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The maternity ward of the hospital will be temporarily closed after the resignation of staff for vax mandates

A hospital in upstate New York will stop giving birth later this month, in part because employees quit due to mandatory COVID-19 vaccination.

Six maternity staff resigned from Lewis County General Hospital last week, aggravating a current staff shortage, reported the Watertown Daily Times. The department has seven other unvaccinated employees who may also decide to leave, hospital officials said.

“The number of resignations received leaves us with no choice but to suspend the delivery at Lewis County General Hospital,” hospital CEO Gerald Cayer said at a press conference Friday. “I hope the [state] The Department of Health will work with us to suspend the service rather than shutting down the maternity ward. “

The maternity services “break” will begin on September 25.

Cayer’s announcement means there are even fewer options for women living in the area to give birth. Lewis General is in Lowville and the nearest hospital is 20 minutes north of Carthage. The other option is 40 minutes northwest of Watertown.

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Services in five other Lewis County General departments may also need to be cut if staff members resign rather than being vaccinated, authorities said.

Last month, New York State announced mandatory vaccinations for hospital and long-term care staff. State officials said 75% of some 450,000 New York hospital workers had been vaccinated by mid-August. The deadline for the remaining 25% is September 27.

About 165 unvaccinated employees, 73% of whom provide clinical services, have yet to declare their intention to stay or leave, Cayer said. The county health system employs around 650 people.

Cayer said 30 people had resigned since the vaccination mandate was announced, most of whom held clinical positions like nurses, therapists and technicians. Thirty others received at least one dose of the vaccine, he said.

“Essential health services are not threatened”

“Essential health services are not threatened by the mandate,” he said. “The mandate ensures that we will have a healthy workforce and we are not responsible for [causing COVID-19] transmission inside or outside our facilities.

Lewis County workers who have chosen to resign are now joining other hospital workers in Texas who have chosen the same path. More employees at Houston Methodist Hospital sued their employer on vaccine needs. A federal judge later dismissed the lawsuit, on the grounds that the hospital’s mandate did not violate any federal law.

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The American Hospital Association, the largest hospital group in the country, has said it supports mandatory vaccinations for all healthcare workers.