Citing a week-over-week increase in the number of coronavirus tests coming back positive, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced a three-item list of statewide initiatives designed to prevent further growth in infection rates as the Omicron variant gains dominance.

Newsom announced Wednesday that all health care and nursing home workers will need to have received their booster shots by Feb. 1, extending the existing mandate that previously required that same workforce to be vaccinated by Sept. 30.

Keeping those with essential medical skills on the job during the next few weeks, as an expected surge in cases and hospitalizations arrives, justifies the move, he said.

“We need to make sure we don’t have staffing shortages,” Newsom said. “We need to keep all of you safe.”

The governor also said that the state has ordered 6 million coronavirus tests for distribution to school districts throughout the state to be used as students return to school after the holiday break. The hours of testing operations across the state, he added, will also be extended, especially in areas currently experiencing high demand.

The surge in tests for schools, the governor said, is designed to help districts start the next semester smoothly.

“I do not want to see our schools shut down, let there be no doubt,” Newsom said.

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