COVID-19 transmission low in NY schools, some NYC vaccine sites to stay 24/7

Coronavirus update for NYC

ByEyewitness News via WABC logo
Tuesday, March 16, 2021
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Stacey Sager has more on vaccination efforts in New York City.

NEW YORK CITY (WABC) -- The transmission rate of COVID-19 in New York City public schools remains extremely low, this as officials announced some vaccine sites will stay 24/7 despite the state ending overnight hours at the Javits Center.

Mayor Bill de Blasio says that out of 10,000 tests in schools, just 15 people tested positive, a .16% positivity rate.

"I mean, that's astoundingly low," he said. "It's just been very, very consistent. Schools are consistently safe."

The state was offering Johnson & Johnson shots overnight at the Javits Center while there was a surplus, but the supply has since decreased, and the site is back to its normal hours of 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.

The state expects to get more of the J&J vaccine by the end of the month.

"We have a couple of different things we have to achieve simultaneously," de Blasio said. "We've got to get the vaccines out to all communities, particularly the communities hardest hit. We've got to get the most grassroots. But the bottom line is the supply problem. If we had the supply, we'd be running a lot of places 24/7."

De Blasio said he's looking forward to getting vaccinated with the one dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine "very soon."

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"We know that for essential workers, having hours early in the morning, late in the day and overnight, those are critically important as well to make sure people are able to access vaccination in a way that is convenient for them," Health Commissioner Dr. David Chokshi said.

So far, more than 2.9 million New Yorkers have received their vaccine, including at Nassau County Community College, where a vaccine pod is offering recipients like college counselor Andrea Warmbrand a new sense of security.

"I know I still have to be careful, but it gives me a sense that, God forbid, if I do get the virus, I will hopefully not die from it," she said.

The latest numbers back that up, as hospitalizations are half of what they were in January. The percentage of people testing positive, however, is holding steady both on Long Island and in New York City.

"It's a little bit frustrating," Nassau County Health Commissioner Dr. Larry Eisenstein said. "The good news is that number has been steady, hospitalizations continue to come down, so what that kind of tells us is, it's a healthier population testing positive."

Many of those positive tests are coming from people who aren't showing symptoms, according to Nassau County Executive Laura Curran.

"We know that young people are often asymptomatic, so that perhaps we're catching more asymptomatic teenagers, high schools students," she said.

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The state is expanding its vaccine eligibility Wednesday, including all essential building workers and government workers. Still, de Blasio is pushing for more local control.

"We should be getting more vaccine from the state," he said. "In so many ways, we're just not getting a response."

Sunday marked one year since the first coronavirus death at a New York City hospital. Since then, nearly 30,000 New Yorkers have died.

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