New York Governor Kathy Hochul Defends COVID Actions
New York Governor Kathy Hochul says the state is taking the right measures to try to combat the latest surge in COVID-19 cases including the sudden spike in the new Omicron variant of the coronavirus.
The Associated Press reports the Governor went on what it called "a Christmas Eve offensive against her coronavirus critics."
In a video news conference December 24, the Democrat insisted the state acted early and has done everything it can against the rapid spread of the omicron variant.
The Governor also says steps are being taken to help ease the shortage of essential workers, which has hit the healthcare sector especially hard, with Hochul saying the state is shortening the amount of time essential workers must stay home after testing positive. Fully vaccinated people in health care and other frontline fields can return to work after five days instead of 10 if they’re not showing symptoms or their symptoms are resolving. They must also wear masks on the job. Some Republican officials have called the mask mandate an overreach.
Some essential workers, including nurses, doctors and healthcare aids in extended care facilities have opted to quit or allow their employment to be terminated when the state required them to be vaccinated against COVID-19. Hospitals and other healthcare settings had already been short-handed, even prior to the start of the pandemic in March, 2020.
Earlier in the week the Governor announced a scholarship program for students both within and outside New York State seeking degrees in nursing and working in facilities in the state.
Meanwhile, residents around the state who have gotten their vaccinations have been getting robo-calls from the Health Commissioner over the past couple days, urging them to get their COVID-19 booster shot as soon a possible.