California health officials are once again asking people to wear masks in indoor public spaces throughout the state, regardless of their vaccination status, as COVID cases surge from the Delta variant.
The measure is not a mandate, state health officials said on Wednesday, but rather a request, as 90 percent of the state’s population resides in high-transmission areas and an increased number of people who are fully vaccinated against the virus are being diagnosed with it.
‘The Delta variant has caused a sharp increase in hospitalizations and case rates across the state,’ Dr. Thomas Aragon, director of the California Department Public Health, said in a statement to the Los Angeles Times Wednesday.
‘We are recommending masking in indoor public places to slow the spread while we continue efforts to get more Californians vaccinated.’
‘This adds an extra precautionary measure for all to reduce the transmission of COVID-19, especially in communities currently seeing the highest transmission rates,’ the new guidance explains.
California health officials are asking everyone to wear a mask indoors as cases in the state continue to surge, even among those that have been vaccinated. The new guidance comes just a few days after California Governor Gavin Newsom (pictured) announced that all state and health care employees would either have to be vaccinated or submit to regular testing
Los Angeles county has already reinstated its mask policy indoors as the Delta variant spreads
It comes as Los Angeles county health officials announce that a full quarter of new COVID cases are among those who are fully vaccinated. The county has now required everyone to once again wear a mask.
The county has been averaging between 2,000 to 2,500 new COVID cases each day for the past week, FOX 11 reports, noting that between July 1 and July 16, the county recorded 13,598 cases, which included 3,592 among those who are fully vaccinated.
Health officials note, however, that the vaccines are effective and breakthrough cases are to be expected with any vaccine.
According to their data, they said at a Board of Supervisors meeting, just 0.27 percent of those who were fully vaccinated with the Johnson and Johnson vaccine tested positive for COVID, as did 0.09 percent of those who were fully vaccinated with the Moderna shot and 0.15 percent of those who were fully vaccinated with the Pfizer vaccine.
‘As more people are vaccinated, the number of fully vaccinated people becoming infected will increase with the Delta variant that’s far more infectious,’ Barbara Ferrer, the public health director said, according to the local news station.
‘Estimates are that this is the most infectious respiratory virus we’ve seen in a long time, and it’s certainly the most infectious variant we’ve seen.’
She added that COVID exposures have also increased as the Delta variant spreads, with health officials reporting a nine-fold increase in cases among adults between the ages of 18 and 29.
There were 6,849 new cases reported throughout the state on Wednesday, according to the California Department of Public Health, with an average of 12.7 new cases per 100,000 residents over the week.
Additionally, the state reported that 378 more patients had been hospitalized on Wednesday than the day before, with 38 new deaths.
The state is now facing a 5.9 percent rolling seven-day positivity rate, despite 62.3 percent of the population being fully vaccinated.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, the Delta variant is now responsible for about 83 percent of all reported COVID cases throughout the country.
Los Angeles County is seeing a rise in COVID cases among those who have been vaccinated, health officials announced Wednesday
COVID cases are also rising throughout the country
Deaths, meanwhile, have remained rather stagnant throughout the country
The CDC estimates that 83 percent of all COVID cases are a result of the Delta variant
Governor Gavin Newsom has said he fears the situation may only get worse.
‘Our projections are sobering,’ he told a group of journalists earlier this week, the LA Times reports.
‘Our projections are, over the course of the next number of weeks, we’ll show a significant increase in hospitalizations if we continue down this path.’
To combat the spread, the governor announced on Monday he would require all state and health care workers to submit to regular COVID-19 testing if they haven’t gotten the shot.
State employees will have to submit a proof of vaccination by August 2 and health care workers would have to submit proof of vaccinations by August 23.
Any state employee that does not provide a proof of vaccination will have to get tested once a week, and any health care worker who does not get vaccinated would have to submit to testing twice a week. They would also be required to wear masks at all times.
‘We are now dealing with a pandemic of the unvaccinated, and it’s going to take renewed efforts to protect Californians from the dangerous Delta variant,’ Newsom said the following day, FOX News reports.
‘As the state’s largest employer, we are leading by example and requiring all state and health care workers to show proof of vaccination or be tested regularly, and we are encouraging local governments and businesses to do the same.’
Some Los Angeles restaurants that have prevailed through the pandemic lockdowns are now closing their doors as cases rise, mainly due to the Indian ‘Delta’ Covid variant. Bottega Louie, in West Hollywood, shared its reasoning on its Instagram page Monday
The Village Idiot, in the Melrose area of Los Angeles, also posted on Instagram that it would close for an undetermined amount of tim
The Village idiot restaurant – pictured – made its decision after a fully vaccinated staff member was diagnosed with the virus
Since then, several California-based companies have announced they would reinstate their COVID precautions or temporarily close.
The Village Idiot restaurant, in the Melrose area, posted on Instagram that it would close for an undetermined amount of time because a fully vaccinated staff member was diagnosed with Covid-19.
