As the deadline for all health care workers to get fully vaccinated draws near, many opposed to the COVID-19 vaccine mandate could face termination from their jobs.
Dr. Clayton Chau, director of the county’s health care agency (HCA), said that while over two-thirds of the staff he oversees are fully vaccinated, his employees’ Sept. 30 deadline to send in verification of vaccination quickly approaches.
“Would there be an exodus of health care providers because they refuse to get vaccinated? That’s my fear as well, and the fear that I have voiced to [California Department of Public Health],” Chau told The Epoch Times.
“We have enough evidence now that comparing those who are unvaccinated with vaccinated, the consequences of COVID and the effect that it has on our health system is very apparent, and that they would have second thoughts.”
Unvaccinated individuals are mandated by the state to wear masks indoors in public settings.
There’s also a mandate (regardless of vaccination status) for masks in indoor health care settings, K–12 schools, and on public transportation.
The state’s top health official, Dr. Tomás Aragón, sent a letter to schools on Aug. 23, warning that they face “significant legal and financial risks” for failing to adhere to the state’s mask mandate.
“For the vast majority of school officials who are implementing the universal mask requirement, this letter serves only to confirm they have taken some of the appropriate measures to mitigate health, legal, and financial risks,” Aragón wrote.
Aragón said that if a student or staff member contracts COVID-19 in the absence of indoor universal masking, schools could face “significant financial liability.”
Cases in Orange County have been rising for the past two months, but are beginning to slow down, Chau said.
Orange County’s seven-day average case rate dropped from 22.5 to 18.2 per 100,000 people on Aug. 27, while the average number of daily cases “went down significantly from 700 to about low 500, 400 for the last few days,” Chau said.
“It looks like our COVID numbers are finally starting to have a slight drop across the board, with the exception of the hospitalization number.”
The county’s positivity rate declined from 8 percent to 7.5 percent. Hospitalizations increased to 592 cases, 27 more than yesterday, Chau said. There are currently 127 individuals in the ICU.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued a health advisory on Aug. 26, warning against using Ivermectin to treat COVID-19.
“Ivermectin is not authorized or approved by [the U.S. Food and Drug Administration] for prevention or treatment of COVID-19,” according to the CDC’s website.
“Adverse effects associated with ivermectin misuse and overdose are increasing, as shown by a rise in calls to poison control centers reporting overdoses and more people experiencing adverse effects.”
Chau said: “Vaccinations still continue to be our most effective way of fighting COVID-19,” however, it is “strongly recommended” that fully vaccinated individuals mask up indoors.