What to Know
- The Manhattan District Attorney's Office is facing a COVID-19 outbreak among some of its staff following an off-site holiday party, the office confirms.
- Some of the affected employees are experiencing mild to moderate symptoms to date, the office said.
- The outbreak has caused staffing shortages within the department.
The Manhattan District Attorney's Office is facing a COVID-19 outbreak among some of its staff following an off-site holiday party, the office confirms.
It wasn't immediately clear how many people were affected, but the Daily News reported an entire bureau had to quarantine.
"Unfortunately, over the last few days our DANY family has experienced a material uptick in COVID cases among our staff members mainly stemming from attendance at an offsite holiday party," a letter sent out to employees by Administrative ADA Bonnie Sard reads in part.
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According to the letter, some of the affected employees are experiencing mild to moderate symptoms to date.
The outbreak has caused staffing shortages within the department since those who have tested positive must quarantine as well as others in the department.
"Those who have tested positive must quarantine, and in an abundance of caution we have asked many members of the impacted department to avoid coming into the office for the time being," according to Sard's letter to employees.
The outbreak has also resulted in the District Attorney's Office instructing the cancelation of all in-site holiday parties, which also "strongly discouraging" hosting off-site holiday parties.
"The health and safety of our staff continues to be of paramount importance, and it is with this in mind that we are instructing all bureaus, units and departments to cancel any on-site holiday or social gatherings through the end of the year. In addition, we are strongly discouraging all bureaus, units and departments from hosting off-site holiday parties," Sard's letter reads.
The outbreak comes amid an omicron-fueled COVID case surge that has seen citywide weekly COVID averages soar 41% over the averages for the prior four weeks and a delta-driven spike in hospitalizations that is prompting drastic new action by the state.
The state COVID case rate per 100,000 residents is up 58% since Thanksgiving, Gov. Kathy Hochul said Tuesday, marking an increase from 43% in just the last week. The hospitalization metric is even more jarring: That rate per 100,000 residents is up 70% since Thanksgiving, Hochul said. On Friday, it was up 59%.
Total hospitalizations have now surpassed 3,700 for the first time since April 20 and are up 92% in the last month alone.
New York isn't alone in experiencing what Hochul described as a full-on holiday surge. A number of states, California among the latest, have reimposed mask or vaccination (or both) mandates in hopes of stemming the winter COVID tide.