California Governor Gavin Newsom has failed to keep a December promise to provide 6 million coronavirus tests to screen every child before they would return to school over the holidays — and is calling out the National Guard to help with testing.
The Los Angeles Times reported Saturday:
With the Omicron variant driving a surge in transmission and making testing supplies scarce, schools and parents welcomed Newsom’s announcement on Dec. 22 that the state would provide 6 million tests — enough for every K-12 public school student in California — so that families could screen children before sending them back to school after the holidays.
But what followed was frustration and confusion about where the tests were and whether they would arrive at schools before students returned. How many tests were ultimately made available to families this week is still unclear. As of Friday, 17 counties still had not received any tests, according to data from the governor’s office.
For the districts that were able to send students home with tests before the break, the screenings identified hundreds of cases that might have otherwise gone undetected, raising questions about the impact of delayed shipments on school case rates.
The governor’s office pointed to winter storms and supply chain shortages as reasons for the delays, and spokeswoman Erin Mellon called getting millions of tests to counties so far “a massive accomplishment” in the face of “literal rain, sleet and snow.”
Newsom announced Friday that he was activating the National Guard to help communities with testing, claiming as he did so that California still leads the nation in fighting the pandemic:
Governor Gavin Newsom today announced that he has 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.
“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.”
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.
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.
Currently, California is experiencing a record surge in coronavirus cases, thanks to the omicron variant.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). He is the author of the recent e-book, Neither Free nor Fair: The 2020 U.S. Presidential Election. His recent book, RED NOVEMBER, tells the story of the 2020 Democratic presidential primary from a conservative perspective. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.