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Sonoma County and Santa Rosa seek aid for pandemic, strained municipal budgets

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FILE - In this Nov. 16, 2020, file photo, student nurse Ryan Eachus collects forms as cars line up for COVID-19 testing at a testing site set up the OC Fairgrounds in Costa Mesa, Calif. With coronavirus cases surging and families hoping to gather safely for Thanksgiving, long lines to get tested have reappeared across the U.S. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong, File)

Faced with California’s rocky vaccination rollout, officials in Sonoma County and Santa Rosa want more pandemic funding and transparency from state officials, and are holding out hope for an infusion of cash from the incoming Biden administration’s coronavirus relief efforts.

In an “urgent request” sent last week, agencies representing local governments across the state laid out $1.2 billion in needs, including $400 million for vaccine distribution, to cover testing, contact tracing and vaccination costs for the next six months.

“This request is urgent due to current surge and strain that local health departments are experiencing as cases increase dramatically,” the California State Association of Counties said in the letter sent last week to Gov. Gavin Newsom and the state’s top lawmakers. “Local health departments cannot conduct contact tracing and disease investigation, maintain the network of testing sites, outreach to vulnerable populations and deploy vaccination plans without additional resources as soon as possible.”
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