This measure will take effect from Monday, December 13, 2021 to January 15, 2022, after this day the State will reevaluate based on current conditions.

  • Starting Monday, the use of masks in all closed public places in New York will be mandatory unless companies or places implement a vaccination requirement. This is an important action to address the surge in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations across the state during the winter.
  • Daily deaths from COVID-19 in New York surpassed 50, totaling 54, on Thursday for the first time in months. While the number of daily cases exceeded 12,400 for the first time since the end of January, and hospitalizations increased 86% in the last month.
  • The u00d3micron variant has been identified in at least half of the US states and in many more than 60 countries. Preliminary data on severity has been encouraging, Fauci says, but delta continues to increase the hospitalization rate.

As of this Monday, the use of masks will be required in all closed public places unless companies or places implement a vaccination requirement. This is an action taken by Governor Kathy Hochul to address the surge in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations across the state during the winter.

This measure will be in effect until January 15, 2022, after this day the State will reevaluate based on current conditions. The new measure provides additional layers of mitigation during the holidays, when more time is spent indoors.

A violation of any provision of this measure is subject to all civil and criminal penalties, including a maximum fine of $ 1,000 for each violation. Local Health Departments are asked to enforce these requirements.

How does the measure work?

  • Commercial / In-Place Proof of Full Course Vaccination Requirement :

Businesses and places that implement a proof of vaccination requirement can accept Excelsior Pass , Excelsior Pass Plus , SMART health cards issued outside of New York State, or a CDC vaccination card. According to the CDC definition of complete vaccination, full cycle vaccination is defined as 14 days after the last dose of vaccination of an individual in their initial series of vaccines. The State also accepts vaccines approved by the WHO for these purposes.

  • Requirement for use of masks in the workplace / business

Businesses and venues that implement a mask requirement should ensure that all customers over the age of two wear a mask at all times while indoors.

  • Ongoing mask wear requirements

Unvaccinated individuals must continue to wear masks according to CDC federal guidelines. Additionally, state mask requirements remain in effect for pre-K through 12th grade schools, public transportation, homeless shelters, correctional facilities, nursing homes, and healthcare settings as per CDC guidelines. .

The state of New York and the state Department of Health continue to recommend the use of masks in all indoor public settings as an added layer of protection, even when it is not necessary. Children 2 to 5 years of age who still do not meet the vaccination requirements should wear a suitable mask.

“As Governor, my top two priorities are protecting the health of New Yorkers and protecting the health of our economy. The temporary steps I am taking today will help accomplish this during the holiday season. We should not have gotten to the point where we are faced with a winter surge, especially with the vaccine at our disposal, and I share the frustration of many New Yorkers that we have not yet overcome this pandemic, “said Governor Hochul. “I want to thank more than 80 percent of New Yorkers who have done the right thing by getting fully vaccinated. If others follow suit, these steps will no longer be necessary.”

The new measure is based on the state’s seven-day weekly case rate, as well as an increase in hospitalizations. New business and site requirements extend to both customers and staff.

“I have warned for weeks that additional steps might be necessary, and we are now at that point based on three metrics: increased cases, reduced hospital capacity, and insufficient vaccination rates in certain areas,” Governor Hochul added.

Since Thanksgiving, the seven-day average case rate statewide has increased by 43% and hospitalizations have increased by 29%, the governor said in a news release. While the percentage of New Yorkers fully vaccinated continues to rise, gaining 2% since Thanksgiving weekend so far, the rise is not fast enough to completely slow the spread of the virus, particularly among the communities with low vaccination coverage.

The state Department of Health has produced leading national studies, published in the CDC’s MMWR and the New England Journal of Medicine , that demonstrate the effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccines, particularly in preventing serious diseases. . The department urges New Yorkers meeting the immunization requirement, of all ages, to get fully vaccinated and given the booster as soon as possible.

In addition, the Democrat said, to be in line with the CDC’s recommendations for communities with substantial and high transmission. The state health commissioner issued a determination solidifying the requirement.

