Hochul: 95% of NYers over 18 have had at least one shot, new guidance on returning to work and school

ALBANY, N.Y. (WHEC) — Gov. Kathy Hochul held a COVID-19 briefing on Christmas Eve with a milestone announcement on vaccinations in the state.

According to Hochul, 95% of New Yorkers have received at least one shot of the COVID-19 vaccine.

Hochul is also amending updates to critical workers based on CDC guidance. Now, the 10-day mandate of quarantine for a critical worker who tests positive for COVID-19 is being shortened to five days for vaccinated, asymptomatic employees or those who have not had a fever for at least 72 hours with symptoms resolving. They also must wear a mask. Employers must also allow this guidance.

Peter Gines, who owns Jine’s Restaurant on Park Avenue said these changes should help.

"It makes it a little easier for us, yes it does, if I have someone out and I can bring them back a little sooner, sure it’s beneficial, as long as it’s safe,” Gines said.

He says he’s not sure if it’s safe or not, but he trusts the scientists making the recommendations.

"The scientists are going to know they are the ones studying it I’m not and I won’t pretend to, so ya you look for some guidance and if that’s what they’re saying, that’s what we do,” Gines said.

Hochul says next week she will have a call with superintendents from across the state to discuss test to stay options, which the state is now recommending for schools. Click here to read the state’s guidance.

"We want our kids to go back to school, that there will be tests waiting for them they can take them home in their backpacks if someone in school tests positive they all don’t have to stay at home if they’re symptomatic not been exposed directly,” Hochul said.

Bo Wright, superintendent of schools in Monroe County told us he’s looking forward to it, in a statement he says, "I will say that the test-to-stay protocol, in Monroe County, has been very helpful to many school districts, thus far. And locally, we will continue to keep lines of communication open with the Monroe County Department of Health in the coming days."

The governor also addressed the rise in new COVID-19 cases inside state correctional facilities by implementing new guidelines for visitation.

Starting on Dec. 27, everyone visiting will have to be fully vaccinated for COVID-19 or show proof of a negative PCR test.

On Thursday, the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office confirmed 15 inmates tested positive for COVID-19 over the last two weeks.

Also, 13 additional testing sites will be launched across the state on Dec. 29. One of those locations will be in Albion Campus Center on SUNY Genesee Community College at 456 West Avenue in Albion. It will be open Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.

State testing sites are closed over the weekend for the holiday, but on Monday, you can schedule tests online here.