NEW JERSEY (WABC) -- Governor Phil Murphy announced Monday that all employees in certain health care facilities and other high-risk congregate settings in New Jersey will be required to complete a full vaccination course or undergo regular testing at a minimum of once to twice each week.
Full compliance is required by September 7.
"Our mandate is the floor," he said. "If we do not see significant increases in vaccination rates among the employees in these settings, we are ready and willing to require all staff to be vaccinated as a condition of their employment."
Private-sector employers may implement a more rigorous mandate, the governor added.
"The delta variant is working its way across our state," Murphy said. "We are seeing the impact, overwhelmingly, the impact among unvaccinated."
The move will affect "many thousands" of employees, Murphy said, and the goal is vaccination of 80% to 85% of New Jersey's population due to the extremely high rate of delta variant transmission.
Impacted state settings include:
--Ancora Psychiatric Hospital
--Ann Klein Forensic Center
--Greystone Park Psychiatric Hospital
--Trenton Psychiatric Hospital
--Paramus Veterans Memorial Home
--Menlo Park Veterans Memorial Home
--Vineland Veterans Memorial Home
--State correctional facilities
--Juvenile Justice Commission Facilities
Impacted private facility settings include, but are not limited to:
--Long-term care and assisted-living facilities
--Acute-care hospitals and specialty hospitals
--Short-term and post-acute in-patient rehabs
--Licensed behavioral health facilities
--Home health agencies
"Vaccination is the best tool we have to end this pandemic," Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli said. "None of us would want our vulnerable loved ones put at further risk due to their caregiver or healthcare provider. Ensuring these individuals are fully vaccinated or have been tested will help protect those who live in these congregate settings or need hospital care."
Murphy reported that 4,909,743 people are fully vaccinated, and among the vaccinated, there have been 6,381 COVID cases, up 0.13%, 195 hospitalizations, and 50 deaths.
In Monmouth County, Commissioner Director Thomas Arnone and County Commissioner Deputy Director Susan Kiley announced 472 new positive COVID tests between Friday and Monday, though no deaths were reported during that time.
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