ALBANY, N.Y. — Following in New York City's footsteps, New York state is making vaccinations or regular COVID-19 testing mandatory for all state employees.
Additionally, all patient-facing front-line health care workers in state-run hospitals must be immunized, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Wednesday.
“I think we need dramatic action to get control of this situation,” the governor said during a virtual address delivered to members of the Association for a Better New York. “So in New York, and in our state hospitals, all patient-facing health care workers must get vaccinated. There will be no testing option for patient-facing health care workers.
“That is a point of contact that could be a serious spreading event, and we want to make sure those health care workers are vaccinated — period,” he added.
The move comes amid fears of the highly contagious delta variant and two days after Mayor Bill de Blasio instituted similar measures for city workers. All municipal employees in the five boroughs are required to be vaccinated or get tested once a week.
Cuomo said the state is still reviewing the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s new recommendations regarding masks.
“The state is going to do a full review of the CDC guidance,” he said. “I was on the phone with them this morning and I was talking to federal officials, and we’re also talking to international health experts. This is happening in other places so we can learn from that, but the CDC guidance should be seriously considered by local governments where there are currently high rates of transmission.”
The CDC issued guidance this week encouraging even fully vaccinated Americans to wear masks indoors in areas with high COVID-19 transmission rates.
New York, like many other states, eased mask requirements for those who are fully vaccinated back in May. The reversal comes as coronavirus cases rise across the country.
Cuomo’s vaccination plan is the latest in a series of measures the governor initially downplayed as they were first implemented or floated by de Blasio before ultimately adopting them.