New York – As news of the omicron COVID-19 variant emerges, Gov. Kathy Hochul has declared a state of emergency.
According to health officials say there is no sign of the variant in New York.
However, the goal of the state of emergency is to solve staffing shortages and to boost hospital capacity ahead of an expected spike in COVID-19 cases.
The department of health can limit non-urgent procedures in hospitals with limited capacity. Hochul defines this as below 10% staffed bed capacity or as determined by the health department.
The executive order that goes into effect Friday and will be reassessed in January also enables New York state to receive supplies to combat the virus more quickly.
According to Hochul, the state is focused on getting more people vaccinated, especially kids in school, age 5 to 17 years old, who can get the Pfizer vaccine.
The state is working on expanding vaccine access and testing sites, she says.
As of Friday, more than 90% of adults in the state had at least one dose of the vaccine.
According to Hochul’s tweet sent on Sunday, all nursing homes across the state now must have booster vaccines available for all residents.