Adler urges COVID-19 vaccines to be required for city employees

Austin Mayor Steve Adler is calling on city management to require all City of Austin employees to be vaccinated against COVID-19, with some exceptions.

Adler is urging City Manager Spencer Cronk to require vaccinations as COVID-19 case numbers have surged in Austin-Travis County, Texas and the nation due to the Delta variant. Last week, Austin and Travis County went back into Stage 4 of risk-based COVID guidelines with the possible of moving into Stage 5 soon.

In a statement, Adler said:

"With alarming increases in cases, ICU admissions, and community positivity rates, we must do more. We must especially act to better protect our children under 12 who cannot get vaccinated and are being put at needless increased risk."

"I am today asking the City Manager to require city employees to be vaccinated (subject only to appropriate exceptions). Further, I urge Austin businesses also to require their employees to become vaccinated. We must all lead by our own example."

Adler says his call also mirrors the Biden administration’s updated requirements for all federal civilian employees.

Texas reported 4,320 COVID-19-related hospitalizations last Saturday, a high not seen since mid-March when the state’s numbers began trending downward. The total marks an increase of over 1,000 hospitalizations from the prior week, when the state reported just shy of 3,000.

Last week, the state’s health commissioner noted a 150% increase in COVID-19 hospitalizations between June 27 and July 20.

Health officials are especially concerned with school set to start in just a few weeks—raising questions about whether students should be wearing masks. For Austin ISD, the first day of classes is three weeks from Tuesday, on August 17.

Austin Public Health announced daily admissions have now exceeded 60 new cases, and there are now over 100 patients in hospital ICUs, says Adler.

The city is now asking even vaccinated Austinites to wear a mask indoors, and outdoors as well if you are unable to social-distance. Those who are unvaccinated are now being asked to avoid non-essential gatherings. 

Beyond masking up, Austin Public Health says it’s more important now than ever that more people get the COVID shot. As COVID hospitalizations spike once again in Central Texas, local doctors say more than 90% of ICU patients are unvaccinated. APH says the seven-day moving average of hospitalizations has more than tripled since the 4th of July, and hospitals are seeing more younger COVID patients.

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