Governor Gavin Newsom activated members of the California National Guard to support dozens of COVID-19 testing sites in the state amid the surge.
One of the locations where the support is being seen is in Antioch.
People stood in a long line outside the Antioch Community Center for a COVID-19 test Saturday and members of the California National Guard were there to offer assistance.
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“We’re helping everyone here in line sign up through a company called LHI,” said Victor Del Real of the California National Guard. “So, what it does is makes the process a little bit faster for while they’re waiting in line. When they get to the front the process takes about 10 minutes to actually sign up so there are a lot of people here who are having issues doing it.”
Newsom announced Friday that he was activating the California National Guard to help overwhelmed testing facilities and to expand capacity.
Demand for testing remains high around the Bay Area with long waits and testing kits that are hard to find.
Before the holidays, the Antioch COVID-19 testing site, which does PCR tests, saw about 200 people a day.
“It increased about 200 to 400 after the first of the year now we were seeing close to 600 up to 700,” said Jaymijah Means, a nurse practitioner.
More than 200 members will be deployed at 50 testing sites around the state.
Under Newsom’s budget proposal, the state could spend $2.7 billion dollars on efforts to address the COVID-19 surge including expanding testing and vaccination efforts, assistance in health care settings and new rules for COVID-19 sick pay.
In the meantime, Antioch Mayor Lamar Thorpe said that he learned just Friday about the help for his city.
“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-19 infection.
Ronnel DeGuzman told NBC Bay Area Saturday that he tested at the Anticoh site before and noticed the difference during his recent visit.
“Today it’s better because last time I’m here I went out of line. It’s because it was not moving. The guards are here. It’s much faster, more organized. Everyone has an account they know what to do when they approach the desk,” he said.