SANTA ROSA, Calif. (KRON) – The county of Sonoma issued a new health order on Wednesday requiring emergency personnel to show proof of vaccination.

County officials say if vaccination proof is unavailable, then the workers will be required to have a weekly COVID-19 test.

This mandate will begin September 1 for:

  • Law enforcement
  • Emergency Medical Care
  • Firefighters
  • Emergency response – Natural disasters response crews

County staff will be presenting to the Board of Supervisors on August 17 to consider the same requirements for 4,470 county workers.

“By requiring County employees to get vaccinated or undergo weekly testing, we are setting an example for other employers to follow,” health officer Dr. Sundari Mase said. “The vaccine is safe, effective, free and needed now more than ever. The Delta variant is a much more aggressive and contagious form of COVID and is at the root of much of our recent surge in cases. The vaccine is the best tool that we have to combat it.”

COVID cases have hit the highest levels since February — As of Wednesday, there are 61 COVID patients in county hospitals, including 21 in ICU.

At this time, 70% of residents 12 and older have been fully vaccinated, and 8% have been partially vaccinated.

“I support the requirement that all law enforcement, fire, EMS and disaster shelter staff get vaccinated or receive regular COVID testing,” said Sonoma County Sheriff Mark Essick. “Our personnel is at higher risk of exposure to COVID because of their work environment and the people they serve. It is important for them to be monitored and protected so they can stay healthy.”