URMC: Fewer than 300 employees resign after health care vaccine mandate takes effect

Coronavirus

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — University of Rochester Medical Center (URMC) officials announced Thursday that the hospital system had fewer than 300 resignations after the state’s vaccine mandate for health care workers took effect earlier this week.

According to officials, URMC employs more than 21,000 across its six hospitals and associated clinics. Officials say 96% of URMC employees have gotten at least one COVID-19 vaccine dose, with an additional 3% of employees who have been approved for exemptions if they agree to undergo weekly testing for COVID-19.

The state’s vaccine mandate for health care workers went into effect Monday, despite a legal battle over religious exemptions still playing out in the courts.

“My No. 1 job is to keep people in this state safe, and that’s why we were so serious about the health care vaccine mandate,” Gov. Hochul said. “It was the right thing to do. It was hard, but I stand by it.”

As of Wednesday, the governor said no health care facilities have been forced to close throughout New York since the mandate took effect.

“We got through a difficult week,” Gov. Hochul said. “I thank the people who stood up to protect the people of this state, protect their access to health care, and protect those around you; thank you.”

Additionally, this week Gov. Hochul declared a state of emergency to deal potential health care staffing shortages. The order makes it easier for retired workers to get certified for employment and allows international medical experts to practice in New York hospitals.

The governor said hospital capacity levels are stable statewide, but said the majority of New York’s COVID-19 hospitalizations are from unvaccinated people.

“It’s truly the unvaccinated people populating our hospitals,” Gov. Hochul said. “They have a 10 times higher risk.”

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