- The Washington Times - Tuesday, September 28, 2021

New York Gov. Kathy Hochul signed an executive order to alleviate potential staffing shortages at hospitals as the state deadline for health workers to get their first COVID-19 shot passed late Monday into Tuesday.

Thousands of health workers rushed to get an initial dose ahead of the deadline, likely averting a disaster scenario.

But some locations started to fire or suspend holdouts, resulting in shortfalls that prompted some hospitals to postpone elective surgeries or cut back services, according to Reuters.

New York in August issued stringent vaccine requirements on its 600,000 health workers. Hospital and nursing home workers had to seek their first shot by Sept. 27, and staff who conduct in-home care or work at hospice and adult care facilities had to be vaccinated by Oct. 7.

The statewide vaccination rate among hospital workers jumped to 92% by late Monday compared to 84% a week ago and 77% in early August, before the mandate was announced.

The rate for nursing homes also rose to 92%, up from 70% in mid-August.

However, Ms. Hochul signed an executive order that directs a 24/7 operations center to monitor shortfalls, lets out-of-state doctors and nurses practice in New York and allows health professionals to work or volunteer in facilities outside their normal work site.

“My #1 job is to keep people safe. New York is first in the nation when it comes to getting health care workers vaccinated — to do everything to protect people,” tweeted Ms. Hochul, a Democrat. “My staff & I are hard at work to make sure every New Yorker who needs care can receive it.”

• Tom Howell Jr. can be reached at thowell@washingtontimes.com.

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