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NY passes 10 million COVID-19 vaccinations, Cuomo says

NY passes 10 million COVID-19 vaccinations, Cuomo
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New York reached a major COVID-19 milestone Saturday, as the state passed 10 million vaccine doses administered, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s office announced.

On Long Island, nearly 800,000 people now have received at least one dose, and more than 445,000 are fully vaccinated, state data shows.

“We reached this 10 million shots milestone thanks to the heroic work of our providers and those who have staffed vaccination sites around the clock to carry out this unprecedented operation,” Cuomo said in a statement. “We owe them a huge debt of gratitude. We still have plenty of work ahead of us, and in order to protect the progress we have made and honor the work of our providers, we must continue to take all the basic safety precautions and remain New York tough.”

The 249,541 doses administered statewide between Friday and Saturday mornings brought the total to 10,174,773, according to state data.

Statewide, nearly 6.5 million people — or 32.5% of residents — have received at least one dose of vaccine, and nearly 4 million — 19.9% — are fully vaccinated.

Nationwide, nearly 102 million people — 30.7% of Americans and 39.2% of U.S. adults — have been administered at least one dose and nearly 58 million — 17.5% of Americans — are fully vaccinated, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data as of 6 a.m. Friday.

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Yet in a reminder that COVID-19 remains deadly, 60 more New Yorkers died of the disease Friday, including four each in Nassau and Suffolk counties, Cuomo’s office said Saturday morning.

The state’s COVID-19 positivity rate remained level Friday, lower than a few months ago but much higher than over the summer, the state reported, as experts warn of the risks of big gatherings this Easter weekend.

As has been the case for months, Long Island had among the highest rates of positive coronavirus test results of the state’s 10 regions: a seven-day average of 4.47%, second only to the mid-Hudson region. Statewide, the seven-day average was 3.59%.

Yet experts have been warning that the risk for unvaccinated New Yorkers is higher than that number suggests, because of vaccinated people who are keeping the number from rising higher.

COVID-19 hospitalizations fell by 49 patients to 4,491. The number of hospitalizations has generally fluctuated between 4,400 and 4,700 for more than three weeks.

Of the 7,846 positive test results on Friday, 733 were for Suffolk residents and 651 for Nassau residents.

“We’re still fighting a pandemic and the infection rate is a function of our actions,” Cuomo said. “As we expand eligibility, open more vaccination sites and continue our robust testing, it’s critical that New Yorkers continue wearing masks and following the public health guidance. It has been a long and difficult road and I know everyone is struggling with COVID fatigue, but we need to stay the course until we actually reach the light at the end of the tunnel.”

The last time there was a big spike in infections and hospitalizations was during and after the December holidays, an increase that experts attributed to large gatherings.

Easter is traditionally a day of large get-togethers and church services for those who observe the holiday, and Passover, which ends Sunday, also traditionally includes big gatherings.

Long Island doctors told Newsday that gatherings of small groups of people who are fully vaccinated are fine, but that groups of unvaccinated people — and gatherings that mix fully vaccinated and unvaccinated people — should be cautious, and unvaccinated people should consider staying home.

Any gatherings should be outside, with guests wearing masks and practicing social distancing, they said.

Meanwhile, Nassau Executive Laura Curran called for further relaxation of rules for arts and entertainment venues, a day after the state began allowing them to open with 33% capacity. The crowd limit is 500 outdoors and 150 indoors with proof of full vaccination or a recent negative coronavirus test result, or 200 outdoors and 100 indoors without those requirements. Masks, social distancing and health screening is mandatory.

Curran said that “while we continue to battle the virus, we must also continue reopening our economy and society in a common-sense manner. I’m advocating for further flexibility for our entertainment and arts industry in particular so we can bring fun and joy back into people’s lives as safely as possible.”

Curran on Saturday morning posted a tweet with a photo of herself at Governor’s Comedy Club, which has three Long Island locations.

“The reopening of arts and entertainment venues will help bring back service and hospitality jobs hit hardest by the pandemic — no joke,” she wrote.

Check back for updates to this developing story.

Sign up for COVID-19 text alerts at newsday.com/text.

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