DOF Extends Use of DREOA Funds to Respond to COVID-19

This week, the California Department of Finance (DOF) notified the Joint Legislative Budget Committee (JLBC) of a 120-day extension on the use of funds from the state’s Disaster Response-Emergency Operations Account (DREOA) to support response activities to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. In its letter, DOF indicated that, despite progress made under the state’s Blueprint for a Safer Economy framework, a potential upward trend in COVID-19 case rates, hospitalizations, and ICU admissions may be realized over the coming months. Additionally, with winter approaching, the state is likely to realize a seasonal effect that will contribute to a rise in cases.

According to DOF, extended use of the DREOA will support continued COVID-19 monitoring and response activities, including expanded testing, vaccine distribution, personal protective equipment (PPE) procurement, and surge capacity resource needs. Since March 2020, DOF has notified the Legislature of approximately $4.050 billion in expenditures from the DREOA, Control Section 36.00, Budget Bill Jr. transfers, and appropriations over the 2019-20 and 2020-21 fiscal years. To sustain the state’s response efforts, DOF anticipates needing additional funds. An interim cost update is expected to be provided in early November, and future transfers to DREOA will likely be needed in the near term to support testing services.

The full DOF notification is available here.