(CNN/KDKA) — As the number of Covid-19 cases surges in the United States, more than 50 health care groups — including the American Medical Association, the American College of Physicians, the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Public Health Association — issued a joint statement calling for all health care and long-term care employers to mandate employees be vaccinated against Covid-19.

“Our health care organizations and societies advocate that all health care and long-term care employers require their workers to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. This is the logical fulfillment of the ethical commitment of all health care workers to put patients as well as residents of long-term care facilities first and take all steps necessary to ensure their health and well-being,” they wrote in the joint statement issued Monday.

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In our area, KDKA has learned that St. Clair Health has an 85 percent vaccination rate. Allegheny Health Network and UPMC’s vaccination rates are 72 percent and 70 percent, respectively, while Heritage Valley and Excela Health have 69 percent and 62 percent vaccination rates, respectively.

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“Because of highly contagious variants, including the Delta variant, and significant numbers of unvaccinated people, COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and deaths are once again rising throughout the United States. Vaccination is the primary way to put the pandemic behind us and avoid the return of stringent public health measures,” the statement added.

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