Jesse Infante, an employee at Upstate University Hospital for the last six years, will soon assume a new title: ex-nurse technician.
“I mean, I knew it was going to come. It was inevitable, and I knew it was going to happen, but I didn’t know the repercussions,” Infante said.
His refusal to get the COVID-19 vaccine means he will be placed on suspension by the end of Monday.
“Yeah, but I’m not getting the vaccine,” Infante said.
Upstate is one of many hospitals losing its employees due to Monday's deadline. About 85% of workers in Central New York hospitals are vaccinated, a number that includes clinical and non-clinical staff.
With the state's vaccine mandate approaching, Upstate saw an uptick in staff getting vaccinated, though it did not specify how much of its staff is vaccinated.
Saint Joseph’s Health Hospital issued its own vaccine mandate before the state’s mandate this past summer. Chief Medical Officer Dr. Philip Falcone says about 94% of the hospital’s staff is vaccinated.
“So we have had a head start. We were the only hospital in the region to have that mandate early on," Falcone said.
The hospital will be consolidating operating rooms and adjusting elective surgeries in accordance to any shortage.
“We are going to be reducing some of elective surgeries. We are pausing some programs, but I think we're maintaining a good amount of services," Falcone said.
Upstate will also consolidate operating rooms, with 13 open next week. Elective surgeries have already been postponed due to staff shortages.
The hospital said in a statement, “As it has done in the recent past, Upstate will assess staffing at its facility to determine whether any changes in services are necessary to ensure safe and high-quality patient care.”
Infante, however, said he will not be getting the vaccine any time soon.
And he doesn’t believe he’ll return to working in the health care field.
“I’m sad about it," he said. "I work with a great group of people. And we've been through a lot. I just don't think it's for me anymore after today, I guess."
In the North County, Samaritan Medical Center officials say more than 96% of its staff have been fully vaccinated. There are some who will also be vaccinated by October 7. The hospital says everything is operating, although there are some longer than normal wait times.
In the Southern Tier, Guthrie says 97% of its staff and 100% of its physicians are in compliance with the vaccine mandate. Those who have not been vaccinated yet will be suspended for a week, and can still receive their first dose.
Guthrie has brought in 150 new workers since the mandate was announced, with another 67% expected to start soon.