Expensive choices? The cost of testing unvaccinated government workers – Fresno, California

Fresno, California 2021-09-24 21:15:55 –

Fresno, Calif. (KFSN)-Unvaccinated civil servants are required to perform a COVID test at least once a week at the taxpayer’s expense.

Fresno County’s number one employer is the county government, which has more than 7,500 full-time employees.

64% of them told the county that they were vaccinated against COVID.

State obligations require the county to test the rest at least once a week.

Fresno County Supervisor Nathan Magsig said, “Currently, each test that must be done in the county costs about $ 78, and certain departments that have to test employees twice a week. There is. “

If you have about 2,700 unvaccinated employees, this would cost you more than $ 200,000 per week.

So far, the money comes from the Federal American Rescue Program, but that’s a trade-off.

“It can be used for high-speed Internet access,” Magsig said. “You can use it for sewers and water facilities to upgrade those facilities. But again, if you run out of all your money just by testing, some of these long-term ones There is no opportunity to spend money on. Benefits of the period. “

Magsig says he is dissatisfied with government orders from the state and federal levels.

He was part of a unanimous vote by county supervisors to present the idea of ​​providing employees with a $ 500 vaccination incentive.

The idea was also considered by the Fresno city government, but Vice President Nelson Espalza of the city council says he has never seen evidence that money can convince people to be vaccinated.

“They seem to be largely determined, but we still see the slow trickles of people,” Espalza said.

Mayor Jerry Dyer began testing for unvaccinated employees just over two weeks ago.

The initial cost was about $ 550,000 per month.

According to Dyer, more than half of the city’s 4,149 employees require weekly inspections, but have fallen to $ 135,000.

He says one employee quit because of testing obligations, but more than 300 were vaccinated.

And since the test caught an asymptomatic COVID case just this week, the plan seems to be working.

“Most of what we want to do is to allow the processes and money we spend a lot of time and energy on and see how it works for us,” Dyer said. rice field.

The mayor says he will monitor trends for the next four to five weeks and then reassess his options, including vaccine incentives or, in some cases, obligations.

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