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Florida Hospital Closes Maternity Unit Due to Staffing Shortages; Enforced COVID-19 Jab Mandate Last September

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Holy Cross Health in Fort Lauderdale had to temporarily close its maternity ward due to staffing shortages amidst the latest COVID-19 surge.

As reported by CBS4 Miami:

“In the best interest of patient safety, the Labor and Delivery unit is on diversion until further notice,” Holy Cross spokeswoman Christine Walker said in a statement.

The Neonatal Intensive Care Unit and Post-Partum units at the hospital remain open, she said.

Nearby hospitals including Memorial Healthcare System and Broward Health are taking on patients from Holy Cross in the meantime.

Holy Cross Health announced a COVID-19 jab mandate for all 2,500 employees last summer.

Unvaccinated employees without an approved exemption had until September 21, 2021 to get the experimental shot or lose their job.

NBC Miami reported:

There is a vaccine mandate coming to Holy Cross Hospital in Fort Lauderdale, which had two COVID patients two weeks ago; today, it’s 50, approaching last year’s peak of 68.

“Of those 50, we have eight in the ICU, but none of those have been vaccinated,” said Dr. Jose Lopez, Holy Cross chief medical. He noted 11 of the patients overall had received vaccines, but they are doing much better than the others who have been admitted.

With between 25 and 40 percent of co-workers unvaccinated, he said: “There was a fair amount of frustration and anger. Now that we’re seeing some of our colleagues and family members get sick, it’s moving just into sadness, to be honest, because we know a lot of these cases are preventable.”

Holy Cross will now require all 2,500 employees get vaccinated.

“If they have not been vaccinated or have received an approved exemption they will no longer be able to work at Holy Cross Health by September 21st,” he said, noting religious or medical exemptions will apply.

But otherwise — it’s get your shot or lose your job.

“We think it’s the best way to keep our staff, our colleagues and our community safe,” Lopez said, “and at the same time live our values of safety, protecting our community.”

The recent COVID-19 wave fueled by the omicron variant has created a staffing crisis amongst the hospital’s fully vaccinated workforce.

Pregnant women must find another hospital to give birth while the Labor and Delivery unit at Holy Cross is closed.

The Daily Mail noted:

Holy Cross Health Hospital in Fort Lauderdale announced on Sunday afternoon that it is shutting down its Labor and Delivery delivery unit ‘until further notice’ due to ‘critical staffing levels.’

That means pregnant women who’d planned to give birth there and are almost at their due dates must now go through the stress of finding a new hospital.

However, the hospital said in a statement that its neonatal intensive care and post-partum units will remain open.

‘People are out sick due to the surge in Covid cases,’ Holy Cross spokesperson Christine Walker added in an interview with NBC Miami. She spoke after Florida recorded 85,000 COVID cases on Saturday and Sunday, and almost 50,000 new infections on Monday.

The hospital did not mention a re-opening date for its Labor and Delivery Unit. Its emergency service division was also shut down on December 29 for similar reasons.

Holy Cross would do the expectant mothers in South Florida justice by rehiring the healthy unvaccinated employees with back pay.

 

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