California healthcare workers will be required to take a COVID-19 booster shot as cases of the Omicron variant continue to increase.

About 2.5 million of the state’s healthcare workers will have until February 1 to get the COVID booster, and as was the case for prior vaccine requirements, they may risk loosing their jobs.

“With Omicron on the rise, we’re taking immediate actions to protect Californians and ensure our hospitals are prepared,” Newsom tweeted Tuesday.

In August, California was the first U.S. state to mandate vaccinations for healthcare workers, requiring them to be fully vaccinated by Sept. 30.  The state allowed for religious and medical exemptions, with those workers being required to wear N-95 masks and take weekly COVID-19 tests.

Gov. Newsom also announced a plan to make COVID-19 rapid test kits available for to K-12 students, distributing 2 million kits, allowing for about 2 tests per student.

“As the Omicron variant spreads rapidly across the country and circulates in all regions of the state, we’re taking immediate, proactive steps to protect Californians with boosters and expanded access to testing,”  Newsom said Wednesday. “The state is also redoubling our efforts to keep kids safe and keep schools open. We will help prevent the spread of COVID-19 in our communities by making at-home testing kits available to every K-12 public school student as they head back to the classroom from winter break.”

In Los Angeles, daily COVID-19 cases have nearly tripled this week, increasing from 3,052 cases reported by L.A. Public Health on Tuesday, to 8,633 positive cases Thursday.

Los Angeles COVID-19 hospitalizations have also gradually increased through the month of December, as the month started with 562 people hospitalized, to 770 reported Thursday.

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