Hilda Solis, a former Labor Secretary in the Obama administration who is currently the chair of the powerful Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors, issued an executive order on Wednesday evening mandating county workers show proof of full vaccination against COVID-19.
L.A. County employs approximately 110,000 people, most of whom must provide evidence of immunization no later than October 1. There are limited exceptions for medical and religious purposes. With more than ten million residents, L.A. is the nation’s most populous county.
In a statement, Solis referenced “the rapid spread of the Delta variant,” adding, “as vaccinations continue at a pace slower than what is necessary to slow the spread, the need for immediate action is great.”
“We are once again demonstrating to employers across the County that we are prepared to lead by example and set a standard for slowing the spread – just as we did when reinstating indoor masking, which has since been emulated by varying degrees by the CDC, the State, and localities across the country,” the statement continued.
On Thursday morning, California Democratic Governor Gavin Newsom called the requirement “the right move.”
— Hilda Solis (@HildaSolis) August 5, 2021
The order comes as county health authorities confirmed 3,734 new coronavirus cases on Wednesday and announced that 16 more people diagnosed with the malady had died, including a child under the age of 12 who had underlying conditions. In addition, daily hospitalizations continue to increase, officials said, noting that 1,242 patients were currently admitted with COVID-19.
Solis pointed out that when the county re-opened on June 15, there were 210 confirmed coronavirus cases, and fewer than 220 people were hospitalized.
“Our daily cases have increased nearly eighteen-fold and hospitalizations more than five-fold,” Solis said. “We cannot wait another day as this virus continues to upend and dramatically alter the lives of our residents.”
She said the October deadline “gives our employees the time they need to consult with their healthcare providers.”
As Chair of the Board of Supervisors, the order says Solis has the power “to promulgate orders and regulations necessary to provide for the protection of life or property” during a proclaimed local emergency.
Last month, the city of L.A. and the state of California announced new requirements for all state employees to show proof of full COVID-19 vaccination by August 2 or be subject to weekly testing. Solis’ order did not include a regular testing option.
Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer issued a letter to Solis on Tuesday asking the Board of Supervisors “to require proof of vaccination for certain indoor activities” in L.A. County.
Two Democrats on the L.A. City Council introduced a motion on Wednesday that would mandate eligible individuals provide evidence of at least one dose of a coronavirus vaccine to enter numerous indoor businesses, including restaurants, health clubs, and retail establishments.