30 hospital staff members in upstate New York quit over a vaccine mandate recently imposed by the company. As a result, the Lewis County Health System will have to pause operations for its maternity ward due to a lack of workers.
Hospital Staff Mass Resignation OVer COVID-19 Vaccine Mandate
The 30 hospital staff quit in protest of Lewis County’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate. CEO Gerald Cayer announced at a press conference last Friday that the Lewis County General Hospital is unable to safely staff the maternity department beginning September 25.
“The number of resignations received leaves us no choice but to pause delivering babies at Lewis County General Hospital,” Cayer added. 21 out of the 30 resigned hospital staff work in clinical areas.
The resignations followed an announcement of a change in vaccine requirements. Two weeks ago, Lewis County required all employees to vaccinate for COVID-19. The health system allowed medical exemptions but removed religious ones.
The policy change was an offshoot of the then-NY Governor Andrew Cuomo (D) order requiring all state health workers to have at least one vaccine dose by September 27.
Maternity Ward Hit Hard
For the entire Lewis County Health System, 73% of employees, or 464 individuals, already received at least one vaccine dose. The county employs around 650 workers. Most hold clinical positions like nurses, therapists, and technicians.
The remaining 165 individuals have yet to indicate their vaccine plans. They have until the 27th to get at least one dose. Only three employees received approval for medical exemptions, although 12 more hospital staff plan to present their medical exemption.
Even before the mass resignations, Lewis County’s maternity unit was already experiencing staff shortages. Six already left by resigning, and an additional seven hospital staff insisted they will not get vaccines.
“We are unable to safely staff the service after September 13,” Cayer said. “The number of resignations received leaves us no choice but to pause delivering babies at Lewis County General Hospital,” he added.
Hospital At Risk Due To Unvaccinated Hospital Staff
Cayer warned that other clinical departments in the hospital remain at risk due to the number of unvaccinated workers. “We as employees have an obligation not to put those we care for, or our coworkers, at risk,” he added.
The Lewis Country Health System CEO said that the state order required all hospital employees, including medical and nursing staff, contract workers, volunteers, and students, to comply with the mandate. As a result, 30 hospital staff went to get themselves vaccinated.
However, the coronavirus remains active within the system. Cayer said that five individuals are in quarantine, while five others remain in isolation.
In addition, four community members are currently confined after testing positive for the virus. Experts suspect that the highly contagious delta strain, which can affect even vaccinated individuals, is the main culprit.
‘Essential Health Services Are Not At Risk Because of Mandates’
Cayer believes that ultimately, the vaccine mandate helped them operate during the pandemic. “Essential health services are not at risk because of the mandate. The mandate ensures we will have a healthy workforce and we are not responsible for (causing COVID-19) transmission in or out of our facilities,” he said.
Watch the linkinglewiscounty.com video covering the LCHS Press Conference on COVID Vaccine Mandate & Announcement on ‘Pause’ of Baby Deliveries at LCGH:
Do you support the hospital staff who resigned due to COVID-19 vaccine mandates in their hospital health system? Or, do you think that health workers definitely need to protect themselves by getting vaccines?
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