Politics Rundown: Omicron cases rise, testing sites are overwhelmed and California creates a relief fund

Californians scramble to stay safe amid rising coronavirus cases.

Caleb Jonker and Hannah Larson

This holiday season marked the rise of the omicron COVID-19 variant. Omicron cases already surpassed previous coronavirus positive tests, according to an article from the Wall Street Journal. According to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, coronavirus cases climbed over the last two weeks, with 950,000 new cases in one day on Jan. 3.

As more information is becoming available about the virus the CDC changed its quarantine recommendation to five days after developing symptoms.


On Jan. 7, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced in a tweet that the National Guard will deploy to testing sites across the state. According to ABC10, about 200 members of the California National Guard are headed to over 50 testing sites across the state. People have experienced wait times as high as six hours to get tested and reduced access to at-home tests, according to the Los Angeles Times


On Jan. 8 Newsom announced a $2.7 billion COVID-19 Emergency Response Package. The initiative includes $1.2 billion to increase testing across the state. This money expands the hours and capacity of California’s testing sites, in an effort to slow the spread of the virus. Newsom outlined a public campaign using additional funding to combat misinformation about the virus and the vaccine. Initiatives to improve vaccination rates will continue, including increased funding for at-home vaccination and transportation to and from vaccination sites.

Additional goals of the package include funding for support of front-line workers, state operations and supporting coronavirus mitigation in the most vulnerable communities.


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