All new external hires will also be required to get vaccinated before they can start working.By Royce Jones

By: KDKA-TV News Staff

HARRISBURG (KDKA) – Pennsylvania is requiring employees at state-run health care and high-risk congregate care facilities to get the COVID-19 vaccine or undergo weekly testing.

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Gov. Tom Wolf announced the new initiative Tuesday. It affects about 25,000 employees working in facilities like state hospitals, veterans homes and state correction institutions.

Employees will have to be vaccinated by Sept. 7, or else they’ll have to get tested for COVID-19 weekly. All new external hires will be required to get vaccinated before they can start working.

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Wolf also announced an incentive for state employees under his jurisdiction. Starting in October, those employees will be able to get a paid day off.

The Department of Health says 63.8% of Pennsylvanian adults are fully vaccinated.

“Pennsylvania has had a lot of success in our vaccination efforts, but 63% is not the goal,” said Wolf. “Sixty-three percent still leaves far too many eligible Pennsylvanians unvaccinated, which puts their communities at risk. Vaccines are free, available, and effective. I encourage every eligible Pennsylvanian who hasn’t gotten vaccinated to sign up today.”

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Nearly 28,000 Pennsylvanians have died from COVID-19.