Details will come a day after the Democrat announced that nearly three dozen hospitals in upstate New York had to suspend non-essential elective procedures to ensure bed capacity, part of what she described as a preemptive strike to “combat this impending increase. ”

COVID-19 hospitalizations statewide are at their highest levels since the end of April and have soared to 86% in the last month alone, the most recent data shows. Governor Hochul and health experts say that’s a reflection of the still ubiquitous control of delta, which accounts for 99% of all gene-sequenced positive samples in New York, and in the nation, and has been scientifically linked to more cases. severe infection.

Daily deaths from COVID-19 in the state topped 50 on Thursday, at 54, for the first time in months, while the number of daily cases topped 12,400 for the first time since late January. The increase in cases could be a reflection of the spread of Ómicron throughout the state.

Officials working with Hochul and New York City have said community broadcasting appears to be on the right track. While only 20 cases have been detected statewide so far (13 of them in New York City), leaders believe the true number is significantly higher.

Those general rallies combined with the looming threat of holiday-related spikes warrant early and intense action, Gov. Hochul said.

The previously announced order to suspend elective surgeries is designed to ease capacity strains on hospitals as COVID-19 cases rise. It only applies to hospitals that have less than 10% available bed capacity, many of which are in areas where Governor Hochul says the lowest vaccination rates correlate with the highest and most concerning metrics.

“We continue to see an increase in hospitalizations and this is a trend. A direct correlation can be made between vaccination rates in an area and the number of hospitalizations,” Gov. Hochul said Thursday. “And we know that it’s indoors, the coldest temperatures, but also the areas where people are most likely to get vaccinated.”

Governor Hochul confirmed that the state will re-evaluate the pauses in surgery on January 15 because it does not want to order long-term changes to the protocol without an end date or a set time to reassess the situation.

Even where vaccination rates are higher, the recent spread of COVID-19, whether Omicron-induced or otherwise, is outpacing those dose rates. While more data is needed to determine whether the Omicron variant is linked to more severe outcomes or reduced vaccine efficacy, experts say it certainly appears to be more infectious than previous strains, possibly even more infectious than delta.

The CDC noted this week that of the more than 40 Americans who have tested positive for Omicron so far, more than 75% of them were vaccinated.

Progressive infections have been on the rise in New York since early November, although they still account for a fraction of new infections compared to unvaccinated.

There has been an increase in hospitalizations among vaccinated New Yorkers, but it is small, and the discrepancy between hospitalizations between unvaccinated and vaccinated New Yorkers is much more significant than that of infection.

Importantly, the vaccine’s efficacy rate in terms of new cases and hospitalizations has not changed since early November for people age 50 and over. In fact, it has risen slightly compared to October, an encouraging sign for the most vulnerable. However, for 18- and 49-year-olds, it’s slightly lower, the latest state data shows.

Several local governments where Ómicron has been detected have stepped up efforts to combat the spread of COVID in the last week.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio unveiled the country’s strictest vaccination mandate earlier this week that goes into effect on December 27, while new vaccination requirements for children under the age of 12 years will go into effect on Tuesday.

In Oneida County, where two cases of Ómicron have been detected, officials will require masks to be worn in enclosed public places and temperature checks performed at social gatherings taking place outside private residences beginning Monday. There will be an option to opt out if proof of vaccination is required to enter.

“We expect these numbers to continue to rise, and at this point we are prepared to say that what we have is community spread,” Governor Hochul said Thursday. “The cases do not come from people who have traveled.”

She and De Blasio and health officials across the country have increased their urgency around vaccinations and boosters in recent weeks. That message has only grown more urgent in recent days at all levels of government.

Half of the US states and more than 60 countries have detected the Omicron variant, the New York Health Commissioner said Thursday. He said preliminary evidence shows that vaccines protect against severe COVID illness and death related to the new variant.

More than 81% of New York’s adult population is fully vaccinated, CDC data shows, though that number plummets for those under 12 who meet the vaccination requirement. Only 65% ​​of children ages 12 to 17 are fully vaccinated, while children ages 5 to 11 have a 6% complete vaccination rate.

In New York City, 37% of children ages 5 to 17 are fully vaccinated, while 48% have received at least one dose. Eighty-two percent of the city’s adults are fully vaccinated.

A day ago, the CDC and the FDA recommended booster doses of the Pfizer vaccine for children ages 16 and 17 . Authorities urge parents to take advantage.

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