LETTER FROM GOVERNOR KATHY HOCHUL ON HER DECISION TO LIFT MASK/OR VACCINATION MANDATE IN BUSINESSES

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 I want to give you an update on our progress in the pandemic and the blueprint for moving forward. Our overall cases, positivity rate, and hospitalizations are down, while our hospital capacity, vaccination rates and booster rates are up. Back on January 9, the peak of the winter surge, there were nearly 382 cases per 100,000 people. Today, there were under 31 cases per 100,000 people — among the lowest in the nation. The numbers are clear — we are seeing major improvement on the key metrics we’ve been tracking throughout this pandemic.

We are not where we were in early December, and I want to thank New Yorkers for doing the right thing to help us get through this winter surge. But make no mistake about it: This pandemic is not over. Our fight against COVID-19 continues, and I’ve put together a five-point toolkit that ensures we keep New Yorkers safe and plan for the future, including a first-in-the-nation effort to help those experiencing long-term effects from COVID. We’re moving in the right direction and our winter toolkit lays out our path forward.

Given the rapid decline of cases and hospitalizations, we are now lifting the statewide mask-or-vaccine requirement for indoor businesses starting today, February 10. Counties, cities and businesses can still choose to require masks. The mask requirement remains in effect statewide for specific settings like health care facilities, nursing homes, and schools.

We’re continuing to track many key metrics and to take steps to keep kids safe, including sending every K-12 student home with two COVID tests ahead of the Midwinter break. I’ll continue looking closely at the numbers and working with education partners, and I will make an assessment on school masking in early March.

THE LATEST ON THE NUMBERS

THIS WEEK’S COVID TRENDS. As of February 9, 2022, 4,398 New Yorkers are hospitalized with COVID-19. Our 7-day percentage positivity average is 3.88%, which is down from 5.51% last week. There were 30.88 cases per 100K statewide.   

Per the CDC as of February 10, 2022, 85.0% of adult New Yorkers have completed their vaccine series. So far, 36,341,991 total vaccine doses have been administered, with 47,976 doses administered over the past 24 hours.  

Governor Hochul stands at podium

Photo of the Day: Yesterday, I laid out my plan for a new phase of COVID response (Photo by Don Pollard) 

ANSWERING YOUR QUESTIONS

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.   

QUESTION: What can you do to ensure students are kept safe in schools from COVID-19? (Heather, Ontario County)  

ANSWER:   

I know how important it is to make sure our kids are safe and in the classroom. As part of our winter surge plan, we’ve distributed over 14 million tests to students in public, charter, and private schools. Masks are still required at schools throughout the state and I am working with teachers, administrators, school boards, & parents on any future guidance. The vaccines are among our best tools to keep our kids safe in schools, and New Yorkers age 5 and up are eligible to get the vaccineYou can learn more about how we’re keeping kids and staff safe in schools here. 

New Yorkers, thank you for being smart, doing the right thing, and helping us to get through this winter surge. Let’s keep working together to fight the pandemic and keep each other safe.   

Ever Upward,

Governor Kathy Hochul

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