New York Governor Kathy Hochul is announcing a new “Winter Toolkit” for fighting the continued COVID-19 pandemic.

While the mandate requiring masks in indoor public settings has been lifted, the Democrat says the fight is not over and a new phase of the pandemic is beginning.

Hochul on February 9 outlined a five-step plan for the ongoing battle.

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One of the steps is “Empowering Local Leaders”.  Tioga County Legislative Chair and President of the New York State Association of Counties, Martha Sauerbrey says, “Local leaders and health officials have the training and public health expertise to ensure the health and safety of the public at large” and she says the leaders welcome “the opportunity to return communicable disease control to the counties.”

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Other tools include protecting vulnerable populations like nursing home residents by continuing to acquire and distribute masks and tests to those who need them and continue the visitation rules in nursing homes, increase access to shots and testing, strengthen the health system through continuing to use National Guard personnel at stressed facilities and invest in training, wages and bonuses of staff and support New Yorkers dealing with long-term COVID.

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