FORT THOMAS, Ky. — St. Elizabeth Healthcare is requiring all its workers to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 by Oct. 1.
The health care facility joins a list of hospitals and health systems in Kentucky, Ohio and across the nation requiring the vaccine for employees.
In recent weeks, St. Elizabeth has seen a surge in COVID-19 cases and said 100% of their ICU COVID cases are people who are unvaccinated. In addition, cases state-wide have quadrupled from June to July in children who are too young to be vaccinated.
During Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear’s press conference Thursday, St. Elizabeth CEO Gary Blank talked about the importance of the mandate.
"Our first priority at St. Elizabeth, and I know all the health systems, is the safety of our patients, our visitors and our employees as well as our community,” Blank said. “And vaccines are the best way for us to ensure that at this time. Obviously tough times require tough decisions, and this is one of those."
Beshear also called on private businesses to step up and praised Northern Kentucky University for requiring masks campus-wide.
The governor took another step to incentivize state workers by offering a vacation day if they show proof of vaccination.
Beshear said he won’t rule out another mask mandate if hospitalizations continue to rise.
“If we are going to defeat and not just delay COVID-19, there is one and only one answer,” Beshear said. “That answer is vaccinations. So each decision that we make has to gauge the impact on getting the unvaccinated to take that shot.”