SACRAMENTO (CBSLA) — In response to the statewide surge of Coronavirus cases, Governor Gavin Newsom has announced that he will activate the National Guard in the hope of providing additional testing facilities.

“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. We continue to support communities in their response to COVID by bolstering testing capacity,” Newsom said in the statement.

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The current surge, the fifth of the Coronavirus pandemic, has taken hold of the nation as multiple states – including California – have been reporting record-breaking numbers on a daily basis and on back-to-back days Los Angeles County alone has reported new highs.

As a result, testing centers, hospitals and other medical facilities have been overwhelmed with patients hoping to get their own tests.

This move will deploy over 200 members of California’s National Guard across 50 Optum Serve Sites to increase access to testing quickly, increase staff, and add walk-in capacity beginning today and throughout the coming weeks, according to a statement released by the Governor’s Office.

They will also be providing interim clinical staff while permanent staff members are hired. This will help assist with crowd control and back-filling for staff absences.

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18 of these sites will be located throughout the Southern California in Los Angeles, San Bernardino and Ventura Counties. These locations in Los Angeles County include:

  • Los Angeles – 3600 Crenshaw Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 900168 (Open Monday-Saturday 7am-7pm)
  • Van Nuys – 5903 N. Balboa Blvd, Van Nuys, CA 91406 (Open Tuesday-Saturday 7am-3pm)
  • South El Monte – 10408 Vacco Street, South El Monta, CA 91733 (Open Tuesday-Thursday, Saturday 7am-7pm)
  • Santa Monica – 2600 Ocean Park Blvd, Santa Monica, CA 90405 (Open Monday-Friday 7am-5pm)
  • Pasadena – 1595 N Lake Ave, Pasadena, CA 91104 (Open Monday-Saturday 8am-4pm)
  • Pacoima – 10736 Laurel Canyon Blvd, Pacoima, CA 91331(Open Tuesday-Saturday 8am-4pm)
  • Paramount – 14400 Paramount Blvd, Paramount, CA 90723 (Open Tuesday-Saturday 10am-6pm)
  • Bell – 6250 Pine Ave, Bell, CA 90201 (Open Monday-Friday 7am-3pm)
  • Sylmar – 13100 Hubbard St, Sylmar, CA 91342 (Open Tuesday-Saturday 7am-3pm)

Newsom also announced that additional members of the Guard will be deployed next week in similar capacities, depending on the success of the initial deployment.

These new sites will be in addition to the more than 6,000 testing sites that are already operating in California. The statement details this as the most extensive network of testing facilities in the nation, noting that 90% of all Golden State residents live within at least 30 minutes of a testing site as it stands.

The statement commended California’s efforts to date, while addressing a need for residents to continue with their efforts in the face of COVID-19 and the Omicron Variant, which now accounts for over 90% of all cases in the state:

“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.”

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