Broome County Officials Warn Of Potential Healthcare Staff Shortages

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VESTAL, NY (WSKG)—As COVID cases rise, Broome County officials are worried about staff shortages at local hospitals and nursing homes.

The deadline for healthcare workers in New York to receive their first COVID-19 shot is Sept. 27. During a press conference Tuesday, Broome County Executive Jason Garnar said some workers at local hospitals and nursing homes are threatening to quit, rather than get the vaccine.

Broome County Executive Jason Garnar at a media briefing on COVID-19 in 2020. (Jillian Forstadt/WSKG)

“This is extremely concerning, because not only are those individuals putting themselves at risk by not getting the vaccine, but it’s going to take a really problematic staffing situation and turn it into a nightmare staffing situation,” Garnar explained

Garnar said Willow Point Rehabilitation and Nursing Center in Vestal was already forced to close a wing, because of a lack of staff.

With over 100 employees still unvaccinated, Garnar said the center could lose even more staff by the end of the month.

“It’s going to be very, very difficult to provide the same level of healthcare,” said Garnar. “If we are, all of a sudden, starting to see people walk off the job and leave the healthcare industry.”

Combined with an increase of COVID cases in the county, Garnar said staffing shortages could make it even harder to maintain hospital capacity and provide treatment to residents.