jesus.
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“We had a lot of interest from the community to get this back and I think we were able to do that because we did everything we could to make it as safe as possible,” she said. to the Times. “People have been scared for a while, so it’s nice to see a good audience. A lot of people have followed the steps, like getting vaccinated and being masked, so we should continue this tradition.”
Many infectious disease experts say the virus is likely to eventually become more like the flu, something Americans will have to vaccinate against each year but will be less deadly.
“We want to get to a place where we are no longer worried about preventing infections, but instead worried about preventing serious symptoms and death,” Chunhuei Chi, director of the Center for Global Health at Oregon State University, told the newspaper . Times.