By CBS3 Staff

HARRISBURG, Pa. (CBS) — Pennsylvania is announcing new COVID-19 requirements. Gov. Tom Wolf says all employees in Pennsylvania who work in state health care and high-risk congregate facilities will be required to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 by Sept. 7.

Anyone who is not vaccinated will be required to undergo weekly COVID-19 testing.

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Gov. Wolf also announced that beginning Sept. 7 all new external hires within these facilities will be required to be vaccinated before they begin their employment.

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“Throughout the pandemic, we have learned that the COVID-19 virus thrives in settings where people live in close proximity such as congregate care,” Wolf said. “These individuals are often our most vulnerable Pennsylvanians who are unable to leave these facilities and rely on the direct care of the staff. We want our residents and their loved ones to have peace of mind that we are doing everything we can to keep them safe. It is our responsibility to do our part to protect our most vulnerable neighbors and stop the spread of this highly contagious virus.”

Approximately 25,000 employees will be affected by this requirement. The facilities impacted by this include state hospitals, state homes for people with intellectual disabilities, veterans homes, community health centers and state correction institutions.

The commonwealth is offering an incentive for all vaccinated employees. An additional 7.5 or 8 hours of paid time off will be given to all vaccinated state employees under Wolf’s jurisdiction beginning Oct. 1.

Wolf’s administration is actively working with state employee unions to implement these policies.

Sixty-three percent of Pennsylvanians 18 and older are fully vaccinated and the state ranks fifth among all 50 states for total doses administered.

“Pennsylvania has had a lot of success in our vaccination efforts, but 63% is not the goal,” said Gov. Wolf. “Sixty-three percent still leaves far too many eligible Pennsylvanians unvaccinated, which puts their communities at risk. Vaccines are free, available, and effective. I encourage every eligible Pennsylvanian who hasn’t gotten vaccinated to sign up today.”

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