New York Gov. Kathy Hochul (D) on Friday announced that masks will be required in most public indoor settings starting Jan. 15, 2022, in today's bite-sized hospital and health industry news from Illinois, New York, and Pennsylvania.
- Illinois: Abbott Laboratories on Friday announced that executive chairman and former CEO Miles White retired "after a remarkable 38-year career with the company." Robert Ford, who took over as Abbott's CEO last year, took on the additional title of chairman. "We're grateful for Miles' leadership and his exceptional work to transform Abbott into the leading health technology company that it is today," said William Osborn, lead director and chair of the Nominations and Governance committee. "Robert has continued to strengthen Abbott's position by advancing our industry-leading pipeline while managing the company's significant contributions during the pandemic." (Crain's Chicago Business/Modern Healthcare, 12/12)
- New York: New York Gov. Kathy Hochul (D) on Friday announced that masks will be required in all public indoor settings that do not enforce their own vaccine requirement. This decision was based on rising Covid-19 infections and hospitalizations, especially in areas of upstate New York. The mandate will go into effect on Jan. 15 for both patrons and staff. New York joins Washington, Oregon, Illinois, New Mexico, Nevada, and Hawaii with indoor mask mandates. "We're entering a time of uncertainty and we could either plateau here or our cases could get out of control," said Hochul. (AP/Modern Healthcare, 12/12)
- Pennsylvania: The Pennsylvania Supreme Court has blocked Gov. Tom Wolf's (D) K-12 school mask mandate. A lower court previously ruled that acting state health secretary, Alison Beam, did not have the authority to enforce a mask mandate, did not follow the state's laws to implement regulations, and acted with no disaster emergency enacted by the governor. Even with the lifted mask mandate, Wolf's administration has continually encouraged masking in schools. According to spokesperson Beth Rementer, "[t]he administration's top priority from the beginning of this pandemic has been and remains protecting public health and safety, including students and staff, to ensure in-person learning continues." She added, "Masking is a proven and simple way to keep kids in school without interruption and participate in sports and other extracurricular activities." (Lonas, The Hill, 12/10)