Lewis County General Hospital in New York will stop delivering babies after September 24th because too many maternity unit workers have resigned over Covid-19 vaccination mandates.
That’s according to Lewis County Health System Chief Executive Officer Gerald Cayer, who held a news conference Friday in Lowville.
He said 6 employees in the maternity unit resigned rather than get an experimental Covid-19 injection and another 7 are undecided.
According to Cayer, the hospital will be unable to safely staff the unit and will pause delivering babies after September 24th.
He said he hopes this is a temporary situation and will work with the state Department of Health to make sure the unit won’t permanently close.
“If we can pause the service and now focus on recruiting nurses who are vaccinated, we will be able to reengage in delivering babies here in Lewis County,” said Cayer.
Cayer said 165 hospital employees have yet to be vaccinated against Covid-19; that’s 27 percent of the workforce.
The other 464 workers, or 73 percent of employees, have ghas the experimental shot, he said.
In August, the state announced all health care workers at hospitals and long-term care facilities across New York would be required to have had at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccination by September 27th
Cayer said the announcement prompted 30 workers to get vaccinated, while another 30 resigned.
“Our hope is as we get closer (to the 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,” he said. “We are not alone. There are thousands of positions that are open north of the Thruway and now we have a challenge to work through, you know, with the vaccination mandate.”