California will require state employees and all health care workers to show proof of COVID-19 vaccination or get tested weekly as officials aim to slow rising coronavirus infections, mostly among the unvaccinated.
The new rule will take effect next month, officials announced Monday. There are at least 238,000 state employees, according to the California controller’s office. Health officials couldn’t immediately provide an estimate on size of the health care workforce in the nation’s most populated state.
About 62% of all eligible Californians are fully vaccinated, and the state has struggled to make significant progress in recent weeks.
Meanwhile, the more contagious delta variant now makes up an estimated 80% of infections in California. Hospitalizations are on the rise, though still far below where they were during the winter peak.
New York City also announced Monday that it will require all of its municipal workers — including teachers and police officers — to get coronavirus vaccines by mid-September or face weekly COVID-19 testing.
In California, the rising cases come against the political backdrop of an upcoming recall election against Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom. He allowed the state to reopen on June 15 and has been hesitant to impose new requirements on mask-wearing or social distancing, even as major counties — including Los Angeles County — require or urge residents to again wear masks indoors.
Voters will start receiving ballots in the mail in about three weeks, with election day scheduled for Sept. 14.