With the COVID Delta variant spreading across New York state, Governor Andrew Cuomo says vaccination is the key to stopping the spread

Cuomo says if the numbers don’t come down, there should be mandatory vaccinations for nursing home workers, teachers and all public-facing health care workers.

"Everybody is talking about mask policies right now, but I don't believe a mask policy is going to be enough - we need to talk about a vaccination policy," Governor Cuomo said. "We've taken the first step by mandating that all state employees get the vaccine or get tested weekly, and we're expanding on that by requiring all MTA and Port Authority workers to do so as well. The state is leading the way, but local governments, schools, public hospitals and even businesses should start considering mandatory vaccinations as well because if these numbers start to rise quickly, we can't afford to go backward and lose the progress we've already made."

Cuomo says nine new vaccination sites will open in locations with a high concentration of state employees to make getting vaccinated as convenient as possible for those who haven't been yet. That includes the State Office Building in Utica.

The governor stopped short of calling for a statewide mask mandate and said local governments should follow CDC mask guidelines in high-risk areas.

Cuomo is also recommending that private businesses adopt a vaccine only admission policy.

COVID-19 cases statewide have quadrupled over the last month.

According to Johns Hopkins University, New York’s seven-day coronavirus case count jump to 2,418, an increase of 81% from the prior week.

New York State United Teachers issued the following statement today regarding COVID-19 vaccinations for K-12 school staff:

“We have advocated since the beginning of the year that any educator who wants a vaccine should have easy access to one. We would support local efforts to encourage more vaccinations, such as through programs that require that those who are not vaccinated get tested on a regular basis. But it’s critical that districts come up with plans to make testing available on-site and at no cost. What we have not supported is a vaccine mandate.”

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