Effective April 4th, San Diego County will no longer require mandatory testing for unvaccinated employees and will no longer enforce the COVID vaccine mandate on non-healthcare workers. County officials say that a decline in COVID cases, deaths, and hospitalizations was the main factor in this decision.
County Public Health Officer Wilma Wooten said, “The numbers for metrics are trending in the right direction, and we are in a much better place than we’ve been in many months”. Wooten continued saying, “We’ll continue to closely monitor virus activity in the region and take steps as needed to protect the public and our workforce.” Back in October 2021, the county supervisors voted to enforce a COVID vaccine mandate for new hires. The mandate was heavily criticized by a number of elected officials and activists in San Diego. County Supervisor Jim Desmond spoke out heavily against the mandate and voted against it, “To put on this new restriction that all new hires had to be vaccinated, it was an overreach. Plus, we’ve got sort of an unintended consequence of mandating vaccines for certain people” said Desmond back in October. Desmond also said that the mandate would turn people away from jobs that desperately needed to be filled.
The County has been suffering from a shortage of officers since the mandate and they have had difficulty filling those holes. Newly appointed Interim Sheriff Anthony Ray said that the mandate did have a negative impact on the department, “We’ve had a handful that left the department because of [the requirement]”. Ray also said that the policy change will help in recruiting more deputies.
Photo Cred: County News Center