No vaccination mandate for municipal employees yet

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By Nick Seebruch
No vaccination mandate for municipal employees yet
The welcome sign at Cornwall's Glen Stor Dun Lodge (Nick Seebruch/ Seaway News).

CORNWALL, Ontario – The City of Cornwall will not be mandating their employees to get the COVID-19 vaccine, at least not yet anyway.

Both Mayor Glen Grant and Chief Administration Officer (CAO) Maureen Adams told Seaway News that while they are not currently mandating all of their employees to get vaccinated, they are strongly encouraging it.

“I think that anyone dealing with the public should be double vaxxed,” said Mayor Grant, referring to the requirement of having two doses of a COVID-19 vaccine for the best protection from the virus in most cases.

Adams told Seaway News that as a whole the City of Cornwall did not currently have a requirement for mandatory COVID-19 testing for non-vaccinated employees.

“Although we have encouraged all of our employees to get vaccinated, we also do not have accurate information regarding how many have been fully vaccinated,” Adams wrote in an email to Seaway News.

Grant did confirm that according to the last update he received not all staff members Glen-Stor-Dun Lodge, the City operated long term care facility, were fully vaccinated.

Earlier in this year, Dr. Merrilee Fullerton, Ontario’s Minister of Long-Term Care issued a requirement for long-term care facilities to come up with and implement an immunization policy by July 1. These policies require long-term care employees to either present proof of vaccination, have a medical reason for not being vaccinated or participate in an education program about the benefits of being vaccinated and the risks of not being vaccinated.

Furthermore, on Aug. 17 Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Kieran Moore stated that the above requirements would be extended to hospitals, home care service providers, paramedic staff and other high-risk settings.

Those employees who work in a high-risk setting who do not provide proof of vaccination will have to undergo regular antigen testing. Moore stated that these policies would have to go into effect no later than Sept. 7.

Steven Golden, Administrator of Glen Stor Dun Lodge told Seaway News that 76 per cent of staff members at the facility are double vaccinated with two per cent having received just one dose of the vaccine. He said that those who have not been fully vaccinated must still undergo rapid COVID-19 testing twice a week.

Golden did note that some staff members who underwent the educational program about vaccines did then choose to get vaccinated.

“While we continue to encourage everyone who works at the Lodge to get vaccinated, we will continue to respect and support the individual choices by continuing to provide them with educational information about COVID-19 vaccination so they can make an informed decision,” Golden wrote in an email to Seaway News.

Mayor Grant explained that he, and other municipalities were waiting on the province to provide direction on vaccine mandates and COVID-19 testing requirements for employees.

“We don’t want to make a decision then find out later that the province is going in a different direction,” he said.

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