Majority of Arnot Health employees vaccinated for COVID-19 ahead of mandate deadline

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ELMIRA, N.Y. (WETM) – Arnot Health says approximately 95 percent of its more than 3,000 employees “will be in compliance with the state’s vaccine mandate at the midnight deadline” that requires all New York healthcare workers be mandated for COVID-19.

Arnot says the employees accounted for in the 95 percent are either fully or partially vaccine, or “have received some form of approved accommodation and will be subject to weekly testing to continue their employment.”

Employees will be able to receive the COVID-19 vaccine prior to the midnight deadline in order to continue their employment with Arnot.

Arnot Health is extremely grateful to all our employees who have chosen to receive their vaccine or comply with the testing requirements of their accommodation so we can continue to care for our community.  At a time of regional, statewide, and national shortages of healthcare workers, any loss of employees is challenging. 

Arnot Health

Hospitals and nursing homes across the state braced for the prospect of severe staff shortages fueled by workers getting suspended or fired for refusing to be inoculated.

New York Governor Kathy Hochul said she will sign an executive order that will allow her to call in medically trained National Guard members and retirees, or vaccinated workers from outside the state, to fill any gaps. The governor has held firm on the mandate in the face of pleas to delay it and multiple lawsuits challenging its constitutionality.

Hochul said health care workers in New York state at hospitals and nursing homes are required to be vaccinated with at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine by the end of Monday. Employees who refuse the shots face suspensions and termination.

The rules apply not just to people like doctors and nurses, but also to others who work in health care institutions, like food service workers, administrators and cleaners.

The mandate comes as hospitals are already reeling from staff shortages fueled in part by workers retiring and employees seeking other jobs after 18 months of the pandemic.

Health care workers can apply for a religious exemption, at least for now. A federal judge on Oct. 12 will consider a legal challenge arguing that such exemptions are constitutionally required.

According to the CDC, as of Sept. 27, Chemung County has 347 active cases of COVID-19 with a 7.67 positive rate. As of Monday morning, 59.2 percent of county residents are vaccinated.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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