Photo by Michael Appleton/Mayoral Photography Office
Last week, Mayor de Blasio implemented a new city policy that will require city health workers to either show proof of vaccination or participate in weekly Covid testing. Today, he announced that the protocol, called the Covid Safety Mandate, will apply to the entire city workforce, including teachers and members of the NYPD and FDNY, by September 13. In addition, any city employee who does not get vaccinated will be required to wear a mask indoors. Though 71 percent of NYC residents have received at least one vaccine dose, the number is lower among some city agencies, and concerns about the Delta variant and a potential third wave are looming.
Two groups will see the Covid Safety Mandate go into effect sooner. As of August 2, it will apply to the roughly 42,000 employees, who work in public hospitals or clinical settings at the Department of Health. As of last week, only about 60 percent of that group is vaccinated. On August 16, it will apply to the 45,000 city government employees who work in congregate and residential settings such as shelters, senior centers, and foster care.
The September 13 date coincides with the first full day back at public schools. It’s also the month that most private companies are asking their employees to begin returning to work. “September is the pivot point of the recovery,” said the mayor. According to data analyzed by The City, 60 percent of Department of Education employees have received at least one vaccine dose. Likewise, only 43 percent of NYPD members are vaccinated, 51 percent of FDNY members, and 42 percent of Department of Corrections employees.
When it comes to the private sector, the mayor urged a vaccination mandate whenever possible. To help this effort, the city is releasing on August 2 a NYC Covid Safe app, which allows people to keep track of vaccination and testing status and show it to employers. There is also the State’s Excelsior Pass app or, of course, one can simply show their paper CDC card.
The 71 percent vaccination rate amounts to 4,683,500 adults. Those fully vaccinated total 4,333,733, or 65 percent of the city’s population. Nearly two million New Yorkers remain unvaccinated. The seven-day average of reported Covid-19 cases in NYC has climbed to 837; just a month ago, it was at 199. The highly infectious Delta strain, coupled with lagging vaccinations, are thought to be responsible for the city’s rise in new cases. However, hospitalizations remain stable, further proof that the city’s vaccination efforts are working.
- As possible third wave looms, 70% of NYC adults have received at least one Covid vaccine dose
- New York City pol calls for renewal of indoor mask mandate as cases climb
- Delta is now the dominant variant of Covid in NYC