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California government, health workers must show proof of vaccination or be tested regularly

Luke Money, Emily Alpert Reyes and Taryn Luna, Los Angeles Times on

Published in News & Features

LOS ANGELES — California state and healthcare employees will soon be required to show proof they’ve been vaccinated against COVID-19 — with those who remain uninoculated subject to a regular testing regimen, officials announced Monday.

The new guidance is not a vaccine mandate, the likes of which have been announced for municipal workers in some areas of the state, but effectively removes the “honor system” in which some workers were able to self-attest to their vaccination status.

When the additional requirements are in place, state employees who are unvaccinated, or decline to provide proof of vaccination, will be tested for coronavirus infection at least once a week, according to the California Department of Human Resources.

“Unvaccinated employees will continue to be required to wear a mask indoors until they are vaccinated,” the department added in a statement.

There are roughly 246,000 state employees.

Healthcare workers — in both the private and public sectors — will be subject to similar requirements. Those who work in high-risk settings, such as acute care and skilled nursing facilities, will need to be tested twice a week if they don’t provide proof of vaccination.

 

State officials also are encouraging all employers to consider adopting similar standards.

For state workers, the new policy will be effective starting Aug. 2, with testing “phased in over the next few weeks,” according to a statement from Gov. Gavin Newsom’s office.

The effective date is Aug. 9 for healthcare workers, and those facilities will need to come into compliance by Aug. 23.

“Too many people have chosen to live with this virus,” Newsom told reporters Monday. “We’re at a point in this epidemic, this pandemic, where choice — individuals’ choice not to get vaccinated — is now impacting the rest of us in a profound and devastating and deadly way.”

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