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Novant Health, North Carolina hospital system, fired 175 employees who failed to follow Covid-19 vaccination rule

CNN logo CNN 9/29/2021 By Rebekah Riess, CNN
© WSOC

Novant Health, a North Carolina not-for-profit system of 15 medical centers with more than 2,300 physicians, said this week it had terminated roughly 175 employees for non-compliance with its mandatory Covid-19 vaccination program.

More than 99% of Novant Health team members chose compliance, company President and CEO Carl Armato said in a statement.

"I am thrilled that the vast majority of team members gave Novant Health's patients and visitors, as well as our team members, better protection against COVID-19 by complying with our vaccination mandate," said Amato.

"Out of more than 35,000 team members, fewer than 200 across more than 800 locations opted to leave rather than comply with the vaccination mandate."

Last week, approximately 375 employees had been confirmed to be non-compliant and were given the opportunity to comply over a five-day period, while on unpaid suspension, before facing termination this week, Novant said.

"Without a vaccine mandate for team members, we faced the strong possibility of having a third of our staff unable to work due to contracting, or exposure to, COVID-19. This possibility only increases heading into a fall season with the more contagious and deadly Delta variant," Armato said.

Novant Health also said the system had hired more than 150 team new employees in the last week alone.

New York's vaccine mandate prompts suspension for hundreds of health care workers

The Novant sackings and hundreds of suspensions of health care workers in New York state represent a snapshot of what may be ahead for the rest of the US after President Joe Biden imposed vaccine or testing requirements on federal workers, large employers and health care staff, which could apply to as many as 100 million Americans.

Hundreds of unvaccinated health care workers across New York were suspended Tuesday and could soon lose their jobs entirely as the state's Covid-19 vaccine mandate for health care workers went into effect.

As of Monday evening, 92% of hospital staff, 92% of nursing home staff, and 89% of adult care facility staff had at least one vaccine dose, Gov. Kathy Hochul's office said.

The vaccination rates increased considerably over the last four weeks as the state crept closer to the vaccine deadline, Hochul said.

"This new information shows that holding firm on the vaccine mandate for health care workers is simply the right thing to do to protect our vulnerable family members and loved ones from COVID-19," she said.

Last month, the New York State Department of Health issued an order that required all health care workers in the state be vaccinated against Covid-19 by September 27.

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