COVID-19 Testing Update 11/5/21

Today we met with the county administration to discuss their Testing Policy proposal. This is the first document we have received since ours was sent to them on September 23, 2021. Since that time we have had testing pushed back to November 1, 2021 and again to what appears to be a target date of November 29, 2021.

There is still no mandate to be vaccinated or disclose your vaccination status. If the employee chooses to not be vaccinated or disclose his/her vaccination status, there is a testing requirement. This disclosure was initially an issue with the PinPoint system for some members. The PinPoint system is still an option but we have worked with the administration to develop other options.

Employees who do not wish to submit their vaccination status through the PinPoint system may submit vaccination verification directly to OHR. To verify vaccination status, employees can use https://myirmobile.com/. PA based employees can use https://www.health.pa.gov/topics/Reporting-Registries/PA-SIIS/Pages/PA-SIIS.aspx

Employees may email their proof of vaccination to vaxtestverification@baltimorecountymd.gov. These files must be sent from each employee’s county email. Alternatively, employees may also hand-deliver a copy of their vaccination verification directly to the Office of Human Resources (OHR) located at 308 Allegheny Avenue Towson, Maryland 21204.

The county has contracted with a vendor, Five Medicines, to conduct testing. We are still working out the logistics of testing but it appears as though every effort is being made to make it available on site at different facilities around the clock and at no cost to the employee.

At this moment, unvaccinated employees must fulfill their testing requirement during their normal work schedule by obtaining a test provided by the Vendor at their designated testing location. There will be a requirement for testing once per week. We have communicated the memberships’ view on testing for both vaccinated and unvaccinated.

The primary type of test that will be given will be a Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) test. In discussions with the administration about testing, we also communicated the members concerns about the nasal swab testing. As a result, employees that do not wish to utilize the nasal swab PCR test will have the option to elect a saliva-based test, also administered by the Vendor. Employees may elect the saliva-based test by completing a saliva-based test accommodation request form and submitting it to OHR. OHR shall make the accommodation form available to employees upon request. We have not yet seen a draft of that form but will review it.

The medical, religious and other waiver forms will be available shortly for our review.

There was a lot of conversation about administrative leave. This is an area of concern. We continue to push for administrative leave to remain as it was during the past year. We are also requesting that those who were told not to come to work since July 9, 2021 up until now, have any leave used be converted to administrative leave. The administration said they will review those instances and have discussion and get back to us.

We still have areas of this testing policy to work out before it is put into place. The administration has worked with and listened to our concerns. However, we continue to stress this process is both costly, stressful to employees and unnecessary based on current positivity rates.

Again, as we get additional information we will get it out to the membership.

Fraternally,

Dave Rose
President

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