ALBANY, N.Y. -- A New York state Supreme Court justice in Albany County will not grant a temporary restraining order that would have kept the state from starting to enforce a COVID-19 vaccine mandate for medical professionals next week.
HoganWillig Law Firm, based in Western New York, is representing roughly 500 healthcare workers.
On Friday, partner Corey Hogan argued to Judge Christina Ryba she should temporarily stop a vaccine mandate for those workers and others across the state in general hospitals and nursing homes from going into effect Monday. Ryba denied that motion.
She did however grant a partial restraining order, allowing those workers to get a religious exemption, which was already available to them thanks to a federal court decision last week. Hogan said there is currently no COVID-19 emergency and next week 80,000 to 90,000 health workers could be out of a job, so the judge should have granted the full restraining order.
"We said while we're dealing with this issue, why have the health care system thrown into a crisis? There's no emergency there. The facts that we see on hospital bed occupation, ICU, positivity rate, deaths, everything's down, under control. There's nothing that indicates that the health care facilities are transmitting the virus differently than anywhere else," Hogan said.
The state on Friday said it did not receive this filing until roughly a half an hour before the hearing. The judge did schedule the next court date for next Friday, a week from Friday, when HoganWillig will argue for a preliminary injunction.
On the full merits, Hogan said the state has not supplied any statistics that show transmission rates are higher at hospitals.