Mapping out the path to herd immunity, less restrictions in the Finger Lakes region

Coronavirus

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — Gov. Cuomo is planning on removing most remaining COVID-19 restrictions but only if 70% of eligible adults in the state get their first shot, which has many wondering just what we need to do to get there and how long it could take.

“The light at the end of the tunnel is to remove the remaining COVID restrictions right? Get to a point where COVID is not inhibiting our society not inhibiting our growth,” The governor said in his COVID-19 briefing on Monday.

“To do that we have to be at 70%. When we hit 70% then I feel comfortable saying to the people of this state we can relax virtually all restrictions. We’re at 68.6%, almost there but this isn’t horse shoes. We want to be at 70%.

President Joe Biden set a goal of vaccinating 70% of Americans by the 4th of July but the White House seems less confident that goal will be met.

“Its definitely a reasonable goal whether we’ll make it by July 4th or not I can’t say,” said Dr. Nancy Bennett, Finger Lakes Vaccine HUB.

In the Finger Lakes Region, 59.7% of the eligible population has at least one dose. Leaders say we are on track, but it will take a more targeted effort. 

“We really need to help get to that point and the only way we can do that is continuing to validate people’s concerns and try to get ourselves fashioned around a new way of doing things,” said Danielle Lyman-Torres, Commissioner of Rec and Human Service for the city of Rochester.

If 70% of eligible state residents get at least one dose of the vaccine, is planning to remove some COVID-19 restrictions.

This means “guidelines — including capacity restrictions, social distancing, cleaning and disinfection, health screening, and contact information for tracing — will become optional for,” for certain industries.

“Large-scale event venues, pre-K to 12 schools, public transit, homeless shelters, correctional facilities, nursing homes, and healthcare settings must continue to follow the State’s guidelines until more New Yorkers are vaccinated.”

For gatherings or events that exceed the State’s social gathering limit of 250 indoors or 500 outdoors, proof of vaccination or of a negative COVID test must be shown. Health screening for symptoms and collecting contact information will still be done.

Being able to attend large events is just one incentive to get the shot. 

“At some point it’s going to become difficult to not be vaccinated because at some point more and more places are gong to ask you to prove that your vaccinated and that’s to protect everyone,” said Dr. Bennett.

“We’ll never exactly go back right now, but I’m excited about the prospect of having options and opportunities,” said Lyman-Torres.

Masks and social distancing are still required for those not vaccinated.

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