New York Gov. Kathy Hochul is preparing for the possibility that hospitals lose large numbers of medical professionals when the state’s vaccine mandate goes into effect on Monday.
"We are still in a battle against COVID to protect our loved ones, and we need to fight with every tool at our disposal," she said. "I am monitoring the staffing situation closely, and we have a plan to increase our health care workforce and help alleviate the burdens on our hospitals and other health care facilities. I commend all of the health care workers who have stepped up to get themselves vaccinated, and I urge all remaining health care workers who are unvaccinated to do so now so they can continue providing care."
According to the plan, Hochul could sign an executive order declaring a state of emergency that would allow healthcare workers from other states—or countries—to practice in New York. Additionally, the order would allow “recent graduates, retired and formerly practicing healthcare professionals” to practice in the state as well.
Another option put forward is deploying the National Guard and the federal government’s Disaster Medical Assistance Teams. She also plans to work with the federal government to “explore ways to expedite visa requests for medical professionals.”
The mandate requires healthcare workers at both hospitals and nursing homes receive their first dose by Sept. 27, while staff at long-term care facilities have until Oct. 7.
Eighty-four percent of hospital employees in the state were fully vaccinated as of Sept. 22, while 81 percent of staff at adult-care facilities and 77 percent of staff at nursing home facilities were fully vaccinated as of Sept. 23.