Mayor-elect Eric Adams held COVID news conference unveiling his plans to
combat COVID in New York City as he prepares to take office this
He was joined by current Health Commissioner Dr. Dave Chokshi and incoming Health Commissioner Dr. Ashwin Vasan.
Adams said the plan is to, "Keep our city open. That's the goal. We can't shut down our city again."
As for existing mandates regarding vaccines and masks, they will stay in place with a few changes and adjustments.
The private-sector employee vaccine mandate will stay in place with a focus on compliance, not punishment. A dedicated unit will work with small businesses, stakeholders, and the mayor's corporate engagement committee to help implement the mandate, foregoing fines if employers engage with the city to help get their workers vaccinated.
The city will study the need for an "up to date" mandate program to require booster shots for all New Yorkers currently covered by the vaccine mandates and engage with unions, the business community, and other shareholders. The data shows that booster shots are extremely effective against Delta and earlier COVID strains, but the city says it does not yet have definitive data on omicron.
The city will set a deadline of this spring for a decision on whether or not there should be a vaccine mandate in schools for the fall of 2022. The decision will be based on expected COVID risk in city schools and vaccination rates among students.
All other current mandates stay in place, including for masks.
"We are going to get through this," Adams said. "New York will lead the way for this entire country to follow."
As for New York City Schools, they will fully reopen on January 3, and they will implement the Stay Safe, Stay Open plan.
It includes doubling surveillance testing and adjusting the Situation Room and quarantine protocols. Sending home millions of rapid at-home tests for students and educators.
They will also strengthen mitigation measures including higher quality masks and better ventilation.
Incoming-Mayor Adams says they will surge resources to the Health +
Hospitals system to ensure enough capacity to address new
hospitalizations from omicron. Ambulatory care will be shifted to
virtual when possible to shore up nurse staffing levels and other
He also plans to improve safety in congregate settings like jails, shelters, and nursing homes at high risk by supporting rapid isolation and quarantine. They will also provide ready access to vaccination and testing.
As far as COVID testing efforts for the city, the Adams administration plans to increase testing with more sites and mass-access to rapid tests.
The city says it will provide clear testing protocols for specific settings, including in the private sector.
The city will also surge resources to the Health Department, including more than 250 staff, to keep the public health infrastructure strong and at adequate capacity.