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NYC Vaccine Mandate Starts For Private And Religious School Employees, As State Combats Record COVID Numbers

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- COVID cases in New York hit another record for a third day in a row Sunday, likely fueled by the Omicron variant.

Now, two new vaccine mandates go into effect in the city, affecting tens of thousands of people working with kids.

Manhattan has the highest COVID rate among the five boroughs, but officials say it's partly because of increased testing.

"I'm absolutely confident in the ability of our health system to sustain this new surge," a self-assured Mayor Bill de Blasio said Sunday -- the same day the state marked another one-day record for COVID. The positivity rate is now at 8.4%, with almost 22,500 cases. "We expect these next weeks to see a very, very big surge in the number of cases, more than we've seen previously. And then we expect after a period of time that it will dissipate."

Monday, two new vaccine mandates take effect for all staff working in a child care program and, similar to public school teachers, employees of Catholic schools, yeshivas and other private schools must also have at least their first shot.

FIND TESTING SITES: Click here for New York City's testing site locator, including mobile sites and at-home appointments

AVOID THE LINES: Click here for NYC Health+Hospitals testing wait times


Mayor-elect Eric Adams was asked on CNN if he will mandate booster shots for employees when his term starts.

"I believe we may get to that point. I cannot continue to emphasize that this is a moving target, and we should not be so stringent and unwilling to pivot when is necessary," he said.

Adams said the decisions made in the next two weeks could determine the success of the city for the next two years. To start, he and the current mayor say they will ramp up testing this week -- starting Tuesday, when they open new testing sites in every borough.

"We're adding 17 mobile units this week, we're expanding hours, we have our wait time tracker," said Dr. Ted Long, director of the NYC Test and Trace Corps. "We're handing out home test kits, and working with community based organizations."

To reduce hospitalizations, the city is also investing $10 million into a media campaign to encourage vaccinations and booster shots.


This comes as at-home rapid COVID tests continue to sell out at drug stores, along with long lines at testing tents and brick and mortar locations.

"I had a friend who waited for two hours today on the East Side, and before he got to his place, they stopped the line," Manhattan resident Josh Ellis said.

"I had to book an appointment for the next day," said Manhattan resident Siddharth Konde.

The mayor said the New Year's celebration in Times Square is still on, given that vaccinations are required and it's outdoors, but he will make a final decision before Christmas.

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