A Maine hospital has temporarily suspended pediatric, heart attack and trauma admissions Monday amid concern it could face staffing shortages when a COVID-19 vaccination mandate goes into effect later this month, according to local reports.
Central Maine Medical Center in Lewiston will assess and stabilize any patients who arrive at the emergency room and then divert them to another facility if they need to be admitted, local news outlet WMTW reported.
The hospital said it has already temporarily closed its neonatal intensive care unit in case of staff shortages when Democratic Gov. Janet Mills’ COVID-19 vaccine mandate takes effect at the end of the month, the Bangor Daily News reported.
While a majority of the hospital staff is already vaccinated, more than 250 employees have not submitted their vaccination records as of Friday, the hospital told the paper. Of those 250 staffers, 170 have roles that directly deal with patients.
As the hospital continues to work toward helping unvaccinated team members get the vaccine, the paper reported that the hospital has developed a contingency plan that would cut intensive care unit beds by 50% and medical surgical beds by 40% should staffers choose to resign.
Central Maine Healthcare, the hospital’s parent, said 40 staff members have already resigned with 30 more handing in their resignations, WMTW reported.
Vaccination status is also affecting patients, with reports of transplant patients having their life-saving surgeries canceled or delayed due to the patient, donor, or both, not being vaccinated against COVID-19.