Days before he leaves office, Gov. Andrew Cuomo has ordered many New Yorkers to get a COVID vaccine and more mandates are expected very soon.
On Monday, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced that all healthcare workers in New York State, including staff at hospitals and long-term care facilities, including nursing homes, adult care, and other congregate care settings, must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 by Monday, September 27.
"When COVID ambushed New York last year, New Yorkers acted, while the Federal Government denied the problem," Cuomo said. "Now, the Delta variant is spreading across the nation and across New York -- new daily positives are up over 1000 percent over the last six weeks, and over 80 percent of recent positives in New York State are linked to the Delta variant. We must now act again to stop the spread."
The State Department of Health will issue Section 16 Orders requiring all hospitals, LTCF, and nursing homes to develop and implement a policy mandating employee vaccinations, with limited exceptions for those with religious or medical reasons.
"Our healthcare heroes led the battle against the virus, and now we need them to lead the battle between the variant and the vaccine. We have always followed the science, and we're doing so again today, with these recommendations by Dr. Zucker and federal and state health experts. But we need to do more. I have strongly urged private businesses to implement vaccinated-only admission policies, and school districts to mandate vaccinations for teachers. Neither will occur without the state legally mandating the actions -- private businesses will not enforce a vaccine mandate unless it's the law, and local school districts will be hesitant to make these challenging decisions without legal direction, Cuomo added.
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To date, 75 percent of the state's hospital workers, 74 percent of the state's 30,000 adult care facility workers, and 68 percent of the state's 145,500 nursing home workers have completed their vaccine series, officials say.
"This mandate will both help close the vaccination gap and reduce the spread of the Delta variant. I want to thank all New York State's healthcare workers for stepping up once again and showing our state that getting vaccinated is safe, easy, and most importantly, effective," New York State Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker said.
Lt. Governor Kathy Hochul's administration was briefed prior to the announcement, according to Cuomo.
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio praised Cuomo's decision. The mayor also said he will likely require all New York City teachers to get vaccinated.
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