Governor Kathy Hochul said the declaration of a state of emergency and the deployment of the National Guard are part of efforts to address staff shortages feared in the wake of Monday’s deadline for healthcare workers are vaccinated against COVID-19.
Hochul said she was ready to sign an executive order declaring a state of emergency that aims to increase the supply of workers and enable skilled health professionals from other states and countries, recent graduates and professionals. health care retired or formerly practicing in the State.
Hochul is also considering deploying medically trained National Guard members and asking federal disaster medical assistance teams to help local health and medical systems.
Hochul also plans to work with the federal government to expedite visa applications for medical professionals.
“We are still in a battle against COVID to protect our loved ones, and we must fight with all the tools at our disposal,” Hochul said in a press release.
Hochul’s statement said she was closely monitoring the staff situation and that “we have a plan to increase our health care workforce and help ease the burden on our hospitals and other health facilities.”
“I commend all of the health workers who have stepped up to get immunized,” Hochul said, “and I urge all other health workers who are not immunized to do so now so that they can continue to provide the vaccine. care. “
All healthcare workers in hospitals and nursing homes must have at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine by Monday. Staff in home care, palliative care and adult care facilities must be vaccinated by October 7.
The mandate also applies to all outside and contract medical staff practicing in New York State.
The fate of those seeking religious immunization warrant exemptions is now in the hands of the legal system, as the restrictive order on the removal of the religious exemption, issued by a federal judge last week, has been extended until October 12.
Starting Tuesday, when the vaccination mandate goes into effect, those exempted in medical and religious categories will have to be fitted with an N95 mask and be tested for COVID-19 every week.
As of September 22, 84% of all state hospital employees were fully immunized, according to the governor’s office. As of September 23, 81% of staff in adult care facilities and 77% of staff in nursing homes were fully immunized, the governor’s office said.
The state’s Department of Labor has also issued guidelines that workers made redundant because they refuse to be vaccinated are not eligible for unemployment insurance unless they have a valid doctor’s approval. for medical accommodation.
Tribune News Service contributed to this report.