NYC doubling COVID testing for the holidays as school vaccine program ramps up

ByEyewitness News via WABC logo
Wednesday, November 17, 2021
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N.J. Burkett reports New York City is doubling the size of its mobile testing fleet to 70 vans, stressing testing before traveling or visiting family this holiday season.

NEW YORK CITY (WABC) -- New York City is doubling the size of its mobile testing fleet to 70 vans, as Mayor Bill de Blasio stressed testing -- for both vaccinated and unvaccinated -- before traveling or visiting family this holiday season.

"We want to give people some really good guidance for this holiday season," he said. "Obviously, this is a time when people gather, often gather in large numbers, people travel. So here is new guidance for this holiday season about testing."

De Blasio said he sees no need for new mandates in New York City, noting that Governor Kathy Hochul was talking about regions with 8% positivity when she discussed possibly increasing restrictions Tuesday.

"We are seeing an uptick in cases in recent days, but (what) we are following is whether or not that translates into a significant increase in the severe outcomes, particularly hospitalizations and deaths," Health Commissioner Dr. David Chokshi said. "We are not seeing that as yet, but we have to keep a close eye on it."

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The mayor urged people to get tested before large family gatherings and to get tested before any travel.

"I think the important point to make is testing is another powerful tool to keep people safe," he said. "We are winning the battle with COVID, but we've got to keep at it."

Meanwhile, COVID vaccines at public schools ramped back up Wednesday, with mobile vans at 30 schools across the city.

An additional 30 schools will get vans Thursday, and officials announced they would also be offering second doses at school sites beginning November 30.

They said they did not expect so many parents to choose school vaccination sites, but they have now shifted more resources into the program.

Officials said 26,300 vaccinations were administered at school sites in just five days.

There will also be a blitz of charter school sites starting Friday into next week.

"We are going to be out at charter schools doing vaccination efforts, right in the school, reaching all our children," de Blasio said.

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Starting November 30, the New York City school sites will offer second doses of the vaccine in addition to first doses.

"This is the only city in the country offering in-school vaccination on a totally comprehensive scale because we go to where the people are," de Blasio said. "We go to where the families are, we go to where the children are. This is where the magic of the New York City effort, going to the people."

Schedules can be found at Schools.nyc.gov/COVID19, and school leaders are also sending home communications with students.

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