Local health leaders from around the Finger Lakes and rural Upstate New York sent a letter to New York State Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker imploring state officials to modify the current COVID-19 vaccine mandate set to take effect September 27.
While some concerns have been raised about staffing concerns – the mandate, which applies to all types of healthcare facilities – will require workers to be vaccinated by September 27, or face termination.
A letter sent to employees of RRH and URMC states that those workers terminated will not receive unemployment benefits either.
The letter was signed by leaders from Genesee, Livingston, Ontario, Orleans, Seneca, Schuyler, Steuben, Wayne, Wyoming, and Yates counties. It was also sent to Governor Kathy Hochul.
Leaders say they support vaccination efforts, but are concerned about the outcome it will create. Some healthcare facilities are already seeing loss of workers- and that could get significantly worse if the mandate is allowed to move forward.
“The potential mass exodus of healthcare staff in late September, coming several weeks after children return to school, coupled with the continued increase in COVID-19 cases across the state caused by the proliferation of the Delta variant is a recipe for crisis throughout the entire healthcare system,” the letter says.
The letter suggests weekly, or more frequent testing as an alternative.
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