By CBSLA Staff

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — A new order requires all health care workers across the state of California to be vaccinated against coronavirus as the highly contagious Delta variant continues to spread.

The state previously announced that such employees would have the option of either being vaccinated or undergoing weekly COVID-19 testing, but the new rule mandates vaccinations.

“As we continue to see an increase in cases and hospitalizations due to the Delta variant of COVID-19, it’s important that we protect the vulnerable patients in these settings,” Dr. Tomas J. Aragon, CDPH director and state public health officer, said in a statement. “Today’s action will also ensure that health care workers themselves are protected. Vaccines are how we end this pandemic.”

Workers are required to be fully vaccinated or receive their second dose of the vaccine by Sept. 30.

The new state order leaves room for workers to opt out due to medical or religious reasons.

(© Copyright 2021 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. City News Service contributed to this report.)