Another day, another change in California law regarding COVID-19. For those of you who subscribe to the Holden Law Group newsletter, you are well-familiar with the back-and-forth… and back again… and forth again… that was the Cal/OSHA drama last month. The soap opera culminated climactically in the bureaucratic heavies relenting to public and political peer pressure, loosening most mask and testing requirements, and permitting employees to “self-attest” to their vaccination status. In other words, an employee did not have to provide documentation of their vaccination status, they could simply give their word. For a fond look back at those simpler times, click here. However, that was June. This is July. And what the folks in Sacramento giveth with one hand, they are sureth to take away in the other.
On July 26, 2021, Tomás J. Aragón, M.D., Dr.P.H., the State Public Health Officer & Director, issued an Order commanding all employees working in most health care facilities and many “high-risk congregate settings” to provide documentary proof of their vaccination status or submit to weekly screenings and be treated as non-vaccinated workers. (This is the same Dr. Aragón who instructed Cal/OSHA just a few weeks ago on June 6th to allow employees to “self-attest” to their vaccination status.) See the letter here. The new Order takes effect on August 9th, and all subject facilities must fully comply by August 23rd.
The full list of affected facilities can be found here. In short, nearly every type of health care facility is subject to the new requirement – including acute and long-term care facilities, psychiatric hospitals, adult day programs, dental offices, dialysis centers, and more. Also subject to the new requirement are adult and senior care facilities, homeless shelters, as well as state and local correctional facilities.
The new prohibition against self-attestation requires subject employees to provide a copy (physical or digital) of their COVID-19 Vaccination Record Card, or other documentation of the vaccination from a health care provider. For those employees who are not vaccinated, or who cannot provide the necessary documentation, they must submit to diagnostic screening tests at least once a week. Those employees working in acute health care or long-term care facilities must be tested at least twice per week. And in all cases, anyone subject to the Order who cannot provide the necessary documentation will be treated as a non-vaccinated employee.
Good times. Until next week everyone, when the rules are all likely to change again. …And, if you’re not a Holden Law Group newsletter subscriber, shame on you – click here. It’s free, and you’re missing out on all of the fun.