Delaware announces vaccine mandate for state employees and healthcare workers
State employees and healthcare workers will be required to be vaccinated against COVID-19 or be tested regularly under a new mandate announced Thursday.
The rule goes into effect September 30. It applies to staff in long-term care and other health care facilities, as well as executive branch state employees.
The coronavirus is surging in Delaware—with COVID hospitalizations over 100 again and new daily cases averaging above 200, a level not seen since the spring.
“We just saw the need to do something stronger to try to stop this surge before it gets out of control,” Carney said in an interview Thursday.
Neighboring states have already taken similar steps.
Carney says he’s not concerned the mandate could worsen staffing challenges in the long-term care industry.
“That was one of the considerations as we thought of a strict vaccination mandate versus a mandate to be vaccinated or to be tested,” he said. “We felt that this was a better approach and one that would mitigate losing staff, both at long-term care facilities and at some of our state facilities as well.”
The mandate does not apply to public school teachers, who have different employment contracts than executive branch employees, but Carney says he’ll continue to work with the school districts on what approach to take. The state announced a mask mandate for schools and daycares earlier this week.
Officials say the vaccine mandate will be formalized by the end of this month.
The Governor and public health officials are urging private employers to impose similar requirements. Several, particularly in the healthcare industry, have already done so.
“There’s no better way to protect our most vulnerable neighbors from this virus than getting the COVID-19 vaccine,” Carney said in a statement. “If you haven’t gotten your COVID-19 vaccine yet, consider it. Vaccination is how we’ll make sure our communities get healthier and continue to build a great future in our state.”
The complete list of healthcare facilities covered by the new state mandate is:
Long Term Care Facilities:
- Nursing homes
- Assisted-living facilities
- Intermediate-care facility for persons with developmental or intellectual disabilities
- Neighborhood homes
- Group homes for persons with serious and persistent mental illness
- Group homes for persons with HIV/AIDS
- Family care homes
- Rest residential facilities
- Intensive behavioral support and educational residences
Acute and Outpatient Providers:
- Adult day cares
- Free-standing birthing centers
- Free-standing emergency departments
- Free-standing surgical centers
- Home health agencies: aide only (non-skilled)
- Skilled home health agencies
- Hospitals (including psychiatric hospitals)
- Prescribed pediatric extended care centers
- Personal assistance service agencies
- Office-based surgery
This story has been updated.