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Bay Area counties urge employers to require universal COVID-19 vaccination

The health officers of Contra Costa, Santa Clara and San Francisco counties urged all employers to consider requiring employees to get vaccinated for the coronavirus Thursday as cases rapidly rise. Officials said Thursday that almost all cases and hospitalizations were in unvaccinated populations.

A state workplace safety committee heard last week that virus cases have been increasing in workplaces across the state, as the highly infectious delta variant continues to spread.

“Workers who are unvaccinated against COVID-19 pose a substantial health and financial risk to the workplace,” said Dr. Chris Farnitano, Contra Costa County’s health officer, in a statement. “Most importantly, workplace exposures have led to serious illnesses and deaths.”

The health officials said in a release that employers can play a critical role in increasing vaccination rates by requiring the shots as a condition of employment, something the federal government has said they can do with exceptions for health issues and religious beliefs.

“A universal vaccination policy may benefit businesses because the quarantine requirements are different for vaccinated and unvaccinated workers,” said Dr. Susan Philip, San Francisco’s health officer, in a statement. “Currently, an employee who is not vaccinated must quarantine for at least 10 days if exposed to someone who tested positive, whereas fully vaccinated workers do not need to quarantine unless they have symptoms.”

Read More: Bay Area counties urge employers to require universal COVID-19 vaccination

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