Over half of COVID-19 cases in California omicron

California Gov. Gavin NewsomGavin NewsomLos Angeles lawmakers vote to support ban on new oil wells Newsom, California lawmakers reach deal on COVID-19 sick pay California bill would require all schoolchildren to be vaccinated against COVID-19 MORE (D) said on Wednesday that "well north of 50 percent" of COVID-19 cases in his state were the new and highly transmissible variant omicron.

Over 70 percent of samples tested in a laboratory in the Bay Area were omicron. The case rate in the area reached 16 per 100,000 people on Tuesday, the highest since delta variant surges in September and a 67 percent increase from the week before, according to The San Francisco Chronicle

Still, Newsom said that California overall has the lowest test positivity rate in the country at 3.3 percent. That still marks a 2.3 percent increase from a week ago, as new cases in California have risen by 35 percent in the past week, the Chronicle added.

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Newsom’s remarks followed the governor's announcement on Wednesday that booster shots would be required for health care workers, making California the second state after New Mexico to impose such a booster requirement for the health care sector 

The booster shot requirement comes in addition to other steps being taken throughout California to address COVID-19 amid the omicron surge.

The state has reimposed its indoor masking mandate, and at least seven of the University of California campuses plan to begin the upcoming term remotely in an effort to control the spread of COVID-19.