New City, NY, – Rockland County Health Commissioner Dr. Patricia Schnabel Ruppert and County Executive Ed Day wrote to Governor Andrew Cuomo and New York State Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker to request that New York State open a mass vaccination site in Rockland County.
The full letter is attached and is copied below.
March 17, 2021
Good morning Governor Cuomo and Dr. Zucker,
As we continue to face the seemingly unending challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, I am writing to urgently request a Mass Vaccination Site in Rockland County. With one of the highest rates of coronavirus cases in NYS, when adjusted for the population, Rockland has had 1,222 positive cases per 10,000 people as of 3-8-2021 (second to Richmond [Staten Island] County); thankfully this has not translated to an increase in hospitalizations with only 36 individuals hospitalized with Covid-19 currently. Though we have proven ourselves very capable of investigating cases, providing clinical and medical decision making, establishing the necessary isolation and quarantine, and now administering vaccine at our PODs (with a throughput of 1,000 doses daily) all as our teams are simultaneously vaccinating directly in our communities to those most vulnerable, these efforts are insufficient for the vaccination timeline as outlined by President Biden.
We are aware that there is a signed MOU between NYS, Rockland County Executive Day and Rockland Community College (RCC) for a mass vaccination site, which is ready for immediate utilization for this purpose. The throughput at RCC can be triple that of our local PODs, if they are led by the state with Regional MRC and National Guard support, as you deem appropriate. Please note that Rockland County does not have an MRC, but we hope that the response can be regional, as has been for the HUB among other efforts.
We are certainly willing to assist in the undertaking of a mass POD site, but do not have the ability nor staff to set up and actively run such an entity for the short or long term ourselves. Please realize that our entire health department staff has been engaged in Covid-19 efforts every day for the past year while we also continue with our mandated and essential work in communicable disease/case investigations (our 7-day average is ~173 cases/day), Family Planning, Sexual Health, Immunization and TB clinics, inspections, permits, lead, rabies, EI/Pre-K, Health Promotion, housing and other complaints, and many environmental health programs.
We appreciate your consideration to spearhead a state site ASAP and look forward to a hopeful positive and speedy response as we all work to end this horrendous pandemic.
Patricia Schnabel Ruppert, D.O., M.P.H. CPE, DABFM, FAAFP
Commissioner of Health
Edwin J. Day