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Santa Clara County wants employers to request vaccines from employees

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Health officials in the three Bay Area counties announced on Thursday that they want all employers to require their employees to be vaccinated with COVID-19, with a few exceptions.

“As the number of cases of COVID-19 increases and unvaccinated individuals are at risk of serious illness and death, health officials in the counties of Contra Costa, Santa Clara and San Francisco have sent all employers. We urge you to consider implementing the COVID-19 Safety Protocol in labor-intensive workplaces, to be fully vaccinated as soon as possible, “said Dr. George Han, Deputy Health Officer in Santa Clara County. Said. “We know that vaccines are the best tool needed to combat COVID-19 and are safe and effective in the context of delta mutants.”

The Delta variant is currently the predominant variant in both California and the United States.

“One of the reasons this recommendation is being made at this time is that all counties in the Bay Area have seen a dramatic increase in (COVID-19) cases in the last few weeks,” said San Francisco County Health. Dr. Naveena Bobba, Deputy Medical Officer, said. .. “We actually have the opportunity to prevent hospitalization with COVID-19 … There is an urgent need to get an unvaccinated vaccine.”

Most COVID-19 restrictions, and mask obligations, Officially dismissed throughout the state on June 15However, concerns about the highly contagious delta mutant of the virus were addressed shortly thereafter. Recommended by health authorities in Santa Clara County and six other Bay Area counties on July 8 All residents will resume wearing masks Internal-regardless of vaccination status.

There are still no signs that Cal / OSHA, the state-wide occupational safety enforcement agency, will create vaccine obligations for employees.

Currently, California has no rules or legislation requiring the COVID-19 vaccine, and employers need to take a more fragmented approach. San Francisco County announced in June that all more than 35,000 city officials would soon need to get the COVID-19 vaccine, but Santa Clara County has no plans for similar obligations to civil servants or private sector employees.

The University of California school system announced earlier this year that all students, staff, and faculty members will return to campus this fall. Will be needed again It is completely inoculated against the virus.

According to Han, the local public health sector has gathered opinions from employers throughout Santa Clara County. He said some employers sought recommendations on employee vaccine requirements.

“There are other employers … (I said so) I appreciate these recommendations, which is one of the reasons we did this and issued this recommendation,” Han said. Mr. says.

Silicon Valley CEO Derrick Siever told San Jose Spotlight Thursday, based on conversations with members, that this is a largely welcome recommendation.

“We absolutely appreciate and endorse the recommendations made for both masking and current vaccination,” Siever said. “For us, recommendations are definitely the preferred path here, as opposed to obligations … Every business legally has different structures, different settings, and different questions that must be dealt with individually. And I think they can get over it. “

From the beginning, according to Siever, companies wanted to do everything they could to get them back on track as quickly and safely as possible, and this recommendation is no exception.

“As this (recommendation) is developed and future recommendations are developed, one of our questions to the health sector here is, wherever possible, clear guidance and consistency to our (company). Please provide, “said Seaver. “I really believe that people will be happy to help if it is provided.”

Health officials on Thursday also required employees to use paper, medical grade masks instead of cloth masks, and tested unvaccinated employees at least once a week for COVID-19, a tougher workplace than the state. Recommended safety measures.

“The California Public Health Service is working closely with OSHA,” Boba said. “As the case rate rises and the condition changes, there is ongoing debate about what the safest working environment should be.”

As of Thursday, the 7-day rolling average for COVID-19 cases in Santa Clara County was 113 per day.According to the county variant tracker, 99 infections Delta Saas-Cov-2 Mutant. However, identifying variants requires a process called gene sequencing. This is currently being done in only a few tests.

Dr. Chris Farnitano, a Contra Costa County health doctor, said infection rates in his county were 10 to 20 times higher in unvaccinated people than in vaccinated people. ..

“This surge we see is in the unvaccinated population,” Farnitano said. “COVID-19 stays here and the choice is” Are you going to be vaccinated? ” Or “Are you going to get the vaccine?”

In Santa Clara County, 77.1% of eligible residents, or more than 1.3 million Completely vaccinated, One of the highest rates in the state.

To date, 1,706 county residents have died from COVID-19, and more than 121,000 residents have been infected with the virus since the outbreak of the pandemic.

Masks are still needed in medical facilities, public transport, schools, prisons and homeless shelters. For employees who have not yet been fully vaccinated, the employer must require and implement masking under current state law.

To find the location of a drop-in vaccine, make an appointment, request a mobile vaccination at home, and find information on vaccine safety. www.sccfreevax.org..

Contact Madelyn Reese [email protected] Or follow @MadelynGReese On Twitter.

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