City of Houston employees to be required to get COVID-19 tests twice a month

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HOUSTON – Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner is set to sign an executive order that will require all unvaccinated City of Houston employees to get tested for coronavirus twice a month.

According to a news release, the announcement follows the death of two employees from complications that developed as a result of the virus.

“I cannot stand by and watch employees continue to get sick, and in some cases die, from a disease that we know how to manage,” Turner said. “The virus is having an impact on our workforce and the city’s ability to provide services directly to the public. Overall, the city continues to see hundreds of new COVID-19 patients being admitted to the hospitals in the Texas Medical Center each day. While there are breakthrough cases, full vaccination is the best defense against COVID-19 and its variants, like Delta. The vaccine protects our first responders, our emergency care workers, and the hospital system as a whole.”

Starting Oct. 8, employees must provide proof of testing on the first and 15th of each month or proof of vaccination to the City of Houston Human Resources Department.

Vaccinated employees, or those with medical or religious exceptions and elected or appointed officials of council, boards, and commissions are exempt from the order, according to the release.

Employees who do not comply with the new requirements could face consequences including termination or indefinite suspension.

According to the release, “Houston continues to have uncontrolled COVID-19 spread, much like the rest of the county. COVID-19 cases in Houston and Harris County have surged since mid-July, in large part due to the more contagious Delta variant. Houston’s 14-day average positivity rate is now at 19.3%.”

There are free vaccines and testing at several sites across Houston. A full list of vaccination sites can be found here. Testing site locations can be found here.

What do you think about the mayor’s pending executive order? Let us know in the comments.

About the Author:

Daniela Sternitzky-Di Napoli has been a digital news editor at KPRC 2 since 2018. She is a published poet and has background in creative writing and journalism. Daniela has covered events like Hurricane Harvey and the Astros World Series win. In her spare time, Daniela is an avid reader and loves to spend time with her two miniature dachshunds.