Coronavirus News: Nassau County announces plans to increase COVID vaccinations

COVID-19 News and Information
GARDEN CITY, Nassau County (WABC) -- Nassau County officials announced changes to which COVID-19 patients are taken to the hospital and detailed plans to increase the number of residents vaccinated.

If Nassau County's first COVID vaccination "pod" got off to a slow start, it has quickly compensated for that.

Officials say 50,000 Long Island residents have been vaccinated so far.

In just three days at Nassau County Community College, they have nearly surpassed their 1,000 doses of vaccine for the week.

"We used 472 doses in one day, 1,000 a week is certainly not gonna...we can do more than that," said Nassau County Health Commissioner Dr. Larry Eisenstein.

And they'll likely ask for more from the Northwell system - which is controlling the allotments.

Also, their ability to pivot is getting better, that is, if people who booked vaccinations decide to cancel -- calls are suddenly made to others.

"And we were able to vaccinate 135 school nurses, because we are not wasting time here, not wasting one dose of this vaccine," Nassau County Executive Laura Curran said.

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They don't want to waste an inch of hospital space either. As of Thursday, they are re-instating triage protocols from last spring.

Trauma patients or those with other illnesses will be transported, but if you call 9-1-1 with mild flu-like illness or COVID - you may not actually be taken to a hospital so the hospitals don't become overwhelmed.

"These are the patients that would most likely do better off convalescing at home," said Christopher Airey with the Nassau County Emergency Ambulance Bureau.

As for the number of hospitalizations, they're certainly not as dramatic as last spring, but definitely concerning.

On Wednesday in Nassau county alone - 785 people were hospitalized with COVID. At the peak last spring, the number was 2,600.

Still, with new variants of COVID and a positivity rate nearing double digits, they will take no chances. The county hopes to open more vaccination pods in the coming days.

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