Gov. Newsom sends National Guard to assist with COVID-19 testing in Antioch Saturday

California National Guard personnel arrive at the Antioch Community Center testing site on Saturday, Jan. 8, 2022. Photo: Office of Governor Gavin Newsom

Four sent to help at Prewett Family Park site in unusual deployment of state’s military personnel

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 national surge in COVID-19 cases driven by the Omicron variant. The California National Guard is part of the National Guard of the United States, a dual federal-state military reserve force. The CA National Guard has three components: the CA Army National GuardCA Air National Guard, and CA State Guard.

According to their website, the California National Guard is “a community-based land force maintained at the optimum level of preparedness and readiness for service to the state and nation” that “organizes, trains, equips, and resources community-based land forces. On order, mobilizes to support state and/or federal authority.”

Under the control of the governor, National Guard functions range from limited actions during non-emergency situations to full scale law enforcement of martial law.

Residents stand in line in Antioch for a COVID test on Saturday, Jan. 8, 2022. Video screenshot. Source: Office of Governor Newsom

“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.”

The announcement comes as Omicron continues to spread rapidly across the globe, accounting for at least 80% of COVID-19 cases in California. The National Guard plan deployed 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 are being deployed this week in similar capacities.

As part of the highly unusual deployment of the National Guard, four personnel were in Antioch at Prewett Family Park’s Community Center parking lot on Saturday. They made sure everyone was signed up for a test. In an ABC7 News report, Mayor Lamar Thorpe said, “We’re excited to have the National Guard show up and provide us support. In eastern Contra Costa County, we have some of the highest rates of COVID infection. I’m excited we’re working collaboratively to solve this pandemic.”

Click here for vido of California National Guard personnel assisting the Antioch Community Center testing site on Saturday, which doubled the number of testing windows and the number of appointments available per day.

This 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.

According to the governor’s office, 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.

To date, California has administered almost 67 million vaccination doses and over 122.7 million tests. In recent months, Governor Newsom implemented a series of measures to slow the spread of COVID-19, including first-in-the-nation vaccine and masking measures requiring that workers in health care settings be fully vaccinated, announcing plans to add the COVID-19 vaccine to the list of vaccinations required to attend school in-person when fully approved, requiring masking in schools and implementing a standard that all school staff and all state workers either show proof of full vaccination or be tested. To help slow the spread of COVID-19, Californians are encouraged to get vaccinated, get boosted, wear a mask indoors and get tested if sick.

Allen Payton contributed to this report.

 

Photo Cutline – California National Guard personnel arrive at Antioch Community Center testing site on Saturday. Source: Office of Governor Gavin Newsom

 

Video screenshot

Share this:
Share this page via Email Share this page via Stumble Upon Share this page via Digg this Share this page via Facebook Share this page via Twitter

the attachments to this post:


Residents stand in line in Antioch for a COVID test 010822


Cal Guard in Antioch 01-08-22


No Comments so far.

Leave a Reply