FORSYTH COUNTY, Ga. – At a work session on Sept. 7, commissioners discussed a county-wide rise in COVID-19 cases and approved a proposal to incentivize vaccinations for county employees.
In his presentation to the commission, County Manager Kevin Tanner said that widespread COVID-19 outbreaks have damaged the service and productivity of the county government due to rampant exposure and resultant quarantine requirements. Tanner said employees have reported more than 4,000 hours of lost work due to the virus since July 25, marking a “significant impact” on the continuation of county services.
Based on these numbers and after looking at surrounding jurisdictions, Tanner proposed a $500 incentive for full-time county employees and a $250 incentive for part-time employees to get fully vaccinated. Employees who are symptomatic or have tested positive for COVID-19 would be required to be fully vaccinated.
Tanner’s proposal comes with an estimated $700,000 price tag which he said could be covered by funds the county received through the American Rescue Plan.
With the incentive program, Tanner said, the county hopes to get 75 to 80 percent of employees vaccinated before the next spike in cases which he expects to occur after Thanksgiving. Currently, they estimate that fewer than 50 percent of county employees have been fully vaccinated.
The proposal also called for county-employee vaccination clinics which would be facilitated through the Forsyth County Emergency Management Agency. Additionally, Tanner requested that employees be granted paid leave to receive the vaccine.
The Board approved the measure as presented with Commissioners Cindy Jones Mills, Alfred John, Todd Levent and Laura Semanson in favor and Commissioner Molly Cooper absent.