Governor Hochul visits north country, thanks health care workers

Published: Dec. 29, 2021 at 8:36 AM EST
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WATERTOWN, New York (WWNY) - Governor Kathy Hochul made a sweep through the north country Wednesday, making stops at area hospitals to share her thanks with health care workers and listen to their needs.

The governor stopped at Samaritan Medical Center in Watertown.

The event was closed to the press, but Samaritan spokesperson Leslie DiStefano shared what the governor had to say.

“Really wanted to thank the people working on the front lines of COVID,” DiStefano said. “That was really the individuals that we had there. Really talk to them, learn a little bit about what they do on a day-in, day-out basis for our COVID care. And then thank them for everything that they’re doing and making certain that they hear her message about vaccines and trying to get resources where they’re needed.”

It provided a platform for Samaritan staff and county officials to share what they need from the state.

“Everything that we could possibly use, whether it’s staffing support. Or, as you know, National Guard support,” said DiStefano.

“Vaccine clinics, testing. All of those things that really matter to us right now. And reaffirm that we need that to keep moving forward,” said Jefferson County Board of Legislators Chairman Scott Gray.

Hochul’s next stop was Canton-Potsdam Hospital in St. Lawrence County. Outside, a handful of people protested the COVID-19 vaccine mandate for health care workers and the governor’s decision to close Ogdensburg Correctional Facility.

The north country tour ended with a news conference in Plattsburgh, where Hochul shared the latest COVD-19 numbers.

The state had a record 67,000 positive COVID cases Tuesday and is getting ready for more after the holidays.

“We’re basically preparing for a January surge. We know it’s coming,” said Hochul.

The governor also showed gratitude to all health care workers and implored people to protect themselves.

“Getting vaccinated, getting children vaccinated, getting the booster shots, wearing the mask,” she said.

Hochul also used her news conference to talk about the state’s Test to Stay program, meant to help keep kids in the classroom by giving them access to COVID tests right after an exposure at school.

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