New York Governor Kathy Hochul declared a state of emergency on Friday due to a rise in COVID-19 cases in the state and the threat of the omicron variant,
She said the variant hasn’t yet been detected in the state but that she decided to sign an executive order to allow the health department to limit non-essential, non-urgent procedures at hospitals and acquire critical supplies more quickly. The order takes effect on December 3 and will be re-assessed based on the latest data on January 15.
“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,” Hochul said.
Earlier in the month, Hochul blamed vaccine holdouts for a rise in hospitalizations, saying that a worsening situation was avoidable if people would get the shots.
President Joe Biden on Friday imposed new travel restrictions on nations in southern Africa, where the omicron variant was first detected, joining efforts by other countries to try and slow the spread of a potentially potent new coronavirus variant.