Video from previous reporting.
HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) – Monday was a big day for state workers. The deadline for state workers, educators, and long-term care facility employees to get the COVID-19 vaccine is Monday at 11:59 p.m.
On Tuesday afternoon, Gov. Ned Lamont released data about the progress in compliance with the executive orders.
As of 12:00 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 5, 2021, about 23,600 (78%) are fully vaccinated, about 5,500 (18%) will receive weekly testing, and about 1,200 (4%) have not yet submitted their required documentation.
Those who have not yet submitted required documentation or remain non-compliant will be contacted by state human resources officials.
The governor’s office says at this point they don’t anticipate needing to activate the National Guard “to respond to possible staffing shortages for those agencies that provide critical health and safety services, as he previously announced was under consideration.”
The state employee union wants a 20-day extension of Gov. Ned Ned Lamont’s mandate. The governor’s office says the negotiations will continue, but if no agreement is reached, the mandate will be enforced.
A warning letter was sent to 8,000 workers that they will be furloughed without pay if they don’t comply. On Sunday, that number was down to 3,000. State officials say the number is even lower Monday.
Lamont said at least 90% of state employees have filed the paperwork to either get fully vaccinated or get tested for COVID-19 weekly.
“I have a feeling we’re going to be in really good shape,” Lamont said. “State employees are doing the right thing. It keeps them safe, it keeps the folks they’re working with safe.”
Non-compliant employees can be sent home and not get paid, but the state’s Chief Operating Officer Josh Geballe said that will not happen Tuesday morning right after the deadline.
“We’re going to double-check to make sure nothing has been missed and nothing falls through the cracks,” Geballe said. “Then, we’re going to be working with our human resources department to, unfortunately, put any remaining non-compliant people out on unpaid leave.”
Gabelle thinks that could start happening towards the end of the week. One group almost entirely in compliance is SEIU 32BJ, a union representing mostly janitors. They knew the dangers and got vaccinated early.
“I think that was a very, very successful program that we ran, and that’s why the vast majority of our members are already vaccinated,” Alberto Bernardez, district leader for SEIU Local 32BJ, said.
More than 900 healthcare facilities in Rhode Island have requested a 30-day extension to meet Gov. Dan McKee’s requirement to get all workers vaccinated against COVID. All of the sites reportedly have plans to meet the mandate by the end of the month, while 215 other facilities say that they’ve met the requirement already.