covid-19 vaccine
Registered pharmacist fills a dead volume syringe with the COVID-19 vaccine at a pop-up vaccination site in William Reid Apartments in Brooklyn, New York City, U.S., January 23, 2021. Mary Altaffer/Pool via REUTERS

Suffolk County opened its fourth Covid-19 vaccination site at the H. Lee Dennison Building on Wednesday, vaccinating about 600 residents on its first day.

County Executive Steve Bellone announced the new vaccine site during a news conference in front of the building, just after presenting the county’s Emergency Task Force with a proclamation to honor them for their response to the pandemic.

“The seat of our government, the place where the people look to particularly in moments of crisis,” Bellone said, “is now a place that is providing help and hope to have our region and our county emerge from this pandemic by being a vaccination site.”

Going forward, the new site will have the capacity to vaccinate 900 residents per day. Bellone encouraged residents to make their appointments. Anyone 50 and over is now eligible, as well as those with certain comorbidities and many essential workers. 

Suffolk County residents can schedule vaccine appointments by visiting Suffolk’s vaccine webpage or by calling 311. The H. Lee Dennison Building is located at 100 Veterans Memorial Highway in Hauppauge, and the county runs three other vaccination sites at Suffolk County Community College’s three campuses in Riverhead, Selden, and Brentwood.

About 400,000 Suffolk residents have received at least one dose of the vaccine, Bellone said. While more people getting vaccinated is encouraging news, he urged residents to stay vigilant against the virus. Suffolk’s Covid-19 positivity rate has plateaued at around 4 percent, remaining about the same since mid-February. On Wednesday, the rate was 4.3 percent.

“We have been seeing our numbers decline but they are not declining any further at this point,” Bellone said. “I had predicted that we would be somewhere back in the [1 percent] range in the middle of March. We haven’t hit that because of this plateauing.”

Bellone added that there are about 400 people with Covid-19 in Suffolk’s hospitals, which has been the case for several weeks. He attributed the plateauing rates to people’s optimism about the virus as they begin returning to socializing.

“The virus is not gone, it is still here, there are risks from variants potentially developing,” he said. “The concern is a race against the virus — to vaccinate as many people as possible, as quickly as possible before the virus can change or mutate in a way to evade our efforts to destroy it. Until we get to herd immunity, and this virus is still lurking out in the community, there remains a real risk.”

For more coronavirus coverage, visit longislandpress.com/coronavirus.

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