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89,000 New Yorkers receive COVID-19 vaccine

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Moses Kuwema

Governor Andrew Cuomo on Wednesday announced that 89,000 New Yorkers have received the first COVID-19 vaccine dose to date. 

And New York City mayor Bill De Blasio said in response to reports of a new COVID-19 strain from the UK, all international travellers will receive an order to quarantine from the city's health commissioner via a certified mail. 

22,000 New Yorkers have received the first dose in 90 nursing home facilities as part of a federal-private partnership program. 

During a press briefing, the Governor also announced that the New York State Department of Health has authorized the use of extra doses that have been found in Moderna vaccine vials. The vials were previously believed to contain 10 doses, but may now contain up to 11 doses. 

"I have one message for New Yorkers this holiday season – celebrating smart stops shutdowns," Governor Cuomo said.

"We did not have that same post-Thanksgiving spike we saw elsewhere because we were more cautioned and more intelligent about it. The question is what happens through Christmas, Kwanzaa and New Year's. Do we stay as diligent? I don't believe we are destined for a shutdown and I want to do everything we can to avoid one, but as I have been saying, that will be determined by our actions and the next 10 days are going to be key for us. We have already been working with hospitals to ensure they have sufficient capacity and to date, none have reported that they are close to being overwhelmed. 

"Now it's on the rest of us to stay smart. If we all stay united and wear masks, socially distance and wash our hands, we will reach the light at the end of the tunnel."

And Mayor De Blasio said the city will have Sheriff's deputies go to the home or hotel of every traveler coming in from the U.K.

"If you travel, yes, there is a way to test while you're away and test when you come back and come out of the quarantine. But otherwise, you are quarantined. That is the State law. And we will make sure that that quarantine is upheld. If you violate quarantine, $1000 for the first day. If you violate any day thereafter, $1,000 for each additional day and we have to collect those penalties," said Mayor De Blasio during his daily briefing at City Hall Wednesday. 

"We are really serious about the fact that if you violate quarantine you're creating a danger for everyone else. We are also going to have the Sheriff's deputies out in force. 

"They'll be at airports with our test and trace teams making sure everyone understands they're under a Commissioner's order. 

"There's been over 10,000 car stops already. We are going to be doing that intensively during this holiday season. The best gift you can give the people you love is to keep them safe. 

"The best gift you can give is to make sure the people you love will be able to gather together next year in 2021. That only works if we all pay attention to what the doctors are telling us, and follow these simple rules and stay safe," he added. 

Mayor De Blasio also announced that the city recorded 224 new hospitalizations with 2,789 new cases representing a positivity rate of 6.19 percent for the seven-day average.

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