Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine

 New York State’s total of the highly contagious new Omicron variant, thus far, is eight: Seven cases from New York City and one from Suffolk County on Long Island.

Dave A. Chokshi, the New York City’s health commissioner, said of the Omicron variant in New York State, “There is community spread.” The cases, he said, are not just from people traveling to Africa, where the Omicron variant was first reported, or to other locations where it has been identified.

 Only 16 percent of adult New Yorkers have gotten booster shots. Of New Yorkers age 65 and older, 37 percent have received booster shots. The shots are needed because COVID-19 vaccines lose effectiveness over time.

As the first case of the Omicron variant in the United States was reported today — a fully vaccinated traveler from South Africa, returning to California — Governor Kathy Hochul, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, and Manhattan Congressman Jerry Nadler issued a joint statement on their congressional meeting today: 

As hospitalization rates approach what they were last April, hospitals in target areas will have non-essential, non-urgent procedures limited. The Capital Region, with just 10 percent of its hospital beds available, is one of the state’s three worst regions. The other two are the Finger Lakes at 9 percent and Central New York at 8 percent.