Long Beach to require health workers to be vaccinated, but not city employees

Long Beach will require health workers and those who work in congregate settings to be vaccinated against COVID-19, or be subjected to testing—but said it is still reviewing whether the same will be required of city workers.

Monday evening’s announcement came hours after the state announced it would require state government and health workers to be vaccinated.

In Long Beach, healthcare workers must show proof of vaccination status beginning Aug. 9, or subject to testing. Those who work in acute care settings, skilled nursing facilities and intermediate care facilities would be subject to twice weekly testing; those who work in congregate settings, such as group homes or childcare settings, will be required to test once a week.

The new guidance also states unvaccinated staff must wear medical-grade masks, which already was required under the citywide indoor masking mandate that went into effect July 17.

California also is implementing the same requirements for state employees, but Long Beach officials still have yet to announce if city employees will follow the same rules as health workers.

“The city of Long Beach is reviewing the new guidance to consider how it may affect requirements for city employees,” the city statement said.

Monday morning, officials for Community Hospital Long Beach, Lakewood Regional and Los Alamitos medical centers said they do not require staff to get vaccinated. Representatives from Long Beach Memorial and St. Mary did not immediately respond.

Community Hospital and St. Mary Medical Center said in written comments following the city’s announcement that they would comply with the new guidance.

“The health and safety of our patients, visitors, and staff is a matter of the greatest importance,” a statement from Community Hospital spokesman Brandon Dowling said. “CHLB will continue to follow all state and local COVID-19 guidance.”

Monday’s announcement comes as COVID-19 cases continue to rise. Los Angeles County has reported more than 17,000 new cases in the last week, a drastic increase from previous weeks. In Long Beach, new cases are on the rise and, with 58 patients, hospitalizations in area hospitals is at its highest point since mid-March.

Editor’s note: This story has been updated to include comment from St. Mary Medical Center. 

Long Beach doesn’t yet know how many city employees are vaccinated, hasn’t decided on mandate

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Brandon Richardson is a business reporter, covering everything from real estate and healthcare to the airport and port to city hall and the economy. He is a Long Beach native who has been with the Business Journal since graduating from Long Beach City College in spring 2016 with an associate’s degree in journalism. He is an avid record collector and concert goer.
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