photo credit: Modernhealthcare.com

Sonoma County is now requiring vaccine proof or weekly tests for its four thousand firefighters, law enforcement, emergency medical service workers  and disaster shelter staff, starting September first.

This health order expands on last week's announcement from that state that requires healthcare and state workers get vaccinated or undergo regular testing.

County supervisor Chris Coursey says this is to boost vaccination and mitigate the high, community transmission with the emergence of delta variant, which now accounts for ninety-three percent of the county's cases.

"This isn't the same opponent that we were fighting in 2020," Coursey said. "The delta variant is highly contagious and we are still in the middle of this pandemic, largely due to the unvaccinated, those who are eligible but still are hesitant about getting the shot.

COVID numbers are currently at the highest levels since January, case rates for both vaccinated and unvaccinated residents have gone up, but rates among people who haven't gotten the shot are four times higher.

The new order has support from the county's fire chief as well as Petaluma Police Chief Ken Savano.

"Few have as much public interaction as those in law enforcement and we see the importance of encouraging vaccination and or regular testing as important tools for keeping our workforce and our communities healthy and protected," Savano said.

On August 17th the Board of Supervisors will discuss expanding the vaccine requirement to all county workers and officials encourage all local businesses to require vaccination among employees.

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