New York reached the targeted 70 percent vaccination rate for adults 18 years old and up last week as the state continues to emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo congratulated New Yorkers when the state officially crossed the threshold last Tuesday. The milestone was set by health officials as the target to lift most restrictions that had been in place for the past 15 months.
“What New York has done is extraordinary,” Cuomo said. “Not only do we have the lowest COVID positivity rate in the United States of America, we have hit 70 percent vaccination ahead of schedule. We successfully deployed the weapon that will win the war, and New York led the nation.”
With the removal of the state’s minimum standard for reopening, businesses may choose to lift all or some restrictions, continue to adhere to the state’s archived guidance or implement other health precautions for their employees and patrons.
Any mask requirements that businesses choose to implement must adhere to applicable federal and state laws and regulations, such as the Americans with Disabilities Act.
By Monday, New York reached 71 percent of adults who have received at least one dose and 63.2 percent of adults 18 and over have completed the series, according to the state’s vaccine tracker.
The reopening coincides with a continued plummeting of the state, regional and county positivity rates. On Saturday, the state reported a 0.29 percent daily positivity rate with 258 positives from 88,294 tests.
That rate ticked up to 0.43 on Sunday, but the seven-day rolling average fell to 0.37 percent.
Locally, there were minimal positive cases reported on Sunday, according to the state’s tracker. Westchester County had just six positive cases from 3,035 tests and Putnam County had zero positive tests reported in 274 tests. Two other counties in the Mid Hudson region, Rockland and Ulster County, also had zero positive cases on Sunday and no county in the region had has many as 10.
Strong enough progress has been made that Cuomo announced Monday that the state will hold Independence Day fireworks shows at Jones Beach on Long Island and Empire State Plaza in Albany.
Westchester County Executive George Latimer said with the state scheduling fireworks for July 4, the county may also consider presenting its own program at Playland sometime this summer.
Playland and the four county pools are on target to open this weekend as Latimer reported that Westchester has one of the highest vaccination rates in the state. Using the recent Health Department standard of measuring all adults at least 18 years old receiving one shot, the county’s vaccination rate is 75.8 percent.
In the downstate region, only Queens (74 percent), Ulster County (72 percent) and Suffolk County (71 percent) have recorded vaccination rates of at least 70 percent. Sullivan County is at 58 percent, the Bronx 59 percent and Putnam and Orange each at 61 percent.
“We’re proud of what’s happened here,” Latimer said. “Obviously, it’s important for it to happen everywhere.”
As of Sunday, active cases in Westchester had fallen to 243 cases with only 18 hospitalizations. By contrast, a month ago there were just over three times the number of active cases (782). Since the start of the pandemic there have been 2,291 coronavirus fatalities in Westchester.
Even better news, through Sunday Westchester had seen six consecutive days without a COVID-19-related fatality, the first time that has happened since the earliest days of the pandemic, Latimer said.
“Let’s hope we have another day and another day followed by another, so that fatality numbers stay static at the level things are at now,” he said.
For information on eligibility and vaccination sites, the public may call 1-833-697-4829 or visit https://am-i-eligible.covid19vaccine.health.ny.gov