New York launches mobile vaccination initiative for rural workers

PIX11 | By Johan Sheridan | April 13, 2021

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced the state is launching a mobile vaccination program for agricultural workers.

Cuomo held a press conference at Angry Orchard Cider House in Orange County on Tuesday afternoon to set the stage for his announcement.

Starting Wednesday, April 21, the state will partner with Sun River Health on the program. The goal: vaccinating agricultural workers who have demanding schedules and live in remote, rural locations. The program will head to different sites—like the Crist Brothers Orchard in Walden—in a vehicle resembling a food truck with Sun River Health branding.

Cuomo talked about the significance of the $3.6 billion agriculture industry to New York’s economy, and the roughly 116,000 farmworkers who help that industry thrive. Cuomo identified Nourish New York as an important program launched before the pandemic.

That program supplies food banks with local food. Cuomo announced that the Nourish New York program would receive a $50 million influx from the state. The money will go toward supporting its mission, described thus by the governor: “Let’s purchase the product that we are making, and let’s supply it to food banks that are feeding hungry and starving people across the state of New York.”

At the event, which was closed to the press, Cuomo was joined by Richard Ball, the Commissioner of the Department of Agriculture and Markets, alongside leaders from Angry Orchard and Sun River Health. One of his daughters was also on hand to purchase cider.

On COVID numbers, Cuomo gave a summary:

  • 3.9%: Statewide positivity rate
  • 58 COVID deaths on Monday
  • 4,000 COVID hospitalizations Monday
  • 869 of those in the ICU
  • 564 intubated

According to Cuomo, “COVID and the spread of COVID is a function of behavior, of human behavior and of community behavior. Even within our state you see very different covid rates. Why?” With that in mind, he outlined the following infection rates:

  • Western New York: 4.8%
  • Long Island: 3.8%
  • Mid Hudson Valley: 3.7%
  • New York City: 3.4%
  • