Building on the state’s comprehensive actions to support diverse communities disproportionately impacted by COVID-19, Governor Gavin Newsom today announced $81.8 million in additional commitments from private and philanthropic partners to provide resources and services for individuals needing to isolate or quarantine. The partnership is led by Kaiser Permanente, Conrad N. Hilton Foundation, Ballmer Group, The James Irvine Foundation, The California Wellness Foundation, Weingart Foundation, Sierra Health Foundation, Blue Shield of California Foundation, California Health Care Foundation, Heising-Simons Foundation, The California Endowment and the Skoll Foundation.
This new initiative expands on the previously announced grant funding from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which has allocated $499 million to support the state’s response to COVID-19, of which $286 million was made available to local governments in their efforts to fight COVID-19. Nearly $52 million is going to eight counties in the Central Valley – Fresno, Kern, Kings, Madera, Merced, San Joaquin, Stanislaus and Tulare.
“Government can’t slow the spread of COVID-19 alone – it’s all hands on deck,” said Governor Newsom. “We must work in partnership and bring together leaders across sectors, including philanthropy, to leverage resources and scale up culturally and linguistically competent containment efforts. It’s on all of us to step up and pitch in, especially in communities disproportionately impacted by this virus. I thank our philanthropic partners for meeting this moment and doubling down on efforts to help stop the virus.”
Kaiser Permanente is committing $63 million in grant funding for community-based organizations in areas disproportionately impacted by COVID-19, to support local public health departments with contact tracing, while also connecting individuals who are not able to appropriately isolate and quarantine to services and supports. Additionally, a coalition of 10 philanthropies have committed $18.8 million to support local public health departments in building a culturally and linguistically competent contact tracing workforce.
Together with the state, these partners will identify the communities and populations most impacted by the virus and fund a coordinated set of efforts working with local public health leaders. This collective impact will magnify the impact of California’s response to COVID-19.
Testing, Tracing and Supported Isolation (and Quarantine), known as TTSI, has become a common continuum of effort in the COVID-19 response in order to effectively contain the spread of the virus in communities. Over the course of California’s response, testing, through the efforts of the Testing Task Force, has improved significantly. Although there remain real challenges with supplies and turnaround time for testing, the situation in California is vastly improved.
As it relates to disease investigation and contact tracing, the combination of local and state personnel resources has dramatically increased the number of individuals working to investigate and trace cases. Due to high levels of transmission, tracing is largely targeted to high-risk areas and in particular outbreaks. With efforts to mitigate spread and deepen containment, this new partnership aims to effectively connect Californians without supportive isolation and quarantine ability to the supports they need to safely isolate to reduce further transmission, such as food assistance and delivery, support for rent payments, child care, pharmacy deliveries, health care services and employment-based assistance and protections. This will be accomplished through community-based workers providing follow-on services to persons coordinated through county contact tracing efforts.
To date, the state has focused its work on filling the gaps identified by local public health departments. The state has:
- Developed a data management platform in collaboration with county partners to manage contact tracing efforts;
- Developed a virtual training academy with academic partners, including UCSF and UCLA, to scale training capabilities across all counties;
- Redirected state staff to augment the local contact tracing workforce; and
- Developed a public awareness campaign, California Connected, in partnership with philanthropy to educate the public on the importance of contact tracing.
These commitments by our private and philanthropic partners are intended to ensure those who are exposed or test positive can appropriately isolate and quarantine. This is also an opportunity not only to reduce the spread of COVID-19, but to create well-paying jobs and future job opportunities, particularly for Black and Brown Californians who come from the highest-risk communities and are culturally and linguistically in the best position to act as trusted messengers in those communities.