State workers must show proof of COVID-19 vaccination; testing facilities preparing for weekly tests
As COVID testing sites are seeing a spike in patients, a new requirement is now in effect for California state workers to show proof of vaccination — or they will soon be mandated to get tested for the virus weekly.
Governor Gavin Newsom announced last week that the new rules for state workers would take effect August second, with testing “phased in over the next few weeks.”
Then the order will include healthcare workers who will need to comply with the new rules by Aug. 9 with healthcare facilities needing to come into compliance by Aug. 23.
Governor Newsom said this requirement comes as the nation grabbles with a “pandemic of the unvaccinated.”
“Too many people have chosen to live with this virus," Newsom said. "We’re at a point in this pandemic where choice, individual’s choice not to get the vaccine is impacting the rest of us in a profound and devastating and deadly way.”
COVID testing sites throughout the Central Coast are already seeing a spike in patients, with positive cases mostly showing up in the unvaccinated population.
“It is definitely climbing over the last two weeks," said Med Stop Urgent Care Doctor Brian Roberts. "It is having a very steady increase and it has not plateaued yet.”
Dr. Roberts said he’s now preparing his staff for the additional influx of people they may see once the health order goes into effect later this month, but he also thinks the weekly testing mandate will be quite challenging for the state.
“It boggles the mind. I don’t know how they plan to test state workers who are not vaccinated, on a weekly basis," Dr. Roberts said. "I haven’t heard anybody talk about the plan.”
The state health department has not released guidance on how weekly testing should be done, and if there will be certain facilities or in-house method guidelines for doing so.
Without that, Dr. Roberts said he’s focused on making sure his healthcare facility is prepared and ready if his facility gets called in to help.
“I don’t know what the plan is," Dr. Roberts said. "But, we have access capacity, and we would like to be part of the solution, but I do not know how that is going to pan out.”
The state order hasn’t clarified if the time spent being tested will be paid or unpaid time for the employee.