More vaccines administered as COVID illness, death rates climb

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Categories: -The Daily Gazette, News

ALBANY — Some 89,000 New Yorkers had received the first dose of the COVID vaccine as of Wednesday morning, 22,000 of them in nursing homes.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo gave an update Wednesday on the state’s vaccination campaign, which at this point is limited to hospital personnel at high risk and nursing home residents and employees.

Vaccination began in the Capital Region last week at Albany Medical Center and has since reached other facilities; Glens Falls Hospital, Hudson Headwaters Health Network and Bassett Healthcare Network all announced Wednesday they’d begun vaccinating employees.

Cuomo also said the 10-dose vials of the new Moderna vaccine contain enough material for 11 vaccinations, which will stretch the limited supply of the vaccine a little further.

A similar discovery was made with the five-dose vial of the Pfizer vaccine, which actually contains enough material for up to seven shots.

Next in line for vaccination after hospital workers and nursing home residents/staff are other long-term care residents and staff, EMS and other healthcare workers, coroners and medical examiners.

As vaccination ramps up, Cuomo has warned there is a long way to go before any sort of group immunity begins to develop, and precautions are in order to avoid another spike in illness and death — 89,000 is just 0.46 percent of New York’s population, and they all still need to get a second booster shot.

The COVID-positive hospital census hit 6,864 statewide on Tuesday, the official death toll increased by 164, and the seven-day average positive test rate stood at 5.4% statewide.

Also Wednesday:

  • Warren County set another one-day high for positive tests for a second day in a row, with 38, and reported another COVID-related death. The county’s statistics illustrate why nursing home residents are prioritized for the vaccine: COVID can kill them at a high rate. Only 133 of the 869 infections confirmed in Warren County have been in residents of facilities for the elderly, but 33 of the 36 dead have been residents of such facilities.
  • On a cumulative basis, Albany County remains hardest-hit in the Capital Region, with 218 new infections reported Wednesday, two new deaths and a total of 110 residents now hospitalized.
  • The state directed health insurers to suspend some of their preauthorization and administrative requirements to allow greater flexibility for a growing surge of COVID-positive patients.
  • The Mohawk Valley Region, which includes Fulton, Montgomery and Schoharie counties, continues to hold the highest COVID-positive test rate among the state’s 10 regions at 8.6% on a seven-day average and 9.4% on the most recent single day.
  • In the Capital Region, Schenectady County is still the county with the highest positive test rate — 10.1% for the most recent single day and 8.8% on average for seven days.

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