For the first time, this week Suffolk County will operate first-dose points of dispensing, or PODs, for COVID-19 vaccines at all three Suffolk County Community College campuses — Brentwood, Selden and Riverhead.
Vaccination efforts will continue to be focused on essential workers and, in particular, teachers, Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone said during a briefing Tuesday afternoon. He announced that the county expects to vaccinate 3,000 teachers this week.
“We want to see continued progress in our ability to get kids back to school, where they belong, where they’re in the best position to be successful, and quite frankly, where they’re safest if you look at the data,” Mr. Bellone said. “Doing everything we can to prioritize those in our schools who need the vaccine the most — because they may be more vulnerable to the virus — is the best way for us to make additional progress.”
Vaccination efforts have been hindered by limited supply and winter weather, he said.
Because of extreme winter weather around the country last week, the county did not receive its weekly vaccination allotment and could not operate any of its first-dose PODs. However, Mr. Bellone said the county now has two weeks’ worth of doses in hand and will administer 10,670 first doses this week.
“Vaccine supplies are continuing to climb week by week,” he said, noting that the PODs have the capacity to administer 50,000 doses per week.
The number of people hospitalized with COVID-19 in Suffolk County is 451, down from 652 two weeks prior. It is a low that the county has not seen since early December, Mr. Bellone said. Of the 451 patients, 100 are in intensive care.
The county executive added that he is grateful to see Governor Andrew Cuomo has announced additional guidance for reopening more entertainment facilities, including movie theaters and billiard halls, and catering facilities, the latter of which he said “have been devastated by the pandemic.”
Businesses that employ thousands of employees will be back operating again in March, Mr. Bellone said.
“Our job now is to keep this progress going,” he said, applauding the efforts of county residents in slowing the spread of the virus.
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