EAST MEADOW, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — The number of COVID cases and deaths continues to surge on Long Island, and it’s expected to get worse as groups gather for holiday events.
Dr. Anthony Boutin, the president of Nassau University Medical Center, is bracing to battle the COVID surge.
“We’ve got the freezers ready. We’ve got the staff that’s ready to give the vaccines. I’m going to be one of the first ones to be able to take the vaccine next week,” Boutin said.
Health officials want to reassure residents the vaccine will be safe.
“Data provided from Pfizer to the FDA suggests that there’s about a 95% efficacy rate, and so that is excellent news,” said Dr. Janice Berley, director of infectious diseases at NUMC.
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At hospitals, first vaccines would go to essential front line workers, including housekeepers, nurses and physicians.
Nursing home patients and staff will rely on vaccines coming from the federal government’s partnership with Walgreens and CVS.
“I try to get it when it comes,” one Long Island resident told CBS2’s Jennifer McLogan.
“Let the others have the vaccine, I’ll pass mine,” one man said.
“I’m really concerned about the holidays,” another man said.
“Minimal amounts of people at our gatherings,” one woman said.
“We’re up to a new level now where we are seeing a thousand positive cases a day,” said Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone.
In Suffolk, the death numbers are staggering.
“Those deaths really starting to surge. The combined months of August, September and October, we have already exceeded that in just the first week in December,” Bellone said.
The spread is being traced to gatherings at Halloween and Thanksgiving and small parties. Now, the concern is Chanukah, Kwanzaa and Christmas.
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“If we don’t want to see further restrictions, we’ve all got to do our part in controlling the spread,” Nassau County Executive Laura Curran said.
As indoor dining in New York City is ordered closed Monday, Long Island restaurants are on edge.
“We get a lot of questions when something happens in the city. ‘What’s happening here in Nassau County?’ I want to assure them we are still at 50% capacity for indoor dining,” Curran said.
That could, however, change on Long Island next week.
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