DIRECTOR’S DESK CHRISTINA R. GHALY, MD
I want to begin by thanking each and everyone of you for your role this past summer as we took on the re-opening of LA County, the arrival of the Delta variant and the subsequent COVID-19 surge at our hospitals. Once again, our teams across DHS rolled up their sleeves and delivered the dedicated and compassionate care needed to keep LA County residents safe and healthy.
As the season change takes us into fall, it’s time to ensure that our own health and well-being is receiving the same dedication and compassion so we each can stay safe and healthy.
Your health and well-being is a top priority for DHS, and so in September we launched our flu shot clinics for staff. The flu vaccine is now available via Employee Health Services and will be coming soon to mass walk-in vaccine clinics. Please be on the lookout for the mobile carts at some locations.
Also, most recently we launched the COVID-19 booster shot clinics. At this time, this booster recommendation is applicable only to those who received the Pfizer vaccine and meet the following criteria:
- Who work in a setting that puts them at increased risk for COVID-19 exposure and transmission including direct contact with patients or work in our patient care facilities.
- If the above does not apply, a DHS Workforce member may still be recommended for a vaccine if they are:
- 65 years of age or older
- Are 18 years of age or older and have a chronic medical condition that puts them at risk for severe COVID-19 disease. Click here to see a list of these conditions.
- Age 50-64 and at increased risk for social inequities. Click here for more information.
Please schedule your booster using myturn.ca.gov and follow the directions provided in the Frequently Asked Questions (The Website is Accessible for Health Services Staff only) document. Do not present to your local Employee Health office for a booster. Booster doses are also available at many locations, including community pharmacies and usually through your personal health care provider. See our Frequently Asked Questions (The Website is Accessible for Health Services Staff only) to learn more.
Finally, as September comes to a close, the vaccine mandates from both the State Health Order and the LA County Executive Order are at the forefront of our minds. There are two mandates that apply to DHS staff and the information and timelines can be found on our COVID-19 SharePoint (The Website is Accessible for Health Services Staff only) site.
One of the mandates comes from the State under a Health Officer Order. This requires all healthcare personnel in California to be fully vaccinated by September 30, 2021. Healthcare personnel are exempt from this mandate if they have an approved medical or religious exemption. A similar order was issued by the LA County Health Officer and is also in effect.
Under both the State and County Health Officer Orders, healthcare personnel are defined as all workers who work in settings where healthcare is provided or where patients may have access for any purpose. Under this definition, everyone who works (paid or unpaid) at a healthcare facility, irrespective of their roles and titles must comply with the mandate. The definition includes, but is not limited to, physicians, nurses, student workers, trainees, contracted staff, environmental services, facilities management, administration, finance and volunteers.
The second vaccine mandate comes from the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors. It requires all County employees to be fully vaccinated by October 1, 2021. The County CEO and Department of Human Resources (DHR) are leading the efforts with this mandate.
To view the Los Angeles County Executive Order, click here.
Last week, the County made available the medical and religious exemption forms. Information about this process was shared in an email and is also available on the COVID-19 SharePoint site. Click here (The Website is Accessible for Health Services Staff only) to view.
Please continue to stay engaged with the email bulletins and the SharePoint resources to obtain the latest information on the Health Orders.
Keeping ourselves and each other safe and healthy is key to our well-being and to our ability to deliver on our mission with patients. Vaccinations are the single most important step you can take to protect yourself, those around you, and our community and help bring an end to the pandemic. If you have not yet been vaccinated, I encourage you to do so. If you were vaccinated at a location outside of DHS, remember to send your proof of vaccination.
- Make a pdf or jpg copy of your vaccine card
- Email the image to your Employee Health representative
Or drop off a copy in person at your local Employee Health Services.
Visit our COVID-19 SharePoint (The Website is Accessible for Health Services Staff only) for a full listing of Employee Health Services including emails and phone numbers.
This is an extraordinary time to be in healthcare and I appreciate your efforts, thank you for all you do.
Dr. Christina Ghaly
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