All healthcare workers in California are required to be fully vaccinated by Sept. 30, according to an order issued Thursday by the state Department of Public Health.
Under the new order, all health workers are required to receive the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine or a two-dose regimen of the Moderna or Pfizer vaccines before the end of September.
The order applies in most health settings, including general acute care hospitals, intermediate care facilities, skilled nursing facilities, clinics and doctors offices, mental health treatment facilities and hospice care centers.
Limited exceptions to the mandate apply for those who have a religious reason to decline or those who have to decline the vaccine due to qualifying medical reasons. To be eligible for a qualifying medical reasons exemption, individuals must provide a written statement signed by a physician, nurse practitioner or other licensed medical professional stating that the individual qualifies for the exemption.
The state is currently experiencing the fastest increase in COVID-19 cases during the entire pandemic, and case rates have increased ninefold in the past months, Dr. Tomas J. Aragón, the state public health director, said in a statement.
With hospitals being some of the highest-risk settings for contracting COVID-19, Dr. Aragón said a vaccine mandate is necessary to protect patients and medical practitioners.
“Vaccination against COVID-19 is the most effective means of preventing infection with the COVID-19 virus, and subsequent transmission and outbreaks,” Dr. Aragón said. “As we respond to the dramatic increase in cases, all health care workers must be vaccinated to reduce the chance of transmission to vulnerable populations.”
As the state eyes an overall uptick in COVID-19 cases, local officials in Santa Barbara County are working to slow a surge in cases associated with the highly transmissible Delta variant. Starting today at 5 p.m. a reinstated mask mandate will require that all people, regardless of vaccination status, wear masks indoors.
On Thursday, the county’s Public Health Department reported 95 new cases of COVID-19 and no new deaths.
Officials reported 17 new cases in Santa Barbara and the unincorporated area of Mission Canyon, 16 cases in Santa Maria, 13 new cases in the Santa Ynez Valley and 11 new cases in Orcutt.
Nine new cases were reported in Lompoc and the communities of Mission Hills and Vandenberg Village; seven new cases were reported in the unincorporated area of the Goleta Valley and Gaviota and in Goleta; five cases were reported in the South Coast unincorporated area of Summerland, Montecito and the city of Carpinteria; three new cases were reported in the North County unincorporated areas of Sisquoc, Casmalia, Garey, Cuyama and New Cuyama and the city of Guadalupe; and two new infections were reported in Isla Vista.
Five cases were pending on Thursday.
Thursday’s new infections brought the county’s active case rate to a total of 479.
As of Wednesday, 62.3% of the county’s eligible 12 and older population was fully vaccinated, and 70.7% of that same population had received at least one dose. Of the entire county’s population, 52.7% of people were fully vaccinated, as of Wednesday. (The county’s vaccination data has a one-day lag).