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Governor: ‘We’ll send resources’ to Lewis County hospital as workers quit over vaccine mandate

Published: Sep. 15, 2021 at 2:48 PM EDT
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ALBANY, New York (WWNY) - Governor Kathy Hochul says she will send help if the state’s vaccinate mandate for health care workers leads to staff shortages at hospitals.

On Tuesday, a federal judge put that mandate on hold for workers who claim religious exemptions.

During a briefing Wednesday, Hochul said she expects the state to make overwhelmingly persuasive arguments to let the mandate go ahead.

And she had this to say about hospitals that may be left short-staffed if some workers quit, rather than be vaccinated:

“It’s the smart thing to do. We have to continue the mandates and if there are staffing shortages, I’ve already had conversations. We’ve been alerted there is a hospital in Lewis County that may not be able to deliver babies. I checked, and every baby supposed to be delivered in Lewis County has been delivered and we’ll send resources. And this won’t happen for a couple of weeks, anyhow.”

Hochul did not specify what resources would be sent, but repeated later that she will “send support if necessary.”

Lewis County General Hospital announced last week that it will stop delivering babies after September 24 because too many maternity unit workers have resigned over COVID vaccination mandates.

She also had a message for health care workers who have resisted vaccinations.

“That is a frightening number, to think that if you go into a hospital, into a place like that, that one third of the people taking care of you may not be vaccinated. I think that people need to start realizing that when you stand up and say, ‘I want to be a public health official’ in any capacity, we count on you to be healthy yourselves,” she said.

Hochul also said hospitals are required to have temporary staffing plans in place in case anything causes a staffing shortage.

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