Northeastern governors plan to hand out tests and masks as COVID cases rise

Giving a COVID briefing on Monday at the Capitol in Albany, Governor Kathy Hochul said New York State was focusing on scaling up coronavirus testing, vaccination and population building, maintaining hospital capacity and keeping schools open.

“We have seen a significant increase in cases all around us. It’s a northeast phenomenon right now. Washington and all of the north, the Atlantic coast, New Jersey, all around us, Rhode Island, Delaware, Maryland, are all hit hard, almost as much as we are. So we’re seeing cases per 100,000 statewide up to 180, which is high. You can see where we’re trending, it’s no surprise, not something we weren’t preparing for, not something we weren’t ready for. But it’s still disturbing to see these numbers continue as they do, ”she said.

The Democrat says the majority of tests from the federal government will be distributed to schools in New York City. 1 million kits are being distributed outside of New York City, with 100 trucks delivering them this week. Hochul says she remains committed to schools remaining open amid the surge in cases.

“Most cases are not transmitted in schools. The children wear their masks. We want more vaccines, we want them to be stimulated at some point, as soon as possible, but we understand that it is not a good option to say that the children are going to go home again, ”he said. she declared. “Subject to possible changes in the future, but at the moment that’s absolutely our position. It is unwavering.

But cases among New York City children and nursing home residents have skyrocketed since early December. Pediatric hospitalizations have quadrupled. State Health Commissioner Mary Bassett said the majority of admissions were among the unvaccinated:

“Our vaccination rates among 5-11 year olds remain disappointing,” said Dr Bassett. “And I hope that parents will take the opportunity to vaccinate their children so that their children are protected. It is clear that vaccination reduces the risk of serious illness.

Hochul says nearly a third of nursing homes in the state have at least one resident with COVID.

“We’ve been very aggressive in providing booster shots to our nursing home population, but again, you can’t get a booster unless you’ve been vaccinated, and we’ve been trying to do that since we started. asked all care homes to make reminders. available, back around Thanksgiving, and if they had been successful we wouldn’t even have a problem right now, ”she said.

President Biden said on Monday that the omicron variant was a cause for concern, but no panic. The president virtually met with members of the National Governors Association, saying federal resources were being deployed to increase immunization and testing capacity:

“With an increase in cases, we still have tens of millions of unvaccinated people, and we are seeing increased hospitalizations,” Biden said. “This means that our hospitals in some places are going to be overrun, both in terms of equipment and staff. That’s why we have stocked and pre-positioned millions of gowns, gloves, masks and ventilators. We are mobilizing 1,000 additional military doctors and nurses to help hospital staff. “

Hochul signed a decree on Sunday that allows the Senate and the State Assembly to meet remotely until January 15. It comes on the eve of the new legislative session, which is due to start on January 5. Hochul was asked about the possibility of a remote legislative session again in 2022. She says the indoor mask / vaccination mandate will also be reviewed in mid-January.

“Everything will be evaluated at that time. We hope but cannot guarantee that the trend of this variant will be up, which we hope will start to go down soon, and then by the 15th we will start to see improvements, but if we don’t , we will be ready to expand them, ”she said. “And making sure the capital is safe and ensuring that our lawmakers do their business, but also in a safe manner.” So it evolves. The answer I am going to give you is that it evolves.

As a team from the Federal Emergency Management Agency integrates with the state’s emergency operations center – helping with ambulances, mobile tests and emergency clinical staff – Governor Hochul said that it would unveil a new winter COVID plan on New Year’s Friday night.

In Connecticut, Governor Ned Lamont outlines plans to distribute 3 million COVID-19 rapid home tests that the state will receive from the federal government. The Democrat said 500,000 kits, each containing two tests, will be distributed to the general public from Thursday and 1 million kits will be distributed to kindergarten in 12 schools across the state. Lamont discussed the state’s strategy at a Zoom press conference on Monday:

“We tried to take the lead ourselves and saw the urgency that a lot of people felt going on vacation to get tested, now on the way home to get tested,” he said. declared.

From January, the state also plans to distribute 6 million N95 masks. Lamont says keeping students in class is a priority.

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