Get tested for COVID-19 before and after holiday gatherings, NYC mayor advises

Get tested for COVID-19 before and after holiday gatherings,
NYC mayor advises 1

Mayor Bill de Blasio and city health officials offered new guidance on Wednesday for people getting together with others over the holidays: get tested for COVID-19 before and after the event.

The guidance applies to everyone, the mayor said, even those who are vaccinated celebrating the holidays with vaccinated people.

“Get tested, because you’ll know you’re safe. You’ll know what’s going on and, God forbid you get a positive, you know what to do,” he said at his daily news briefing Wednesday.

Dr. Ted Long, director of the city’s Test and Trace Corps, said people traveling to see loved ones should also get a test after the event and before they return home.

“Before you come home, get tested again because you don’t want to bring COVID back home,” Long said.

Holiday travel is “coming back” and people face more risk of getting sick in the winter, the mayor said. He urged people to get vaccinated and obtain a booster shot, as well.

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The mayor also offered an update on the inoculation of young people in the city ages 5 to 11, saying that 75,000 of them have gotten the shot.

“That’s a great start,” de Blasio said, noting that this vaccination effort began two weeks ago.

There’s been a lot of demand for shots at school sites, and people in general are responding to the $100 incentive to become inoculated, he said. The $100 incentive is available to anyone who obtains their first vaccine shot at a vaccination site operated by the city or public school.

A total of 400,000 New Yorkers have obtained the $100 incentive, and 87,000 of them are under age 18, he said.

The city also will be doubling the size of its fleet providing mobile testing to 70 vans, de Blasio said.

“We want to emphasize testing as we try to put the COVID era behind us,” he said.

So far, the city has held 9,000 testing events, with one-third of them being in public housing and 1,500 in houses of worship, he said.

The White House says about 10% of eligible kids age 5 to 11 have received a dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine since its approval for their age group two weeks ago.

At least 2.6 million kids have received a shot, White House COVID-19 coordinator Jeff Zients said Wednesday, with 1.7 million doses administered in the last week alone, roughly double the pace of the first week after approval. It’s more than three times faster than the rate of adult inoculations at the start of the nation’s vaccination campaign 11 months ago.

Kids who get their first vaccine dose by the end of this week will be fully vaccinated by Christmas, assuming they get their second shot three weeks after the first one, he said.

Speaking to the uptick in cases in recent days, city Health Commissioner Dr. Dave Chokshi said the most important indicators were those pertaining to people with severe outcomes, such as hospitalization and death. He said the city was not seeing an increase in these areas.

Chokshi also urged people to get vaccinated.

“We have to be more relentless than the virus,” he said.

Elsewhere, a new national poll found that about 60% of Americans support coronavirus vaccine mandates for health care workers, first responders, teachers and airline pilots.

In addition, 55% of Americans support vaccine mandates for students age 12 and older, according to the poll by Long Island University Steven S. Hornstein Center for Policy, Polling and Analysis.

Roughly half of Americans (51%) support vaccine mandates for all employees across the country, the poll said.

A total of 60% said they supported vaccines for children age 5 to 11, the poll said.

A total of 39% said they believe the worst of the pandemic is over, up 16 points since September at the height of the spread of the delta variant, the poll said.

With AP

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