Elective surgeries and other procedures will be halted at 32 hospitals in New York that are under a capacity strain amid a rise in COVID-19 cases across New York and a shortage of staffed beds.

The move, part of an executive order issued late last month by Gov. Kathy Hochul, will affect procedures scheduled for Thursday, Dec. 9.

The hospitals on the list were found to have remaining staffed bed capacity of 10% or less, or face other capacity issues deemed to be of enough concern to limit elective procedures and surgeries.

Procedures that were not covered by the governor's order include those relating to cancer and diagnostic reviews, neurosurgery, intractable pain, highly symptomatic patients, transplants, trauma, cardiac with symptoms, limb threatening vascular procedures and dialysis vascular access, according to the state Department of Health.

The order will also not impact patients who are in intractable pain, those at clinical risk if a procedure does not occur and highly symptomatic patients.

Capacity levels will be re-evaluated by the state on a rolling basis, giving hospitals an opportunity to come off the list and resume procedures. 



Hochul and state health officials have called for the limit on elective procedures as part of a surge-and-flex strategy to handle a capacity crunch made worse by a staffed bed shortage. Health care workers in recent months have left their jobs amid the stress of the COVID-19 pandemic as well as a mandate for vaccinations.

Complicating the staffing issues has been a shortage of workers in nursing homes, making it difficult for hospitals to discharge patients to those facilities as well, creating a backlog in the process.

Hochul's office on Monday announced 3,285 people were hospitalized in New York due to COVID, an increase of 49 patients from a day ago.

State health officials also announced four additional cases of the new omicron variant were discovered in the state.