SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — California will require all of its roughly 2.2 million health care and long term care workers to be fully vaccinated against the coronavirus by Sept. 30.
Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom said last month he would require health care workers to either be vaccinated or submit to weekly testing. But the new order issued Thursday by the California Department of Public Health does not give health care workers a choice.
It says all must be fully vaccinated by the end of September. California is averaging 18.3 new coronavirus cases per 100,000 people per day.
The delta variant is causing most of the new infections.
“As we continue to see an increase in cases and hospitalizations due to the Delta variant of COVID-19, it’s important that we protect the vulnerable patients in these settings,” said Dr. Tomás J. Aragón, California Department of Public Health (CDPH) Director and State Public Health Officer, in a statement. “Today’s action will also ensure that health care workers themselves are protected. Vaccines are how we end this pandemic.”
A second public health order directs hospitals, skilled nursing facilities, and intermediate care facilities to verify that visitors are fully vaccinated or have tested negative for COVID-19 in the prior 72 hours before indoor visits, according to the CPDH. Updates to guidance for visitors to other long-term care facilities is expected in the near future. The second order takes effect Aug. 11.