ALBANY – Starting tomorrow at 8 a.m., New Yorkers 50 years of age and older will be eligible to receive the COVID vaccine, Governor Cuomo announced in today’s briefing.
“We continue to kick vaccinations into overdrive throughout the state by expanding eligibility, establishing new vaccination sites and opening up eligibility to providers to reach new populations,” he declared. ” However, limited supply from the federal government means that New Yorkers should remain patient.”
ONEONTA – The opening of the COVID-19 mass-vaccination site has been delayed a day, until Friday, but Governor Cuomo today confirmed the initiative is a go.
“We have a wide network of COVID vaccination sites and the state is moving full steam ahead opening even more,” the governor said today in announcing nine state-run sites and the 10th, at SUNY Oneonta’s Dewar Arena, which will be operated by Bassett Healthcare Network in collaboration with the state.
“New York needs to be ready for the next increase in supply, and these sites located throughout the state will help bring residents and their families peace of mind and get us a step closer to defeating the COVID-19 pandemic and restoring a sense of normalcy,” the governor said at today’s COVID-19 briefing.
ALBANY – Through agencies like the Otsego County Health Department, the 1B group will be able to make appointments at state-run mass vaccination sites beginning this Sunday, the 14th, with vaccinations beginning the next day, Monday the 15th, Governor Cuomo reported in his daily COVID-19 e-letter.
However, county Public Health Director Heidi Bond said this morning that her department has not yet received any direction from the state. So far, “we have no idea how much vaccine is coming or who it’s for,” she said.
For now, she advised local people to continue to register through the state’s “Am I Eligible” site, so they can be processed once appointments become available.
In his daily COVID-19 update, Governor Cuomo has been including a “Deep Breath Moment” of inspiration in time of pandemic. His latest is New York City blues artist David Keyes’ “7 O’Clock Somewhere,” a tribute to front-line workers. Keyes himself is a COVID survivor. To subscribe to the governor’s daily update, click here.
ONEONTA – After being called out by Governor Cuomo on Monday, Fox Hospital and the Tri-Town Campus in Sidney have ramped up their rate of vaccinations.
On Monday, Cuomo alleged that the hospital had only used 18 percent of their COVID-19 vaccine allotment. Bassett spokeswoman Karen Huxtable-Hooker said the total was actually 30 percent at the time of the press conference.
Fox spokesman Gabrielle Argo updated these figures, reporting that 50 percent of the Fox staff has been vaccinated and 100 percent of the Tri-Town Campus staff had been vaccinated as of 2 p.m. today.
COOPERSTOWN – At a time of heightened concern about voting and related procedures, Cooperstown’s Tony Casale, the former state Assemblyman, has been appointed to the vacancy on the four-member state Board of Elections.
Governor Cuomo made the appointment yesterday on the recommendation of state Republican Chairman Nick Langworthy.
The board has two co-chairs, recommended to the governor by the legislative leaders; the other two are recommended by the state party chairs. The board must consist of two Republicans and two Democrats.
COOPERSTOWN – The first meeting of Cooperstown’s Community Advisory Board on policing is at 5 p.m. today in the Village Hall ballroom, and open to the public.
The CAB was mandated by Governor Cuomo, after George Floyd’s death in Minneapolis and the resulting unrest. The board must review Village Police Department policies and procedures and forward its recommendations to Albany next April l.
COOPERSTOWN – Reach out and be inspected, so you can reopen, county Board Chair David Bliss, R-Cooperstown/Town of Middlefield today advised operators of gyms and fitness centers.
“Normally we don’t issue permits to these establishments, so the Health Department may not be aware of every facility looking to reopen,” said Bliss. “We need them to contact us so we can work with them and get them open as soon as possible and make sure they are in compliance and help any way that we can.”
The businesses should e-mail business name, specific business type, location and owner’s name (and contact person) to the county Health Department at email@example.com (and meet other requirements detailed below.)
ALBANY – Governor Cuomo today announced bowling alleys throughout New York State will be allowed to reopen starting Monday with strict safety protocols in place.
Bowling alleys will be able to operate at a 50-percent maximum occupancy limit; face coverings and social distancing will be required at all times; every other lane must be closed; patrons need to stay with the party at their assigned lane; thorough cleaning and disinfection of shared or rented equipment between each use will be required; and all food service must follow all state-issued guidance.
COOPERSTOWN – Cooperstown School Superintendent Bill Crankshaw couldn’t believe it when he saw CCS on Governor Cuomo’s list of 107 schools that had not yet sent in their re-opening plan.
“Professionally, I’m offended,” he said. “There was a flaw in the submission process, and no school wants to be publicly shamed for a mistake.”
According to Crankshaw, the school board, after filing for an extension on its reopening plan, submitted the plan to the state Education Department Thursday, Aug. 6, one day before the Friday deadline.
However, he said, CCS missed it was also supposed to submit the plan to the state Department of Health, and since rectified the mistake.
“We are not in danger of not reopening,” he said. “But this just shows how little regard Cuomo gives to public education.”
On Friday, Aug. 7, Cuomo announced all schools in the state are cleared to open, but stopped short of demanding a reopening, leaving the final decisions to the district.
Under their submitted plan, students in each grade will be divided up into two “cohorts,” which will attend classes on campus two alternating days a week – Cohort A will attend Mondays and Wednesdays, Cohort B will attend Tuesdays and Thursdays – as well as every other Friday.
On the days they are not in class, students will use online curriculum, including pre-recorded lessons, projects related to in-person lessons and independent practice.
With concerns about connectivity in the more rural areas of the district, the school has ordered Wifi “hot spots” for students who have cell-phone service but no Internet access, and will also set up a socially distanced common area for students who wish to do their online learning on campus.
“We’ll have a 20- by 40-foot tent with a heater for cooler days,” said Crankshaw. “It will be monitored, and students can do their work in there.”
Students will be required to wear masks on campus. “That’s non-negotiable,” he said.
Crankshaw said the school is still working on a formal procedure to deal with any students who may begin exhibiting COVID symptoms during the day, including ordering testing and contact tracing. That plan will be in place before the start of the school year, he said.
Though elementary students were supposed to start returning to classrooms Sept. 21 – with online curriculum for two weeks following the planned start date of Sept. 9 – Crankshaw said the current thinking is to have all students return at the same time.
In Oneonta, schools will not open for in-person classes until Oct. 6, Superintendent Thomas Brindley announced last week. Instead, all learning will continue to take place remotely.
“We knew Cuomo would make some sort of decision, but because it’s been left to the districts, nothing has changed for us,” he said.
Similar to Cooperstown, Oneonta has reached out to families that do not have Internet access to figure out the best way to help them access online classes. “We’ve had approximately 40 families express some need for Wifi,” he said. “So we’re ordering mobile hot spots to give them.”
The school will also continue to distribute free meals the same way they did in the spring.
“Ultimately, we will come back to the building,” he said. “We want to create as normal a schedule as we can so we can return as seamlessly as possible.”
ALBANY – All of New York State’s 10 regions – Otsego County’s Mohawk Valley region included – have low enough infection rates to reopen this fall, but how to do so will be up to local schools, as reflected in plans developed locally, Governor Cuomo announced in a conference call this morning.
“Based on our infection rate,” Cuomo said, “New York State is in the best possible situation right now. If anybody can open schools, we can open schools. We do masks, we do social distancing, we’ve kept that infection rate down, and we can bring the same level of intelligence to the school reopening that we brought to the economic reopening.”
The districts must follow state Department of Health guidelines, detailed here.