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Curran: Nassau Coliseum to be a COVID-19 vaccination site

The Nassau Coliseum last June.

The Nassau Coliseum last June. Credit: Newsday / Thomas A. Ferrara

Nassau Coliseum will be turned into a mass COVID-19 vaccination site later this month, County Executive Laura Curran announced Saturday.

"We’re focused on continuing to ramp up our capacity for vaccination as more supply is anticipated to arrive in the coming weeks," Curran said in a statement. "All of our residents must have access to the COVID-19 vaccine, and this iconic site will give us the ability to deliver the vaccine rapidly."

The Coliseum joins Nassau Community College in Garden City and the Yes We Can Community Center in New Cassel as long-term, county-run vaccination sites.

Details, including the opening date and hours, will be announced later, said Curran spokesman Michael Fricchione.

The New York Islanders have games scheduled at the Coliseum through May 8, plus possible playoff games. Vaccinations will be in the lower-level exhibition hall.

The Nassau County Legislature’s presiding officer, Richard Nicolello (R-New Hyde Park), on Feb. 4 called on behalf of the Republican majority for a vaccination site at the Coliseum. At the time, Curran, a Democrat, said more sites would be open as more vaccine becomes available.

Curran's announcement came after the office of Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo on Saturday said COVID-19 hospitalizations statewide dropped below 5,000 for the first time since early December, and the positivity rate fell as well.

The 2.8% positivity rate is the lowest since Nov. 21. Experts have warned of the potential for the rate to rise again because of the spread of more contagious coronavirus variants.

The seven-day positivity average on Long Island fell slightly on Friday, to 4.19%, after rising on Thursday. Long Island and the Mid-Hudson region have the state’s highest seven-day positivity rate. The statewide seven-day average is 3.15%.

The 4,954 COVID-19 hospitalizations is the lowest number since Dec. 7 and a sharp drop since mid-January. The post-holiday peak of 9,273 on Jan. 19 was the highest number since early May.

Fourteen more Long Islanders died of COVID-19 on Friday: eight in Nassau County and six in Suffolk. There were 78 deaths statewide.

Another 643 Nassau residents received positive coronavirus test results on Friday, as did 590 people in Suffolk and 6,414 in the rest of the state.

More than 3.52 million New Yorkers had received at least one dose of vaccine by Saturday morning, and 1.82 million had received two, state data shows.

On Long Island, 85.3% of the first and second doses that have been received have been administered — the second lowest of New York's 10 regions, after the Mohawk Valley, the state said. The statewide rate is 90.1%.

Vaccination rates among Black and Latino New Yorkers continued to lag behind those of other residents.

On Long Island, Latinos represent 16.9% of the population 15 and older but only 7.6% of those vaccinated. Black residents are 10.7% of the region's population 15 and older but 5.3% of those vaccinated.

The past week was the first during which the state received the newly authorized Johnson & Johnson vaccine, which requires only one shot. The Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines require two.

New York as of Saturday had received more than 702,000 doses of the three vaccines, or about 80% of the state's weekly allocation, the state reported. The other 20% is expected by the end of the day Sunday.

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