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NY Hospital Temporarily Closes ER Due to Staffing Shortages Over State Vaccine Mandate

AP Photo/David Goldman

A New York emergency department was forced to close temporarily last week due to nursing shortages caused by the state's vaccine mandate. 

According to a press release, the Mount Sinai South Nassau-operated Long Beach Emergency Department could be closed for "up to four weeks" with the possibility of even longer. 

The hospital system said the closure is due to their compliance with the state's mandate, "requiring the suspension of all staff working under temporary religious exemptions who could not show proof today of receiving a first dose of COVID-19 vaccination or a valid medical exemption from receiving it." 

More than 99 percent of Mount Sinai South Nassau’s staff are fully vaccinated, not counting those who sought religious or medical exemptions. Mount Sinai South Nassau is actively recruiting experienced and qualified staff who can document either a first dose COVID-19 vaccination or a valid medical exemption so that it can resume full operations of the Long Beach Emergency Department on or about December 15, 2021. 

Patients seeking care from the Long Beach ER will be sent to the hospital in Oceanside. 

"We regret having to take this step but the safety of our patients is always our No. 1 priority," said Mount Sinai South Nassau President Adhi Sharma. "This will allow us to shift nursing staff to the Oceanside campus to ensure that we maintain adequate staffing at the Emergency Department at our main campus."

"We are committed to serving residents of the barrier island," Sharma added. "This closure should not be interpreted as anything beyond what it is – a temporary measure designed to relieve current staffing challenges in our Emergency Department. Our nurses, physicians and support staff have been on the frontlines of the pandemic for more than 21 months. We will continue to be there for our patients." 

New York Gov. Kathy Hochul declared a state of emergency Friday due to rising Covid-19 case numbers in the state and the potential threat posed by the new omicron variant. 

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