For Immediate Release
Aug. 5, 2021
Contact Deborah Pacyna
SACRAMENTO - A new state public health order, issued Aug. 5 mandates that all healthcare workers in hospitals, nursing homes, intermediate care facilities and other congregate care settings be fully vaccinated by Sept. 30. Furthermore, a second public health order says visitors must be fully vaccinated or obtain a COVID-free test within 72 hours of conducting an indoor visit at a nursing home. The second order takes effect Aug.11.
Until the state’s public health order takes effect in late September, unvaccinated staff in nursing homes must undergo twice weekly testing for COVID-19 and be provided an N95 respirator for use as source control.
Skilled nursing providers are required to submit facility vaccination and testing information to the California Department of Public Health each day, and to the CDC National Healthcare Safety Network portal (NHSN) weekly. The CDC compiles the reports and issues weekly updates of staff and resident vaccination status every Thursday.
Because many nursing home residents stay for a short length of time, and because staff turnover is frequently high, the vaccination data reflects a ‘point in time’ and is not cumulative. Fluctuations in the vaccination data reflect this phenomenon.
Highest vaccination rate in the nation
For the week ending July 25, 2021, California had the highest number of vaccinated workers in the continental U.S. with 79.7 percent of staff fully vaccinated and 1.8 percent partially vaccinated. Only Hawaii was higher. Among residents, 82.1 percent were fully vaccinated and 2.9 percent partially vaccinated.
Ongoing Testing requirements
If a facility has a total vaccination rate of 70 percent or higher, residents and vaccinated staff are tested if they are symptomatic, after an exposure or during response testing. If the vaccination rate is lower than 70 percent, the facility is required to regularly test staff, including those who are vaccinated. Staff returning from travel out of the country, regardless of vaccination status may be required to obtain a test, depending on the country visited.
Details of the latest public health orders will be outlined in upcoming All Facility Letters (AFL) by the California Department of Public Health.