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Hochul says hospitals should seek state's aid to staff Urgent Care centers

Gov. Kathy Hochul at a microphone, in front of women holding purple and white letters that spell out JUSTICE!
Mike Groll
Office of the Governor
Gov Kathy Hochul speaks at the Women's March in Albany Saturday and answered questions from the media.

Gov. Kathy Hochul said she believes the mandatory COVID-19 vaccine policy for healthcare workers is largely a success, even though some hospitals around the state have had to shut down some Urgent Care centers due to a staffing shortage.

A number of hospital chains in New York have temporarily closed or limited services at their Urgent Care centers, citing an ongoing staffing shortage made worse by the governor’s Sept. 27 mandate that all hospital employees get vaccinated or lose their jobs.

Hochul said the state has identified student nurses and retired health are professionals to be on stand-by to help ease the crunch, but she said the hospitals have not asked for help to keep the centers open.

“We’re waiting to hear from them. You have a problem you know how to reach us,” says Hochul, who added that health department officials have been in conversation with the hospitals.

“It’s not going to be perfect,” Hochul says. “I said that Day One.”

The governor said all of the state’s hospitals are required to have an emergency staffing plan in place to make up for shortages, and she questioned whether the hospitals were deploying those plans.

Overall, the governor said the vaccine mandate is working, with at least 92% of the hospital workers receiving at least one dose of the vaccine. And she said patients have the right to expect that the healthcare professionals who treat them are vaccinated against the virus.

Karen DeWitt is Capitol Bureau Chief for New York State Public Radio, a network of 10 public radio stations in New York State. WBFO listeners are accustomed to hearing DeWitt’s insightful coverage throughout the day, including expanded reports on Morning Edition.