Gov. John Carney continued a week of COVID-19 protocol modifications with an announcement Aug. 12 that beginning Thursday, Sept. 30, all state employees, and staff in long-term care and other healthcare facilities will be required to provide proof of vaccination or undergo regular testing. The requirement will be formalized by the end of this month.
“There’s no better way to protect our most vulnerable neighbors from this virus than getting the COVID-19 vaccine,” said Carney, in a prepared statement Aug. 12. “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 following entities are regulated by the state’s Division of Health Care Quality and fall under the governor’s modification:
- Long Term Care Facilities – Nursing homes; assisted-living facilities; intermediate-care facilities 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; hospice; personal assistance service agencies; and office-based surgery.
According to the Aug. 12 press release, additional information will be provided to state employees by the Delaware Department of Human Resources.
Carney and the Division of Public Health are also encouraging private employers to impose similar requirements to encourage vaccinations.
As of Aug. 11, 73.9 percent of Delaware adults, and 71.8 percent of those 12 and older, have received at least one shot of the COVID-19 vaccine.
The Delaware Healthcare Association’s President and Chief Executive Officer Wayne Smith, issued the following statement after Carney and the Delaware Department of Health and Social Services’ announcement regarding vaccination at health care facilities.
“The Delaware Healthcare Association joins Gov. John Carney in strongly supporting COVID-19 vaccination as the best way to reduce and ultimately control the pandemic. We strongly encourage all to join the hundreds of thousands of Delawareans and hundreds of millions of Americans who have received a vaccine to protect themselves and our neighbors from the COVID-19 virus. Our members continue to assess their local needs and environments with regard to vaccine strategy for their employees. Some members have adopted policies of mandated workforce vaccination. Other members have implemented initiatives designed to maximize workforce vaccination and increase the number of employees who will ultimately receive both doses of an approved vaccine. DHA supports all of our members and their deliberative processes. All are creating policies that optimize patient and employee safety, while considering local circumstances and environment. Every Delawarean can rest assured that every Delaware hospital continues to present a safe and caring healing environment.”