SAN DIEGO — More than 200 members of the California National Guard have been activated to help provide staffing for COVID-19 testing centers amid the surge of cases due to the omicron variant, Gov. Gavin Newsom’s office announced Friday.

The Cal Guard members will be deployed at 50 sites statewide, “providing interim clinical staff while permanent staff are hired, adding capacity for walk-ins, assisting with crowd control and back-filling for staff absences – all in an effort to conduct more tests for more Californians,” Newsom’s office said in a release.

“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,” Newsom said in a statement. “We continue to support communities in their response to COVID by bolstering testing capacity.”

More Cal Guard members are expected to be called up next week, Newsom’s office added.