The Mayo Clinic confirmed it fired 700 employees on Tuesday for not complying with its policy to get vaccinated against COVID-19 by Monday.
“While Mayo Clinic is saddened to lose valuable employees, we need to take all steps necessary to keep our patients, workforce, visitors and communities safe. If individuals released from employment choose to get vaccinated at a later date, the opportunity exists for them to apply and return to Mayo Clinic for future job openings,” the clinic said in a statement to the Star Tribune.
The employees had until Monday to get vaccinated. The 700 people fired represents nearly 1% of the entity’s 73,000 employees.
A spokesperson for the clinic told the Tribune, “while it’s sad to lose valuable employees, it’s essential to keep patients, the workforce, visitors and communities safe.”
Just before Christmas, a group of nurses represented by the Minnesota Nurses Association held a press conference pleading with hospital CEOs in the state to address a growing staffing crisis.
“To our patients, I want to say this: Nurses will be here when you need us. To our hospital CEOs and elected officials, please hear us: Nurses need more than words; we need action to address the crisis of staffing and retention in Minnesota hospitals,” Mary Turner, union president, and ICU nurse, said at the press conference.
Staffing issues have plagued hospitals around the nation as the omicron variant leads the way in the latest COVID surge.
In Rhode Island, the state’s health department updated its guidance to allow COVID-positive health care workers to continue working if they have mild symptoms or are considered asymptomatic. The change applies to healthcare workers whose hospitals face a staffing crisis.
State-run Eleanor Slater Hospital declared a staffing crisis amid the latest COVID surge. The hospital put employees with “mild symptoms” back to work.
According to Health Department spokesman Joseph Wendelken, Rhode Island’s Respiratory and Rehabilitation Center began “using asymptomatic staff” on Monday and is no longer facing a “crisis,”.
Multiple states have called in the National Guard to help support hospital staff during the Omicron surge. In New York, tens of thousands of health care workers were fired in 2021 for not complying with vaccine mandates, leading to the staffing crisis.