ALBANY, N.Y. (WROC) — Governor Kathy Hochul signed an executive order Friday she said would help address staffing and capacity shortages at hospitals across New York State, ahead of any post-Thanksgiving spike in COVID-19 cases.

The “Disaster Emergency” executive order allows the New York State Department of Health to limit “non-essential, non-urgent” procedures in hospitals or health care systems with already limited capacity. The order defines “limited capacity” as below 10 percent staffed bed capacity, or at the discretion of the DOH “based on regional and health care utilization factors.”

The executive order also allows state agencies to step in to assist local municipalities if and when “the affected local governments are unable to respond adequately” to a variety of issues that may develop during the continuing pandemic.

“We’ve taken extraordinary action to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and combat this pandemic. However, we continue to see warning signs of spikes this upcoming winter, and while the new Omicron variant has yet to be detected in New York State, it’s coming,” Hochul said in a statement issued Friday. “The vaccine remains one of our greatest weapons in fighting the pandemic, and I encourage every New Yorker to get vaccinated, and get the booster if you’re fully vaccinated.”

Read the full executive order

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