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N.Y. prepares for staff shortages from health vaccine mandate with emergency declaration plan

·1 min read

Gov. Kathy Hochul (D) announced Saturday she would declare a state of emergency if there were health worker shortages due to New York's upcoming COVID-19 vaccine mandate.

Why it matters: Hochul moved to reassure concerns of staffing shortages in the health care sector in a statement that also outlined plans to call in medically trained National Guard members, workers from outside New York and retirees if necessary when the mandate takes effect Monday.

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  • While most workers have been vaccinated against the virus, "tens of thousands" have not — despite health care providers saying they'll fire anyone who doesn't meet the requirement, the New York Times notes.

By the numbers: 84% of New York's 450,000 hospital employees and 83% of the state's 145,400 nursing home staff have been fully vaccinated against the coronavirus as of Wednesday, per the latest figures from the N.Y. State Department of Health.

What they're saying: "I am monitoring the staffing situation closely, and we have a plan to increase our health care workforce and help alleviate the burdens on our hospitals and other health care facilities," Hochul said in her statement.

  • Hochul's statement noted that "workers who are terminated because of refusal to be vaccinated are not eligible for unemployment insurance."

Of note: The N.Y. mandate led to Lewis County General Hospital announcing this month it was pausing its maternity services after several employees chose to resign rather than be vaccinated agains COVID-19.

Go deeper: Federal judge blocks vaccine mandate for NYC teachers

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