Jennifer Korn and Joe Kuhn
New York State is continuing to make progress in the fight against Covid-19. This week, during an update on the state’s vaccine rollout and infection rates, Governor Cuomo announced that New York’s Statewide Positivity Rate has dipped to 4.68% and that the seven-day average positivity rate has been steadily declining for the past 26 days. This week 120 Rocklanders tested positive for the virus, bringing the total number of cases county-wide to 34,950.
Despite appointment cancellations caused by the snowstorm earlier this week, Cuomo insisted that none of the canceled appointments would be lost. “They will all be rescheduled when conditions are safer,” said Cuomo.
Cuomo also announced that Aero Healthcare, a global healthcare supply manufacturer and distributor, will be expanding its Rockland operations thanks to a grant from the state government. Aero was one of 36 companies awarded state funds in order to “provide faster and more secure access to medical supplies” for New York residents. The company plans to expand its existing facility to bottle hand sanitizer and manufacture the plastic bottles and pumps for its containers; at full production, Aero will produce 200,000 units of hand sanitizer per week.
But while the rate of infection declined and supply chains are expanded, the state continues to lag behind in administering vaccinations.
As of noon on Monday, distribution sites have administered 90 percent of first doses received by the federal government’s week seven allocation. The federal government will not begin to deliver the week eight allocation until the middle of this week.
Cuomo explained that vaccination sites have continuously exhausted their supply and are left waiting to receive more doses. “This is not unique to New York, it’s happening in states across the nation because the previous administration grossly mismanaged and politicized the vaccine distribution process from the beginning by not ordering enough vaccines from manufacturers,” said Cuomo. “With new leadership in Washington, the light at the end of the tunnel is in sight but we must manage our expectations. Production of the vaccine alone will take six to nine months. In the meantime, we will continue to distribute the supply we do get quickly and fairly as we have from the start.”
About 7.1 million New York residents qualify for the vaccine. Although the federal government has increased the weekly supply by 20 percent over the next three weeks, the state’s distribution network and volume of eligible individuals greatly exceed the weekly allocation.
New Yorkers can determine their eligibility and schedule an appointment at a state-run mass vaccination site by visiting the ‘Am I Eligible’ website. Citizens may also call their local health department, pharmacy, doctor, or hospital for additional information and to schedule appointments where vaccines are available.