State to shutter Southampton, 3 other mass vaccination sites, governor says
New York on Tuesday announced that four more mass-vaccination sites, including one in Southampton, would close, as the state's focus narrows to places where the fewest people are vaccinated, according to Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s office.
The "downscaling," as Cuomo’s office calls the closures, comes as the rate of usage at the once-overflowing sites continues to plummet from earlier in the year, a time when online appointments were snatched up seconds after being made available.
In addition to the Southampton site, which is at a hospital there run by Stony Brook University, the other state closures are Binghamton University at Gannett Drive; Aviation Mall in Queensbury; and the Diana Center at SUNY Orange, according to a news release from Cuomo’s office.
"Over the course of the coming weeks and months, the State will evaluate the remaining mass vaccination sites to determine future necessity as part of the strategic downscale based on demand, proximity to other vaccination sites, and other locally focused efforts," the release said. "The transition reflects the State's plan to focus resources in areas where the vaccination rate is lower than the statewide average."
Earlier this month, Cuomo’s office announced the closure of other mass-vaccination sites, including at Jones Beach, which gave its last shots Monday. The closures announced Tuesday take effect Monday.
Meanwhile, New York's coronavirus test positivity rate stood at 1.7% on Monday, up from 1.2% on Sunday, state figures show. On Long Island the positivity rate was 2.0% Monday, down from 2.3% on Sunday. That Sunday percentage was the highest since the Island registered a rate of 2.6% in daily tests on April 25.
Of 68,705 latest tests, 1,144 came back positive, state figures show.
Also Tuesday, Cuomo's office said that two more New Yorkers had died of coronavirus — one resident of Queens and another of Orange County. That brings the total number of New Yorkers who have died to 43,036, according to state figures. But it’s 53,445, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which also includes cases where the probable cause was coronavirus, a metric used by several other states. Only California, which has almost twice the population, has more deaths from the virus, the CDC tally shows.
In New York City, Mayor Bill de Blasio said at his daily news conference the city would not, as of now, reimpose an indoor masking mandate, as certain other municipalities, such as Los Angeles, were doing.
"There are places where we're requiring masks," such as on buses and trains and places with no mask mandate, de Blasio said. "But we also are, all of us, united strongly in not wanting people to think, ‘Oh, I have a mask, so I don't need to be vaccinated.’ We do not want to obscure the fact that a mask doesn't solve the problem," he said.
Dr. Dave Chokshi, the city health commissioner, called the vaccine "the closest thing that we have to a knockout punch."
De Blasio suggested stricter measures were to come to push vaccinations.
"This is getting insane," he said, adding: "We've been really nice, really communicative, really respectful, and come on, people, it's time to step forward and we're going to make that real clear."
And early Tuesday evening, a person briefed on de Blasio’s plans said he would announce on Wednesday a mandate that all municipal employees of public hospitals and clinics be vaccinated against the coronavirus — or submit to weekly testing. About a third of the employees remain unvaccinated.
The virus’ delta variant — a more infectious version first detected in India — now makes up about 83% of all sequenced cases in the United States, the CDC’s director said Tuesday. During the week of July 3, it was about 50%.
The disclosure came from the director, Dr. Rochelle Walensky, who was testifying at a U.S. Senate hearing.
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