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State vaccine mandate expanded to staff at mental health, disability settings

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(WBNG) -- Governor Kathy Hochul announced a plan to expand healthcare worker vaccine mandates to include employees that work in the Officer of Mental Health (OMH) and the Office for People with Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD).

Employees that work in these settings will need to show proof of a least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine by Nov. 1. They will not have the option to receive weekly COVID testing.

Before the Nov. 1 deadline, staff who are not vaccinated already will be required to test for the virus weekly beginning Oct. 12.

Governor Hochul's Office said the new requirement will apply to all employees who work at psychiatric hospitals in the OMH network and those working at specialty hospitals certified by the OPWDD.

Hochul said in a news release that the vaccine requirements are essential to stopping the coronavirus.

"We have an obligation to extend this assurance to those who need to receive mental health services and special care, which is why we are making the vaccine mandatory for all staff who work in these facilities that fall under State jurisdiction," Hochul said.

Workers at hospitals and nursing homes were required to get the COVID vaccine by Sept. 27. On Oct. 7, the vaccine requirement will take effect for personnel at adult-care facilities, long-term health care programs, AIDS home care programs, hospice care and more.

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Matthew Benninger

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