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By Rick Pezzullo
The Putnam County Health Department has reported more than 72 percent of residents have completed their primary series of COVID-19 vaccinations.
The Health Department held its last vaccination clinics last week as public demand for COVID vaccines and tests plummeted in recent weeks with Omicron variant cases and hospitalizations on the decline.
Dr. Michael Nesheiwat said the Health Department vaccinated more than 25,000 residents since the department’s first mass vaccination clinic opened last year.
“Still, it is important to stay up to date on vaccines and remember that getting boosters enhances your protection and that of your families and communities. This is true not only for COVID, but also for many other vaccine-preventable diseases, such as measles and tetanus,” Nesheiwat stated.
The Health Department held its last vaccination clinic on Feb. 8. The drive-thru rapid tests sites run by the county and its partner, Ambulnz, ended in Philipstown on Feb. 9 and in Carmel on Feb. 11. Putnam County Executive MaryEllen Odell said making vaccinations and testing accessible to residents was a task that Putnam took on when there were no state-supported sites in the county.
“A remarkable collaboration of dedicated volunteers, government agencies, and private-sector businesses and professionals have all helped our community get through the worst of the pandemic,” Odell said. “Chief among those who deserve our thanks is Dr. Michael Nesheiwat and his team at the Putnam County Department of Health who worked tirelessly for the past two years and continue to give as much today as they have since the beginning of the pandemic.”
Odell also thanked the volunteers in Putnam County’s Medical Reserve Corps. In 2021, corps volunteers logged a total of 2,430 hours, including one volunteer who dedicated 174 hours singlehandedly. Ambulnz, the county’s partner in running the testing sites, stepped in at short notice and conducted thousands of COVID tests. At the height of the surge, Ambulnz tested 600 to 700 people a day. By February, tests administered dropped to the single digits on some days.
“We also want to thank the private properties and community facilities, like the Paladin Center, Putnam Plaza and the Philipstown Recreation Center, which allowed us to turn their properties into mass vaccination and testing sites,” Putnam County Legislature Chair Neal Sullivan said. “To all who helped, Putnam County thanks you. You’ve gotten us through the darkest times. As we, hopefully, put the worst of the pandemic behind us, please know how grateful we are for all you have done.”
Putnam has also distributed nearly 16,000 COVID-19 rapid test kits through towns and villages, BOCES has given more than 40,000 rapid tests to the school districts in Putnam and New York State distributed 1.5 million rapid tests to nursing homes and adult care facilities statewide.
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