Virginia will soon require state employees to be vaccinated against the coronavirus or tested every week, joining a few other states that have imposed similar mandates, Governor Ralph Northam said Thursday.
And Los Angeles County, the most populous county in the United States, will also require its employees to show proof of vaccination from the fall.
States, cities, employers and the federal government have all resorted to mandates to accelerate the pace of vaccinations as cases have risen across the country and the Delta variant has spread. Fully vaccinated people are protected from the worst effects of Covid-19, including those caused by the Delta variant.
New York, California and Puerto Rico have announced similar mandates, and last week President Biden said federal workers should be vaccinated or tested regularly for the coronavirus. Major employers such as Tyson Foods, Microsoft, ViacomCBS, Google and Disney have all set their own vaccine requirements.
Virginia’s 122,000 state employees and contractors will need to be vaccinated or tested every week by Sept. 1, Mr. Northam said. Unvaccinated workers will also be required to wear face masks inside and during public affairs.
On Wednesday night, Hilda Solis, chair of the powerful Los Angeles County Board of Trustees, announced that she is signing an executive order ordering the county’s 110,000 employees to show evidence of a coronavirus vaccination by Oct. 1. While exceptions will be made for medical and religious reasons, the executive order did not provide for a testing option as some other local governments have done.
Its authority to issue the ordinance stems from the declaration of a local emergency in Los Angeles County in March 2020, the order said.
Ms Solis said in a statement that since the city reopened on June 15, the average number of daily cases has increased tenfold and the number of hospital admissions has increased fivefold. “Because vaccinations are progressing more slowly than necessary to slow the spread, the need for immediate action is great,” she said.
According to health officials, the spike in cases has been caused by unvaccinated residents.
At the same time, the City of Los Angeles and the State of California have issued mandates requiring government employees to be vaccinated or agree to regular testing.
In Virginia, nearly 66 percent of adults have been fully vaccinated, according to federal data, and according to a NewsMadura database, the state has seen the daily average of coronavirus cases rise from a low of 129 on June 20 to 1,279 on Wednesday. .
Understand the State of Vaccine Mandates in the US
“The arrival of the Delta variant, coupled with the number of people who have not been vaccinated, will see our number of cases increasing again,” Mr Northam said at a news conference.
“The way we are going to win this war is to roll up our sleeves and get vaccinated,” he added.
Mr Northam called on businesses and local governments in Virginia to institute their own vaccine mandates, saying he supported other mitigating measures, such as masking, but was more focused on getting his state vaccinated than imposing a vaccine. statewide mask mandate.
That approach is similar to New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, who this week asked for proof of at least one vaccination before people can participate in indoor activities, such as going inside a restaurant, gym or theater. He has strongly recommended that people wear masks indoors, but has so far opted not to impose a mask mandate.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention last week recommended that even vaccinated people wear masks indoors for virus hot spots.
Mr Northam said he had witnessed the ravages of a deadly disease while working as a doctor.
“I’ve seen individuals fight for every breath, and I’ve also seen individuals take their last breath,” said Mr Northam. “And so I want you to know that as your governor I will do everything I can to keep you away from that scenario.”