Officials: ‘Lifting of COVID-19 restrictions made possible by hard work of local health departments’

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Left to right:
St. Lawrence Health System’s Associate Chief Medical Officer and St. Lawrence County Board of Health President Andrew Williams, MD, FACP, receives the first Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine administered at Canton-Potsdam Hospital. CPH Director of Nursing Education Amy Nugent injects him with the shot. (photo: St.Lawrence Health System)

Jefferson County Public Health receives, administers initial doses of COVID-19 vaccine, January 7, 2021

(WWTI) — Following orders from Governor Cuomo to lift most COVID-19 restrictions across New York State, local health departments are being thanked for their efforts and response during the pandemic.

New York State Association of County Health Officials Executive Director Sarah Ravenhall, MHA, CHES released a statement on June 15, stating that the efforts of local health departments greatly contributed to the lifting of COVID-19 restrictions.

“The lifting of most remaining COVID-19 restrictions is a moment we have all longed for, and one that was made possible in part by the sacrifice and hard work of local health department (LHD) leaders and staff in carrying out their core public health activities. The tireless LHD response to the pandemic, in particular their central role in contact tracing efforts and the implementation of an historic mass vaccination program, were key to New York State reaching the 70% threshold.

We offer our profound thanks to the thousands of local public health workers who risked their own welfare and safety to protect their communities, and also want to thank and acknowledge our first responders, health care workers and community partners in working together with their local public health leaders to reach this milestone. Our local health departments were there for us when we needed them most. We also want to thank the public for their patience and their adherence to public health measures, which, while challenging, were critical to slowing the spread of COVID-19.

Notwithstanding this long-awaited day, there is still work to be done. COVID-19 positivity rate is down, but the virus is still around. We continue to remain concerned about variants, particularly the Delta variant, and urge the public to continue voluntary precautions, and most importantly, get vaccinated and encourage those eligible family and friends who remain unvaccinated to get their COVID-19 vaccine.

If you are eligible but haven’t been vaccinated, make an appointment now. If you’re due for a second COVID-19 vaccine dose, make sure you get it. Please do your part to ensure that you are fully protected against this virus and help to end this pandemic.”

Sarah Ravenhall, MHA, CHES, Executive Director, NYSACHO

Most COVID-19 restrictions were lifted in New York State by Governor Andrew Cuomo on June 15, 2021. This was following confirmation from the Center of Disease Control and Prevention that the state had hit a 70% COVID-19 vaccination rate.

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