Governor welcomes injunction

Suit filed by Wyoming and coalition stays CMS vaccine mandate

A preliminary injunction issued by the United States District Court, Eastern District of Missouri was welcomed by Wyoming Governor Mark Gordon on Monday afternoon. According to a press release from Gordon’s office, the injunction halts implementation and enforcement of a rule from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) which would impose a vaccine mandate on healthcare workers.

Gordon and Wyoming Attorney General Bridget Hill had entered Wyoming in a lawsuit with a 10-state coalition which included Missouri, Nebraska, Arkansas, Kansas, Iowa, Alaska, South Dakota, North Dakota and New Hampshire. The preliminary injunction from the Eastern District of Missouri applies only to the 10 states which had entered the lawsuit.

“This is welcome news for Wyoming’s rural healthcare facilities, which are already facing staffing challenges without additional unconstitutional burdens being placed on their employees by the federal government,” said Gordon in the press release. “Healthcare employees should not be forced to choose between vaccination and termination.”

The proposed mandate required nearly every employee, volunteer and contractor working at a wide range of healthcare facilities receiving Medicaid or Medicare funding to have received at least a first dose of the vaccine prior to December 6, 2021. In its ruling, the court agreed to preliminary enjoin implementation and enforcement of the rule because arguments made by Wyoming and a coalition of other states have a likelihood of success on the merits.

The argument made by Wyoming and the other states in the coalition was CMS does not have authority to issue the mandate and it would impact the ability of healthcare facilities to effectively care for patients.

In its preliminary injunction, the court wrote “Because it is evident CMS significantly understates the burden that its mandate would impose on the ability of healthcare facilities to provide proper care, and thus, save lives, the public has an interest in maintaining the ‘status quo’ while the merits of the case are determined.”

According to the press release from the Office of Governor Mark Gordon, Wyoming is “taking a three-pronged approach to fighting federal vaccine mandates with three separate legal actions. These include the legal action involving CMS stayed by the court today, a lawsuit filed against the Biden Administration for imposing a vaccine mandate on federal contractors and federally contracted employees and a lawsuit to halt the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) temporary standard mandating vaccines on employees of Wyoming businesses with over 100 employees. The later resulted in a pause on the implementation.

The initial ruling comes when Wyoming has reported 1,347 deaths related to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) since the pandemic began in March 2019. Of those, 106 deaths were known to be vaccinated while 473 were known to be unvaccinated. On Monday afternoon, the Wyoming Department of Health reported 432 new lab confirmed cases and 128 new probable cases since it’s update on November 24. A total of 889 active laboratory confirmed cases in the state bring the total to 87,880 laboratory confirmed cases since the pandemic began with 22,339 probable confirmed cases.

Additionally, Wyoming has reported 5,594 total cases of the Delta variant of COVID-19. The highest amount of those have been reported in Campbell County with 689. Carbon County has reported 285 cases of the Delta variant.

As of Monday afternoon, approximately 42 percent of Wyoming residents had been fully vaccinated. Carbon County trailed with just 39.68 percent residents fully vaccinated

 

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