L.A. County expands state's vaccination mandate for health care workers

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Health care workers throughout the state have to get vaccinated by Sept. 30. But Los Angeles County has decided to take the mandate further.

The county's Department of Public Health issued a health order Thursday that added EMTs, paramedics, dental workers and home health workers to the list of health care workers who must be vaccinated against COVID-19.

According to the order, "Recent outbreaks in health care, [nursing homes] and other congregate settings have often been traced to unvaccinated staff members." The order noted "increasing numbers of health care workers" are testing positive.

The order continued, "current requirements for unvaccinated staff in health care settings appear to be insufficient to prevent transmission of the Delta variant," which is highly contagious.

The Delta variant made up 99 percent of the COVID-19 cases sequenced by the county last week.

"We gain a new understanding just about every day about how the Delta variant is spreading," said county Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer.

“Much of what we’re learning affirms that it spreads more easily, and this is why we need to move swiftly to improve vaccination rates.”

According to Ferrer, the vaccinations against COVID-19 continue to “provide excellent protection against severe outcomes from Delta infection.”

At least 54 percent of all county residents are now fully vaccinated.

Read the full health office order here.