Utah lawmakers could spend over $16 million to fight Coronavirus

UPDATED: MARCH 12, 2020 AT 9:16 AM
Producer, Inside Sources

SALT LAKE CITY – Utah lawmakers could spend at least $16 million to fight the Coronavirus.

Lt. Governor Spencer Cox, who heads the state’s Coronavirus task force, said during a news conference at the Utah State Capitol that lawmakers have already set aside that money.

“The legislature has announced that they are going to be approving and putting into the budget $16 million specifically for our response. There is another emergency fund of $4 million that we have set aside,” Cox said.

However, they need permission from the Executive Appropriations Committee to access that. Cox expects the money to be approved as soon as tomorrow.

Governor Gary Herbert, who was also at the news conference, also expects to get millions more from the federal government.

Cox also gave an update about the testing the state is doing to help stop the spread of Coronavirus, saying they have started “community surveillance testing”.

“This means that we will be everyday testing random samples…on other potential diseases that have tested negative. Mostly flu. And if those come back negative, now we can start randomly testing samples of those for the Coronavirus,” Cox said.

The goal is to track the possible spread of the Coronavirus and work to contain it. 15 random tests are going on everyday, though Cox hopes that number will go up.