NEW YORK STATE (WSYR-TV) — On the same day New York Governor Kathy Hochul said she would keep an eye on the new COVID-19 variant, Omicron, she announced plans to boost hospital capacity and address staffing shortages ahead of potential spikes this winter. 

Through an Executive Order, and beginning December 3, 2021, the Department of Health will be allowed to “limit non-essential, non-urgent in-hospital procedures, or sysmtems with limited capacity” to help state hospitals. 

“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, and while the new Omicron variant has yet to be detected in New York State, it’s coming. 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. The vaccine remains one of our greatest weapons in fighting the pandemic, and I encourage every New Yorker to get vaccinated, and get the booster if you’re fully vaccinated.” 

Gov. Kathy Hochul

The Executive Order will be reassessed on January 15, 2022, based on the latest COVID-19 data. 

The Hochul administration also continues to ramp up booster shots. As of November 24, over 2.2 million boosters and/or additional doses have been administered. Nearly 4,500 locations across are administering booster shots.