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COVID-19 Update: December 6, 2021

Released: 12/6/2021 6:00:00 AM

Kaleida Health today released the following updates regarding COVID-19, the New York State vaccine mandate as well as a response to the anti-mask protests planned in the community:

In accordance with New York State’s vaccine mandate guidelines for healthcare personnel, Kaleida Health today terminated approximately 100 employees who had previously been granted a religious exemption and chose not to receive their initial vaccination dose by the State’s deadline of Sunday, December 5, 2021.

Combined with the previous vaccine mandate deadline in November, approximately 200 personnel have now been separated from the organization.

Kaleida Health intends to remain open and provide access to services across the organization. The organization continues to add resources and post positions so it can continue to be there for the community.

Given the reduction in workforce, the subsequent reduction in staffed beds, the significant rise in COVID-19 hospitalizations across our facilities, and the spike in COVID-19 cases in our region, Kaleida Health is proactively postponing non-essential elective inpatient surgeries at Buffalo General Medical Center and Millard Fillmore Suburban Hospital.

Dr. Michael Mineo, chief medical officer for Buffalo General Medical Center and Millard Fillmore Suburban Hospital said, “We continue to consult with our physician leadership as well as surgical leadership teams to manage the number of elective inpatient surgeries on a daily basis that require an overnight stay. This will ensure that, as a health system, we are appropriately managing patient care and community need amid this current surge in COVID-19 cases.”

As healthcare workers continue to battle this current wave of COVID-19, and amid planned upcoming mask mandate protests across Western New York, Dr. Mineo implores the public to take responsible common-sense actions.

Dr. Mineo said, “The message can't be stressed enough to protect yourself, protect your family and protect this community because our systems are strained. Please … wear a mask. Get vaccinated. We need to work together as a community to battle through this.”

Dr. Mineo’s reminders:

  • Get vaccinated and get a booster shot
  • Wear a mask indoors or when you cannot maintain a safe distance
  • Practice safe social distancing, especially when you’re indoors
  • Wash your hands frequently
  • Stay home from work, school or events if you’re feeling sick

Kaleida Health is reminding the public, especially those experiencing critical medical issues like chest pain, stroke symptoms, abdominal pain and serious injuries, among others, to not delay care. Kaleida Health emergency rooms (Buffalo General Medical Center/Gates Vascular Institute, Oishei Children’s Hospital, Millard Fillmore Suburban Hospital, DeGraff Medical Park) and its partner ECMC remain safe, open and ready to treat emergency patients.

You can check out ER wait times here: Kaleida Health – Buffalo, NY

As hospitals remain at or near capacity, and to help us assist patients in need of critical care services, Kaleida Health encourages those in our community to manage their care:

For those looking for employment, Kaleida Health has dozens of positions available across all professions and sites. See here: Careers at Kaleida Health – Buffalo, NY