On Friday, Gov. Kathy Hochul issued a state of emergency order in response to the newly identified COVID-19 variant.
The emergency order will last until Jan. 15, when it will be reassessed, and will increase hospital capacity in New York.
Hochul took to Twitter to announce the executive order. “While the new Omicron variant has yet to be detected in New York State, it’s coming,” she said.
The state is set to use the “surge and flex system”, which lets the Department of Health prohibit non-essential procedures in hospitals that have less than 10% staffed bed capacity.
These new hospital procedures are ready to take effect Dec. 3.
Hochul also said “We’ve taken extraordinary action to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and combat this pandemic. However, we continue to see warning signs of spikes this upcoming winter”.
“In preparation, I am announcing urgent steps today to expand hospital capacity and help ensure our hospital systems can tackle any challenges posed by the pandemic as we head into the winter months,” she explained.
She continues to encourage New Yorkers to get vaccinated “and get the booster if you’re fully vaccinated”.
The World Health Organization recently announced that the new variant has a larger number of mutations, which is causing concern across the world.