NEW YORK — As the deadline closed in for hospital and nursing home workers in New York state to be vaccinated against COVID-19, about two dozen Northwell Health employees were “exited from the system,” a spokesperson said.
Hospitals and nursing homes braced for the prospect of severe staff shortages fueled by workers getting suspended or fired for refusing to be inoculated. Some hospitals began taking actions against holdout workers by Monday. And with thousands of workers still thought to be holding out, administrators around the state prepared contingency plans that included cutting back on noncritical services and limiting admissions at nursing homes.
“Northwell has spent several weeks preparing for New York State’s mandate that all health care workers get at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine by Sept. 27,” a Northwell spokesperson said. “But we are taking even stronger measures to ensure the safety of our staff and, more importantly, the well-being of our patients and the communities we serve.”
Several hundred unvaccinated leaders were contacted by Northwell, the largest health care system in New York City, last week.
“We are now beginning the process to exit the rest of our unvaccinated staff,” Northwell said.
The health system spokesperson said Northwell is prepared to care for patients, even as some staff members leave.
Gov. Kathy Hochul made an 11th-hour plea to holdout health care workers in New York to get inoculated.
“To those who have not yet made that decision, please do the right thing,” Hochul said at a press briefing. “A lot of your employers are anxious to just give you the jab in the arm and say you’re part of the family, we need your help to continue on.”