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New York issues new isolation guidance for frontline workers – New York Post

ALBANY — New York will cut down its 10-day COVID-19 isolation guidance for fully vaccinated people in the “critical workforce” – nursing homes, restaurants, grocery stores – permitting them to go back to work in five days if they’re asymptomatic or have resolved their symptoms. 

The guidance comes as the Empire State broke its daily record with more than 44,000 new COVID cases reported.

Gov. Kathy Hochul announced Friday the state will issue the new return-to-work guidance allowing fully inoculated individuals who have tested positive for the virus to go back to work five days later so long as they’re asymptomatic, have had no fever for 72 hours and aren’t on medication for the disease.

“We want to make sure that our critical workforce we’ve relied on from the beginning – and my heart goes out to them, we’re with filled with gratitude – that our workers can get back [to work],” said Hochul during a remote briefing from Albany.

“That includes our health care, elder care, home health care, sanitation, grocery stores, pharmacies, restaurants – you know who you are…you’re the ones that got us through the first many months of anxiety,” she said, adding those working in the transportation industry will also be covered by the adjusted rule. 

“We need you again, we need you to be able to go to work,” she added, noting it’s a way to stave off workforce shortages amid a rapid spike in positive cases as the highly contagious Omicron variant rages.

New York COVID case number statistics
Gov Kathy Hochul
New York hospitalization number statistics
Gov Kathy Hochul

Employees in the qualifying jobs must wear a mask when they return to work.

Hochul said the state is taking a cue from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which recently revised its 10-day isolation rule for those working in health care facilities.

“We’re always trying to adapt to changing data as we receive it and process it. So, this is a new announcement from the CDC,” she said, although the state’s new rules go further than the federal guidance.

The CDC on Thursday announced new recommendations that reduced isolation time for health care workers from 10 to seven days, but also noted the “isolation time can be cut further if there are staffing shortages.”

New York tallied 44,431 new individuals statewide who tested positive for the virus, up from the previous day’s 38,835 case count.

The new total is derived from the results of over 360,000 test results received – another record – according to Hochul. 

New York COVID statistics
Gov Kathy Hochul
New York vaccination statistics
Gov Kathy Hochul
New York booster shot statistics
Gov Kathy Hochul

Daily hospitalizations are also continuing to climb steadily, with 4,744 individuals in beds across the state – an increase of 210 people compared to the day before. 

New stats from the state Health Department released Friday show 25 hospitals – all located outside the five boroughs – must pause nonessential elective surgeries for two weeks, as they’ve hit the qualifying 10 percent or less bed capacity threshold. 

It’s a slight improvement compared to data from the week prior, when 28 hospitals were on the list.

Sixty-nine New Yorkers died from the virus.

Hochul also said each of the five boroughs will get a new subway station testing location starting next week, an update to the plan previously announced with the MTA to make testing more accessible to city denizens

Another 13 new state-run testing sites are slated to open next Wednesday, Dec. 29 to handle the surge in positive cases. Walk-in and appointment-based PCR and rapid antigen and PCR tests will be available.

There will be one new site opened per borough:

  • Manhattan: Adam Clayton Powell State Office Building on 163 West 125th St. open Monday to Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
  • Staten Island: Central Family Life Center on 59 Wright St, open Monday to Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • Bronx: Concourse Village Community Center at 777 Concourse Village East open from Monday to Saturday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • Brooklyn: Kings Plaza Mall at 5100 Kings Plaza, open from Monday to Saturday 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
  • Queens: York College Performing Arts Center at 94-45 Guy R Brewer Boulevard, open Monday to Saturday 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.
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