New York City health workers to be vaccinated or tested weekly starting August 2 – .

New York City health workers to be vaccinated or tested weekly starting August 2 – .

NEW YORK CITY (WABC) – Mayor Bill de Blasio announced on Wednesday that all health workers in New York City will either need to be vaccinated or have weekly COVID testing. “We need a clear and strong approach,” said the mayor.
The new requirements begin on August 2. “All of our staff from Health + Hospitals and our clinical workers from the Ministry of Health,” said de Blasio. “Each of these employees has the choice of getting vaccinated, a better choice, or getting tested every week. “

“The simple fact is, if you’re vaccinated, every activity is safer,” said Dr. David Chokshi, New York’s health commissioner. “Vaccination has been and continues to be the most important precaution we can take when dealing with the public and our colleagues. “

Dr Chokshi said it will be expanded beyond clinics in the coming weeks.

“By reaching other city workers, we will be looking at this,” the mayor said, later adding, “We are certainly looking at other possibilities, but we’re not there yet. This is the part we do right away. “

Anticipating the retreat of the unions, the mayor said: “I am sure they will have their concerns, but I think there is a realization, we are in an emergency situation and we are trying to find a balance. . “

Health workers were among the first in the country to be eligible for the COVID vaccine. While many have increased, the number of unvaccinated hospital workers remains a concern.

According to the New York State Department of Health, more than 450,000 employees in New York’s public and private hospitals were eligible for the first phase of vaccines, 70% complied, but closer examination reveals that nearly 40% are still unvaccinated in the Bronx, Brooklyn and Staten Island. , while Manhattan and Queens are near or above average.

After months of decline amid skyrocketing vaccination rates, coronavirus cases are on the rise again in the tri-state region.

New York council member Mark Levine tweeted that requiring regular vaccines or testing for city health workers is an important and necessary step.

Health officials are urging the public to get vaccinated at a time when the highly contagious Delta variant is spreading and hospitalizations and infections are on the rise. More than 1,000 people a day are now testing positive in New York, on based on the latest seven-day average, according to AP’s analysis of state data. This is up from the pandemic low of 306 per day on June 25.

About 56% of New York’s 20 million people are fully immunized.

This is a slight increase from 54.5% as of July 4, despite efforts by administrations under Governor Andrew Cuomo to increase rates in the least vaccinated areas of the state.

Vaccination rates are lowest in rural counties in western and central New York City, as well as parts of New York City, including the Bronx and Brooklyn.

(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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