A hospital in upstate New York will temporarily suspend baby deliveries after a group of staffers, several of whom are based in the maternity ward, resigned over the state’s vaccine mandate for health-care workers.
During a press briefing Friday, Lewis County Health System CEO Gerald Cayer said 30 hospital workers quit total, including seven from the maternity unit, WWNY reported. Following their decision to leave, the ward will lack sufficient staffing to conduct operations and will therefore temporarily pause delivering babies after September 24, Cayer added.
He said he would consult the New York Department of Health to prevent the ward from permanently shutting its doors and would aim to replace the absent staff with vaccinated workers who meet the requirement.
“If we can pause the service and now focus on recruiting nurses who are vaccinated, we will be able to reengage in delivering babies here in Lewis County,” Cayer noted.
Out of the employee pool at the hospital, 464 workers have received the vaccine while 165 have not. Seven maternity ward staffers are reportedly undecided about getting the shot.
The wave of departures comes after the state announced a COVID vaccine mandate for all health-care workers at hospitals and long-term care facilities with a September 27 deadline. While the update inspired 30 workers to get inoculated, it triggered the resignations of 30 others, Cayer said.
“Our hope is as we get closer (to the deadline), the numbers will increase of individuals who are vaccinated, fewer individuals will leave and maybe, with a little luck, some of those who have resigned will reconsider,” he said. “We are not alone. There are thousands of positions that are open north of the Thruway and now we have a challenge to work through, you know, with the vaccination mandate.”
In an executive declaration Friday that many legal scholars are calling a gross overstepping if not abuse of constitutional authority, President Biden mandated that all private businesses with 100 or more employees require their workers to be vaccinated. Many Republican lawmakers and governors have slammed the move as unlawful and invasive federal intervention in the private sector and have vowed to pursue legal action to stop its implementation.