By WCCO-TV Staff

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — HealthPartners is joining other large health care systems in Minnesota in requiring that all employees be vaccinated against COVID-19.

In a statement Thursday, the Bloomington-based provider said that all employees will have until Oct. 30 to become fully vaccinated against the virus. Those who decline to get the vaccine will have to submit documentation explaining a medical or religious reason.

READ MORE: How Minnesota Schools Are Spending COVID Relief Money

Employees are also required to get the flu vaccine. The deadline for that is Nov. 30.

“Our colleague vaccination program is an important part of our commitment to our patients, members, communities and colleagues,” said HealthPartners President and CEO Andrea Walsh, in a statement. “Getting vaccinated is the single best way to reduce the chance of spreading, contracting and becoming severely ill with both COVID-19 and influenza.”

HealthPartners’ vaccine policy also applies to volunteers, students, vendors or other non-employees, the provider says.

READ MORE: Girl Gifts Comforting 'Prairie Bears' To All Patients At Youth Psychiatric Hospital

This development comes after both Allina and M Health Fairview announced Monday that they are going to require employees to receive COVID-19 and flu vaccines by the fall.

Due to the spread of the highly-contagious Delta variant, virus cases are surging in Minnesota and across the country.

Following updated guidelines last week from the Centers for Disease Control, many retailers and schools in Minnesota are now requiring that people wear masks indoors, regardless of vaccination status.

Additionally, some universities in Minnesota are requiring students and staff to get the vaccine in order to attend in-person classes. These schools include Augsburg University, the University of St. Thomas, the College of St. Benedict and St. John’s University.

MORE NEWS: Good Question: How Do They Make It Snow Inside U.S. Bank Stadium?