State workers will be required to get vaccinated or test weekly

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California will require all state employees to provide proof of vaccination or test at least once a week and wear facemasks, officials announced Monday. Currently state employees can self-attest to vaccination and then remove face coverings inside with no testing requirements. New rules will also apply to healthcare settings, where in some cases unvaccinated employees will have to test twice a week. The move comes as the Delta variant continues to fuel a rise in COVID-19 cases among the unvaccinated across the state. State officials said Monday that the current case rate is 9.6 cases per 100,000 residents, but the rate for the unvaccinated is above 14 and for the vaccinated around 2. The difference is even more striking in hospitals and intensive-care units, according to state officials, with the unvaccinated comprising the vast majority of cases and, in a matter of weeks, expected to represent most of the coming deaths. Likewise the statewide test positivity rate has jumped from 0.7 to 5.3, but that is largely among unvaccinated Californians, officials said. “We’re experiencing a pandemic of the unvaccinated,” Gov. Gavin Newsom tweeted Monday. “Everyone that can get vaccinated should.” “As the state’s largest employer, we’re leading by example,” he added. “We encourage local governments and other businesses to follow suit.” The state will begin requiring state employees to provide evidence of vaccination by Aug. 2. Those who do not will be required to participate in a testing protocol that will be established in each state department. In healthcare facilities, including longterm-care and other congregate settings, workers will be required to provide proof of vaccination and those unvaccinated must test twice weekly if they work in a hospital setting and wear an N95 mask. Unvaccinated workers in outpatient settings, including dental offices, will have to test weekly and wear a face covering. Speaking at a media briefing on Monday, Newsom said, “Because too many people have chosen to live with the virus, we’re at a point in this pandemic where individuals’ choice not to get vaccinated is now impacting the rest of us in a profound and devastating and deadly way. “That choice has led to an increase in case rates, growing concern about an increase in death rates… (and) we’re mindful of our responsibility to do more and to do better.” There are 246,000 state employees, according to Newsom.

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