Hochul releases plan for possible health care staffing shortage as vaccination deadline looms

Coronavirus Update for New York
NEW YORK (WABC) -- New York Gov. Kathy Hochul is prepared to declare a state of emergency if a Monday deadline for New York state health care workers to receive their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine leads to staffing shortages.

Workers face termination for defying the mandate.

According to a release from Hochul's office, the governor could sign an executive order which would expand the pool of health care professionals who could practice in the state to include those licensed in other states or countries, recent graduates, retired and formerly practicing health care professionals.

Hochul said her office would work with federal and state leaders to expedite visa requests.

"I am monitoring the staffing situation closely, and we have a plan to increase our health care workforce and help alleviate the burdens on our hospitals and other health care facilities," Hochul said.

The most recent data shows that 84% of all hospital employees were fully vaccinated, as well as 81% of staff at all adult care facilities and 77% of all staff at nursing home facilities.

The Department of Labor recently turned up the heat on those who are unvaccinated by issuing guidance stating that anyone fired because they refused to get a shot would not be eligible for unemployment.

The release from Hochul also stated the governor has other options including deploying medically-trained National Guard members, and partnering with the federal government to deploy Disaster Medical Assistance Teams (DMATs) to assist local health and medical systems.

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