As we roll out our vaccination program, it's critical that underserved communities are not left behind. These communities, which are predominantly communities of color, got hit the hardest during the pandemic, which laid bare existing disparities in our health care system. We're doing everything we can so that New York is equitable in vaccine outreach and provides a model for the nation.
To that end, today we announced the new NYS COVID-19 Vaccine Equity Task Force, co-chaired by Secretary of State Rossana Rosado, Attorney General Letitia James, National Urban League President & CEO Marc Morial, and Healthfirst President & CEO Pat Wang. This Task Force will break down barriers to vaccination, build confidence in the vaccine and ensure there is a fair and equitable distribution of the vaccine across the state.
Photo of the Day: Freda Bernhardt, 101, of Rochester receives the COVID-19 vaccine—one of the first to do so as part of the federal nursing home vaccinaton program that began today. (Photo courtesy of Jewish Home of Rochester)
Here's what else you need to know tonight:
1. Delta and British Airways have agreed to require pre-departure COVID tests before passengers leave from the U.K. to New York. In the wake of a new, more contagious variant of the COVID-19 virus found in the United Kingdom, British Airways and Delta Airlines have voluntarily agreed to our request to require their passengers to receive a negative COVID-19 test before they travel from the United Kingdom to New York. With this move, New York joins the list of 120 countries with a similar requirement on flights from the U.K. I have also asked Virgin Atlantic, the third major airline that services travel between the U.K. and New York, to do the same. The first virus came to New York via Europe, and we don't want history to repeat itself with this new variant.
2. Total hospitalizations rose to 6,331. Of the 156,510 tests reported yesterday, 9,007, or 5.75 percent, were positive. There were 1,095 patients in ICU yesterday, up 50 from the previous day. Of them, 613 are intubated. Sadly, we lost 109 New Yorkers to the virus.
3. As of this morning, more than 38,000 vaccine doses have been administered in New York State. This is the highest reported total of any state in the nation thus far. The first 346,200 doses of the Moderna vaccine are expected to begin arriving in New York today, with an additional 120,000 doses of the Pfizer vaccine expected later this week.
4. New York State began administering vaccines to nursing home residents and staff. The first nursing home residents began to be vaccinated today as part of a federal program that partners with pharmacies like CVS and Walgreens to vaccinate nursing home residents and staff at nursing home facilities. There are 618 facilities across the state that will participate in the program.
5. To help with vaccination efforts, New York is developing Community Vaccination Test Kits. These kits will provide communities, particularly those located within health care deserts, with the supplies and resources needed for standing up vaccination sites. They will include materials such as schematics on assembling the space, chairs and tables, computers and other equipment needed to administer the vaccine.
Tonight's "Deep Breath Moment": When New York became the global epicenter of the pandemic in the spring, many health care heroes put themselves on the line to fight tirelessly against the virus. To thank our health care heroes for their tireless work throughout the pandemic, the Greenwich Village Chelsea Chamber of Commerce produced a video to express our universal appreciation for all they have done for New York and for the nation. Watch it here.
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo