Solis issues executive order mandating L.A. County employees get vaccinated
Hilda Solis, chair of the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors, issued an executive order Wednesday evening requiring the county’s 110,000 employees to provide proof of vaccination against COVID-19 by Oct. 1.
In issuing the order, Solis cited an 18-fold increase in coronavirus cases in the county and a five-fold increase in hospitalizations — many involving unvaccinated people — since the county lifted its social distancing restrictions in June and the extra-contagious Delta variant began rapidly spreading across the region.
“As vaccinations continue at a pace slower than what is necessary to slow the spread, the need for immediate action is great,” Solis said in a statement.
The order said Solis was given powers to issue such directives when the county declared a local emergency in March 2020. It said the county would work with labor organizations “regarding the effects” of the policy.
Labor representatives could not immediately be reached for comment late Wednesday.
Solis said the Oct. 1 due date for proof of vaccination was designed to give employees “the time they need to consult with their healthcare providers” while also “moving expeditiously to protect the health and safety” of all county workers.
The mandate applies to all county departments. Solis said exemptions would be made for medical and religious reasons.
The order goes further than mandates elsewhere in the country — including from the city of Los Angeles and the state of California — that government employees get vaccinated or agree to regular testing. Solis’ order offers no testing option.
In her statement, Solis said the order reflected the county was “once again demonstrating to employers across the county that we are prepared to lead by example and set a standard for slowing the spread.”
She said the county similarly led with its decision to reinstitute requirements for masks indoors last month, one that was subsequently “emulated by varying degrees by the CDC, the state and localities across the country.”
On Wednesday, L.A. County reported 3,734 new coronavirus cases, 1,242 hospitalizations and 16 deaths. On June 15, when the county reopened, it had 210 new cases and fewer than 220 hospitalizations.
The county board was set to consider a possible mandate, perhaps with a testing alternative, at its next meeting Tuesday.
“Too many of our residents have already lost their lives to this virus, and we must do everything we can to protect their health,” Supervisors Janice Hahn and Sheila Kuehl had said in their motion outlining the possible mandates.
The county employs about 23,000 workers at 26 health centers, four acute care hospitals, and within the juvenile justice system and jails.
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