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Hospital says its shutting down maternity department due to resignations prompted by COVID-19 vaccine mandate

Rural hospitals are just trying to make it work.

That was the message from Lewis County Health System CEO Gerald Cayer, who announced that the maternity department at the hospital there would be shut down until enough COVI-19 vaccinated nurses could be found to fill the void left by those who will not get the vaccine.

Cayer said that seven out of the 30 people who have resigned from the hospital worked in the maternity department. They will shut it down on September 25 — reopening when it’s safe to do so, and they have enough staff.


“It just is a crazy time,” Cayer told reporters. “It’s not just LCHS-centric. Rural hospitals everywhere are really trying to figure out how we’re going to make it work.”

To put it bluntly — delivery of services at a number of healthcare facilities across Upstate New York will be at risk of closure if the COVID-19 vaccine mandate Amon healthcare workers remains in tact. That has been the resounding message from officials at these facilities, as well as Republicans who are calling for Governor Kathy Hochul to loosen that mandate. 

Even if New York State changes course it likely won’t matter — as President Joe Biden announced plans last week to mandate the vaccine for any employer with 100 or more workers.

There was recently Thompson Health CEO Mike Stapleton, who recently said that they could have upwards of 500 job openings once the mandate takes effect.

Those who work in hospitals and healthcare facilities are required to get the first dose by September 27.



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