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Executive order gives DOH ability to limit non-urgent health procedures amid rising COVID cases

A treatment area in the emergency room at Bay State Medical Center in Springfield, MA
A file photo of an emergency room treatment area

Beginning Friday, December 3rd, the New York State Department of Health will be allowed to limit non-essential, non-urgent healthcare procedures as rising COVID cases threaten to overwhelm hospitals.

The policy will allow DOH to restrict procedures when staffed bed capacity falls below ten percent, or when otherwise determined due to local and environmental factors.

Democratic Governor Kathy Hochul, who declared a state of emergency over the weekend as world leaders monitor the spread of the new Omicron coronavirus variant, said the executive order is to prepare for potential COVID spikes. The protocol will be reassessed on January 15th.