Northwell says he fired two dozen workers who refused to be vaccinated
Employees at two Long Island health systems were fired or facing unpaid suspension on Monday for refusing to be vaccinated against the COVID-19 required under a state warrant.
Northwell Health said it had fired about two dozen “unvaccinated executives” – and that number could increase – for not receiving at least their first dose to help protect against the coronavirus. Mount Sinai South Nassau Hospital in Oceanside said 68 of its employees were facing suspension without pay for defying the warrant.
Healthcare workers in hospitals and nursing homes – under an Aug. 16 order from former Governor Andrew M. Cuomo – were to receive at least the first dose by midnight Monday. Workers in adult care facilities, hospices and home care facilities have until October 7 to get at least one first dose.
Northwell, based in New Hyde Park, said in a statement that she contacted “a few hundred” employees last week to remind them of the mandate. Unvaccinated leaders are at or above management level, the health care provider said.
“We are now beginning the process of discharging the rest of our unvaccinated staff,” Northwell said in a statement. “Northwell wants to reassure the public that during this time there will be no impact on the quality of patient care at any of our facilities. We are proud that our staff are already nearly 100 percent vaccinated.”
Northwell said he was complying with the state’s mandate and required other employees to be vaccinated through his own policy, which he adopted over the summer. Before Monday’s deadline, all unvaccinated and partially vaccinated Northwell employees were required to be tested for COVID-19.
Partially vaccinated employees will continue to undergo routine COVID-19 testing until they complete their round of immunizations, the hospital system said.
Northwell is the state’s largest healthcare system, with 19 hospitals, including 11 on Long Island, and more than 77,000 employees.
Mount Sinai South Nassau said about 97% of its 3,657 full-time and part-time employees are vaccinated and the hospital expects to “maintain all essential services without interruption, including elective surgeries.” About 100 of its employees have requested religious exemptions, which are reviewed on a case-by-case basis, Mount Sinai said.
It was still unclear how many employees could be made redundant at other Long Island facilities. But Karen Roses is one of those who refused the vaccine.
Roses, a patient care technician who has just become a unit secretary at Peconic Bay Medical Center, said she worked hard during the COVID-19 crisis to help care for patients even when there was a lack of personal protective equipment for staff.
“I won’t be forced, I won’t be intimidated to take a vaccine that I don’t believe in, that I don’t believe is safe,” Roses, of Mattituck, said at a protest outside St. Catherine of Siena. Smithtown Hospital by healthcare workers angry at the warrant.
She hadn’t heard of whether she would be fired from her job.
At Stony Brook University Hospital, officials said 90.3% of employees had been vaccinated as of Monday afternoon. “We are monitoring the situation to optimize preparedness and make personnel adjustments if necessary,” the hospital said in a statement.
The Jewish Gurwin Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Commack was able to retain all of its full-time nurses, but laid off 27 employees who refused to be vaccinated, CEO Stuart Almer said.
“We have put in place many measures over the past few weeks – including hiring new staff and managing our intake volume – in anticipation that some employees would choose to quit their jobs rather than get vaccinated.” , Almer said. âWe are confident that we have enough staff in place to take care of our residents properly and safely in the future. ”
Catholic Health, which operates St. Francis Hospital in Flower Hill, Good Samaritan Hospital in West Islip and several others on Long Island, said the âvast majorityâ of its staff were fully vaccinated.
” Starting from [Monday] In the morning, 87% were vaccinated, and that number continues to rise, âsaid Dr. Jason Golbin, executive vice president and chief medical officer of Catholic Health.
Governor Kathy Hochul said on Monday she was assuming emergency powers to bring in the National Guard, retired medics and others from outside the region to replace workers who refused to be vaccinate. “We have sounded the alarm,” she said during a press briefing. “We have a group of people who want to help.”
Hochul said she needed the executive order to address issues such as out-of-state workers validating their medical licenses for use in New York City.
“We are not giving in. We are not backing down. This is important,” Hochul said. The hospital leaders “thanked me for being firm in this regard.”
Nick Langworthy, leader of the Republican Party in New York state, called Hochul – a Democrat – plan to pay outside workers “folly.”
Hochul said people entering healthcare facilities deserve to know that they will not be infected by workers with COVID-19.
Workers who oppose it have said the warrant is an attack on their personal freedom or religious beliefs, or have doubts about the side effects of the shootings. Hochul, supported by most medical experts, said the shots save lives and prevent serious illness.
When asked on Monday whether nurses should take on extra duties and work overtime if food service workers, guards and others refuse to be vaccinated, Hochul said it was likely.
âKathy Hochul has officially assumed the Cuomo throne with her impractical, absurd and punitive vaccine tenure that will cripple our state’s health care system,â Langworthy said. “Our healthcare workers are doing a great job, and firing them to bring in the National Guard and foreign, unlicensed and inexperienced workers to replace them at enormous cost to taxpayers is sheer folly.”
Last week, Hochul said she was working with the US State Department to possibly expedite visas for healthcare workers from countries like the Philippines.
Statistics released by the state on Monday show that 70% of the population of Nassau County is fully vaccinated against COVID-19. About 63% of the population of Suffolk County is fully vaccinated.
The seven-day average of positivity in COVID-19 tests continued to drop in Long Island, to 3.38% on Sunday, from 3.40% the day before.
Nassau recorded 203 new cases in test results Sunday, while Suffolk recorded 295 and New York had 1,178.
Statewide, 24 people died from the virus on Sunday, including three in Suffolk.
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What there is to know
Under a state ordinance, health care workers in New York City hospitals and nursing homes have until midnight Monday to receive at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine or risk losing their jobs.
Northwell Health said it shot about two dozen managerial staff who refused to be vaccinated. He is currently contacting other employees who have said they will not get the vaccine.
The number of health workers in Long Island, layoffs for disobeying state order are expected to increase by Tuesday morning.