LEWIS COUNTY, NY – A New York hospital announced on Friday that if you’re a local resident who is in need of giving birth any time soon, you’d best find someplace else to do it.
Lewis County General Hospital in Lowville will be forced to shut down its maternity ward as of September 25 after multiple workers resigned from their jobs, citing the COVID-19 vaccine mandate covering all health care workers in the state that was instituted by former Governor Andrew Cuomo before he left office over sexual harassment allegations in late August.
Under Cuomo’s mandate, all New York State healthcare workers are required to receive their first dose of COVID-19 vaccine by September 27.
A total of 30 employees quit their jobs at Lewis County General as of Friday after refusing to take the jab, and as a result the hospital has stated that they are currently ceasing all operations in its maternity department and newborn nursery wards due to being “unable to safely staff” them.
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Currently 73 percent of the Lewis County Health System – or 464 people – is fully vaccinated against COVID-19; in contrast, 165 workers have not yet been inoculated, and have not stated what their plans are as the September 27 deadline approaches and further services may be impacted in the coming weeks.
Lewis County Health System CEO Gerald Cayer noted in a recent press conference that the sudden departure of so many workers over the vaccine mandate indicates that difficult times in the healthcare industry are fast approaching.
“We have a challenge to work through with the vaccination mandate. The number of resignations received leaves us no choice but to pause delivering babies,” he said. “Our hope is as we get closer [to the Sept. 27 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.”
Hospital workers in California, Tennessee, and Texas have also recently protested vaccine mandates in the healthcare industry.