Vaccine mandate takes effect; Hochul addresses hospital staffing shortages

Gov. Kathy Hochul has signed an executive order to alleviate potential staffing shortages in hospitals and other health care facilities statewide.

Health care workers in the state had to receive at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine by the end of the day Monday.

The executive order the governor signed significantly expands the eligible health care workforce and allows additional health care workers to administer COVID-19 testing and vaccinations.

Hochul says there is a 24/7 operations center led by the state Department of Health to constantly monitor staffing. She says she’s constantly talking to local elected officials, hospitals, and labor leaders to offer state assistance.

New York is the first state in the nation to mandate COVID vaccines for health care workers. Hochul says this is one way we can move past the pandemic.

Capital Region hospitals all have at least 90% of their staff following the vaccine mandate. However, in some cases that could still mean hundreds of workers not complying.

Multiple hospitals have indicated their priorities may shift to urgent care — meaning delays for elective surgery.

Albany Medical Center has yet to cancel any elective surgeries, but it’s something that’s possible.