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Home Covid-19 COVID-19: City of London adds new testing measures to staff vaccine policy

COVID-19: City of London adds new testing measures to staff vaccine policy

The COVID-19 vaccine policy for municipal staff in London, Ont., has been strengthened with the addition of new measures targeting those who have successfully applied for exemptions.

The policy had given employees until Sept. 29 to provide proof of full vaccination against the virus or proof of a medical or Ontario Human Rights Code exemption.

Those who only received one dose by Sept. 29 had until Nov. 1 to become fully vaccinated or risk an “immediate removal from active duties,” according to a copy of the policy sent to city council in September.

The day after the Nov. 1 deadline, city officials revealed 19 full-time and 24 casual employees had been placed on a 30-day unpaid leave for failing to comply with the policy.

Read more:

COVID-19: 43 city workers in London, Ont. on unpaid leave due to vaccine policy

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On Monday, City of London officials announced they are adding new measures for those submitted proof of an exemption to being vaccinated, but are still coming into the workplace.

These individuals will now be subject to rapid antigen testing at least two times per week.

If the test comes back positive, they will not come into the workplace and may face a shift to working remotely, reassignment or a leave of absence.

“This will impact 129 employees from across the organization,” said city officials in an email to Global News.

On top of the testing requirements, the city will also be strengthening screening protocols for city workplaces and reinforcing the use of personal protective equipment.

The city says it consulted with the Middlesex-London Health Unit to see if a requirement for a booster shot should be included as part of the vaccination policy.

Acting medical officer of health Dr. Alex Summers replied that there is no need to include a booster shot requirement since the province does not require a third dose for someone to be considered fully vaccinated, according to the city.

City manager Lynne Livingstone says the policy review and modification is tied to the recent surge in new COVID-19 cases across the province, as well as the rise of the Omicron variant.

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“These additional measures are being put in place to help limit the spread and to protect our employees and the community as we face this evolving phase of the pandemic,” Livingstone added.

Click to play video: 'Part I: Answering your Omicron questions'

Part I: Answering your Omicron questions

Part I: Answering your Omicron questions

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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