After a number of resignations among its maternity staff who quit over a COVID-19 vaccine mandate, New York's Lewis County General Hospital is putting a pause on delivering babies. The state requires employees to be vaccinated against COVID, and six maternity staffers quit last week over the mandate, with another seven unvaccinated members of the department thought to be considering the same move, the Watertown Daily Times reports. The exodus made an existing staff shortage at the hospital even worse, NBC New York reports. So far, 30 staffers in total have quit over the mandate.
"The number of resignations received leaves us no choice but to pause delivering babies at Lewis County General Hospital" after Sept. 24, the CEO said at a press conference. "It is my hope that the (state) Department of Health will work with us in pausing the service rather than closing the maternity department." Another five departments are in similar danger of being paused due to unvaccinated employees who may not comply with the mandate by the Sept. 27 deadline. COVID infections are also increasing among staff at the hospital, with five staff members quarantined and five in isolation; Lewis County had "the highest seven-day and 14-day positivity rates in the state of New York over the past three days," the health system's chief medical officer said last week. (Read more vaccine mandate stories.)