NY plans COVID vaccine mandate for state employees; health care workers: Cuomo

Coronavirus

NEW YORK — New York will soon implement a vaccine mandate for all state workers as the delta variant surges across the country and state, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Wednesday.

The news comes a day after President Joe Biden said he was considering a mandate requiring all federal workers get vaccinated.

“New York will do the same,” Cuomo said at a press briefing.

Similar to New York City’s expanded vaccine mandate, the plan will require state government employees to either get the shot or be tested regularly for COVID-19.

Taking the mandate a step further, the governor said all patient-facing health care workers at state hospitals will be required to be vaccinated to work. There will be no alternative testing option for these employees, the governor said.

“It is an aggressive step,” Cuomo said. “And there will be pushback.”

The governor believes counties and cities throughout the state should implement a similarly strict mandate for health care workers in their hospitals.

Cuomo’s administration was working with state unions to implement the program quickly. It will take effect by Labor Day, or Sept. 6.

The governor suggested all local governments implement a similar mandate.

The highly transmissible delta variant of the coronavirus accounted for more than 72% of recent positive COVID-19 cases in New York, Cuomo said Monday.

As cases continue to rise, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reversed course on some masking guidelines, recommending that even vaccinated people return to wearing masks indoors in parts of the U.S. where the coronavirus is surging.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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