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Heath care workers, state employees soon have to be vaccinated or regularly tested

State officials announced Monday that health care workers and state employees will now be required to get vaccinated against COVID-19 or get tested regularly if they cannot verify their vaccination status.

The requirement, which officials underscored is not a pure vaccination mandate, will take effect Aug. 2 for state employees and Aug. 9 for a broad range of health care settings and facilities, including outpatient and long-term care facilities.

Those who choose to remain unvaccinated or cannot verify their vaccination status will be required to test negative for the virus twice a week if they work in a hospital or once a week if they work in an outpatient care facility.

The new requirements are part of the state’s push to get more people vaccinated as a wave of new cases, spurred by the ultra-contagious delta variant and cases among unvaccinated people, threatens to halt the state’s progress in mitigating the virus’ spread.

The vast majority of the state’s current cases, hospitalizations and deaths are also among unvaccinated residents, with the number of new cases per day per 100,000 residents around 14 for unvaccinated residents and just two per 100,000 for fully vaccinated people.

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