A New York hospital announced that it will be "unable to safely staff" its maternity department and will halt its baby deliveries later this month after 30 staff members quit due to the facility's COVID-19 vaccine mandate.
"The number of resignations received leaves us no choice but to pause delivering babies at Lewis County General Hospital," Lewis County Health System CEO Gerald Cayer said at a press conference Friday.
The hospital will stop delivering babies on Sept. 25.
The staffers resigned after the hospital revised its emergency regulation two weeks ago, now requiring that employees get vaccinated against COVID-19 without allowing for religious exemptions. Medical exemptions are still permitted under the new policy.
This new mandate came after then-New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) announced that all state healthcare workers must be at least partially vaccinated Sept. 27.
Cayer also noted that 21 of the 30 employees who resigned from the hospital work in clinical areas.
The Lewis County Health System has a 73 percent employee vaccination rate, he said.
However, 165 unvaccinated staffers have not yet indicated whether they plan to get their shot or resign ahead of the Sept. 27 deadline.
Three employees have been approved for medical exemptions while 12 have said they will present a medical exemption, according to Cayer, who added that the hospital is still waiting to view such documentation.
Cayer went on to say that other clinical departments in the hospital were being put at risk due to the number of staff in those departments that are unvaccinated.
"We as employees have an obligation not to put those we care for, or our coworkers, at risk," he said.
The CEO said that, since the announcement of the vaccine requirement, an additional 30 employees received their COVID vaccine.
When expressing the impact the virus has had on the hospital, Cayer said that five staff members are currently quarantining while five others are in isolation.
This comes on the heels of the Biden administration announcing Thursday that it will be requiring all employers with at least 100 employees to mandate that their employees get vaccinated or undergo weekly coronavirus testing.