With new coronavirus circumstances surging throughout the state, California Gov. Gavin Newsom’s administration on Saturday proposed spending one other $2.7 billion to develop testing and increase hospital staffing, whereas calling for a brand new regulation to offer staff extra paid day without work in the event that they get sick.
California had greater than 10,100 folks 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 troublesome for a lot of to get examined in lots of components of the state.
Of the $2.7 billion in new spending, about $1.2 billion of it could be for testing, together with cash to pay for extending the hours and capability at state-run testing websites, whereas additionally sending thousands and thousands of exams to native well being departments, group clinics and faculties.
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 yr on July 1.
The state already has $1.7 billion to spend combating the pandemic, cash the state Legislature permitted final summer time. However the Newsom administration says they want more cash to proceed spending on the identical stage because the omicron variant continues to unfold.
The omicron variant spreads much more simply than different coronavirus strains, and has already develop into dominant in lots of nations. 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 supply sturdy safety from severe sickness, hospitalization and loss of life.
“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 accomplished,” Newsom stated in a information launch.
Along with testing, about $614 million can be for hospital staffing and $583 million can be for vaccine distribution, which features a public data marketing campaign the governor’s workplace stated would “fight misinformation” and encourage folks 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, stated he didn’t suppose there was any must rush to approve new spending. However on the time, Ting stated issues might change.
One factor that has modified since final month is extra individuals are testing constructive for the virus. Over the previous seven days, 21.7% of these examined for the virus have examined constructive. That’s the best charge ever for California.
With extra folks testing constructive, Newsom is asking the state Legislature for a brand new regulation requiring corporations to offer staff extra paid day without work in the event that they get sick. Final yr, California had a regulation that required corporations with 26 workers or extra to offer their staff as much as a further 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 house.
That regulation expired in September and state lawmakers didn’t prolong it. Now, Newsom needs to deliver some type of it again. It’s unclear what he’s asking for, nonetheless. A information launch from his workplace known 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 higher defend our frontline staff.” It didn’t present extra particulars.
Final yr’s regulation was a bit simpler for companies to adjust to as a result of lots of them certified for a federal payroll tax credit score that may reimburse them for many of the cash they needed to pay their staff whereas they took the additional day without work. However that tax credit score expired on the finish of September, based on the Inner Income Service.
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