Hochul declares state of emergency over COVID spike, new variant

Gov. Kathy Hochul on Friday issued an executive order declaring a disaster emergency in New York state, because New York is now experiencing COVID-19 transmission at rates the state has not seen since April 2020.

“We’ve taken extraordinary action to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and combat this pandemic,” Hochul said. “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.”

The executive order aims to boost hospital capacity and address staffing shortages ahead of potential spikes in COVID-19 cases this winter. Through the executive order, the Department of Health will be allowed to limit non-essential, non-urgent procedures for facilities with limited capacity to protect access to critical health care services, according to the governor.

The executive order, effective Dec. 3, and the new protocols will be re-assessed on Jan. 15, 2022, according to Hochul.

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