Jackson County Executive Frank White, Jr. is announcing this week a new health care mandate that requires all full-time and part-time County staff to show proof of full vaccination or receive weekly COVID-19 testing. The new policy takes effect on September 30.

The policy is being implemented in an effort to combat the significant rise in virus cases and hospitalizations in the region. In Eastern Jackson County, the 14-day percent positive has tripled since June 6 and case counts have quadrupled.

“The delta variant we’re fighting now is much more contagious and requires us to act with a sense of urgency,” said Jackson County Executive Frank White, Jr. “Science and facts show the vaccine is the absolute best way protect ourselves and others from serious illness or death. Our new policy will help us ensure staff and guests to our facilities remain safe, while also improving our chances of defeating this virus once and for all.”

Over the last several months, the County has strongly encouraged staff to get vaccinated by providing education on the virus and the vaccines, paid time off to receive the vaccine and even hosted free vaccine clinics at multiple county buildings to make it more convenient for staff and their families to get vaccinated.

Details of the County’s health care mandate will be provided to staff before the policy takes effect. Additionally, masks will continue to be a requirement in all county buildings and facilities for staff and visitors regardless of vaccination status.