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Hochul launches massive COVID testing program for anti-vax state workers

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Gov. Kathy Hochul’s administration is launching a massive new weekly coronavirus testing program for the 1000’s of state workers anticipated to refuse to get vaccinated by the Oct. 12 deadline, The Post has realized.

While all state and personal healthcare workers in New York should obtain no less than one COVID-19 shot by Monday or face being fired, state workers in different jobs have the choice of both getting vaccinated or examined weekly beginning by that date.

It’s the identical day that the non-healthcare state workers should return to the workplace for in-person work.

The division is now accepting bids for labs and different medical suppliers to rearrange for the weekly-testing part, which can embrace home-collection kits.

The bid proposal says contractors ought to present home-testing kits to workers in addition to in-person testing at choose websites all through the state.

There are 116,000 non-healthcare workers at state businesses — and the successful bidders ought to have the power to offer a complete of roughly “thirty-six thousand testing kits” weekly, state officers say.

“All New York State employees (outside of state healthcare facility staff) have to be vaccinated by October 12 or undergo weekly COVID testing. The solicitation is for a vendor to provide that testing,” Health Department spokeswoman Jill Montag informed The Post in an announcement.

The successful bidder for the contract has not been awarded but.

The Civil Service Employees Association – -the union representing the most important variety of state authorities workers — helps the vaccine-or-test choice, so long as it has a say in its implementation.

ew York Gov. Kathy Hochul gives a COVID-19 briefing in the Red Room at the state Capitol Wednesday, Sept. 15, 2021, in Albany, N.Y.
All state and personal healthcare workers in New York should obtain no less than one COVID-19 shot by Monday or face being fired.
Hans Pennink

“CSEA has been very supportive of vaccinate-or-test options but believes that the impact of them must be negotiated,” mentioned union spokesman Mark Kotzin.

According to the DOH’s bid request, “The purpose of this solicitation of interest is to engage qualified vendors to embrace the State’s vision of establishing a comprehensive testing protocol to assist with maintaining a safe work environment.”

The contractors will likely be obligated to rearrange for the supply and assortment of home-testing kits, which would come with getting the self-collected specimens from a employee’s dwelling and transporting them to testing services.

Former Gov. Andrew Cuomo introduced the vaccine-or-testing mandate in late July amid a spike in coronavirus circumstances linked to the contagious delta variant, weeks earlier than he resigned.

It is unclear what number of state authorities workers exterior of hospitals and nursing houses and different congregate settings aren’t vaccinated.

Akyiaa Wilson receives a coronavirus disease (COVID-19) test at a mobile testing van in New York City, U.S., August 27, 2021.
The proposal says contractors ought to present home-testing kits to workers in addition to in-person testing.
REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

The Health Department doesn’t publicly publish vaccination charges for state authorities workers, because it does for the overall inhabitants or for workers in hospitals and nursing houses.

But about 83 % of adults in New York State have acquired at one least one dose of the vaccine, and 75 % have accomplished their vaccine collection.

Meanwhile, Hochul is following by means of on one other stricter edict requiring workers in hospitals and nursing houses to obtain their first vaccine shot by Monday — or face suspension or dismissal.

“Healthcare providers, state employed or other, do not have a test out option because of the vulnerability of the populations they work with,” the DOH’s Montag mentioned.

The vaccination charge is 84 % for hospital workers statewide, and 87 % for nursing-home staffers.

A spokesperson for the governor’s Office of Employee Relations responded, “The State is at the moment figuring out the variety of State workers who will likely be absolutely vaccinated by the program begin date to find out what number of partially vaccinated and unvaccinated workers will have to be examined on a weekly foundation.

“Over the coming weeks, we will be working closely with the respective unions to inform them of the program details, ensure a smooth implementation, and continue to protect our workforce and the public it has served throughout the pandemic.”

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