August 6, 2021 Edition

California to Require Health Care Worker Vaccination; Also Issues Order for Health Care Facility Indoor Visits

On Thursday, CDPH Director and State Health Officer, Dr. Tomás Aragón issued the first in the nation public health order requiring all health care workers be vaccinated in the state, allowing for medical and religious exemptions, by September 30.

Under this new state order, all employees who work or provide services in health care facilities (including hospitals, skilled nursing facilities, clinics, doctor’s offices, and dialysis centers among others) must receive at least the first dose of their vaccine regimen by September 30. The order defines how workers may apply for religious or medical exemptions and for those workers with approved exemptions they must submit to PCR or antigen testing for COVID-19 either on a once a week or twice a week interval based on their health care setting and wear a surgical mask or higher-level approved respirator, approved by NIOSH, at all times in the facility.

The State Public Health Officer Order from Dr. Tomás Aragón is available here

In addition to health care worker requirements, Dr. Aragón also issued an State Public Health Officer Order requiring visitors to general acute care hospitals, skilled nursing facilities, and intermediate care facilities, when making indoor visits, to verify their full vaccination or to provide proof of a negative SARS-CoV-2 test.  

Bay Area Region Enacts Masking Mandate

On Monday, eight jurisdictions in the Bay Area, Alameda, Berkeley, Contra Costa, Marin, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Sonoma, issued local health officer orders requiring masks for all indoor public places regardless of vaccination status. In an effort to minimize the spread of the Delta variant, and consistent with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and California Department of Public Health (CDPH) recommendations that all individuals mask indoors, these health orders seek to minimize transmission particularly as recent CDC data indicates even fully vaccinated people can transmit the virus to other people.

Bay Area local health officers also emphasized that vaccination remains the strongest means of fighting the spread of COVID-19.

A copy of their press release can be found here.    

CDC Announces Limited Eviction Moratorium

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced that CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky signed an order placing a moratorium on evictions for sixty days in areas across the United States “experiencing substantial and high levels of community transmission levels of SARS-CoV-2.” The previous CDC moratorium expired on July 31, 2021. Despite previous statements this would be the final eviction moratorium, the CDC argued that the extension allows renters additional rent relief time particularly if they need to isolate or be quarantined as well as additional time to increase vaccination rates. A group of landlords have filed a lawsuit in federal court to block this new moratorium; the case is pending.  

A copy of the CDC’s press release on the moratorium can be found here and the full order can be found here.  

Medi-Cal Vaccination Incentives Announced

This afternoon, the Department of Health Care Services (DHCS) announced a new program to encourage vaccination among Medi-Cal beneficiaries. $350 million (half general fund and half federal funding) will be available to Medi-Cal managed care plans (MCPs) to incentivize outreach programs and activities by the plans and their providers, particularly primary care providers and pharmacies, as well as engage with trusted community organizations, such as food banks, advocacy groups, and faith-based organizations. This incentive program will run from September 2021 through February 2022.

CDPH Hosting Webinar on Exploring California’s 2020 Death Data

The California Department of Public Health will be hosting a webinar on Thursday, August 19, from 11:00 am until 12:00 pm for local health department staff presenting a state-level analysis of excess mortality for California in 2020 and will include an assessment of impacts by race/ethnicity and age, as well as notable increases in deaths due to conditions other than COVID-19 (such as drug overdose, homicide, Alzheimer’s and ischemic heart disease). CDPH Director Dr. Tomás Aragón and Dr. Rohan Radhakrishna, Deputy Director, CDPH Office of Health Equity, will both also appear for a panel discussion.

Information on registering for this webinar can be found here