Pa. employees in health care, high-risk facilities under ‘vaccine or test’ requirement

Vaccinate Central Pa.

Gov. Wolf is encouraging state employees to get the COVID-19 vaccine with a new incentive.

HARRISBURG, Pa. (WTAJ) — Pennsylvania employees in state health care facilities and high-risk congregate-care facilities are required to be fully vaccinated by Sept. 7, according to Governor Tom Wolf.

Individuals who are not fully vaccinated will undergo weekly required COVID-19 testing. Starting Sept. 7, all new external hires in the facilities mentioned must be vaccinated before starting work.

Gov. Wolf announced a vaccinate initiative Tuesday, where all vaccinated state employees are eligible for an additional 7.5 or 8 hours of paid time off. The Wolf administration said they are actively working with state employee unions on implementing these policies.

“Throughout the pandemic, we have learned that the COVID-19 virus thrives in settings where people live in close proximity such as congregate care,” Gov. Wolf said. “These individuals are often our most vulnerable Pennsylvanians who are unable to leave these facilities and rely on the direct care of the staff. We want our residents and their loved ones to have peace of mind that we are doing everything we can to keep them safe. It is our responsibility to ​do our part to protect our most vulnerable neighbors and stop the spread of this highly contagious virus.”

Over 11.7 million COVID-19 vaccines have been administered to date and 63.8% of Pennsylvanians age 18 and older are fully vaccinated, according to the Pennsylvania Department of Health (DOH).

The DOH also noted an additional 2,076 cases of COVID-19 in Pennsylvania since Monday, with 847 individuals currently hospitalized and 204 patients in the ICU.

Multiple counties are in the substantial or high level of transmission, including Bedford, Cambria, Clearfield, and Centre Counties. Cameron County is the only county in the entire state in the low category. The CDC is advising anyone in counties in the substantial or high category to wear masks indoors, regardless of vaccination status.

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