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County recommending moving unused funds from CARES Act to fund vaccine clinics, COVID-19 testing sites

Emory University in phase 1 of human clinical trials for SARS-CoV-2 vaccine
Posted at 3:33 PM, Jan 21, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-21 18:33:12-05

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KERO) — The County Administrative Officer is recommending the Board of Supervisors approve a proposal to move millions of unused Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act funds, as well as other unused funding, to benefit vaccination clinics, increase ICU capacity, and support COVID-19 testing.

According to the Board of Supervisor's agenda for Jan. 26, the CAO is recommending reallocating $3.29 million of unused funds from CARES Act programs as well as $5.28 million of unallocated funds.

The proposal is requesting $5 million in CARES Act funds be moved towards benefiting vaccination clinics, including setting up the vaccine clinic at the Kern County Fairgrounds.

$2.5 million is also being asked to be allocated to support COVID-19 testing sites in Bakersfield and Arvin.

The proposal also asks for $600,000 to be allocated to support ICU capacity at local hospitals. Originally the Board of Supervisors authorized $12.6 million to increase ICU capacity, according to the proposal.

These funds are part of the over $2 trillion U.S. CARES Act, designed to mitigate financial fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic across the country. The State Budget also allocates $300 million as an initial estimate for vaccine distribution. However, the CAO said it is unknown when and how these federal and state funds will be distributed to counties.