In her first coronavirus briefing, Governor Kathy Hochul said there would be a “a new philosophy” in state pandemic management.
Speaking from her hometown of Buffalo, Hochul said that under her, local health departments will have more autonomy.
“I will not be micromanaging, but I will be giving guidance based on your input. I will give you the cover you need,” Hochul said. “You tell us where there’s gaps, tell us where something can be enhanced by the state and we’ll be there.”
She announced that all school personnel will be required to be vaccinated or face weekly testing, adding, “we’re in the process of getting the legal clearance for that.” She said that she does not have the legal authority to mandate vaccines without exceptions.
All employees in hospitals and long-term care facilities are required be to vaccinated without exceptions, and Hochul said she is considering making vaccines mandatory without exceptions for employees at state-run congregate facilities.
An additional $65 million will be available to local health departments to support building infrastructure for the quick and reliable distribution of booster shots.
As for mask mandates, Hochul said, “I’m not leaving open ended mandates…I’ll be very flexible in allowing localities to talk to me about what’s happening on the ground in their communities. So this is not a universal imposition, but it does have to be universal lifting at the same time.”