SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — Taking care of patients is all in a days’ work for hospital staff at St. Joseph’s Health. The hospital team shrinking some because of a New York State Department of Health mandate, requiring health care workers get the COVID vaccine.

“We lost 111 people as a result of the mandate,” said Dr. Philip Falcone, St. Joseph’s Health Chief Medical Officer. “That was over the course about a year and a half or so.”

The loss is across a variety of departments at the hospital. While 111 might not seem significant, Dr. Falcone said there was an impact.

“We have 3,800 employees, so 111 doesn’t seem like a tremendous number, but when they’re in the clinical patient facing roles, it does make a difference. And so we are hopeful that we’ll be able to get most of those people back or at least 80% of them if we can.”

Dr. Philip Falcone, St. Joseph’s Health Chief Medical Officer

The state no longer enforcing the mandate, so the hospital is actively calling former staff members to see if they would like to return. They’re also encouraging other health care workers who might have been employed at other facilities to apply.

“We have certainly a lot of openings for clinical staff and we’d be thrilled to have as many people back as possible,” Dr. Falcone said.

It’s not just an impact at this hospital. The end of the mandate will help the whole region.

“I think we lost people in every hospital across the whole area and if we can get as many people back as possible, we’ll have the capacity to take care of those patients who really need us. And many of whom put off having things done, or taking care of themselves during the pandemic,” Falcone added.

Help from health care workers is wanted here.

Crouse Hospital is also looking to rehire. We have reached out to Upstate University Hospital for comment.