The city of Decatur will provide on-site COVID-19 testing for unvaccinated employeesCertified Pediatric Nurse Practitioner Mallory Gray draws up a dose of Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine during DeKalb Pediatric Center’s vaccine clinic on May 12, 2021. On May 10, 2021 the U.S. Food and Drug Administration expanded the emergency use authorization for the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine to include adolescents age 12 through 15. Photo by Dean Hesse.
Decatur, GA — The Decatur City Commission, at its Nov. 15 meeting, approved a project budget of $125,000, and use of American Rescue Plan funds, for COVID-19 testing of unvaccinated city employees.
On Sept. 27, the city established a policy requiring city staff to get tested frequently for COVID-19. The goal of the policy is to maximize COVID-19 vaccination rates among city personnel, especially for those who directly interact with other employees or the public in their work.
“This policy helps provide for a safe work environment during the COVID-19 pandemic and safeguard the health and safety of our employees and our visitors,” Assistant City Manager Teresa de Castro said.
The city will begin providing on-site COVID-19 testing on Dec. 2 for all city employees who are unvaccinated. Staff can get tested up to twice a week.
“The project budget through June 30, 2022, our fiscal year, includes the following items: COVID-19 tests, also staffing, [personal protective equipment] — which includes anything from gloves, surgical masks, N95 masks, gowns, face shields and biohazard bags — as well as general supplies, including a tent for inclement weather and signage to help our employees know where to go,” de Castro said.
City Manager Andrea Arnold announced on Sept. 27 that city of Decatur employees are required to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 by the end of November. New hires are also required to be vaccinated.
“This policy closely aligns with President Biden’s executive orders from Sept. 9,” Arnold said. “Specifically, our employees, full-time and part-time employees, they must be vaccinated by Nov. 30, so about two months from now.”
Employees who do not get a COVID-19 vaccine will be subject to regular COVID-19 testing, most likely two times a week. For jobs posted as early as Sept. 28, new hires will be required to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19.
As of Oct. 22, 68.8% of the city’s full-time employees had reported being fully vaccinated, Arnold said.
She anticipates that more vaccination records will be submitted over the next couple of weeks.
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