CoronaVirus

NYC health workers will be required to be vaccinated or tested weekly

NEW YORK CITY (WABC) — Mayor Bill de Blasio is expected to announce Wednesday that all NYC health workers will either be required to be vaccinated or receive weekly COVID tests.

The press secretary for the mayor confirmed the update to Eyewitness News on Tuesday afternoon.

De Blasio is expected to make the announcement official during Wednesday’s briefing.

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

According to the New York State Department of Health, over 450,000 New York public and private hospital workers were eligible in the first phase of vaccines, 70% complied but a closer look finds nearly 40% are still unvaccinated in three of the boroughs while Manhattan and Queens are near or above average.

After months of decline amid soaring vaccination rates, coronavirus cases are once again on the rise in the Tri-State area.

NYC Councilmember Mark Levine tweeted that mandating vaccines or regular testing for city health workers is an important and necessary step.

The new policy is expected to apply to employees at city-run hospitals as well as nursing homes and clinics.

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, based on the latest seven-day average, according to AP’s analysis of state data. That’s up from a pandemic low of 306 per day on June 25.

About 56% of New York’s 20 million residents are fully vaccinated.

That’s a small increase from 54.5% as of July 4, despite efforts by the Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s administrations to increase rates in the least vaccinated parts of the state.

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

(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

RELATED | Officials push vaccines over masks as cases rise again in Tri-State

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