Weekly COVID testing mandate ends for unvaccinated well being care staff in California

The California Division of Public Well being on Sept. 17 ended the COVID-19 testing mandate for unvaccinated well being care staff and different people in high-risk settings, which embody dental workplaces.

Unvaccinated dentists and their employees have been complying with the state’s public well being order requiring vaccination or weekly testing since full compliance started Aug. 23, 2021. Dental employees who didn’t present proof of COVID-19 vaccination have been required to check weekly and submit proof of a unfavorable check to their employer.

Dentist employers had monitoring and documentation obligations as a part of the state mandate. CDA members used assets throughout this time to help their compliance, together with CDA’s self-certification of worker vaccination standing, a weekly testing monitoring type for workers and types for requesting and documenting vaccination exemptions. 

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Different high-risk well being care settings which are not topic to the weekly or twice-weekly testing requirement embody, however aren’t restricted to, physician workplaces, normal acute care hospitals, expert nursing amenities, acute psychiatric amenities and homeless shelters. 

Though the state order has been lifted, some cities and counties proceed to mandate weekly COVID-19 testing. Employers should observe the stricter order, whether or not federal, state or native, and will verify with their native well being division to make sure compliance.

Vaccine protection ‘high among workers in high-risk settings’

The state’s news release asserting termination of the July 21 2021, public well being order notes the excessive charge of vaccination amongst staff in high-risk settings. CDA’s own survey carried out in Could-June 2021 confirmed 94% of California dentists had been vaccinated towards COVID-19.

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The completely different habits of the omicron subvariants — mainly, their elevated transmissibility even amongst vaccinated, boosted and beforehand contaminated people — additionally influenced CDPH’s determination to rescind the vaccinate-or-test mandate.

“Mandated testing of the small number of unvaccinated workers is not effectively preventing disease transmission as with the original COVID-19 virus and prior variants earlier in the pandemic,” CDPH said. “Consequently, while COVID-19 remains with us, I am rescinding the July 26, 2021 State Public Health Officer Order effective September 17, 2022,” the state public well being officer wrote. 

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Employers inspired to proceed selling vaccination, testing 

Whereas weekly testing necessities are ending, CDPH encourages employers to proceed offering testing assets to employees to gradual the unfold of COVID-19 in communities, observing that “vaccination and testing are two key measures that help mitigate the spread of COVID-19, as is masking and improving indoor ventilation.”

Dentists can proceed to make use of assets in CDA’s Vaccine Confidence Toolkit to manage fast assessments of their apply, handle workers and talk about vaccine security and efficacy with their sufferers. Simply final week, with the help of a CDPH grant, CDA printed new infographics, vaccination speaking factors, pattern social media posts and different assets to be used particularly in dental workplaces.

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Moreover, dentists and different employers in California can nonetheless select to mandate that their staff be vaccinated towards COVID-19. Member dentists can use CDA’s sample vaccination policy, which incorporates directions and issues for employers, together with circumstances when workers could also be exempt from complying.

Masking, screening, reporting necessities proceed in dental workplaces

Dentists and their employees, in addition to sufferers and guests in dental workplaces and different well being care settings in California, should proceed to put on face masks, and employers should present correctly fitted respirators to employees concerned with aerosol-generating procedures. Cal/OSHA requires use of respirators throughout such procedures in each dental and medical settings.

Dental workplaces additionally should proceed to display screen sufferers for COVID-19 as required by Cal/OSHA. 

CDA has FAQ on masking and screening requirements and an article with detailed details about persevering with reporting and return-to-work requirements per the present Cal/OSHA COVID-19 Emergency Non permanent Requirements that finish Dec. 31.  

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