How much will it cost NC to test unvaccinated state employees?

Coronavirus

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – Gov. Roy Cooper’s move to require some state employees to either show proof of vaccination or undergo regular testing for COVID-19 will almost certainly lead to more testing. Whether it’s the state or federal government footing the bill, it ultimately falls on the taxpayers.

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What is the cost?

The governor will soon require all state employees in cabinet agencies to show proof of vaccination or undergo regular COVID-19 testing. These are the employees under his purview. That’s 54,516 permanent employees and 4,376 temporary workers.

The state said it’s unclear how many have been vaccinated since they haven’t kept track.

“It’s a great idea. If people don’t want to get the vaccine, then they should have to take extra measures to ensure that they are not endangering people around them,” DeAnna Hicks said.

There is a cost associated with each one of these tests. They vary widely.

For those without insurance, Duke Health charges $39 and at UNC it costs $100. The state didn’t have an answer for how much it pays for a test.

“Having COVID is way more expensive than testing,” Jennifer Stascak said.

“People need to get vaccinated like make sure this doesn’t happen in the future. And if testing is going to be a steppingstone in making sure that happens, I’m all for that,” Madissen Keys added.

“I really think the people getting the tests should have to put in some skin — their insurance, or if they don’t have insurance, they should have to come up with some cash,” Hicks said.

North Carolina State University economics professor Dr. Michael Walden called the increasing cases concerning.

“From an economic perspective, this is worrisome because we were on a pretty good trajectory for recovering from the COVID-19 recession,” Walden said.

He brought up COVID-19 relief funds.

“The federal government did allocate a lot, a lot of money. And so, for example, when something like the testing costs comes up, there’s money out there the federal government could move around,” he said.

The state said it would be releasing a policy on how it will handle checking the vaccination status of these state employees and testing by Aug. 13.

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