The Baker administration on Wednesday said it will require staff at long-term care centers to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19, in a bid to protect vulnerable residents amid an uptick in cases.
In a release, the administration said the mandate applies to all skilled nursing facilities as well as the state's two Soliders' Homes. A public health order and emergency regulations would be filed to facilitate the move.
The state said of the 378 skilled nursing facilities and two Soldiers' Homes, 155 had less than 75% of their staff fully vaccinated.
Under the new rules, all unvaccinated personnel must receive a first dose of a two-dose series by September 1 and be fully vaccinated by October 10.
"Today’s actions reinforce the state’s commitment to ensuring the safety and care for these residents, some of our most vulnerable residents," the administration said in a statement.
The move comes amid an uptick in cases driven by the delta variant.
Almost every county in southern New England has either high or substantial transmission of COVID-19, according to the CDC. The federal agency's new guidance recommends that people in those counties wear masks in public, indoor settings, even if they're fully vaccinated, given the transmissibility of the delta variant.
Nearly 8,000 fully vaccinated Massachusetts residents have now tested positive for COVID-19 and 100 of them have died, according to state data on breakthrough cases published Tuesday.
The Department of Public Health tracked a cumulative 7,737 confirmed COVID-19 infections among those fully vaccinated in the state as of July 31, representing 0.18% of the immunized population.
The 100 deaths out of nearly 4.3 million vaccinated residents represents a rate of just 0.002%.