CSAC Bulletin Article

Governor Newsom Orders COVID-19 Vaccine Verification and Testing

July 29, 2021

Increasing numbers of Delta variant COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations prompted Governor Newsom to announce on Monday, July 26 that all state employees and health care workers must verify their vaccination status or submit to required testing and wearing higher filtration masks. This order takes effect on Monday, August 9 at 12:01 a.m. The order also applies to local high-risk facilities like jails and homeless shelters. In response to new CDC guidelines, the California Department of Public Health issued new guidance on Wednesday, July 28 recommending universal masking in indoor public settings, regardless of vaccination status.

“We need to step things up because our projections are sobering,” said Governor Newsom at a press conference in Alameda County this morning. “We’re projecting a significant increase in hospitalizations…and our only way out is through vaccination.”

According to the Governor, 74.8 percent of all eligible Californians have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, and administered first doses rose by 16 percent last week alone. California Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly implored the unvaccinated and those who have received a single dose of a two-dose regimen to step up now in the face of the mutating virus.   

“The Delta variant has changed the game. This is not the COVID that we dealt with a year ago,” said Secretary Ghaly. “In the face of Delta, that second shot is very important, and it’s a small price to pay to be protected against a more contagious, more sticky, more spreadable variant. Getting our state vaccinated is the way through.”

State workers have until Monday, August 2 to prove vaccination status, while health care workers and high-risk congregate facilities such as prisons, jails, and homeless shelters must comply by Monday, August 23. View the State Public Health Order, which lists affected facilities and verification and testing protocols, here. California offers an online tool to download your digital COVID-19 vaccine record here. The digital download, as well as the paper vaccine cards, can be used to verify vaccine status. 

Nearly 3,000 Californians are hospitalized with the virus this week, up from less than 1,000 six weeks ago. At the winter peak, more than 20,000 patients were hospitalized with COVID-19 statewide.

The Governor also called on local governments and businesses to follow suit and require vaccine verification and increased testing and masking protocols for employees. Many counties have reinstituted mask recommendations for indoor settings, and a handful already require vaccine verification for all county employees.

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