As demand for vaccination declines, walk-ins are welcome

Enterprise file photo — Michael Koff
Walk-ins are welcome, starting Thursday, at state vaccination sites like this one at the former Lord & Taylor in Guilderland's Crossgates Mall.

ALBANY COUNTY — New Yorkers will be able to walk into state vaccination clinics without an appointment, starting Thursday, to get a shot, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced on Tuesday.

He also announced that New York is following new guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that say fully vaccinated people don’t have to wear a mask outdoors.

State vaccination sites, like the one at Crossgates Mall in Guilderland, will give COVID-19 vaccinations to walk-ins on a first come, first served basis.

The walk-in appointments are reserved for first doses only with second doses to be scheduled automatically after the first shot is given. Additionally, all vaccine providers are encouraged to allow walk-in appointments.

“With COVID, we are a little bit of a point of transition ….,” said Cuomo at an event in Broome County on Tuesday. We're seeing a reduction in the number of people coming in for vaccines. We were doing about 175,000 vaccines statewide every 24 hours. That number is down to now about 115,000 vaccines every 24 hours … The demand is reducing.”

Statewide, 44.6 percent of New Yorkers have received at least one shot while 31.9 percent have completed a vaccine series.

According to the state’s vaccine tracker, 52.2 percent of Albany County’s 307,117 residents have received at least one shot while percent are fully vaccinated. Albany County Executive Daniel McCoy announced in a release on Tuesday morning that 38.2 are fully vaccinated.

Starting on Thursday, Cuomo said, “You don’t have to call. You don’t have to make an appointment. All New Yorkers 16-plus, just come into a mass vaccination site on Thursday, and you are eligible for a vaccine.”


Mask-free outdoors

The new CDC guidance says that, except in certain crowded settings, fully vaccinated people do not need to wear masks. Someone is fully vaccinated two weeks after receiving the single-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine or two weeks after getting the second dose of either the Moderna or Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.

Masks should still be worn indoors and should still be worn by people who are not fully vaccinated. Fully vaccinated people with immunocompromising conditions should consult with their health-care provider before unmasking.

Fully vaccinated people, according to the CDC, do not need to quarantine after being exposed to COVID-19 unless they live in a congregate setting.

They can visit with other vaccinated people without wearing a mask or staying socially distant. They can visit indoors with unvaccinated people, including children, from a single household who are at low risk for severe COVID-19 disease without wearing masks or physical distancing.

They can travel in the United States without being tested and they can leave the United States without being tested and, on return, they don’t have to quarantine.


Newest numbers

McCoy announced 30 new cases of COVID-19, bringing the county’s tally to 23,744.

Of the new cases, 19 did not have clear sources of infection identified, six had close contact with someone infected with the disease, four were health-care workers or residents of congregate living settings, and one reported traveling out of state.

The five-day average for new daily positives dropped from 45.2 to 35.4. There are now 399 active cases in the county, down from 434 on Monday.

The number of Albany County residents under quarantine dropped to 757 from 1,130. So far, 76,664 residents have completed quarantine. Of those, 23,345 had tested positive and recovered. That is an increase of 60 recoveries since Monday.

There was one new hospitalization overnight and there are now 30 county residents hospitalized from the virus — a net decrease of five. There remain four patients currently in intensive-care units.

Albany Count’s COVID-19 death toll remains at 374.

Statewide, the infection rate, as of Monday, as a seven-day rolling average, was 2.1 percent, according to the state’s dashboard.

In Albany County, the infection rate, also as of Monday, as a seven-day rolling average, was 1.9 percent.

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