City of Decatur reaches COVID-19 vaccine mandate deadline; 85% of full-time employees vaccinatedPediatric Nurse Practitioner Hannah Addis draws up a dose of Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at DeKalb Pediatric Center on Thursday March 25, 2021. Photo by Dean Hesse.
Decatur, GA — After implementing a COVID-19 vaccine mandate, Decatur City Manager Andrea Arnold said that 85% out of the city’s 192 full-time employees are vaccinated. Based on the data, 29 full-time employees will be required to be tested twice each week.
The city is also testing part-time employees, but it is difficult to provide accurate data on part-time workers “because of the number of seasonal, temporary, and on-call employees that may not need to be tested each week,” she added.
Here are the vaccination rates for individual departments in the city of Decatur:
Active Living: 90%
Admin Services/ Community & Economic Development/ City Manager’s office: 90.6%
Children & Youth Services: 90.9%
Public Works: 86%
Source: City of Decatur
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.
“This was a decision that was not made lightly,” Arnold said at the Sept. 27 City Commission meeting. “Ultimately, I decided that this is the right approach. I do believe, especially as local government employees, as people that serve the public, I think we actually have a greater duty than other private sector organizations out there to make sure that we are doing everything that we possibly can to keep ourselves healthy and also to make sure that we’re not doing harm when we’re serving people in our community.”
Beginning on Dec. 2 the city began providing on-site COVID-19 testing for all city employees who are unvaccinated. The City Commission approved the project budget and use of American Rescue Plan fund for the testing program.
“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,” Assistant City Manager Teresa de Castro said at the Nov. 15 City Commission meeting.
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