California officials announced that starting in August, all state employees would be required to show evidence of their vaccine. Those who are not vaccinated will be required to wear masks and undergo frequent COVID-19 tests, ABC News reported.
The new vaccination verification program applies to state health-care workers, who will undergo testing twice a week and be recommended to wear N95 masks if they are unvaccinated.
The state will enact the mandates for all employees by August 23. New York City announced a similar mandate for city employees today.
Coronavirus cases are on the rise throughout the state, with the infectious Delta variant accounting for 83% of cases. The 7-day average is now 6,400 cases per day, and hospitalizations have risen rapidly to 3,000 patients. The majority of those infected are unvaccinated.
“An individual’s choice not to get vaccinated is now impacting the rest of us in a profound and devastating and deadly way,” Governor Gavin Newsom said.
“Bottom line, vaccines are the road through this even with the Delta spreading faster,” said Dr. Mark Ghaly, Secretary of California Health & Human Service.
In Los Angeles, masks are required regardless of vaccine status, and six California counties have strongly encouraged mask wearing indoors.
The state has distributed 48 million doses of the coronaivurs vaccine and almost 75% of eligible children, teenagers and adults have received at least one shot. 62% of those available are fully vaccinated, according to AP.