Los Angeles County Ends COVID Vaccine Mandate for Health Care Workers

Los Angeles County Ends COVID Vaccine Mandate for Health Care Workers

Healthcare workers at St. Joseph Hospital in Orange, Calif., on Dec. 16, 2020. (John Fredricks/The Epoch Times)

Jill McLaughlin

Jill McLaughlin

8/11/2023

Updated: 12/30/2023

Healthcare workers in Los Angeles County are no longer required to get a COVID-19 vaccine or wear masks despite a recent increase in cases, the public health department has announced.
The county’s health officer Barbara Ferrer rescinded the vaccination requirement Aug. 4, nine days after the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services lifted the national mandate.
“The COVID-19 vaccine will no longer be required for workers in health care settings; however, health care workers are encouraged to be fully up to date on COVID-19 vaccines,” the Los Angeles County department announced in a press release.
Workers can also stop wearing masks after Aug. 11, though the health department still encourages workers to do both if they work in hospitals, nursing homes, or other care facilities.
Los Angeles County Public Health director Barbara Ferrer speaks at a press conference on COVID-19, in Los Angeles on March 6, 2020. (Robyn Beck/AFP via Getty Images)

Los Angeles County Public Health director Barbara Ferrer speaks at a press conference on COVID-19, in Los Angeles on March 6, 2020. (Robyn Beck/AFP via Getty Images)

“At this point in the pandemic, and following the State of California lifting masking requirements in health care facilities, we are allowing hospitals and health care facilities to create policies that tailor to their needs,” a spokesperson for the Los Angeles County Department of Health told The Epoch Times in an email. “We know many facilities will opt to keep masking.”
The county’s vaccine mandate for most healthcare workers went into effect two years ago in August 2021.
Los Angeles County continued enforcing vaccine and mask mandates five months after California ended its statewide emergency and cancelled the orders April 3.

New Variant Arrives

The World Health Organization (WHO) identified EG.5 as the newest variant of the virus, with China and the United States reporting the most cases of the strain. In Los Angeles, the variant was attributed to about 7 percent of cases, according to the county health department.
County health officials have seen an uptick in hospitalizations related to the virus recently, reaching a weekly average of 333 new cases and 293 hospitalizations this week, according to the department.
Currently, the county reported 3.4 new hospital cases per 100,000 people in the past week, which is considered “low” by the federal Centers for Disease Control, the health department said. If that number reaches 10 out of 100,000 people, the county would move into a higher classification.
“Even though we have seen a slight uptick in COVID hospitalizations in the past few weeks, we are still near record low COVID hospitalizations compared to the rest of the pandemic,” a department spokesperson said.
The average number of people who have died from the virus in July is also at its lowest point since March 2020, according to the department.
However, as children return to school in August and September, the number of cases could rise, county health officials said. Consequently, the health department said it is working with schools to distribute COVID-19 tests and updated safety information.
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Jill McLaughlin

Jill McLaughlin

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Jill McLaughlin is an award-winning journalist covering politics, environment, and statewide issues. She has been a reporter and editor for newspapers in Oregon, Nevada, and New Mexico. Jill was born in Yosemite National Park and enjoys the majestic outdoors, traveling, golfing, and hiking.

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