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Gov. Hochul: Tens Of Millions Of Dollars Will Soon Be Available To Local Governments For COVID Booster Shot Infrastructure

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- Gov. Kathy Hochul held her first COVID-19 briefing on Tuesday and announced a robust booster vaccination program among a number of new measures to deal with the Delta variant.

But in a stark departure from her predecessor, she said she's not going to issue open-ended mandates that leave no room for localities to determine what works best for them, CBS2's Marcia Kramer reported.

Watch: Gov. Hochul's COVID Press Conference

Hochul went home to Buffalo for her first COVID briefing, but if you were expecting the lengthy PowerPoint productions like those from the man whose name must now not be mentioned, forget it. She spoke for just 18 minutes, and let it be known that while she was thrilled to sleep in her own bed she is not thrilled with the increase in people getting sick from the Delta variant.

"Don't like those numbers, my friends. Don't like those numbers," Hochul said.

READ MORECOVID Booster Shots: When Are They Needed? Are They Effective Against The Delta Variant?

The new governor was taking about New York's daily COVID infection rate, which is now approaching 4%, as she announced a number of new initiatives to combat it.

Hochul made it clear by how she did it -- standing alone at a podium, no Andrew Cuomo PowerPoint production number from her -- that she is a different breed of cat than the man she succeeded.

And, no, controversial Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker was not at her side as she announced a $65 million program to make sure New Yorkers get booster shots to protect from Delta and other COVID variants.

"We also know it has to be a targeted approach because everyone who got vaccinated eight months ago is vulnerable. A lot of anxiety," Hochul said.


She also announced a statewide weekly testing requirement for school staff and efforts to enforce a vaccine mandate for staff at regulated health care facilities, like nursing homes and congregate sites. She said she also wants to return some of the decision making, including vaccine locations, to local health departments.

"I will not be micromanaging, but I'll be giving guidance based on your input," Hochul said. "I'll be giving you the cover you need. I'll be there to be the ally. But I will not be imposing state, people and locations on you without consultation."

READ MOREMore Tri-State Area Businesses Requiring Proof Of Vaccination As Health Officials Release New Guidance About COVID Booster Shots

Hochul, who has been something of an Energizer bunny since she took office a week ago, also said she was working to restart the state's marijuana program that was stalled by Cuomo. She said she's quickly going to name people to run the state Office of Cannabis Management to get the program up and running.

"I was concerned about next year's growing season. This is something that will be a boon to farmers upstate, Long Island, elsewhere, as well as creating a whole new industry. There will be thousands of jobs associated with this," Hochul said.

The governor also announced a replacement for Linda Lacewell, who headed the powerful Department of Financial Services. Lacewell quit after state Attorney General Letitia James' report found that she helped Cuomo craft responses to the 11 women who accused him of sexual harassment.

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