(Natural News) New York Governor Kathy Hochul has said that she is considering using the National Guard to fill hospital staffing shortages that are expected as tens of thousands of workers potentially lose their jobs for failing to meet a COVID-19 vaccine mandate deadline.
According to the governor’s office, around 16 percent of New York’s 450,000 hospital staff have not yet been fully vaccinated. This amounts to around 72,000 workers.
Hochul outlined a plan that would give her the ability to declare a state of emergency in New York to help provide them with more healthcare workers. These could include licensed professionals coming in from other states, along with recent graduates and retired nurses returning to the workforce.
She said the state is also considering using National Guard officers who have medical training in order to provide hospitals and other medical facilities with sufficient staffing.
Hochul has asked the federal government to expedite visa requests so they can import healthcare workers from abroad. However, New York State Public Employees Federation President Wayne Spence has cast doubt over how well Hochul’s plans could make up for the losses incurred by the mandate.
He said: “I don’t think there’s enough people to go around to plug the holes because a lot of nurses have left New York State as of last year.”
One New York hospital has already had to stop delivering babies after a slew of nurses resigned over vaccine mandates. Lowville’s Lewis County General Hospital temporarily halted baby deliveries on September 25 after multiple nurses in the maternity ward resigned over the mandate, while others remained skeptical of the vaccine.
At the time, 27 percent of the 165 workers employed by the hospital had yet to get vaccinated despite the looming deadline. Other hospital departments may also have to curtail services if more staff members resign.
Governor tells New Yorkers that God wants them to get vaccinated
Hochul’s announcement came as a bigger battle brews between the state and federal government regarding vaccine mandates aimed at countering the Delta variant of the virus. The new governor attended Sunday services at a large New York City church to push her agenda.
Speaking to congregants at the Christian Cultural Center in Brooklyn, she said: “I need you to be my apostles. I need you to go out and talk about it and say, ‘We owe this to each other’.
“Jesus taught us to love one another, and how do you show that love but to care about each other enough to say, ‘Please get the vaccine because I love you and I want you to live’.”
She added that people who have not been vaccinated yet are not “listening to God” and “what God wants.”
Her office also announced that healthcare workers who are fired for not getting vaccinated will not be able to receive unemployment unless they have a valid doctor-approved medical exemption.
It is not clear, however, how the current pending legal cases regarding religious exemptions will affect the state’s plans to terminate health care workers who are not vaccinated. A federal judge has temporarily ordered state officials to allow religious exemptions for health care workers.
Hochul said she believes that religious exemptions should not be granted. She said she is “not aware of a sanctioned religious exemption from any organized religion.”
Hochul, who replaced disgraced ex-Governor Andrew Cuomo in August, also called out healthcare workers upstate, who are not getting vaccinated for what she deems to be the wrong reasons. “We have a different dynamic in some parts of upstate. There there are other reasons why people are not being vaccinated. It’s not the access; it’s a different philosophy is all I’ll say.”
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