ALBANY, N.Y. (WIVB) – With several health care facilities saying they are afraid of what their staffing will look like when New York’s health care worker vaccine mandate takes effect, Governor Kathy Hochul vowed Wednesday that the state will step in to help.
“We’ll also said resources,” Hochul said during a COVID briefing. “This won’t happen for a couple of weeks anyhow. This is just anticipatory. The requirement goes into effect in a couple weeks. We’ll be on it. I’m not going to let this be a problem for the State of New York. I’ll make sure we have the resources.”
Hochul did not specify what resources the state may be able to send.
“I have had conversations with the Department of Health and everyone in health care in the State of New York to figure out how we can send support if necessary,” the governor did say.
The state’s rule says, with limited exceptions, staff at hospitals and nursing homes will have had to receive at least their first COVID shot by September 27. The deadline is October 7 for other facilities.
Hochul defended the mandate as “smart”, and said it is one of the reasons vaccinations are increasing.
“I think that people need to start realizing that when you stand up and say, ‘I want to be a public health official,’ in any capacity, we count on you to be healthy yourself,” Hochul added. She also pointed out facilities are required to have temporary staffing plans.
The WCA Home, an assisted living facility in Fredonia, is one of the employers with concerns that its staffing will suffer. Of the 21 employees there, administrator Tammy McCool says said Tuesday that seven were unvaccinated.
“As it stands, I’ve created a mock shift schedule come October 7,” McCool said. “What does the future look like? We have no second shift and no third shift. So myself and my assistant administrator will be here working those days to cover medication pass and helping with personal care.”
Chris Horvatits is an award-winning reporter who joined the News 4 team in December 2017. See more of his work here.