The first week of August has been filled with troubling news regarding positive COVID-19 cases, the Delta variant and the reinstitution of masks mandates at various businesses. Because health officials stress that the latest surge of positive cases could be reduced drastically if more people would get vaccinated and that the small amount of vaccinated people who still get COVID suffer less serious symptoms, just about every policy update includes a plea to get a vaccine if physically able. Essentia Health just went a step further.

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In a press release dated August 4, 2021, they announced a new policy in regard to employees and the COVID vaccine. They state that throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, their patients and communities have counted on them for support, protection and to continue providing the high-quality care they deserve. They take that responsibility very seriously, which lead to the following announcement:

Essentia will require all staff members to be vaccinated against COVID as a condition of their employment. Vaccination also will be required as a condition of entering our facilities to perform services for Essentia Health. Employees must receive their first dose of vaccine by Oct. 1 and their second dose in a two-dose series by Nov. 1. There will be a process for requesting a medical exemption based on CDC guidelines or a religious exemption.

This new policy affects all Essentia Health employees, including remote workers, along with volunteers, students, non-employed medical staff, Board members and others who provide services within their facilities.

They stress that their patients entrust their care to them at some of the most vulnerable times in their lives and they owe it to their patients to be vaccinated.

Essentia Health has administered nearly 200,000 COVID-19 vaccination doses since late December, 2020. They strongly believe that based on their proven effectiveness at preventing the virus, getting vaccinated is the "safest and surest" way out of the public health crisis.

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