Cuomo urges school districts, private health care facilities to mandate employee vaccines or weekly tests
Gov. Andrew Cuomo is urging school districts and private health care facilities to mandate that their employees get vaccinated against COVID-19 or commit to weekly testing.
"New York over the past month, the number of hospitalizations have basically doubled," said Gov. Cuomo.
Cuomo says the four-fold increase in cases is due to the highly transmissible delta variant.
If the numbers continue to rise, the governor recommends school districts mandate that teachers get vaccinated or submit to weekly testing.
News 12's Scott McGee spoke with Anthony Nicodemo, the head of the Greenburgh-North Castle Teachers Union.
"As a union president, as a teacher, I fully support the governor's move and what he said today to go forward, and if you're not vaccinated, you got to be tested weekly," says Nicodemo.
In Yonkers, Westchester's largest school district, the Board of Trustees recently passed a mandatory policy that if staff is not vaccinated, they will have to commit to weekly testing.
The head of the largest teachers union in the area, the Yonkers district, says she is concerned about her members whose health issues may prevent them from getting vaccinated.
"Unfortunately, we have staff members who have medical conditions that prevent them from getting vaccinated. So I'm concerned that if there is a mandatory vaccination requirement, what does that mean for them?" asks Samantha Rosado-Ciriello, of the Yonkers Federation of Teachers.
In response to Gov. Cuomo's announcement, New York State United Teachers issued a statement saying in part it would support local efforts to encourage more vaccinations, but the union says it does not support a vaccine mandate.
Cuomo is also taking aim at the health care industry, urging private hospitals mandate their workers get the shot.
Gov. Cuomo won't be able to force the private hospitals to comply, but he wants them to institute a policy of vaccinations only - no testing option. The reason for that is the possibility of infection.
Infections have doubled in just a month, thanks to the delta variant.
Gov. Cuomo says masking policies may not go far enough to stop the spread of the virus.