Time, guidelines facilitate access to the outdoors | News, Sports, Jobs
Clear skies and temperatures in the mid-80s were reason enough for many to seek the outdoors on Thursday. The easing of the face mask and social distancing warrants for fully vaccinated people in New York state may have convinced other people to enjoy the sun as well.
Many could be seen walking without face masks through downtown Jamestown – a full day after New York officially adopted the new guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. An individual is “Fully vaccinated” two weeks after receiving the second dose of a series of two-dose COVID-19 vaccines, according to the CDC, or two weeks after receiving the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
Bridgett and Tasha McFaul-Marsh and Sheridan Smith, all from the Jamestown area who said they were fully vaccinated, were among those enjoying the time away on Thursday. Smith said he had grown used to wearing a face mask due to his job, but was happy to have the chance to do without a mask outside.
“I’m so used to wearing one,” Smith said masks. “I don’t really mind now.”
Bridgett McFaul-Marsh fears the state has rushed to follow the CDC in allowing many people to ditch face masks. Part of the reason, she noted, is her 1-year-old son Rowan.
“I feel like we’re not ready yet,” she said.
According to the New York tracker, 48,073 residents of Chautauqua County have been found to be fully vaccinated, although it is not clear how many of them are free to give up masks due to the two-week rule. In addition, 55,272 residents have received at least one dose to date, representing about 53.1% of the local population over the age of 18.
In Cattaraugus County, 24,483 residents were fully vaccinated while 28,482 received at least one vaccine.
VAX TO SCRATCH
Anyone getting vaccinated at some state-run vaccination sites in New York next week will receive a lottery scratch ticket with prizes worth millions, as Gov. Andrew Cuomo tries to increase slowing rates of vaccination. The pilot program will offer prizes ranging from $ 20 to $ 5 million and will run from Monday, May 24 through Friday, May 28 at 10 state-run sites.
The closest site is the University of South Buffalo Campus.
“It’s a win-win situation” Cuomo said at a press conference in Buffalo, noting that there is a one in nine chance of winning a scratch ticket prize in New York City. The state joins others, including Ohio, with similar lottery incentives. Only residents 18 and older are eligible, according to a press release.
New York is also planning to set up pop-up vaccination sites at seven airports across the state for U.S. residents, including airport workers.
New York has fully immunized about 43% of its 20 million people, above the national average of 37.8%.
Still, Cuomo said the pace of vaccinations has slowed: New York has recorded an average of 123,806 gunshots per day in the past 14 days. This is a decrease of 43% from 216,040 on April 12.
SOME NEW CASES
Only four new confirmed cases of COVID-19 were reported Thursday by the Chautauqua County Health Department. Hospitalizations also remain low, currently at four.
As of Thursday, there were 57 active cases and 248 people in quarantine; the seven-day positivity rate was 1.2%.
To date, there have been 9,168 total confirmed cases, 8,958 recoveries and 153 virus-related deaths.
In Cattaraugus County, there have been 5,657 confirmed cases during the pandemic, in addition to 5,434 recoveries and 103 deaths related to the virus. There are currently 119 active cases, 12 people infected with the virus in hospital and 692 in quarantine.
The Associated Press contributed to this story.