Hochul issues executive order to prepare for spread of omicron variant

Hochul issues executive order to prepare for spread of omicron variant
Concerns surrounding the Omicron variant of the coronavirus resulted in Gov. Kathy Hochul signing an executive order to prepare hospitals for a potential spread. (Photo courtesy of NYU-Langone)

Though the North Shore continues to near full vaccination rates, concerns about the new omicron variant of the coronavirus resulted in Gov. Kathy Hochul signing an executive order for hospitals in preparation for cases.

On Friday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said the agency will continue to monitor the variant’s spread throughout the world. No cases of the variant have been reported in the United States as of Wednesday, but it has been found in 20 countries, health officials have reported.

“CDC is continuously monitoring variants and the U.S. variant surveillance system has reliably detected new variants in this country,”  the agency said. “We expect Omicron to be identified quickly, if it emerges in the U.S.”

Hochul issued an executive order last week that permits the state’s Department of Health to limit “non-essential, non-urgent procedures for in-hospitals or systems with limited capacity to protect access to critical health care services.” Limited capacity is defined as less than 10 percent of staffed bed capacity unless otherwise determined by the Department of Health.

The new protocols, Hochul said, will go into effect on Friday and will be reassessed on Jan. 15, dependent on new COVID-19 data from the Department of Health. The executive order, she said, will also help the state acquire more supplies to combat the virus, if needed.

“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 last week. “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.”

As of Wednesday, 74.8 percent of Nassau County was fully vaccinated, according to figures from the state’s Department of Health. Since the beginning of the pandemic, Nassau County has had 225,634 cases of the virus as of Tuesday and 5,149 virus-related deaths, according to the figures.

Statistics also showed that two ZIP codes on the North Shore were fully vaccinated as of Wednesday. Roslyn’s 11576 ZIP code and Great Neck’s 11020 ZIP code led the way in vaccination efforts with 100 percent inoculation rates. The 11020 ZIP code consists primarily of the Village of Lake Success and University Gardens. Some of this area is also made up of Great Neck South Middle and High School, North Shore Hebrew Academy and the Fresh Meadow Country Club.

The 11042 ZIP code of New Hyde Park continues to have the lowest rate at 24.3 percent of people vaccinated, according to statistics. That area, however, consists primarily of businesses south of Northern State Parkway and along Marcus Avenue.

The next lowest vaccination rate on the North Shore is the 78.7 percent in the 11024 ZIP code of the Great Neck peninsula, which includes the Village of Kings Point. The next lowest one is also in Great Neck, with the 11023 ZIP code at an 83.5 percent rate, according to the figures. This area incorporates parts of the villages of Great Neck and Saddle Rock, along with Great Neck Gardens and Harbor Hills.

The statistics also show vaccination rates of 97.4 percent in Port Washington, 95.5 percent in Albertson, 94.6 percent in New Hyde Park’s 11040 ZIP code, 94.5 percent in Great Neck’s 11021 ZIP code, 94 percent in Roslyn Heights, 92.6 percent in Williston Park, 92.5 percent in Mineola, 89.2 percent in Manhasset and 84.6 percent in Floral Park.

In total, the 13 North Shore ZIP codes average a 93.9 percent vaccination rate. Without the 24.3 percent figure in the 11042 ZIP code, the average for the remaining 12 ZIP codes increases to 99.7 percent.

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