Governor Hochul addresses omicron variant

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NEW YORK CITY (WHEC) – Governor Kathy Hochul says as of Monday afternoon, there is no sign of the omicron variant in New York.

The governor highlighted increased testing and tracking that will be conducted by the Wadsworth Center in Albany, but otherwise kept her focus on the importance of vaccinations and booster shots.

When asked if the state would be considering a mask mandate, she admitted that everything is on the table, but cited Erie County’s indoor masking requirement and encouraged other municipalities and businesses to strongly consider doing the same.

The greatest concern continues to be over hospital capacity. "This is what keeps me up at night making sure our hospitals have the capacity to handle the influx of patients whether it’s from Covid or otherwise," the Governor said.

For example, the Finger Lakes region had 117 new covid admissions. That’s highest single day total we’ve seen in months. So, come Friday, the governor will use her executive powers to limit what procedures certain hospitals can do.

"Essential procedures will continue, people who need cancer treatment, mammograms, colonoscopies have traumatic injuries, heart surgery they will get the care they need."

But things that can wait, will wait. University of Rochester Medicine and Rochester Regional have already been limiting some of those procedures after taking staffing hits following the implementation of the state’s vaccine mandate for health care workers.

The governor was asked today, if she thinks that mandate helped cause this crisis:

"There is somewhat of a correlation but it’s not the sole reason by any stretch of the imagination there’s other factors involved here…there’s a closer correlation to hospital capacity and the vaccination rates and areas if all those upstate areas had a 95 or 100% vaccination rate we would not be having a surge in hospitals."

Click here for the list of New York hospitals at or below 10% available capacity.