As of March 23, 14% of adults in New York City have been fully vaccinated. (Photo: CDC on Unsplash)

New York residents ages 50 and older are now able to be vaccinated.

The expansion of eligibility, which started Tuesday, is possible because the state has access to enough vaccines as it works to get closer to a post-pandemic reality, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said in announcing the change.

While the move is an important one to get more New Yorkers vaccinated as quickly as possible, there are mounting concerns about the rising positivity rates throughout the five boroughs.

The seven-day COVID positive test rate as of March 17 for a majority of ZIP codes in Queens and Staten Island have been increasing over the past two weeks, according to a tracker run by THE CITY, while parts of Brooklyn are seeing an increase and most of Manhattan is trending down.

While most of the Bronx is holding steady, areas such as Mott Haven are hovering close to a 9% positivity rate. The statewide rate is 4.74%. (Data on the New York City Department of Health’s page was not updated on March 23 due to delays.)

The rising positivity rates is happening as restrictions have eased:

  • Indoor dining has resumed as restaurants can operate at 50% capacity.
  • The maximum capacity for indoor public spaces has been increased to 100 people.
  • The capacity for outdoor gatherings at private residencies increased to 25 people from 10.
  • Pre-K, elementary, middle school and District 75 special education students are now able to return to classrooms; high schools reopened on March 22.
  • Gyms must close by 11 p.m.
  • Parties at private residencies are capped at 10 people.

In the ongoing effort to vaccinate more New Yorkers, Cuomo also announced the launch of the “Roll Up Your Sleeve” campaign. Starting in April, all houses of worship can begin to serve as points of distribution for the vaccine in an effort to reach underserved communities and combat vaccine hesitancy.

Interested medical providers and houses of worship can sign up here.

As of March 23, 14% of adults in New York City have been fully vaccinated.

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