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UnityPoint Health-Meriter joins other hospitals in requiring COVID-19 vaccine for workers
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UnityPoint Health-Meriter joins other hospitals in requiring COVID-19 vaccine for workers

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UnityPoint Health-Meriter

UnityPoint Health-Meriter in Madison.

UnityPoint Health on Thursday joined other health care systems in Madison and around Wisconsin in announcing a COVID-19 vaccination requirement for employees.

The move came as Wisconsin reported 1,573 new cases of COVID-19, the most since late January, for a daily average of 1,000, the highest since early February. Most of the recent wave stems from the contagious delta variant of the coronavirus and inadequate vaccination levels, health officials say.

The Wisconsin Hospital Association said 388 patients were hospitalized with COVID-19 as of Thursday, up from 74 on July 6.

Iowa-based UnityPoint Health, which owns Meriter Hospital in Madison, said its 33,000 workers must be fully vaccinated by Nov. 1. Employees can request an exemption for medical or religious reasons. Pregnant workers are strongly encouraged to get vaccinated but can get a temporary deferral.

“After thoughtful consideration, we believe this vaccination requirement will help keep our team members, patients and communities as healthy as possible, so we can focus on what we do best — delivering exceptional care to those we serve,” Clay Holderman, UnityPoint Health CEO, said in a statement.

UW Health and Advocate Aurora Health on Wednesday issued similar mandates. St. Louis-based SSM Health, which owns St. Mary’s hospitals in Madison and Janesville and St. Clare Hospital in Baraboo, did so in late June.

Other health care organizations that have announced vaccination mandates for workers include Ascension Wisconsin, Children’s Wisconsin, Froedtert Health, Marshfield Clinic Health System, Mayo Clinic Health System, Medical College of Wisconsin and ProHealth Care.

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