featured graphic for Orange County Health Care Agency

County of Orange Health Officer issues strong vaccination recommendation for healthcare workers

To help prevent the transmission of COVID-19, the County of Orange Health Officer issued a revised health order on August 17, 2021, that incorporates the recent orders and guidance by the California State Public Health Officer and California Department of Public Health regarding COVID-19 vaccination requirements and status verification, testing, and face covering.

The revised County health order includes a strong recommendation for all Emergency Medical Technicians, Paramedics, and Home Healthcare Providers (including In-Home Supportive Services Program workers) to be fully vaccinated by September 30, 2021, and to undergo at least twice weekly testing for COVID-19 until such time as they are fully vaccinated. This strong recommendation aligns with the California State Public Health Officer Order (issued on August 5, 2021) that requires volunteers, contractors, and students, in addition to part and full-time employees, in health care facilities and settings to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 by September 30, 2021.

“In alignment with the State’s order, we are evaluating all of our high-risk settings where COVID-19 outbreaks can have severe consequences including hospitalization, severe illness, and death,” says Dr. Clayton Chau, OC Health Care Agency Director and County Health Officer. “These are settings where there is frequent exposure to staff and highly vulnerable patients, including elderly, chronically ill, critically ill, medically fragile, and disabled patients. In many of these settings, the patients may be at higher risk of severe COVID-19 disease due to underlying health conditions, advanced age, or both.”

More information about the revised County health order can be found here: https://occovid19.ochealthinfo.com/article/oc-health-officers-orders-recommendations

On August 18, the California Department of Public Health issued several updates to its Beyond the Blueprint guidance for Industry and Business sectors:

  • Applied vaccine verification or negative testing requirement to Indoor Mega Events involving 1,000 or more participants.
  • Removed self-attestation as a mode for both vaccine verification and for verification of negative COVID-19 test for indoor events scheduled after September 20, 2021.
  • Extended date for requirements and recommendations to remain in place to November 1, 2021.

For the full guidance, please visit: https://www.cdph.ca.gov/Programs/CID/DCDC/Pages/COVID-19/Beyond-Blueprint-Framework.aspx.

Orange County has also continued to experience an increase in COVID-19 cases. Between August 10 and August 17, the seven-day average case rate jumped from 19.4 to 21.1 per 100,000 people, with the average number of daily COVID-19 cases rising from 627 to 681. The positivity rate decreased slightly from 8.3 to 8.1 percent, hospitalizations increased from 495 to 568 per day, and ICU admissions from 91 to 119 per day.

“With cases still rising, the Delta Variant continues to be a concern for us, currently being the most dominant version of the virus throughout the country, as both state and federal data show,” says Dr. Chau. “People who are unvaccinated are at higher risk of becoming infected with the Delta Variant and getting sick or hospitalized. If you are fully vaccinated, you are much less likely to become infected and spread the virus to loved ones, friends, coworkers and neighbors. I cannot stress this enough; getting vaccinated is the best way to protect yourself from getting sick with COVID-19 and passing it on to others.”

The OC Health Care Agency recently published a new fact sheet on the Delta Variant, available in multiple languages, on the COVID-19 Education Toolkit webpage. To download the fact sheet and other vaccine education resources, visit https://occovid19.ochealthinfo.com/article/covid-19-education-toolkit.

Orange County COVID-19 case counts, and testing figures are updated daily, Monday through Friday, at https://occovid19.ochealthinfo.com/coronavirus-in-oc.

Individuals looking to schedule a COVID-19 vaccination appointment or complete their second dose can do so by visiting www.Othena.com or calling the OC COVID-19 Hotline at (714) 834-2000.

For more information and resources on the COVID-19 vaccine in Orange County, visit www.covidvaccinefacts.com.

This article was released by the Orange County Health Care Agency.