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State Employees, Health Care Workers Required To Be Vaccinated Or Test Regularly For COVID

Paul Wade / USDA
Flickr / Creative Commons
Two United States Department of Agriculture’s Forest Service employees work together at one of the vaccination stations in a processing tent at the Oakland Coliseum Mass Vaccination Site, Feb. 23, 2021. Three giant drive-through canopies each contain six lanes with five vaccination stations per lane. Each station has two personnel trained to administer the COVID-19 vaccine and work from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. each day and have recorded processing more than 6,000 residents in and around the Oakland area.

State officials announced, today, that health care workers and state employees will now be required to get vaccinated against COVID-19 or they must get tested regularly if they cannot verify their vaccination status.

Officials said it’s not a pure vaccination mandate. But the requirement will take effect next Monday for state employees and the following week for a broad range of health care settings and facilities.

People who choose to remain unvaccinated or cannot verify their vaccination status will be encouraged to wear a medical-grade face covering. They’ll also be required to test negative for the virus twice a week if they work in a hospital, or once a week if they work in an outpatient care facility like a dentist's office.

The new requirements are part of the state's push to get more people vaccinated. It’s spurred by the ultra-contagious delta variant and cases among unvaccinated people.

The vast majority of the state's current cases, hospitalizations, and deaths are also among unvaccinated residents. Want proof? The number of new cases per day per 100,000 Californians is around 14 for unvaccinated people. For fully vaccinated people, it’s just two.

Last week, health officials in San Francisco, Contra Costa and Santa Clara counties urged employers of all sizes to consider mandating that their employees get vaccinated. On Monday, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs became the first federal agency to require that its health care workers get vaccinated in the coming weeks.

State officials said they expect health care settings to be fully in compliance with the new requirements by August 23. That gives unvaccinated employees time to get fully vaccinated with either the one- or two-dose vaccine regimen.