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California Pulls $1.3 Billion From Reserves for Coronavirus Fight

Michael B. Marois

(Bloomberg) -- California said it was withdrawing $1.3 billion from its emergency reserve account to buy supplies and equipment needed to fight the coronavirus pandemic.

Governor Gavin Newsom’s finance department said it was transferring the money to the disaster response-emergency operations account. The money will be used to purchase personal protective equipment and critical medical supplies, enhance the surge capacity of hospitals and medical facilities, and procure other items necessary to support the state’s efforts to combat the Covid-19 outbreak.

California is one of the states hardest hit by the pandemic, with more than 2,500 cases reported and 53 deaths. Newsom on March 19 ordered the state’s 40 million residents to go into home isolation in an effort to slow the spread and give hospitals time to prepare.

State lawmakers on March 16 approved a separate $500 million emergency spending package with authority to spend up to $1 billion from the general fund for the effort.

The state has about $21 billion in surplus money put aside.

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