Cuomo launches NYC vaccination campaign for grocery workers

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NEW YORK (NEWS10/WROC) — At a publicity event on Friday, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced the latest official COVID numbers from the state, noting the numbers are continuing to trend downward.

“Don’t get cocky with COVID. It’s not over,” Cuomo said. “But we’re headed in the right direction.” He related the following statistics for Thursday:

  • 240,930 COVID-19 tests reported Thursday
  • 4,901 new cases
  • 2.03% positivity rate statewide
  • 45 new COVID-19 deaths
  • 3,387 hospitalized

“Yesterday’s statewide positivity rate is 2.03%, the lowest it’s been since November 5, and down from yesterday,” Cuomo said. “3,300 people hospitalized is also down, ICU and intubated are down as well.”

  • 7-day positivity rate, statewide: 2.45%
    • Western New York: 4.2%
    • Finger Lakes: 2.9%
    • Mid Hudson: 2.7%
    • Long Island: 2.5%
    • New York City: 2.5%
      • Staten Island: 3.3%
      • Brooklyn: 2.9%
      • Queens: 2.9%
      • Bronx: 2.5%
      • Manhattan: 1.6%
    • Capital Region: 1.9%
    • Central New York: 1.5%
    • Mohawk Valley: 1.5%
    • North Country: 1.4%
    • Southern Tier: 0.8%

“By region across the state is something to pay attention to,” Gov. Cuomo said. “The variety, the variation, the range of positivity across the state is something that people have to take seriously. We have some parts of the state with four times the positivity rate of other parts of the state.”

In addition to disparities between positivity rates in different regions of the state, Cuomo also highlighted ongoing racial disparities in New York City. There, Black people have received 19% of vaccines administered, and Hispanic people have received 24%, figures that don’t square with demographic breakdowns.

Cuomo said there are many reasons that people are hesitant to be vaccinated, and among Black and Brown communities, there is likely a disproportionate amount of government distrust. With this in mind, Cuomo announced a new initiative to vaccinate food service workers and delivery employees throughout the five boroughs.

The governor said the program will come to grocery stores and bodegas to make it as easy as possible for those essential workers disproportionately underrepresented in vaccination numbers. No appointment will be necessary.

“There’s vaccine hesitancy, yes that’s part of it,” Gov. Cuomo said. “‘Maybe I’m undocumented, I’m not so quick to walk into a government-sponsored facility.’ OK, we’ll make it easier. We’ll bring the vaccine to you. We’ll bring the vaccine to you through somebody you trust. We’ll bring the vaccine to you through non-for-profits, community-based health providers who you feel comfortable dealing with because you have a relationship. Government won’t even show up, and we’ll make it available to you where you work. We will bring it to the grocery stores where you work to make it easy. And you don’t even need an appointment. We’ll bring it to the grocery stores to the Latino community, to the Black community, through community health providers. You just walk up and take it.”

Cuomo said the vaccinations will be administered by trusted community health providers with no government involvement. Though Cuomo specifically listed undocumented immigrants as a group that is distrustful of the government-run vaccination program but did not explicitly say whether they would be eligible in the new initiative.

Cuomo also released a commercial for the “No hay excuses” campaign. The Spanish language video is meant to spread the word that vaccines are available for everyone over 16.

The question and answer portion of the briefing is below:

In his COVID-19 briefing on Wednesday, the governor announced that, beginning Friday, New Yorkers over age 60 no longer need vaccine appointments to get their COVID-19 shots at state-run mass vaccination sites.

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