Lewis County Health System in upstate New York announced that they will be pausing maternity services later this month due to staffing shortages, as they continue to face resignations from employees who object to the state’s vaccine mandate.
The Story: The upstate New York hospital system stated that they will “pause” maternity services as a string of resignations leave the staff short-handed.
“We are unable to safely staff the service after Sept. 24,” Lewis County Health System CEO Gerald R. Cayer said on Friday. “The number of resignations received leaves us no choice but to pause delivering babies at Lewis County General Hospital.”
Cayer said six employees had already resigned and seven employees were still weighing whether they would adhere to the vaccine mandate.
New York’s vaccine mandate declares that “all healthcare workers in New York State, including staff at hospitals and long-term care facilities (LTCF), including nursing homes, adult care, and other congregate care settings, will be required to be vaccinated against COVID-19 by Monday, September 27.”
During a county meeting, Cayer noted that he “unequivocally” supports a vaccine mandate for health care workers, and that the mandate ensures a “healthy workforce.”
“We as employees have an obligation not to put those we care for or our co-workers at risk,” Cayer said.
Inside the numbers: Of the hospital system’s 629 staff members, 165, or about 26%, are unvaccinated.
Cayer indicated that most of the resignations have come from clinical services employees.
As of Sunday, the 7-day average of COVID-19 infections for Lewis County is 6.2%, while the 7-day average infection rate for the state of New York is 3.2%.
The big picture: President Biden announced last Thursday that there will be vaccine mandates for healthcare workers on the federal level, which will require that 80 million medical professionals either show proof of vaccination or submit to weekly COVID-19 testing.
“We’re going to protect vaccinated workers from unvaccinated co-workers,” Biden stated as he unveiled the plan. “We’re going to reduce the spread of COVID-19 by increasing the share of the workforce that is vaccinated in businesses all across America.”
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