California Requires State Employees, Health Care Personnel to Receive COVID-19 Vaccine or Test Regularly

On Monday, Governor Gavin Newsom announced the State of California will require all state employees and health care personnel to either show proof of full vaccination against COVID-19 or be tested at least once per week. California is encouraging all local governments and other employers to adopt a similar protocol.

Under the state order, health care settings (defined as acute health care and long-term care settings; high-risk congregate settings; and other health care settings) must verify that all employees are fully vaccinated against COVID-19. Unvaccinated workers will be subject to at least weekly COVID-19 testing and will be required to wear appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE).

The requirement for state employees will take effect on August 2 and testing will be phased in over the coming weeks. The policy for health care personnel and congregate facilities will take effect on August 9, and health facilities will have until August 23 to come into full compliance. To ensure the availability of testing, the California Department of Managed Health Care (DMHC) on Monday issued APL 21-020 to all full-service health care plans operating in California reminding plans of their obligation under federal law to cover COVID-19 testing for enrollees. 

Additional information from the Governor’s Office is available here. The State Public Health Officer Order from Dr. Tomás Aragón is available here.

Notably, several other governments and entities this week announced similar vaccination and testing requirements for employees and affiliated personnel. One such announcement came today from the White House, which will begin requiring all federal employees and federal contractors to attest to their vaccination status. Unvaccinated personnel would be required to wear masks, physically distance from others, and comply with at least once weekly testing. The Biden-Harris Administration is additionally calling on state and local governments to incentivize vaccinations by providing individuals receiving vaccines $100. Additional information is available here.