Whitney Young gets $3.5M for COVID-19 vaccination

— From Google Street View

The Whitney M. Young Jr. Health Center  at 920 Lark Drive in Albany is getting $3,461,750 for COVID-19 vaccinations.

ALBANY COUNTY — The Whitney M. Young Jr. Health Center in Albany will receive about $3.5 million for COVID-19 vaccinations as part of the American Rescue Plan, Congressman Paul Tonko announced on Thursday.

New York State is getting close to $397 million to support 63 health centers in the vaccine effort, according to a release from Tonko’s office. The purpose is to provide treatment for vulnerable populations that can include testing and vaccination for COVID-19 as well as delivering preventive and primary health care services to people at higher risk for the disease.

Early in the pandemic, Whitney Young partnered with Albany County to provide walk-up neighborhood testing geared for neighborhoods in which people may be unlikely to use distant drive-through testing sites.

“As our country moves forward in the immunization process, our local community health centers will play a critical role in increasing vaccination rollout,” said Tonko in a statement.

Also on Thursday, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced that the “production issues” at a Johnson & Johnson affiliate factory in Baltimore would not affect next week’s allocation to New York.

Several weeks ago, workers at the Baltimore factory mixed ingredients from the coronavirus vaccines of Johnson & Johnson and AstraZeneca, contaminating up to 15 million doses of Johnson & Johnson vaccine and forcing regulators to delay authorization of the plant’s production lines, according to The New York Times; Johnson & Johnson doses that are currently being delivered and used in the United States were made in the Netherlands.

“New Yorkers can rest assured that next week’s allocation will not be impacted and all appointments scheduled at state-run mass vaccination sites will be honored,” said Cuomo in Thursday’s statement. “As we learn more information about potential impacts going forward, we will provide updates.”

Albany County was set to dispense 900 first doses and 1,570 second doses of vaccine at its POD, or point of dispensing, at the Times Union Center on Thursday, the county’s executive, Daniel McCoy, said in a release on Thursday.

According to the state’s vaccine tracker, as of Thursday evening, Albany County had administered at least a first dose of vaccine to 38 percent of its 307,117 residents. McCoy’s Thursday morning release said that 22.8 percent of county residents had been fully vaccinated.

The state tracker reports that 31 percent of New Yorkers have received at least one dose of vaccine while 18.5 percent have completed a vaccine series.

McCoy also announced 90 new COVID-19 cases since Wednesday, bringing the county’s total number of confirmed cases to 22,398.

Of the new cases, 58 did not have clear sources of infection identified, 28 had close contact with someone infected with the disease, two reported traveling out of state, and two were health-care workers or residents of congregate settings.

The five-day average for new daily positives has increased to 72.4 from 69.2. There are now 585 active cases in the county, up slightly from 584 on Wednesday.

The number of Albany County residents under quarantine decreased to 1,535 from 1,563. So far, 71,145 residents have completed quarantine. Of those, 21,813 had tested positive and recovered. That is an increase of 71 recoveries since Wednesday.

There were four new hospitalizations overnight, and there are now 24 county residents hospitalized from the virus — a net decrease of three. There are currently four patients in intensive-care units, up from two yesterday.

Albany County’s COVID-19 death toll remains at 366.

The Capital Region, of which Albany County is a part, continues to have the worst rates in the state for availability of hospital beds and of ICU beds, although it is not longer in danger of needing additional space.

Currently, 101 Capital Region residents are hospitalized with COVID-19, which is 0.01 percent of the region’s population and leaves 30 percent of its hospital beds available.

Statewide, 0.02 percent of New Yorkers are hospitalized with the virus, leaving 35 percent of the state’s hospital beds available.

Currently, 194 of the Capital Regions’s 237 ICU beds are filled, leaving 18 percent available.

Statewide, 30 percent of ICU beds are available.

Albany County’s infection rate, as of Wednesday, as a seven-day rolling average, was 2.5 percent, according to the state’s dashboard.

Statewide, also as of Wednesday, as a seven-day rolling average, the infection rate was 3.6 percent.

More Regional News

  • Albany County Health Commissioner Elizabeth Whalen said she has received word from the state’s health department on the “likelihood that in the next week the FDA will give the OK for the 12-to-15 age group.” Her department is preparing to vaccinate youth, communicating with local schools and pediatricians, urging the doctors to become certified vaccinators through the state’s Department of Health.

  • The first of Albany County’s 17 congregate meal sites for seniors re-opened Monday as a pilot program in Watervliet. Other meal sites will open on May 17, June 1, and Sept. 1.

  • “The state has been sitting on almost a billion dollars since January,” said Albany County Executive Daniel McCoy, concluding, “I have landlords that call me all the time, text me, wonder where this money’s at.”

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