NY adds hospital vaccine mandate, Cuomo wants 'everyone back in the office' by Labor Day

Coronavirus Update for New York
NEW YORK (WABC) -- New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced vaccination rules for state workers and state-run hospitals Wednesday, and for many, there will be no weekly testing option rather than getting the COVID-19 shot.

All patient-facing health care workers in state-run hospitals must get vaccinated, with no testing option, Cuomo said.

"That is a point of contact that could be a serious spreading event," he said. "We want to make sure those workers are vaccinated, period."

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In addition, beginning Labor Day, all state employees will be required to either be vaccinated or get tested weekly.

"President Biden is reported to announce soon that all federal employees be vaccinated or get tested," Cuomo said. "New York state is doing the same. We are working with our unions to implement this program quickly and fairly, but we want to get it done by Labor Day. And I encourage all local governments to do the same. It's smart, it's fair, it's in everyone's interests."

Civil Service Employees Association President Mary Sullivan released a statement on the governor's policy.

"CSEA supports the governor's vaccine-or-test policy," she said. "New York has come a long way in overcoming COVID-19 together and we cannot slide backwards now or we put our members, workers, our families, children and all of us at greater risk. We need to continue to be diligent in protecting everyone in New York against COVID and this helps accomplish that. This procedure is already being effectively used in the SUNY system and all that's happening here is it is being expanded, which CSEA supports."

Cuomo also called for state employers to bring employees back in the office by Labor Day.

"Let's pick Labor Day as a date," he said. "Say to your workforce, by Labor Day, everyone is back in the office."

School districts in areas of highest transmission should consider taking more aggressive actions, he said.

"I understand the politics, but I understand if we don't take the right actions, schools can become super spreaders in September," he said. "It can happen. We've seen it happen before."

Cuomo also called on private sector businesses to incentivize vaccinations.

"You can admit vaccinated only people in your establishments," he said. "I can argue it's a smart business. I think it's good business for the private sector and a real incentive for people to get the vaccine."

Big companies like Google and Facebook announced Wednesday that they will require vaccinations when their officers reopen.

The state reported 2,203 new positive coronavirus cases Wednesday, up from 275 on June 28.

"The increase in the numbers is real," he said.

Roughly 75% of adults in the state have been vaccinated.

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In New York City, Mayor Bill de Blasio also announced a new vaccine incentive. Starting Friday, anyone who gets a first dose of the COVID vaccine at any city-run site will get $100.

"We will say we are really glad that you got vaccinated for yourself, for your family, for your community, and here's $100, thank you for doing the right thing," he said. "And not only do you get the $100, you then qualify to be able to do everything else that is wonderful in this city, including the amazing concerts coming up."

Despite people being vaccinated and still getting COVID, so-called breakthrough infections, more than 97% of the people in the hospital with COVID across the country are unvaccinated.

Even after Cuomo's announcement regarding hospital vaccines, major private hospital systems said they will not be following immediate suit, many instead holding off on an all-out mandate until the vaccines are fully FDA-approved.

A spokesperson for Northwell Health -- New York State's largest healthcare provider and private employer -- tells ABC News they are not mandating the vaccine for their more than 76,000 employees right now but will "reevaluate our policy when the FDA makes full approval of the vaccine."

In the meantime, Northwell intends to mandate vaccinations for newly hired employees and plans to launch a testing requirement for unvaccinated employees.

NYU Langone Health will also wait to mandate the vaccine for all faculty and staff until it receives full approval from the FDA, a spokesperson tells ABC News. Mount Sinai is still reviewing their options, a spokesperson said.

New York Presbyterian, on the other hand, already has instituted a vaccine mandate in a mid-June email to their 48,000 employees obtained by ABC, telling workers they must receive at least their first dose by September 1 or face termination, barring a valid exemption.

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