Unvaccinated nursing home workers could be replaced by National Guard, official says – News


New York officials plan to turn to the National Guard to help keep nursing homes fully staffed after the state’s broad vaccination mandate for healthcare workers goes into effect on Monday.

All nursing home and hospital workers were to receive at least their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine by Monday.

State health care workers have the option of requesting a religious exemption from the mandate after a successful challenge to the rule without an exemption.

The state over the weekend released a comprehensive plan to address potential staff shortages at long-term care facilities and other healthcare facilities if enough workers retire and are made redundant as a result.

Gov. Kathy Hocul (D) said on Monday she would deploy medically trained National Guard members, in partnership with the federal government, to assist local health and medical systems in the event of a shortage. As of last week, 77% of staff at all New York nursing homes were fully immunized.

“I am closely monitoring the staff situation and we have a plan to increase our health care workforce and help ease the burden on our hospitals and other health facilities,” Hochul said.

It wouldn’t be the first time that state officials have turned to the National Guard to help staff shortages at long-term care facilities during the pandemic. Several states, including Minnesota, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Texas and Nevada, have all called on the National Guard to help nursing homes respond to the public health crisis.

Hochul is also considering signing an executive order, if necessary, to declare a state of emergency that would allow all qualified medical professionals licensed in other states or countries to practice in New York.

Those who did not were to be fired by the end of the day. Workers in different settings, including home care and adult care facilities, should be vaccinated before October 7.

“We are still in a battle against COVID to protect our loved ones, and we must fight with all the tools at our disposal,” Hochul said.


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