Gov. Hochul: Health care vaccine mandate ‘the right thing to do’

State News

NEW YORK CITY (WROC) — Gov. Kathy Hochul hosted a COVID-19 briefing Thursday morning to update New Yorkers on the state’s ongoing coronavirus response efforts.

Gov. Hochul said the state’s seven-day average passivity rate is now 2.58%, down from Wednesday (2.67%) and Tuesday (2.65%). Each region’s seven-day average positivity rate is as follows:

  • Capital Region — 3.74%
  • Central New York — 5.15%
  • Finger Lakes — 4.41%
  • Long Island — 3.18%
  • Mid-Hudson — 2.62%
  • Mohawk Valley — 4.66%
  • New York City — 1.47%
  • North Country — 5.37%
  • Southern Tier — 3.59%
  • Western New York — 4.41%

The governor said the state has now administered more than 25 million doses of the COVID-19 mandate, adding that nearly 84% of New Yorkers 18 and older have received at least one dose.

“Our priority will be to reopen New York safely, and the answer for how to do that is getting vaccinated,” Gov. Hochul said.

The state’s vaccination progress, as of Thursday, is as follows:

  • 25,177,230 total doses administered
  • 64,294 doses administer in past 24 hours
  • 83.9% of New Yorkers 18+ with at least one dose
  • 75.3% of New Yorkers 18+ fully vaccinated
  • 66.3% of New Yorkers 12-17 with at least one dose
  • 56.4% of New Yorkers 12-17 fully vaccinated

“Still not happy with our 12-17 group,” Gov. Hochul said. “What are you waiting for? Your kids need this and it’s a great way to protect our children. We are continuing to focus on our young people.”

According to the governor, breakthrough cases remain rare throughout New York. Over the past week, the New York State Department of Health reported that breakthrough cases accounted for 0.7% of all new cases statewide, and just 0.05% of all virus hospitalizations. Gov. Hochul said those aforementioned numbers were the same numbers the week prior.

The state’s vaccine mandate for health care workers went into effect Monday, despite a legal battle over religious exemptions still playing out in the courts.

“My No. 1 job is to keep people in this state safe, and that’s why we were so serious about the health care vaccine mandate,” Gov. Hochul said. “It was the right thing to do. It was hard, but I stand by it.”

As of Wednesday, the governor said no health care facilities have been forced to close throughout New York since the mandate took effect.

“We got through a difficult week,” Gov. Hochul said. “I thank the people who stood up to protect the people of this state, protect their access to health care, and protect those around you; thank you.”

According to the governor, the mandate did lead to higher vaccination rates among hospital staff across the state.

“Vaccination rates are going up,” Gov. Hochul said. “77%, now 87% with at least one dose. You will see that number go up.”

Additionally, this week Gov. Hochul declared a state of emergency to deal potential health care staffing shortages. The order makes it easier for retired workers to get certified for employment and allows international medical experts to practice in New York hospitals.

The governor said hospital capacity levels are stable statewide, but said the majority of New York’s COVID-19 hospitalizations are from unvaccinated people.

“It’s truly the unvaccinated people populating our hospitals,” Gov. Hochul said. “They have a 10 times higher risk.”

The governor was asked about potentially primary challenges as she runs for re-election next year, but she dismissed the notion as a concern of hers.

“I don’t have time for the political noise,” Gov. Hochul said. “I’ve got to free New York from the clutches of COVID. I’ve got a job to do and that’s my focus.”


Check back with News 8 WROC as we will continue to update this developing story.

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