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Evers announces COVID testing requirement for state workers

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Evers announces COVID testing requirement for state workers

FILE - In this Aug. 27, 2020, file photo, Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers speaks during a news conference in Kenosha, Wis. Advocates for redistricting reform hope informal citizens commissions created in a number of states can draw public attention to partisan gerrymandering and its consequences. While the commissions have no official role, their supporters hope to use them to pressure the real map-makers to temper their political inclinations. Faced with legislatures controlled by opposing political parties, Evers formed citizens commissions to make recommendations to lawmakers responsible for redistricting.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Gov. Tony Evers' administration issued an order Tuesday requiring all executive branch workers who haven't submitted their COVID-19 vaccination status to their supervisors or aren't fully vaccinated to undergo weekly testing.

The mandate will go into effect Oct. 18 and apply to all executive branch employees, interns and contractors.

The order drew immediate opposition from the Republican leader of the state Senate.

Sen. Devin LeMahieu called it a “sweeping” mandate that was based not on the law but rather “coerced medical disclosures from workers.” He said the Senate would “explore all options within our authority” to block the testing requirement.

Nearly 70% of the executive branch's 30,000 or so employees had self-reported that they had received at least one dose of vaccine as of Sept. 10.

Evers hasn’t mandated vaccinations for anyone, but he said in August he was considering it.

The testing requirement comes amide a spike in cases due to the more contagious delta variant. The seven-day average of new cases as of Monday was 1,670, the same as it was in late January before the vaccine was widely available.

The 1,056 people currently hospitalized is the same level it was in early January.

More than 63% of the state's population age 18 and over is fully vaccinated, while 52.5% of the total population is vaccinated, according to the state Department of Health Services.

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