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Weekly tests dropped for unvaccinated Minnesota state employees

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Minnesota state government employees who are unvaccinated for COVID-19 are no longer required to take weekly tests for the virus in order to stay in the workplace.

The requirement that went into effect in September 2021 meant thousands of employees took tests each week. Those that didn’t comply were subjected to suspensions or other discipline.

A state official said the requirement was rescinded because of the evolving nature of the virus.

“Whereas it was common to have broad, uniform precautionary measures earlier in the pandemic, the pandemic is at a point where public health COVID-19 risk assessments and precautions are now more dependent upon the specific circumstances of individuals and communities,” said Patrick Hogan, Department of Minnesota Management and Budget spokesman.

He said agencies can still adopt their own procedures. And, a small number of state workers in health care settings are still bound by federal vaccination rules that took hold in January.

Without publicity, Gov. Tim Walz’s administration rescinded the policy in late May, Minnesota Public Radio News reported.

The state hasn’t compiled compliance data with the now-expired policy on vaccination and testing since November. Information available last fall showed that 75 percent of workers subject to the rule provided proof that they were vaccinated and the rest had to take tests on weeks they were planning to be in the office.

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