SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Saratoga Hospital announced Monday that full vaccines against COVID-19 will be required for all employees by September 7 or employees will need to be tested weekly for the virus. This comes as the delta variant makes headlines and other hospitals, including Albany Medical Center, put similar practices in place.

The policy reportedly includes exemptions and deferrals, however those that do not comply with the policy will be placed on leave.

“As Saratoga County’s only hospital and as a major employer, we owe it to patients and staff to do everything possible to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and ensure that our facilities are safe for all who work here and rely on us for care,” said Angelo Calbone, Saratoga Hospital president and CEO. “The evidence is clear: These vaccines save lives,” he added. “COVID-19 vaccines are extremely effective at preventing serious illness, hospitalization and death. We feel strongly that they must be part of any response to one of the most dangerous health threats in our lifetimes.” 

The policy is said to reflect guidance from the hospital’s medical staff, board of trustees and individuals across the Saratoga Hospital organization. Discussions also reportedly included other affiliates in the Albany Med Health System and healthcare providers throughout Northeastern New York. 

The hospital says the policy will be reviewed regularly and updated to reflect changing conditions, new knowledge and the latest CDC guidance. Saratoga Hospital is one of more than 90 hospitals and health systems nationwide in requiring COVID-19 vaccination for employees. 

New York State announced it will require state employees to be vaccinated as of Labor Day. And nearly 60 major medical organizations—including the American Medical Association and American Nurses Association—have called for “all healthcare and long-term care employers to require their employees to be vaccinated against COVID-19.” “The delta variant has arrived in our region, and COVID-19 cases are rising, especially among those who have not been vaccinated,” Calbone said. “Requiring vaccinations will protect our employees and their families, our patients, those who are too young to get vaccinated and those who are immunocompromised. “From the beginning, we’ve said we’re all in this together,” he added. “That includes getting vaccinated for the good of our community.”