Gov. Kathy Hochul says New York will appeal a judge’s ruling granting a preliminary injunction to health care workers claiming a religious exemption from the COVID-19 vaccine.

Hochul made the announcement Wednesday, saying she stands behind the vaccine mandate.

"They need to know that the person taking care of them will not pass on this deadly virus to them or their family members and that has been the whole objective,” Hochul said.

The ruling issued Tuesday by Judge David Hurd blocks New York state health officials from retaliating against health care workers who refuse to receive a COVID-19 vaccination on religious grounds.

The vaccination mandate for health care workers broadly remains in place; the ruling affects those health care workers who are seeking exemptions based on religious claims.

Hochul said the ruling was disappointing.

"It's not something we've wanted to do; it's something this pandemic has forced us to do," the governor said.

Hochul said that, to date, 97% of active nursing home staffers in New York have been vaccinated. Additionally, 96% of hospital staff and 94% of home health care aides have been vaccinated, she said. As a result of the mandate, the governor noted there has been a 3% workforce reduction.

As for other mandates, the governor said she hasn’t ruled out a vaccine requirement for school children, but will be monitoring vaccination data before making any such requirements.