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PHOENIX (AP) — A Phoenix-based hospital chain with medical centers in Pinal County is requiring all its employees to be fully vaccinated for the coronavirus by Nov. 1 as a condition of employment.

Banner Health announced Tuesday that it was requiring vaccinations due to a rise in coronavirus cases stemming from the Delta variant, the expectation that the government’s emergency-use authorization for the vaccine will be lifted, the need to protect patients and employees, and prepare for the flu season.

Banner employs about 52,000 people and operates in Arizona, California, Colorado, Nebraska, Nevada and Wyoming. It’s the largest private employer in Arizona. It owns and operates Banner Casa Grande Medical Center, Banner Ironwood Medical Center in San Tan Valley, Banner Goldfield Medical Center in Apache Junction and Banner Health Center in the city of Maricopa.

On Wednesday, officials reported 1,154 additional coronavirus cases and no additional deaths from the virus.

Pinal County reported 101 new cases, bringing the county total to 55,215.

In all, the state has seen more than 910,000 confirmed cases and 18,117 deaths from the virus since the pandemic began.

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