NEW YORK (NWN) – In a bid to brace for a possible winter spike in COVID-19 cases, Gov. Kathy Hochul on Friday announced an executive order aimed at boosting hospital capacity and addressing staff shortages.
The protocol comes amid warnings about a new and highly transmissible coronavirus variant known as “Omicron”. Which has not yet been detected in New York.
“It’s coming,” Hochul said in a statement on Friday.
His order allows the state health department to limit non-essential surgeries, if necessary, to ensure capacity. The governor said the order would allow the state to receive vital supplies more quickly.
“I am announcing immediate steps today to expand hospital capacity and help ensure that our hospital systems can meet any challenges posed by the pandemic,” Hochul said in the statement.
The move has been taken amid growing concerns about hospital beds and staff. The incidence of late hospitalization has risen sharply in most parts of the state.
Earlier this week, Erie County – where Hochul lives – said 91% of the hospital beds available there were full and established a masking mandate. For indoor public places. County and hospital officials pointed to a surge in cases as well as staff shortages in hospitals and nursing homes, where some patients would normally be discharged.
On Thursday, the Democratic governor announced that state officials had intervened to reopen an emergency room on Long Island. Temporarily closed due to staffing shortages related to the state’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate for health care workers.