Mandatory Vaccination Policy for All Cook County Employees

Cook County issued a mandatory vaccination policy, covid-19 coronavirus
Cook County issued a mandatory vaccination policy.

Cook County, IL-(ENEWSPF)- Cook County issued a mandatory vaccination policy for all employees Friday as the Delta variant surges and hospitals fill up.

Cook County’s policy follows:

We know that the COVID-19 vaccine is safe, effective, and the best way to protect ourselves and our communities, especially in light of the highly contagious Delta variant.

Given the current state of the pandemic, Cook County will implement a mandatory employee vaccination policy to ensure that members of the public who interact with County employees and our facilities are safe when doing so, as well as to ensure the safety and well-being of employees while at work.

Employees in the Offices under the jurisdiction of the County Board President and covered by the Cook County Employment Plan have until October 15 to comply with the policy or provide a verifiable medical or religious exemption. We are encouraging Cook County’s separately elected offices to follow suit.

This is the pragmatic and responsible thing to do as we work to put the pandemic behind us. Let’s come together and turn the page to the next chapter in history.

Read Executive Order 2021-1 Here

The Executive Order follows:

WHEREAS, the United States Secretary of Health and Human Services declared that COVID-19 presents a

public health emergency on January 27, 2020, and on March 11, 2020 the World Health Organization declared COVID-19apandemic; and

WHEREAS, pursuant to the Cook County Code of Ordinances, Sections 26-36 and the Illinois Emergency Management Agency Act, 20 ILCS 3305/11, on March 10, 2020, County Board President Toni Preckwinkle found that the circumstances surrounding COVID-19 constitute a public health emergency and issued a proclamation of disaster for Cook County; and

WHEREAS, in accordance with Illinois law, on various dates in 2020 and 2021 Cook County extended its Proclamation of Disaster; and

WHEREAS, pursuant to the provisions of Section 7 of the Illinois Emergency Management Agency Act, 20 ILCS 33057, Governor Pritzker has continued to find that a disaster exists within the State of Illinois and has declared all counties in the State of Illinois and under a public health emergency; and

WHEREAS, in accordance with Governor Pritzker’s disaster declarations, Cook County remains a disaster area and under a public health emergency; and

WHEREAS,   the spread of COVID-19 continues to have an impact on the State of Illinois and Cook County as we continue to respond to the public health disaster caused by COVID-19; and,

WHEREAS, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (“CDC”) reports that new variants of COVID- 19, identified as “variants of concern,” have emerged in the United States,

WHEREAS, Cook County continues to focus on the health, safety and welfare of its residents and employees while the spread of COVID-19 and coronavirus variants, including the Delta variant continue to have an impact on this nation, the State of Illinois and Cook County;

WHEREAS, the CDChas reported that the Delta variant of the coronavirus has been found to be more aggressive and more transmissible than previously circulating strains, and poses new risks in the ongoing effort to stop and slow spread of the virus; and,

WHEREAS, the CDC has reported that the Delta variant may cause more severe disease than prior strains of the virus; and,

WHEREAS, the CDC estimates that the Delta variant now accounts for more than 90 percent of all sequenced coronavirus in the U.S.; and,

WHEREAS, the CDC has reported that COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations, and deaths continue to increase, especially in areas with higher levels of community transmission and lower vaccination coverage; and

WHEREAS, protecting the health and safety of Cook County residents and its employees is among the most important functions of County government; and,

WHEREAS, the CDC has stated that vaccination is an effective tool to prevent the spread of COVID -19and benefits both vaccine recipients and those they come into contact with, including persons who for reasons of age, health, or other conditions cannot themselves be vaccinated; and

WHEREAS, an individual is considered fully vaccinated two or more weeks following receipt of a second dose in a 2-dose series of a COVID-19 vaccine, or 2 or more weeks following receipt of one dose of a single-dose COVID-19 vaccine; and

WHEREAS, in order to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 it is critical that the County and its separately elected offices take every step possible in its workplace to ensure that its employees and patrons are safe and mandate COVID-19 vaccinations for its employees; and

NOW THEREFORE, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution of the State of Illinois, the laws of the State of Illinois, the Ordinances of Cook County and in accordance with the State of Illinois’ Declaration of Disaster,

I, TONI PRECKWINKLE, President of the County of Cook, DO HEREBY ORDER, as follows:

1. For the protection of employees in the Offices under the jurisdiction of the County Board President and Cook County’s Employment Plan as well as the public and patrons of County services, and following guidance from numerous public health authorities, effective August 23, 2021, the Cook County Bureau of Human Resources (“BRR”) will adopt and implement a mandatory COVI D-19 vaccination policy for all employees under the jurisdiction of the County Board President and Cook County’s Employment Plan. This policy shall also apply to volunteers, interns, consultants, contract personnel, independent contractors, and personnel working on County premises who are employed by temporary agencies and any other persons or firms doing business for or with Departments in the Offices under the jurisdiction of the President and/or covered by the Cook County Employment Plan.

Active employees as of the effective date of this policy must be fully vaccinated by October 15, 2021. Cook County’s vaccine mandate is critical for the health of employees and a requirement to maintain safe in-person operations. In accordance with BHR’s Vaccination Policy, employees may request exemptions from the requirement for medical or religious reasons. Those whose requests for reasonable accommodation are granted must submit to PCR-based tests twice weekly. New employees who start after the effective date of this policy must be either fully vaccinated or submit a request for reasonable accommodation prior to onboarding.

2. In order to provide for the safety of all Cook County employees and patrons utilizing the services of Cook County government, Cook County’s separately elected officials and their offices are encouraged to implement a vaccination policy for the employees working in their offices as well as any volunteers, interns, consultants, contract personnel, independent contractors, and personnel working on County premises who are employed by temporary agencies and any other persons or firms doing business for or with Departments in the Offices under the jurisdiction of the County’s separately elected officials. BHR shall provide the County’s separately elected offices with a copy of the BHR Vaccination Policy and offer guidance on the implementation of the BHR Vaccination Policy.

BE IT FURTHER ORDERED, that, this order shall take effect upon its execution and filing with the County Clerk and that immediate notice of this order be delivered by the County Clerk to the offices under the jurisdiction of the County Board President, the County’s separately elected officials and the seventeen members of the County Board.