LOS ANGELES - Los Angeles County officials on Wednesday issued an executive order requiring all county employees to get vaccinated against COVID-19.
The order will impact more than 110,000 county employees in the largest county in the country.
The executive order was issued by County Supervisor Hilda Solis, who is the chair of the county board of supervisors.
"Today, the county is reporting another 3,734 new cases, 1,242 hospitalizations, and tragically, 16 deaths. When the county marked its re-opening on June 15, there were only 210 confirmed cases, fewer than 220 were hospitalized with COVID-19, and the positivity rate sat at an incredibly low 0.6%. However, with the rapid spread of the Delta variant, our daily cases have increased nearly eighteen-fold and hospitalizations more than five-fold. As vaccinations continue at a pace slower than what is necessary to slow the spread, the need for immediate action is great," Solis wrote in a statement.
The mandate requires all county employees, regardless of the department they serve, to be fully vaccinated no later than October 1, 2021, with exemptions for medical and religious purposes.
"This timeline gives our employees the time they need to consult with their healthcare providers, while moving expeditiously to protect the health and safety of our 110,000 workers," Solis said.
"We cannot wait another day as this virus continues to upend and dramatically alter the lives of our residents. With today’s Executive Order, the county is prepared to lead, and I am hopeful other employers across our great county do the same," Solis continued in her statement.
County health officials said last week that unvaccinated people are five times more likely to be infected by COVID-19 than vaccinated people. Just last week, state officials said the average daily infection rate among unvaccinated people across California was nearly seven times higher than that of vaccinated people.
Although some fully vaccinated people have still been infected with COVID-19, they are highly unlikely to become seriously ill or require hospitalization, health officials said. The county reported last week that 20% of all new infections reported in the county in June were among fully vaccinated people.
Most recent figures from the county show that about 71% of residents aged 16 and older have received at least one dose of COVID vaccine, and 62% are fully vaccinated. Among seniors aged 65 and older, 88% have received at least one dose, and 79% are fully vaccinated.
Los Angeles County recently mandated indoor masking for everyone, regardless of vaccination status. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention changed its mask guidelines Tuesday for people who have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19, citing new information about the ability of the delta variant to spread by those who have been vaccinated.
The CDC is now recommending that vaccinated people wear masks indoors again in parts of the U.S. where the coronavirus is surging and that everyone in K-12 schools wear masks, regardless of vaccination status.
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CNS contributed to this report.