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See the latest news and updates about COVID-19 and its impact on the Charlotte region, the Carolinas and beyond.

7 Charlotte-Area Medical Practices To Require COVID Vaccine For Employees, Joining Growing List

Charlotte skyline.

Seven Charlotte-area medical practices announced Thursday morning they will require their employees to be vaccinated against COVID-19.

The practices, including OrthoCarolina and Tryon Medical Partners, said in a statement they will require employees to be vaccinated by Oct. 31. The other health care providers that said they will mandate worker vaccinations are: Carolina Asthma & Allergy Center, Carolina Neurosurgery & Spine Associates, Charlotte Eye Ear Nose and Throat Associates, Charlotte Gastroenterology & Hepatology and Surgical Specialists of Charlotte.

These businesses have joined a growing list of North Carolina providers and agencies that will require vaccines or check employees’ vaccination status. Last month, five hospital systems in the state — Atrium Health, Novant Health, Cone Health, Duke Health and Wake Forest Baptist — decided to make vaccines mandatory, along with six UNC Health hospitals.

Atrium’s mandate applies to all of the system’s employees, including remote workers, fellows, contractors and volunteers, who must be fully vaccinated by Oct. 31. Novant has the earlier deadline of Sept. 15. Employees can also request medical or religious exemptions.

Meanwhile, in Mecklenburg County, health department employees have until Sept. 7 to get vaccinated. The county’s health agency has roughly 900 full-time, part-time and temporary employees. And Mecklenburg County will begin checking all of its employees’ vaccination status starting Sept. 1, county manager Dena Diorio announced via email Monday.

The new county policy does not require all employees to receive the vaccines but, according to Diorio’s announcement, anyone who is not vaccinated will be required to take a weekly COVID-19 test and present a negative test result to human resources starting Sept. 7.

State and federal officials in the past two weeks have issued similar vaccine policies as new coronavirus cases continue to climb, driven in large part by the highly contagious delta variant.

Gov. Roy Cooper announced last week he was ordering employees working for cabinet-level agencies in North Carolina to show proof of vaccination status. Those who don’t will have to wear masks, social distance at work and undergo weekly COVID-19 screening tests. The order covers about 50,000 people and Cooper has said he hopes other agencies and businesses will make similar moves.

"We are strongly urging other state government agencies and private businesses to, at a minimum, do the same," Cooper said last week. "Many businesses are going a step further and requiring their employees to get vaccinated, and I applaud that ... Right now, being a corporate citizen means getting your people vaccinated."

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Claire Donnelly is WFAE's health reporter. She previously worked at NPR member station KGOU in Oklahoma and also interned at WBEZ in Chicago and WAMU in Washington, D.C. She holds a master's degree in journalism from Northwestern University and attended college at the University of Virginia, where she majored in Comparative Literature and Spanish. Claire is originally from Richmond, Virginia. Reach her at cdonnelly@wfae.org or on Twitter @donnellyclairee.