NEW YORK — The city's public hospital system is suspending most hospital visits as coronavirus cases spike amid the spread of the omicron variant.

The ban will go into effect starting Wednesday, NYC Health + Hospitals said in the announcement issued Tuesday evening.

“To address the new threats posed to our patients and staff by the highly transmissible COVID-19 Omicron variant, NYC Health + Hospitals has temporarily suspended patient visitations system-wide with few exceptions,” hospital officials said in a statement. “The City’s public health system has kept its patients, staff, and community members’ best interests at the forefront of all decisions made throughout the pandemic.”

Exceptions will be made for when the visit is "medically-necessary and essential to the patient’s care," for patients giving birth, an infant in the neonatal ICU, a pediatric patient, or a patient is in an end-of-life situation, the hospital system said.

Those who are allowed to visit must have vaccination proof or show a negative PCR test taken within 24 hours of the visit. Visitors who display COVID-19 symptoms will not be permitted to visit hospitals.

The move comes as nearly 63,500 people in the city tested positive for the virus in just five days. The city's seven-day average of positive COVID-19 tests hit 9.11% on Saturday, according to city data.

The omicron strain was detected in 90% of positive cases statewide last week, although hospitalizations have not skyrocketed at the same rate.​


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