NEW YORK CITY, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — Governor Kathy Hochul gave a COVID-19 update Wednesday afternoon in which she stressed the importance of having the resources to beat the virus.
Hochul shared a slide with the percentage of hospital beds available by region across the state. In Central New York, 27% of hospital beds are available and 15% of ICU beds are available.
According to the governor, statewide hospitalizations on Tuesday were five times the number of those in hospitals one year ago.
When it comes to vaccination rates across the state, she called this an area we need to improve.
Of those 18 years and older who are eligible for the vaccine, 81% have one dose of a COVID vaccine and 73% have a complete series. Those percentages lower for people ages 12-17; 61% with one dose and 50% with a completed series.
Hochul stressed the fact that only half of eligible 12 to17-year-olds have completed their vaccination series and called on parents to increase this number.
The state has seen breakthrough cases in only .5% of those fully vaccinated, according to the governor, and .04% of those fully vaccinated have been hospitalized.
Hochul said that she doesn’t foresee availability issues with booster shots when they become approved for all people. “There will be plenty of vaccines available,” she said.
Once approved, those who were vaccinated in December will be eligible for their booster shots. She said that New York needs to get ready for a spike in people looking for booster shots as people who got vaccinated in December hit their eight month mark.
Hochul compared the start of 2021 when vaccine eligibility opened up to the Hunger Games.
She said that the state has allocated $65 million to local health departments for distribution efforts and pop up sites for target communities will be a priority.
The MU Variant of COVID-19 originated in Ecuador and Columbia and Hochul said US Federal Health officials say it is not an immediate threat.
In the state, MU makes less than .5% of cases, according to Hochul.
The governor also launched a new digital campaign called VAXtoSchool which will serve as a microsite with resources and materials for parents and guardians of school aged students.
. The new site includes information, and an FAQ for parents and guardians, as well as a multitude of ready-made signage for school leaders to support #VaxtoSchool education and operations in their local communities on the ground.
The state has also launched a new Instagram @VaccinateNY to educated school aged New Yorkers and their families about the COVID vaccine.
Pop up sites will be included in this initiative. The sites will be open in areas where zip code data shows the vaccination rate for 12 to 17-year-olds is lower than the average statewide.
Mobile vaccination efforts will also be part of the initiative in convenient, school-centric areas statewide like basketball courts and parks.
At this time there are vaccination requirements for the following groups:
- State employees (Weekly testing alternative)
- Healthcare workers
- SUNY and CUNY students who are on campus
- MTA employees (Weekly testing alternative)
- Port Authority employees (Weekly testing alternative)
NY HERO ACT
Hochul concluded her presentation discussing the New York Hero Act which was signed last spring. The act mandates all workplaces have health and safety protocols across the state, including health screenings, physical distancing, and mask wearing.