SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — While visiting the New York State Fairgrounds in Syracuse, Governor Kathy Hochul slammed Judge Thomas Rademaker of Nassau County’s ruling that she, nor the Department of Health, have the authority to mandate mask-wearing.

“We disagree 100% with the conclusion of the Judge, that in his opinion, though the Department of Health did not have the authority to protect public health. A Judge in Albany (had) the same fact pattern and came up with the opposite conclusion. So, we believe this will be settled very shortly,” Governor Hochul said.

The press conference also comes just hours after students at the high school in Mexico, New York, were refused entry into the building because they were not wearing masks. Students who spoke with NewsChannel 9 said it was their individual right to not wear a mask. Those same students admitted to being unvaccinated. Students were allowed inside the main entrance’s vestibule to keep warm.

More than 30 first responders were invited to watch Gov. Hochul’s coronavirus briefing at the New York State Fair. (Andrew Donovan)
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While Governor Hochul has vowed to pursue “every option to reverse (the ruling) immediately,” she understands why students and parents are tired of wearing masks. Hochul told the media will keep requirements in place longer than necessary, but she will not pull them a day before they can do it safely.

Citing other states’ poor record of keeping kids healthy in school, Hochul said New York’s mandate has helped children stay in school. She also announced the state’s intention of getting every child in the state a take-home COVID test before they leave for winter break.

Before the Governor would consider lifting a mask mandate in schools, she said she would look at:

  • Positivity Rates
  • Vaccination Rates
  • Overall Hospitalizations
  • Pediatric Hospitalizations

Most of those numbers are trending in the right direction for the Empire State. According to Gov. Hochul, the state has seen an 86% drop in its 7-day positivity average. She also said the number of hospitals forgoing elective surgeries is down to 32 from 47.

Later Tuesday, or possibly early Wednesday, Gov. Hochul said she believes there will be a ruling and they are optimistic. After that ruling, if it goes against the mandate, the state will pursue all its options. Including going through the legislature, though she said they disagree with the premise that they need to take such action.

You can watch Governor Hochul’s full press conference in the video player below: