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Hochul orders boosters for health workers | Public Service News

NEW YORK – COVID-19 booster vaccine doses will be mandatory for all healthcare workers in New York City and negative coronavirus tests will be required for visitors to state nursing homes and care facilities for adults by the middle of next week as part of the state’s latest efforts to slow transmission of the virus, Governor Kathleen C. Hochul said on Friday.

Do you support NY’s new mandate for COVID booster shots for healthcare workers?

All health care workers in the state must each receive a COVID-19 vaccine booster within two weeks of becoming eligible, or face suspension or termination.

“The staff get sick, they leave,” Hochul said. “We need them to get better. We need them to have the best fortification possible and that also means they get a booster. “

People are eligible to receive a COVID vaccine booster at least five months after the date they were fully vaccinated against upper respiratory tract disease with the Pfizer and Moderna double-shot injections, or at least two months after receiving the Johnson & Johnson vaccine to one injection. .

The requirement will not allow health workers to have a testing option and will only allow requests for medical exemptions.

All state health workers were required to receive at least one dose of an approved COVID vaccine by September 27, or lose their jobs. A court challenge to allow religious exemptions for the tenure was overturned in the fall.

Opponents of the rule say it will exacerbate staff shortages weighing on an exhausted workforce as the pandemic continues for the 22nd month.

Hochul retorted on Friday that the state’s limited health workers were increasingly ill from the surge in COVID-19 infections, and that the order would increase vaccine recalls among health workers in the country. State to prevent them from becoming seriously ill.

“We give them the booster and they can return to work faster without symptoms,” the governor said. “… We think it’s worth asking them to do the right thing once again. “

State visiting rules for nursing homes and adult care facilities will require all visitors and providers to provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test within 24 hours. Visitors are also required to wear disposable surgical masks inside the facility.

The new requirements take effect Wednesday.

“The last thing we want to do is create a situation where visitors come in and out and make their loved ones or their neighbors in the next room sick,” Hochul said of the increased costs. infections in nursing homes.

The new COVID protocols come after weeks of continuously rising rates of infection, hospitalizations and death.

Following the predicted surge of winter and the holiday season, the state’s COVID-19 infection rate has climbed to more than 22% – its highest since 2020.

Representatives from the Hochul office referred to the governor’s statements during Friday’s briefing on why the demands to curb the spread had not been implemented sooner.

The governor spoke by phone with officials from the United States Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services this week, asking them to allow New York to impose restrictions on visitors after the federal agency banned restrictions on visitors .

“Ideally, every visitor would be vaccinated and boosted, but we don’t have the power to create this restriction because of the CMS laws they’ve enacted, the regulations they’ve put in place,” she said. declared.

The state will send a supply of COVID test kits to all adult care facilities to help visitors test, but the governor has asked New Yorkers to test with evidence of negative results beforehand to alleviate the stress of overworked staff.

“I ask you to do this in advance, not to overburden the workers at the retirement home,” Hochul said. “… Bring the results, show us or do it in the parking lot.” But we’ll make sure every nursing home has the supplies they need to ensure visitors are tested and not positive when they walk through the door to potentially expose an entire facility. “

The state has deployed 120 National Guard medics to help, but has exhausted resources. Eighty more guards will be deployed to assist medical facilities in a matter of weeks, Hochul said, as they complete their training.

The White House will send 50 ambulances to the state after Hochul requested additional staff and crews in a call with White House officials this week, she said.

Just under half of the number of people hospitalized in the state with COVID-19 are receiving treatment for serious infections, Hochul said.

On average, 42% of the state’s 11,548 COVID patients in hospital were admitted for reasons unrelated to their infection.

About 32% of people hospitalized with COVID-19 in the north of the country and Finger Lakes, and 22% of patients infected with the virus in the capital region, are there for other purposes.

The state reports that 155 New Yorkers died of complications from a virus on Thursday, totaling at least 60,166 deaths in total.

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