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

Gov. Newsom's Office

Governor Gavin Newsom has activated the California National Guard to support local communities with additional testing facilities and capacity amid the national surge in COVID-19 cases driven by the Omicron variant. 

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

Newsom's office added that the new action is on top of the existing 6,000 testing sites that have been set up across the state, the recent demand-based expansion of hours at state-operated sites and the 9.6 million tests that the state has distributed to schools since early December.  

Omicron currently accounts for at least 80% of COVID-19 cases in California.

The National Guard plan will deploy over 200 Cal Guard members across 50 Optum Serve sites around the state, providing interim clinical staff while permanent staff are hired, adding capacity for walk-ins, assisting with crowd control and back-filling for staff absences – all in an effort to conduct more tests for more Californians.

Additional members of the Guard will be deployed next week in similar capacities. 

"These measures will bolster California’s already robust testing program – the most extensive in the nation. Currently, 90% of Californians live within a 30-minute drive of a site. Amidst the surge, the state has been able to maintain a 48-hour turn around for PCR tests," reads an announcement by Gov. Newsom.

Article Topic Follows: Coronavirus

Jesus Reyes

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