United States

New York to require state employees to get COVID vaccine or face weekly testing

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Gov. Andrew Cuomo speaks during a visit to a coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccination site, at the State University of New York in Old Westbury, New York, U.S, March 15, 2021. Mark Lennihan/Pool via REUTERS/File Photo

NEW YORK, July 28 (Reuters) - New York will require state employees to be vaccinated against COVID-19 or get tested weekly, a mandate that will go into effect on Sept. 6, Governor Andrew Cuomo said on Wednesday.

All patient-facing healthcare workers at state hospitals will have to be vaccinated, Cuomo said, with no testing option provided.

"That is a point of contact that could be a serious spreading event, and we want to make sure that those healthcare workers are vaccinated, period," the governor said.

"We're working with our unions to implement this quickly and fairly, but we want to get it done by Labor Day, and I encourage all local governments to do the same," he said.

President Joe Biden said on Tuesday he may require all federal employees to get vaccinated, although no announcement has been made. read more

With infections rising due to the highly contagious Delta variant, officials have been looking for ways to combat vaccine hesitancy. (Graphic on U.S. cases)

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said anyone getting their first vaccine shot will get $100 at city-run sites starting on Friday.

Earlier this week, de Blasio announced that the city would require its more than 300,000 employees to get vaccinated by Sept. 13 or else get tested weekly. His announcement came a week after the city passed a vaccine mandate for all healthcare workers at city-run hospitals and clinics. read more

California Governor Gavin Newsom followed suit, saying that all state employees, some 246,000 people, would be required to get vaccinated starting in August or else be subjected to COVID-19 testing on a minimum weekly basis. read more

"We're at a point now in this pandemic where an individual's choice to not get vaccinated is impacting the rest of us," Newsom told a news conference on Monday.

Federal and local officials have been warning about a rise in COVID-19 cases with increasing urgency in recent weeks.

Across the country, many have aggressively emphasized the importance of getting vaccinated - including some Republican leaders who previously refrained from openly endorsing the vaccines.

On Tuesday, U.S. health authorities said that Americans fully vaccinated against COVID-19 should go back to wearing masks in indoor public places in regions where the coronavirus is spreading rapidly. read more

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said that 63.4% of U.S. counties had transmission rates high enough to warrant indoor masking and should immediately resume the policy.

Manhattan, Los Angeles and San Francisco meet the transmission criteria, as does the entire state of Florida.

Reporting by Maria Caspani and Rich McKay; Editing by Jonathan Oatis and Lisa Shumaker

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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