City of Albuquerque employees must provide proof of vaccination or get tested weekly

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Albuquerque Mayor Tim Keller and city officials gathered Tuesday morning to provide a COVID-19 update – including the announcement of preparations for federal OSHA vaccine requirements.

As the nation waits for a ruling from the Supreme Court on the vaccine mandate, the mayor said the city is prepping to put those requirements in place.

"We will adapt based on what the Supreme Court says, but we also know we fall under the state public health orders as well," Keller said. "So we’re pretty sure we’re going to need to be ready to implement this regardless."

Under the OSHA vaccine requirements, workers will be required to provide vaccine status by Jan. 21 – that means proof of full vaccination.

Employees who are unvaccinated must comply with weekly testing beginning Feb. 7 and provide documentation of a negative test result or they will be removed from the workplace and placed in an unpaid status until they provide the required test result. Employees who fail to comply with vaccination, testing, or face coverings and reporting requirements are subject to disciplinary action.

Dr. Mark DiMenna, the city’s Environmental Health acting director, said the high COVID-19 case counts that are being reported may actually be even higher.

"The number of cases that we’re seeing – even though they’re record highs – are probably being underreported because so many people are taking at-home tests and they never report their positive results to anybody," DiMenna said.

Right now, city officials said they will try to provide COVID-19 testing for employees, but Albuquerque is still feeling the effects of the nationwide test shortage.