New Omicron Variant Not Detected in New York State Yet, but Hochul Warns: ‘It’s Coming’

(Photo Source: governor.ny.gov).

Press release from governor.ny.gov.

Governor Kathy Hochul announced urgent action to boost hospital capacity and address staffing shortages ahead of potential spikes in COVID-19 cases this upcoming winter. Through an Executive Order signed by Governor Hochul, the Department of Health will be allowed to limit non-essential, non-urgent procedures for in-hospitals or systems with limited capacity to protect access to critical health care services. Limited capacity is defined as below 10% staffed bed capacity, or as determined by the Department of Health based on regional and health care utilization factors.

The new protocols will begin on Friday, December 3, and will be re-assessed based on the latest COVID-19 data on January 15. The Executive Order will also enable New York State to acquire more quickly any critical supplies to combat the pandemic.

“We’ve taken extraordinary action to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and combat this pandemic. However, we continue to see warning signs of spikes this upcoming winter, and while the new Omicron variant has yet to be detected in New York State, it’s coming,” Governor Hochul said. “In preparation, I am announcing urgent steps today to expand hospital capacity and help ensure our hospital systems can tackle any challenges posed by the pandemic as we head into the winter months. The vaccine remains one of our greatest weapons in fighting the pandemic, and I encourage every New Yorker to get vaccinated, and get the booster if you’re fully vaccinated.”

The Hochul Administration continues to take comprehensive steps to prevent the spread of COVID-19, including mask protocols in health care and P-12 school settings, correctional facilities and detentions centers, public transportation and at transportation hubs, and implementation of the HERO Act which requires all employers to implement workplace safety plans in response to COVID-19.

The Administration continues to focus on boosting vaccination rates among New Yorkers, including bolstering the State’s network of vaccine access points, and working to expand testing supplies. That also includes acting on our comprehensive plan to vaccinate school-aged children 5-17, provide incentive programs, combat vaccine misinformation campaigns, increase vaccine awareness, deploy pop-up vaccines in targeted low-vaccination areas, and implement vaccine requirements for health care workers. On August 24, the vaccination rate among adults with one dose was 78.8%. Today, it is 90.2%.

Further, the Administration continues to ramp up booster shots and urges all New Yorkers to get the booster dose once fully vaccinated. As of November 24, over 2.2 million boosters and/or additional doses have been administered. Nearly 4,500 locations across are administering booster shots.

The Administration will continue to partner with local leaders to make vaccines, boosters and testing more widely available.