SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — Governor Gavin Newsom said Friday that the California National Guard has been activated to assist local communities with extra testing facilities and capacity in the wake of a nationwide outbreak of COVID-19 cases caused by the Omicron strain.
“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,” said Governor Newsom. “We continue to support communities in their response to COVID by bolstering testing capacity.”READ MORE: 49er Faithful Buy Tickets To NFC Championship Game After Rams First Restrict Purchase Options To LA Area
This new initiative comes on top of the state’s existing 6,000 testing facilities, as well as the state’s recent demand-based expansion of hours at state-operated sites and the 9.6 million tests sent to schools since early December.READ MORE: 'My Life Got Better When I Met Her': Evacuees Engaged After Meeting At Caldor Fire Evacuation Center
The news comes as Omicron continues to spread quickly over the world, accounting for at least 80% of COVID-19 cases in California.MORE NEWS: Shelter-In-Place Lifted In Ceres After Fire Burns At Farm Supply Facility
Over 200 California National Guard members will be deployed across 50 Optum Serve locations across the state, providing interim clinical staff while permanent staff is hired, increasing capacity for walk-ins, assisting with crowd control, and backfilling for staff absences, all in an effort to conduct more tests for more Californians.