Starting on Monday, New York State will begin scheduling vaccinations for "Phase 1b" groups—the next category of people eligible for the vaccine. This group includes: People aged 75 and up; education workers (pre-K through 12 teachers and education workers, licensed and registered child care providers, and school-bus drivers); first responders (local police, State Police, Sheriff's Office employees, professional and volunteer firefighters); EMS workers (including professional and volunteer paramedics and EMTs); public transit workers (airline and airport employees, passenger railroad employees, subway and mass transit employees, ferry employees, Port Authority employees, and public bus drivers); and public safety workers. About 3.2 million additional New Yorkers will now be eligible.
There will be many more sites where New Yorkers can get vaccinated as we enter Phase 1b—more on that below—and we will be sure to keep you informed in this newsletter with the latest updates. While we all want to vaccinate even more New Yorkers, we must also keep things in perspective. We have a real supply problem with regards to the vaccine. Without increased supply from the federal government, we expect it will take 14 weeks to vaccinate the Phase 1a and 1b groups, which takes us to...April 16. We are in communication with the incoming Biden administration on the issue of supply, which must increase, but it is critical that all New Yorkers continue to wear a mask, social distance and exercise caution.
Here's what else you need to know tonight:
1. Total hospitalizations rose to 8,561. Of the 243,903 tests reported yesterday, 18,832, or 7.72 percent, were positive. There were 1,475 patients in ICU yesterday, up 51 from the previous day. Of them, 912 are intubated. Sadly, we lost 161 New Yorkers to the virus.
2. Next week, New York will expand to a larger provider network for vaccine distribution. To assist with Phase 1b vaccine administration, the expanded network will include doctor networks, Federally Qualified Health Centers, county health departments, ambulatory centers and pharmacies. Starting next week, 500 pharmacies will come online to assist in the vaccine distribution. All of these new providers will begin accepting vaccination reservations on Monday—stay tuned for more details. Hospitals will continue to serve as vaccination sites as well.
3. The State Department of Health is setting up 20 mass distribution sites over the next several weeks. One of these sites will be the Javits Center on the West Side of Manhattan, which will open to begin distributing the vaccine on Wednesday by appointment to eligible New Yorkers.
4. To date, New York has administered approximately 479,000 vaccine doses. Hospitals have increased the number of doses administered over the past several weeks, starting with 33,709 doses administered during Week 1 and reaching approximately 195,078 by the end of Week 4. While the uptick is welcome, it is still not enough and we have more work to do.
5. I signed an Executive Order expanding the eligible pool of trainees who can administer the vaccine at distribution sites. As we continue our footrace in the vaccination process, we need as many eligible hands on deck as possible. The expanded pool includes licensed practical nurses, pharmacists & pharmacy technicians, dentists and certain dental technicians, midwives, podiatrists, EMTs and certain eligible students (in programs like nursing and medicine with at least one year of clinical experience). All eligible New Yorkers wishing to become vaccinators must undergo training. Learn more here.
6. Along with eight other governors, I call on the Department of Health and Human Services to expedite distribution of the vaccine. Today, I issued a letter to HHS Secretary Alex Azar and Chief Operating Officer General Gustave F. Perna asking to increase vaccine supply throughout the nation. The letter was signed by California Governor Gavin Newsom, Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker, Kansas Governor Laura Kelly, Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer, Minnesota Governor Tim Walz, Oregon Governor Kate Brown, Washington Governor Jay Inslee and Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers. Read the letter here.
Tonight's "Deep Breath Moment": The length of the Erie Canal is about 360 miles. Central New York resident Martin Pasternak will run its entirety to raise money for colon cancer research. His run will start on August 21, 2021, and he plans to complete the trail in seven days. Mark is undertaking this ambitious run to support his cousin and his fight against the disease, with fundraising proceeds going to non-profit The Buffalo Colon Corps. He is also organizing a virtual challenge that runs from May 15 through August 21 and encouraging others to walk the Erie Canal trail to raise money for the Buffalo non-profit. Learn more.
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo