Governor Newsom activates California National Guard to bolster state’s COVID-19 testing capacity

January 8, 2022 – SACRAMENTO – Governor Gavin Newsom announced on Friday that he had activated the California National Guard to support local communities with additional testing facilities and capacity amid the nationwide outbreak of COVID-19 cases caused by the Omicron variant.

“California has led the country’s fight against COVID-19, implementing unprecedented public health measures that have saved tens of thousands of lives,” Governor Newsom said. “We continue to support communities in their response to COVID by building testing capacity. “

This new action is in addition to the 6,000 existing test sites that have been set up statewide, the recent demand-dependent hours extension at state-run sites and the 9.6 million tests that the state has distributed to schools since the beginning of December.

The announcement comes as Omicron continues to spread rapidly across the world, accounting for at least 80% of COVID-19 cases in California. The National Guard plan will deploy more than 200 Cal Guard members to 50 Optum Serve sites across the state, providing interim clinical staff while permanent staff are hired, adding appointment capacity, assisting with screening crowds and replacing staff absences – all in an effort to conduct more testing for more Californians. Additional members of the Guard will be deployed next week in similar capacities.

These steps will bolster California’s already strong testing program – the largest in the country. Currently, 90% of Californians live within a 30-minute drive of a site. In the midst of the outbreak, the state was able to maintain a 48-hour deadline for PCR testing.

California National Guard personnel arrive at the Antioch Community Center test site

To date, California has administered nearly 67 million doses of vaccination and more than 122.7 million tests. In recent months, Governor Newsom has implemented a series of measures to slow the spread of COVID-19, including the country’s first vaccine and masking measures requiring workers in healthcare facilities to be fully immunized, announcing its intention to add the COVID-19 vaccine to the list of vaccines required to attend school in person when fully approved, requiring masking in schools and implementing a standard that all school staff and all state officials present proof of full vaccination or are tested. To help slow the spread of COVID-19, Californians are being encouraged to get vaccinated, get a booster, wear a mask indoors, and get tested if they are sick.
Source: Office of the Governor

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