The New York vaccine mandate for healthcare staff has led one emergency room to announce that it will be closing for at least a month.
The Mt. Sinai, South Nassau Hospital System, has announced that the Long Beach Emergency Department fired 72 of its employees this week who had been working under religious exemptions to the mandate. New York State ended recognition of all religious exemptions for healthcare personnel on Monday.
This week, it was reported that some of the terminated employees are ER nurses and other staff that are difficult to replace. Because of the time required for recruiting and training qualified replacements, it is expected to be at least a month before the department can reopen. The facility typically sees about 10,000 patients each year and is the only emergency room in the city.
Dr. Adhi Sharma is president of the hospital system and said that the group regrets closing the emergency department, “but the safety of our patients is always our No. 1 priority.” He added that closing the Long Beach emergency room will allow the system to shift staff to the system’s main campus.
In a statement issued this week, the system said that “more than 99 percent” of the system’s staff are fully vaccinated, excluding those who had previously claimed religious or medical exemptions. It went on to say that the system is looking for replacement staff so that the Long Beach Emergency Department can reopen “around December 15.”
The City of Long Beach posted a statement on its Facebook page calling the closure “completely unacceptable” as the holiday season approaches. The information added that the city’s administration is “working with all parties” to find a way to keep the city’s only emergency room operating.
New York’s state government did not terminate the recognition of religious exemptions through the normal legislative process or administrative rule-making. The change was made by a letter from the state Department of Health interpreting the previous order.
Many persons claim a religious exemption to the mandate object to using human tissue obtained from the abortion industry to develop and produce vaccines.