Health care providers around the region are making decisions on whether their personnel will be required to receive COVID-19 vaccines, and at least one of them is still undecided.

The COVID-19 Delta variant has quickly spread throughout the United States after first being discovered in India in December 2020, and case numbers in U.S. are increasing. Within months, it spread to nearly 100 other countries, and even became the most contracted version of the virus in Scotland, England and now the U.S. With only 48% of Americans fully vaccinated, the spread is not a surprise, but certain measures, such as mask mandates and social distancing, have been reactivated in parts of the country.

Altru has yet to make a decision on the matter. A representative told the Grand Forks Herald that it is “in the process of developing an approach to this,” and that nothing is set in stone yet.

A representative from Northwood Deaconess Health Center, who declined to reveal their name, made it clear that the hospital strictly follows state guidelines and refused to elaborate further. Representatives from CHI St. Alexius Health Devils Lake Hospital and Unity Medical Center could not be reached for further information.

According to the American Society for Microbiology, the Delta variant now makes up more than 83% of all COVID-19 cases reported in U.S., and it is considered to be around 50% more contagious than the original “Alpha” COVID-19 strain.

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Most of the hospitalizations and COVID-19-associated deaths in the U.S. consist of people who have not received at least one dose of a vaccine.

Studies show that getting both doses of a COVID-19 vaccine are effective at preventing serious side effects and death. President Joe Biden announced last week that federal workers will be required to take a COVID-19 vaccine or submit to rigorous weekly testing, mandatory masking rules and other precautions.

Sanford Health announced last month that it would give employees until Nov. 1 to get vaccinated for COVID-19 or risk losing their jobs. All Mayo Clinic employees must be vaccinated for COVID-19 by Sept. 17, or undergo added training and agree to special mitigation protocols, the health care provider said last month. On Wednesday, Aug. 4, Essentia Health announced its plans to require its employees to be vaccinated against COVID-19 also by Nov. 1.