State announces urgent action to boost hospital capacity, address staff shortages

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ALBANY – Governor Kathy Hochul announced urgent action to boost hospital capacity and address staffing shortages ahead of potential spikes in COVID-19 cases this upcoming winter.

Through an executive order signed by the governor, the Department of Health will be allowed to limit non-essential, non-urgent procedures for in-hospitals or systems with limited capacity to protect access to critical health care services. Limited capacity is defined as below 10 percent staffed bed capacity, or as determined by the Department of Health based on regional and health care utilization factors.

The new protocols will begin on Friday, December 3, and will be re-assessed based on the latest COVID-19 data on January 15. The executive order will also enable the state to acquire more quickly any critical supplies to combat the pandemic.


The Hochul Administration continues to take comprehensive steps to prevent the spread of COVID-19, including mask protocols in health care and P-12 school settings, correctional facilities and detentions centers, public transportation and at transportation hubs, and implementation of the HERO Act which requires all employers to implement workplace safety plans in response to COVID-19.

The administration continues to focus on boosting vaccination rates among New Yorkers, including bolstering the state’s network of vaccine access points, and working to expand testing supplies. That also includes acting on the plan to vaccinate school-aged children five to 17, provide incentive programs, combat vaccine misinformation campaigns, increase vaccine awareness, deploy pop-up vaccines in targeted low-vaccination areas, and implement vaccine requirements for health care workers.

On August 24, the vaccination rate among adults with one dose was 78.8 percent. Today, it is 90.2 percent.

The administration is also urging everyone to get a booster shot once fully vaccinated.