Newsom announces new measures to protect against viruses

California Governor Gavin Newsom announced new measures to protect Californians from the coronavirus on Wednesday amid a surge in the Omicron variant.

Newsom said the state will distribute 6 million take-away COVID test kits to K-12 students returning to public school classes after the winter break. He said the state is also extending hours of operation at COVID test sites across the country to make them more accessible.

The governor also confirmed Tuesday’s announcement that he would order that all health care workers in the state receive a booster vaccination against COVID-19, setting a February 1 deadline.

Speaking at a news conference in Alameda County, Newsom said “protecting our heroes and frontline workers” is a critical step in reversing the COVID-19 surge fueled by the highly transmissible variant of Omicron.

“That’s why we’re listed as the first state in the nation to require vaccination of all healthcare workers,” Newsom said. “And we are really proud of these partnerships, our providers, the remarkable support we have received from organized workers as well as community clinics, not just the hospitals, who have supported these efforts. And that resulted in exceptionally high vaccination rates for our healthcare system. ”Workforce.

NEW: CA expands access to tests to keep Californians safe this holiday season.

– We are extending the opening times at test locations with increased demand.

– We will be handing out test kits at home to every K-12 student returning to public school so we can keep our classrooms safe.

– Gavin Newsom (@GavinNewsom) December 22, 2021

All California healthcare workers were hired to get vaccinated against COVID-19 earlier this year. The mandate required that health care workers receive their second dose of the vaccine by September 30th.

The governor insisted the state was still holding its own in the fight against COVID-19 and the Omicron variant, but noted that the metrics are trending up. He said the state’s test positivity was 3.3% this week, up from 2.3% last week.

“That’s a big increase in just a week,” he said.

A week ago the state announced 5,400 new COVID infections, but as of Wednesday the number was nearly 11,000.

“So almost doubling the number of cases in a week and a positivity rate that has increased significantly,” he said. “So you can do some math to get a sense of the challenge we all face here in the state, in the country and in the rest of the world.”

The governor said there are no immediate plans to extend the booster requirement to other sectors, such as government employees.

The City Intelligence Service contributed to this report.

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