Testing mandate for unvaccinated Cincinnati city workers delayed

Mary Harney, RN, conducts a COVID-19 test at the drive-thru testing site at Mercy Health Anderson Hospital, Thursday, Oct. 22, 2020. If you're symptomatic, you get the test via the throat. If you're having a procedure, it's in the nose. They're open from 8am - 1pm and do about 70 tests each day. Over 5,000 deaths in Ohio have been reported during the pandemic, according to Ohio Department of Health.

The city of Cincinnati is requiring all city workers to either show proof of vaccination or show negative COVID tests, but the testing requirement has been pushed back nearly a month.

An email from City Manager Paula Boggs Muething to the directors of the various city departments spelled out two significant changes to the policy that was initially slated to start Sept. 28.

"We will be delaying implementation of mandatory COVID-19 testing for employees who do not attest to COVID-19 vaccination status until the week of 10/24/2021," the manager wrote.

Another major change is the frequency of testing. The first version of the policy said unvaccinated workers must submit negative tests once a week, but the new policy changes that to once every two weeks.

The city asked all workers to attest to their vaccination status by Tuesday, but those who refused faced no disciplinary action.

The unions that represent city workers have been pushing back against the policy. Cincinnati's police union has already threatened to take legal action.

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