Written over a photo, the restaurant wrote, ‘We apologize for the inconvenience, but unfortunately we’ve had a breakthrough case of Covid-19 with one of our fully vaccinated staff members. We will be closed for the next few days until all of our employees are tested.’
Bottega Louie, in West Hollywood, has also voluntarily shuttered for an undetermined amount of time on Monday.
Bosses wrote on its Instagram page, ‘Out of an abundance of caution for the health and safety of our guests and staff, we have decided to close Bottega Louie West Hollywood for a few days, due to increasing Covid-19 cases. We apologize for any inconvenience and will keep you apprised of our re-opening date.’
Meanwhile, Silicon Valley-based Twitter announced on Wednesday that it was closing its office, as well as its satellite office in New York, after previously announcing that it would allow all of its staffers to work from home permanently, even after all COVID lockdowns end.
‘After careful consideration of the CDC’s updated guidelines, and in light of current conditions, Twitter has made the decision to close our opened offices in New York and San Francisco as well as pause future office reopenings, effective immediately,’ the company said.
‘We continue to monitor local conditions and make necessary changes that prioritize the health and safety of our Tweeps.’
Facebook executives said they would leave room for exceptions and different situations in its vaccine requirement.
‘How we implement this policy will depend on local conditions and regulations. We will have a process for those who cannot be vaccinated for medical or other reasons and will be evaluating our approach in other regions as the situation evolves,’ Lori Goler, Facebook’s vice president of people, wrote in a statement on Wednesday afternoon.
Around half of the social media platform’s 58,000 employees are expected to be working remotely when the offices open in October.
And Google also said it was mandating its employees get vaccinated against COVID-19 when they return to campuses beginning in mid-October.
The date was delayed by a month due to the surge in cases nationwide fueled by the Indian Delta variant, the company announced.
In a Wednesday email sent to Google’s more than 130,000 employees, CEO Sundar Pichai said the company is now aiming to have most of its workforce back to its offices beginning October 18 instead of its previous target date of September 1.
The decision also affects tens of thousands of contractors who Google intends to continue to pay while access to its campuses remains limited.
‘This extension will allow us time to ramp back into work while providing flexibility for those who need it,’ Pichai wrote.
And Pichai disclosed that once offices are fully reopened, everyone working there will have to be vaccinated.
The requirement will be first imposed at Google’s Mountain View, California headquarters and other US offices before being extended to the more than 40 other countries where Google operates.
The vaccine mandate will be adjusted to adhere to the laws and regulators of each location, Pichai wrote, and exceptions will be made for medical and other ‘protected’ reasons.
‘Getting vaccinated is one of the most important ways to keep ourselves and our communities healthy in the months ahead,’ Pichai explained.
Some U.S. companies are requiring employees to get vaccinated, while others are offering incentives to encourage shots – but no mandates
These companies are requiring employees to get vaccinated
Delta Airlines (for new hires only)
Broadway production of Hamilton
Houston Methodist Hospital network (for existing employees and new hires)
Saks department store
United Airlines (for new hires only)
Boys & Girls Clubs of the Peninsula
Eleven Madison Park, a New York City-based Michelin restaurant
Sunrise Senior Living
These companies are offering employees incentives to get vaccinated
ALDI groceries (Paid time off and adjusted hours to get vaccinated)
Amazon ($100 bonus for workers who show proof of vaccination on first day of employment)
Amtrak (two hours of bonus pay and excused absence)
American Airlines (additional paid vacation day in 2022 and a $50 bonus)
Bolthouse Farms ($500 bonus with proof of vaccination or if they get shot at on-site clinic)
Chobani (up to six hours of paid time off for employees to go get vaccinated)
Darden Restaurants, which owns Olive Garden (four hours of paid time off to cover both doses of the vaccine)
Dollar General (one-time stipend equal to four hours of paid time off)
Instacart ($25 stipend to in-store employees and independent contractors)
JBS USA and Pilgrim’s ($100 bonus)
Kroger ($100 bonus with proof of vaccination as well as $100 store credit and 1,000 fuel points for essential and frontline staffers)
Lidl ($200 bonus and scheduling flexibility for vaccination appointments)
McDonald’s (up to four hours of paid time off to get the vaccine)
Publix ($125 gift cards for employees who show proof of vaccination)
Starbucks (up to four hours of paid time off for vaccine dosage appointments)
Target (up to four hours of paid time off per vaccine dosage and a $30 reimbursement for using a Lyft to get to their appointment)
Trader Joe’s (additional two hours of pay for each dose and scheduling flexbility)
Small businesses with fewer than 500 employees can get tax credit from IRS to offset time used by employees to receive or recover from vaccinations
These companies are providing at-work inoculations at on-site clinics
Legacy Restaurants, based in Houston
Los Angeles County