New York has administered 1.4 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine in the last seven days, a record since the state began inoculating people in December, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo said Thursday.
The governor hailed the milestone as New York races to vaccinate enough people before more contagious and possibly more lethal variants of the virus take hold.
Nassau County marked its own milestone, as County Executive Laura Curran announced that 500,000 residents had received their first COVID-19 shot. That accounted for about half the county’s adult population.
Cuomo said, "As the warmer weather and increased economic activity bring more people out of their homes, making sure that every New Yorker gets vaccinated is more important than ever."
A total of 233,754 doses were administered across the state in the last 24 hours, with a total of 9.5 million vaccines injected into people’s arms since December, Cuomo said.
Nearly one third of the state population has received at least one shot of the vaccine, according to state data released Thursday, and almost one fifth are fully vaccinated.
The increase in vaccinations is "incredible," said Dr. Jason Golbin, senior vice president and chief quality officer at Rockville Centre-based Catholic Health Services.
"Each vaccine administered is one less patient that I have a chance of seeing with critical COVID at the hospital," Golbin said. "Unfortunately, we have a stubborn stability at this point. We go up and down a little, but we seem to be stuck, and it's frustrating. Seeing the increase in vaccinations is the best sign I can hope for that we break out of this."
Golbin continues to recommend anyone who can get vaccinated "should do so, unless there is a medical reason not to," he said.
The number of doses being shipped to New York by the federal government is starting to ramp up rapidly, according to the data. Cuomo said the "week 16" allocation was in the process of being delivered to providers. Demand still far outstrips supply, he said, and New York needs many more dosages than it is receiving.
"The fight against COVID is far from over, and the vaccine is the weapon that will win this war," Cuomo said. He urged people to "remain patient" and not to show up at vaccination sites without an appointment.
In Nassau, 36.7% have gotten one dose
Tom D'Angelo, who runs home infusion pharmacy Americare in Garden City South and Franklin Square Pharmacy in Franklin Square, said he was getting requests from patients, but he had received fewer vaccine doses than in the past.
"We received 100 Johnson & Johnson doses and a bunch of Moderna second shots," he said. "At one point, we were getting 700 to 800 first doses. We hope that picks up again, because we are in the community and we can vaccinate plenty of people if we get the inventory."
D'Angelo added "they might have diverted some of our supplies to the mass vaccination sites."
In Nassau, 36.7% of residents have received at least one dose of the vaccine, the highest percentage of any county in the state with a population over 500,000, Curran said.
"The county has been leading the state in vaccinations, and we will continue to move full speed ahead to get our residents protected against this deadly virus," Curran said in a statement.
Currently, state residents age 30 and older are eligible to receive shots, and on Tuesday the age limit will drop to 16.
The rate of vaccinations is offering some hope for returning to a somewhat normal life by the summer on Long Island and throughout the state.
At the current rate, 70% of Long Islanders will have received at least one dose of the vaccine by May 31, and 90% by July 3, according to calculations by Newsday.
Some 70% will be fully vaccinated by July 2, and 90% by Aug. 9.
Statewide, 70% of New Yorkers will have received at least one shot by June 15, and 90% by July 25.
Some 70% of New Yorkers will be fully vaccinated by June 30, and 90% by Aug. 5.
Another sign of the trudge back to normalcy came Thursday as Jake’s 58 in Islandia announced it would return to its pre-pandemic hours on Monday. Casino owner Delaware North said the Suffolk OTB video-lottery betting parlor would resume operating from 8 a.m. to 4 a.m. daily. It has been operating from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. since reopening in September.
Jake’s will continue operating at 25% capacity, the maximum allowed under state pandemic regulations.
Positivity numbers not declining
While the state and Long Island are making progress in vaccinating people, the number of confirmed cases and the levels of positivity in COVID-19 tests is not declining and remains at a "plateau" that refuses to drop, state data shows.
The statewide daily positivity level in test results from Wednesday was 3.71%, while the seven-day average was 3.58% statewide and 4.39% on Long Island.
Those levels have remained relatively constant for weeks. In the summer, the level was about 1% statewide and on Long Island.
The number of new confirmed cases in test results Wednesday was 689 in Nassau County, 764 in Suffolk County, and 4,322 in New York City. During the summer, the figures in each county was well below 100.
Statewide, 56 people died on Wednesday of COVID-19-related causes, including four in Nassau and seven in Suffolk.
With Carl MacGowan
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