UPDATE: Upstate announces consolidation to 13 operating rooms amid staffing shortage ahead of vaccine deadline

Coronavirus

UPDATE 4:30 p.m. Friday 9-24-2021: Upstate University Hospital has announced that it will consolidate operating rooms in service next week, cutting down to 13 operating rooms in service from the normal number of 35 rooms. The hospital will prioritize medically necessary and time-sensitive surgeries and critical care trauma cases and has postponed elective surgeries due to staffing shortages. Upstate said it is focusing on COVID cases while still striving to provide safe critical care to the community, and it hopes to resume a full surgical schedule ASAP. According to a spokesperson with the hospital, “We will make adjustments along the way based on staffing, as we’ve done all along.”


SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — With the upcoming deadline on Monday, September 27 for hospital workers to be vaccinated, Upstate University Hospital is postponing some elective surgeries.

A hospital spokesperson says the decision is not necessarily based on the vaccine mandate, but is based on current staff levels.

Data from the State Department of Health show Upstate Medical University with an 88% vaccine participation rate.

In a statement, the spokesperson writes: “Upstate is like many other hospitals across the country—balancing staffing challenges as we see increasing demand for patient care. Our nursing staff in particular has been working around the clock helping patients, and we will support them so they can continue to provide the highest level of care.”

A spokesperson for St. Joseph’s Hospital, which has the lowest vaccine rate in Central New York at 78%, says fewer operating rooms will be open and elective procedures are still scheduled but will be evaluated week-by-week.

The spokesperson writes: “We are not stopping elective surgeries but are reviewing scheduled elective procedures each week and adjusting our capacity based on staffing availability. This is a fluid situation and will be reassessed frequently and further adjustments will be made as needed.”

Crouse Hospital, which has a 90% vaccine rate, doesn’t plan any limits on services at this point.

Governor Kathy Hochul said Thursday the Monday deadline is not flexible as the state negotiates with workers’ unions how unvaccinated staff will be dealt with next week.

Full statement from Upstate University Hospital

While Upstate University Hospital continues to ensure the best care for our patients, we are proactively taking temporary measures to focus on COVID cases, as well as safely meet the critical care needs of the community. 

This includes postponing some elective surgeries. Upstate is like many other hospitals across the country—balancing staffing challenges as we see increasing demand for patient care. Our nursing staff in particular has been working around the clock helping patients, and we will support them so they can continue to provide the highest level of care. 

We will continue to stay in constant communication with NYS Department of Health, and continue to inform our hospital staff. Our patients and our medical professionals are always our first priority, and we will do everything we can to keep everyone safe.

Spokesperson for Upstate University Hospital

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