A hospital in upstate New York will stop giving birth later this month, in part due to employee resignations over the requirement that they be vaccinated against COVID-19.
Six maternity staff resigned from Lewis County General Hospital over the past week, exacerbating an existing staff shortage, the Watertown Daily Times reported. The department has seven other unvaccinated employees who may also decide to leave, hospital officials said.
“The number of resignations we have received leaves us with no choice but to suspend the delivery at Lewis County General Hospital,” Chief Executive Officer Gerald Cayer said at a press conference on Friday. “I hope the (state) Department of Health will work with us to suspend the service rather than shutting down the maternity ward.”
Services may also need to be cut in five other departments if staff members resign rather than being vaccinated by the state’s September 27 deadline for healthcare workers, the authorities said.
About 165 unvaccinated employees, 73% of whom provide clinical services, have yet to declare their intention to stay or leave, Cayer said. The county health system employs around 650 people.
Cayer said 30 people had resigned since the vaccination mandate was announced last month, most of whom held clinical positions like nurses, therapists and technicians. Thirty others received at least one dose of the vaccine, he said.
“Essential health services are not threatened by the mandate,” Cayer said. “The mandate ensures that we will have a healthy workforce and we are not responsible for transmission (cause of COVID-19) in or out of our facilities. “
The healthcare system’s nursing home has seen a resignation, but 48 people have yet to take action, he said.
The maternity “break” will begin on September 25.