SUFFOLK COUNTY

Third mass vaccination site in Suffolk County set to open

County positivity rate is on the decline

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Suffolk County’s newest mass vaccination site is expected to open on Suffolk County Community College Ammerman Campus in Selden later this week.

On Wednesday, Feb. 17, Suffolk County executive Steve Bellone announced the new site – the third of its kind in Suffolk. “The fact that we are opening this new vaccination site... is an indication that we are making progress on the vaccination front,” Bellone said.

The Selden campus will serve as a vaccine site in the center of the county, Bellone said. The other two vaccination sites are located farther east and west, on the other two SCCC campuses, in Riverhead and Brentwood, respectively.

SCCC president Louis Petrizzo said approximately 60 SCCC student-nurses have been volunteering to serve and assist in the distribution of vaccines at the three sites.

The Selden site will get the ball rolling by distributing 1,600 vaccines to those with comorbidities and underlying medical conditions and Northwell Health and municipal employees, Bellone said.

The county also plans to distribute 1,000 vaccines to Stony Brook University Hospital and to other qualified health centers intended for those with underlying health issues.

The positivity rate in Suffolk County has continued to drop. At the start of February, Suffolk averaged a 6.2 percent positivity rate. On Feb. 17, the average was 4.6 percent, Bellone said. Now, that number sits at about 3.9 percent, according to county data.

As of Feb. 21, approximately 983 COVID-19 patients were in Long Island hospitals, according to state data. Approximately 22 percent of all ICU beds are available in this region, based on a seven-day average.

Furthermore, there’s been a decrease in hospitalization rates: there were 679 people hospitalized at the beginning of this month. As of Feb. 17, there were less than 550, Bellone said.

“People in Suffolk County continue to be vigilant and take this very seriously and as a result of their efforts, and people following the guidance on mask-wearing and other protocols, we’re seeing these numbers come down,” Bellone said.

Similarly, the statewide positivity rate has been on the downward curve. Last week, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced that the statewide positivity rate dropped to 2.99 percent, the first time it’s dropped below 3 percent since November 2020.

Approximately 10 million New Yorkers are currently eligible to receive the vaccine, according to a state press release. The federal government has increased the weekly supply by more than 20 percent over the next three weeks, but New York’s distribution network and large population of eligible individuals still far exceed the supply coming from the federal government.

The state has established over 104 temporary community-based pop-up vaccination sites at churches, community centers and public housing complexes directly within communities across the state which have been underserved by traditional health care systems.

Additionally, the first case of the South African variant of the coronavirus has been identified in a Nassau County resident. Cuomo said that with this discovery in the state, it’s more important than ever for New Yorkers to follow safety protocols.

“We are in a race right now, between our ability to vaccinate and these variants which are actively trying to proliferate – and we will only win that race if we stay smart and disciplined,” Cuomo said.

Beginning March 15, weddings and catered events can resume statewide, Cuomo announced.

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