Finger Lakes counties ask Gov. Hochul to revise vaccine mandate for health care workers

Coronavirus

ROCHESTER, N.Y (WROC) — In a letter to Governor Hochul, this week counties around the Finger Lakes are asking her to revise an executive order requiring all healthcare workers to be vaccinated by September 27th in fear it will hurt their healthcare system.  

Livingston County Administrator Ian Coyle and others who co-authored this letter want to make it clear this is not a knock against the vaccine itself. But if the new policy by the governor is not revised, they fear it will cause a major staff shortage at hospitals and nursing homes in their counties.  

In less than four weeks all employees of hospitals, doctor’s offices, and nursing homes across New York will have to show proof of vaccination to keep their job.  

“We must let people know when they walk into our facilities the people who are taking care of them, or their loved ones are in a setting that is safe themselves and will not spread this,” Governor Hochul stated.  

In a letter sent earlier this week to the Governor, leaders from Livingston, Wyoming, Genessee, Orleans, Wayne, Ontario, and Yates Counties all argued this order will hurt their healthcare system leading to much-unvaccinated staff quitting.  

“We have got roughly 100 staff out of our facility that is presently unvaccinated,” Livingston County Administrator Ian Coyle said. “At least six chosen to leave employment, they directly impact on the services being rendered at the facility.”  

In their letter, each county claims their medical facilities are already stretched thin. They recommend avoiding massive layoffs or walkouts. All unvaccinated caregivers should go through weekly testing to stay employed.  

“Testing in general maybe as a regulation needs to be looked at,” County Administrator Coyle added.  

Notably, Monroe County did not sign the letter and support the Governor’s order.  

“The vaccine really is the number one thing that’s going to save lives in our community,” Monroe County Executive Adam Bello argued. “We need to do what we can to encourage vaccinations to encourage those educational opportunities to answer questions because that’s how we get out of this pandemic.” 

All the Finger Lake County Hospital Worker full vaccination rates average out to 75% as of this week. Livingston County Administrator Coyle explained the most common skepticism among medical staff he speaks to is its safety when you’re pregnant, have medical exemptions, or believe their antibodies are strong enough after having it once. For a full fact-check of these topics click here.  

Each County Executive who signed this letter admits it’s an uphill battle to get the governor to change her mind but wants to continue looking at other alternatives to avoid their healthcare systems being shorter staffed. 

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