Gov. Hochul COVID Update: Additional Tests on the Way — Booster Requirement for Health Care Workers — Protecting Nursing Home Residents

Happy New Year!    

It has been a busy week. On Wednesday, I delivered my first State of the State address, where I laid out my vision for our comeback from COVID and for using this opportunity to unlock a whole New Era for New York. Learn more about that vision here.     We continue to fight the winter surge and closely monitor hospitalizations. Over 95% of New Yorkers have at least one vaccine dose, and booster rates continue to climb — people are using the tools known to prevent severe illness, and that’s great news! However, only 31% of children ages 5-11 are partly vaccinated. Parents and guardians: Please get your children vaccinated.     As part of our Winter Surge Plan, we continue to make vaccines, boosters, testing, and masks more widely available – and are working to support hospitals and keep schools open.     Let’s dive in.  


EXPANDED TESTING CAPACITY. We ordered an additional 12 million tests this week, bringing our total tests ordered to 49 million. On top of our 1,800+ testing sites, starting next week four additional MTA testing sites will open and 20 total SUNY campuses will offer testing. Find a testing location near you.    

MORE TESTS FOR SCHOOLS. Last week, we delivered 6.18 million tests to schools, including more than three million to New York City schools. Public and charter schools have the tests to implement Test to Stay next week, and more tests are on the way.    HEALTH

CARE WORKER BOOSTER REQUIREMENT. We’ve seen facilities stressed because some are unvaccinated, and others are vaccinated but not boosted. That’s why I announced a plan for a first-in-the-nation booster requirement for health care workers. More is coming on this soon.  

PROTECTING NURSING HOME RESIDENTS. I understand how important it is to stay connected with loved ones in nursing homes. That’s why I announced new requirements to keep visitors and residents safe. Starting Wednesday, visitors must wear “surgical”-type masks and have a negative COVID test within 24 hours of visiting.  


THIS WEEK’S COVID TRENDS. As of January 8, 2022, 11,747 New Yorkers are hospitalized with COVID-19. Our 7-day percentage positivity average is 21.71%, which is up from 21.49% last week. There were 379.43 cases per 100K statewide.   Per the CDC as of January 8, 2022, 95.0% of adult New Yorkers have received at least one vaccine dose. So far, 34,384,727 total vaccine doses have been administered, and 86,927 doses have been administered over the past 24 hours.

      Governor Hochul stands masked with group of people masked holding their arm up.  
Photo of the Day: On December 29, I visited health care workers at the Samaritan Medical Center in Watertown to thank them for their hard work that they, and all their colleagues across the state, do for us. (Photo by Kevin Coughlin)


Every week, we’re answering some commonly asked questions about COVID-19 and vaccinations. You can submit a question for a chance to get your question answered in next week’s newsletter. Submit your question here.      

When will the children ages 12-15 be eligible to receive their boosters? (Jessica, Rockland)   ANSWER:     New guidance recommends booster doses for all New Yorkers ages 12 and older. The guidance, following action by the CDC, recommends that people, including the newly authorized 12-15 year-old age group, who received the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine should receive a booster dose at least fivemonths after their second dose; the previous recommended interval was at least six months. In addition, moderately to severely immunocompromised 5-11-year-olds can receive an additional primary dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine 28 days after their second dose. At this time, only the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is authorized and recommended for children ages 5-11.     

All state mass vaccination sites are now offering Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine booster doses for New Yorkers 12 years of age and older, as well as third doses for immunocompromised people 5 years and older. For more information on boosters and additional doses, see the State’s dedicated page here.     

Keep using the tools we know can beat back the virus: get vaccinated, get boosted, get tested, and wear a mask. Have a great rest of the weekend and start to your week, New York!    

Ever Upward,  

Governor Kathy Hochul