UPDATED 12:13 PM PT – Sunday, November 28, 2021
New York Gov. Kathy Hochul (D) declared a state of emergency to prepare for the new Omicron variant.
The governor made the announcement on Friday, amid a surge in cases and the emergence of the new strain. The declaration goes into effect Dec. 3 and will reportedly allow the state to acquire medical supplies and increase hospital capacity.
Additionally, the order allows hospitals to turn away patients seeking non-urgent or non-essential services in order to ensure enough resources to treat COVID infected patients.
“We continue to see warning signs of spikes in COVID this winter, and while the new Omicron variant has yet to be detected in New York State, it’s coming,” Hochul said in a tweet.
NEW: New York Governor Kathy Hochul issues state of emergency in response to #Omicron variant.
The state of emergency allows the New York Department of Health to limit non-essential and non-urgent hospital procedures in some situations.
— Preston Phillips 🇺🇸 (@PrestonTVNews) November 27, 2021
In the meantime, Hochul has advised New Yorkers get vaccinated or get the booster shot if they haven’t already. Additionally, Joe Biden has restricted travel from eight countries in southern Africa in order to mitigate the spread. The Omicron variant was first detected in South Africa, but has already made its way to several other countries.