New mask rules taking effect for some workers

EL CENTRO — The state of California has new masking guidelines for healthcare and state workers.

Imperial County Health Officer Dr. Stephen Munday explained the new rules at Tuesday’s Board of Supervisors meeting.

Munday said employees who work in public or private healthcare settings will now have to show proof they are vaccinated.

Those healthcare and state workers, who have not been vaccinated or refuse to show proof will be required to be tested at least once a week and wear face masks.

In high-risk congregate settings, like adult and senior residential facilities, homeless shelters, and jails, employees will have to prove they have been vaccinated, too.

For state workers, the new policy will go into effect starting Aug. 2, with testing being phased in over the next couple of weeks.

The requirements for healthcare and congregate settings will become effective Aug. 9, and healthcare facilities will have until Aug. 23 to come into compliance.

Munday said these new rules are to keep health workers, who are more at risk, better protected.

Vaccines are working,” Munday said. “They are very effective, especially for hospitalizations and deaths.”

He said there still are going to be a few outbreaks with those who have been vaccinated.

The new individual mask recommendations the Center for Disease Control and Prevention made on Tuesday will not change anything for Imperial County yet.

According to the CDC the mask recommendation would be for locations with an infection rate of 50 cases or more per 100,000 residents. As of Tuesday, the county’s rate was 9.6 cases per 100,000 residents.

Munday on Tuesday said he is not going to change the policy to allow fully vaccinated residents to go without a mask at this time.

County Public Health Director Janette Angulo said the hospital numbers in the county are also pretty stable, and unlike most areas, the county has yet to see the increase in the delta variant, though Munday predicts this will change. There is a two-week lag in the numbers.

As of Tuesday, the county had administered 216,431 doses of the vaccine to county residents.

Supervisor Chairman Mike Kelley said since there are roughly 180,000 residents what does that mean regarding the number of residents who have been vaccinated.

Angulo explained those 216,000 doses include the second doses as well as the one-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

She also reported 67 percent of all eligible residents for the vaccine are fully vaccinated, which puts Imperial County among the top 12 performers in the state.

Staff Writer Michael Maresh can be reached at or 760-337-3440.

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