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NY Gov announces plan to boost hospital capacity and address staff shortage in response to Omicron

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‘It’s coming’: New York Gov Kathy Hochul announces urgent action to boost hospital capacity and address staffing shortages in response to new Covid variant Omicron after Biden announced the US will ban travel from eight African countries

  • Hochul on Friday announced that hospitals have the option of canceling of elective surgeries to free up staff and facilities
  • Her move was in response to the new COVID variant Omicron, which begun in Botswana and is spreading rapidly in South Africa
  • It has now been found in Hong Kong, Israel and Belgium
  • Hochul also declared a ‘disaster state’ due to COVID levels being at a rate not seen in the state since April 2020
  • She stressed that Omicron has not yet been found in the U.S. but experts believe it is only a matter of time 


The governor of New York on Friday announced that hospitals could cancel elective surgeries in preparation for an expected surge in COVID-19 cases, as the US bans flights from eight Southern African countries to try and prevent the new variant, Omicron, from arriving.

Kathy Hochul on Friday said that all non-urgent procedures could be postponed, beginning December 3.

Hours earlier, Joe Biden confirmed that travel from South Africa and seven other countries in the region had been halted. 

The new variant was first found in Botswana and has since moved to South Africa, where it is spreading rapidly through six provinces.

It has also been found in Hong Kong, Israel and Belgium. 

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