NEW YORK — COVID-19 booster vaccine doses will be mandated for all New York health care workers and a negative coronavirus test will be required for visitors to state nursing homes and adult-care facilities as part of the state’s latest efforts to slow virus transmission, Gov. Kathy Hochul said Friday.

All health care workers in the state must get a COVID-19 vaccine booster shot within two weeks of eligibility or face suspension or termination.

“Staff is getting sick, they’re leaving,” Hochul said. “We need them to get well we need them to have the best fortification they possibly can and that means getting a booster shot as well.”

The requirement will not allow health workers to have a test-out option and only permits requests for medical exemptions.

All state health personnel were required to have at least one dose of an approved COVID vaccine by Sept. 27 or potentially lose their employment. A court challenge to allow religious exemptions for the mandate was struck down in the fall.

The state’s visitation rules for nursing homes and adult-care facilities will also require all visitors and vendors provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test within 24 hours.

Visitors must also wear a disposable surgical mask while inside the facility.

“The last thing we want to do is create a situation where visitors are coming in and out and are getting people that they love or their neighbors in the next room sick,” Hochul said of rising nursing home infections.

The state will send a supply of COVID testing kits to all facilities to test visitors, but the governor asked New Yorkers to get a test with the proof of negative result before arriving.

“I ask you to do it in advance not to overtax the workers in the nursing home,” Hochul said. “...Bring the results, show us or do it in the parking lot. But we’ll make sure that every nursing home has the supply they need to make sure that visitors are tested and not positive when they walk in the door to go possibly expose an entire facility.”

Following the anticipated winter and holiday season surge, the state’s COVID-19 infection rate has climbed to more than 22% — its highest since 2020.

Check back for more details on this developing story.

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