Los Angeles County Department of Public Health Expands Application of Vaccination Mandate to Additional Facilities in the County of Los Angeles

The Los Angeles County Health Officer issued an order on August 12, 2021 (“Order”), which includes the provisions of the State Public Health Officer Order of August 5, mandating vaccination for workers in the healthcare and other congregate settings and adds some additional provisions. Specifically, the LA County Order expands the August 5 vaccination mandate by making it applicable to workers in all health care facilities and home care residential settings, including every licensed acute care hospital, skilled nursing facility, intermediate care facility, dental office, other health care facility types, and emergency medical service provider agency or home care residential settings or individual homes where vulnerable individuals receive care or reside. Per the Order, “workers” include all paid and unpaid employees, contractors, students, and volunteers who work in indoor or other settings where (1) care is provided to patients, (2) patients have access for any purpose, leading to direct patient contact, or (3) home care or daily living assistance is provided to residents. This includes, but is not limited to, nurses, nursing assistants, medical assistants, physicians, dental assistants, dentists, technicians, therapists, phlebotomists, pharmacists, emergency medical technicians (EMTs)—paramedics, prehospital care personnel, affiliated home care aides, registered home care aides, independent home care aides, home health aides, students and trainees, contractual staff not employed by the health care facility, and persons not directly involved in patient care, but who could be exposed to germs that can be spread in the health care setting (e.g., clerical, dietary, environmental services, laundry, security, engineering and facilities management, administrative, billing, and volunteer personnel). The requirements apply to anyone listed above, including those with a remote or hybrid work agreement, since employees who work remotely may need to visit a facility location from time to time. Facilities and employers need to be confident that all employees can more safely enter the workplace when needed.

Workers must be fully vaccinated by September 30, 2021, to comply with the LA County Order, similar to the State Order, unless a worker is seeking one of the two permitted exemptions under both orders: (1) Religious Beliefs or (2) Qualifying Medical Reasons. Testing will be an alternate means for satisfying this Order only for

 those who are granted an exemption pursuant to the Order, or who have received their first vaccination shot but are not yet fully vaccinated.

Both the July 26, 2021, and August 5, 2021, State Public Health Officer Orders remain in effect and are not in conflict with the LA County Order. This is because while each state has the responsibility to issue public health orders, local health jurisdictions, like the LA County Department of Public Health, are required to follow state public health orders and regulations yet also have the authority to require additional, stricter, safety modifications based on local needs, as is the case with the LA County Health Officer Order.

A copy of the August 12 order can be found here: Click here for a .pdf copy of the August 12th “Health Care Worker Vaccination Requirement” Order.  

A copy of Questions & Answers regarding the LA County Health Care Worker Vaccine Requirement Order can be accessed here: Click here to access the.pdf of Los Angeles County’s FAQ-Health Care Worker Vaccination.

Contact our firm if you have any questions or concerns regarding the most recent orders.

Written by: Renia Zadourian, Esq.