San Luis Obispo County will receive about $11 million for COVID-19 relief from California’s Department of Finance, according to a report issued on Feb. 1.

California received $1.7 billion from the federal government to provide the state with additional aid for COVID-19 testing, contact tracing, vaccination, surveillance and mitigation efforts through the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Of that amount, $1.2 billion will be distributed directly to county governments based on distribution methods put in place by Gov. Gavin Newsom’s administration, according to the report. 

The monetary distribution for each county is 50% dependent on population, 25% dependent on poverty rate and 25% dependent on the Black/African American, Latinx and Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander populations in the county, according to the Department of Finance.

With this distribution method, smaller counties receive less funds since the majority of the funds are given based on population size. San Diego County will receive the largest allocation of nearly $124 million in funding, while Alpine County will receive the smallest allocation of just over $1 million.  

These additional federal funds were “unanticipated” by the state of California since they were not originally accounted for in the Public and Environmental Health Program budget for 2020-21, according to the report from California’s Department of Finance. 

Previously, only $435 million had been budgeted for the 2020-21 fiscal year. The new funding distribution intends to build upon prior efforts in addition to vaccine distribution, according to the California Department of Finance. 

The Department of Finance is awaiting legislative approval to send the funding to counties as soon as it is permitted. It is unknown how San Luis Obispo County will use this money, according to San Luis Obispo County Public Health Public Information Officer Michelle Shoresman.

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