1 week till New York health care worker vaccination deadline

New York News

CORTLAND, N.Y. (WSYR) — The deadline for all healthcare workers across New York State to get the COVID-19 vaccine is now only one week away. If employees choose not to get vaccinated by Monday, September 27, they’ll lose their jobs.

Out of the 786 health care workers at Guthrie Medical Center in Cortland, 95% of employees reportedly have at least one dose of the COVID vaccine.

“Guthrie is a big team. When you look to your left and look to your right, this is very important that our employees all look at this as taking care of the patient,” explained Dr. David Ristedt, Guthrie’s regional medical director.

Ristedt said the remaining 5% of employees who are currently unvaccinated are still exploring their options such as an exemption request for religious or medical reasons. Guthrie did not disclose how many of its employees put in a request. “We’re also still processing exemption requests in accordance with the federal law. Our human resources department is still actively engaged with each employee,” Ristedt said. “Those who are choosing not to put in an exemption or to comply with the New York State mandate, they will obviously not be employed by Guthrie.

Guthrie Medical adopted the employee vaccine mandate across all of its facilities, including those outside of New York State. All Guthrie employees must be vaccinated or have their request for vaccine exemption approved.

“We’re doing what we can do within the medical facilities to ensure your safety when you come to see us. Our staff is going to be vaccinated so it’s a safe place to come and get health care,” Risteldt said. “If we can encourage all the rest of the country to get vaccinated and to become fully vaccinated, that would be a great thing.

Ristedt said he does not expect any of the hospital’s services to change come September 27. “The vaccine mandate, in and of itself, is not going to have any impact on our services,” he explained.

Not only Guthrie’s employees need the decision to get vaccinated or not by next week; all health care workers in New York must decide. According to the State Health Department’s most recent data collected on September 14, many Central New York Hospital percentages were still in the 70s and 80s.

A spokesperson for Crouse Hospital in Syracuse said as of Monday, September 20, 91% of its staff is vaccinated. Crouse expects that percentage to increase over the next week, as the hospital has been hosting walk-in vaccination pods.

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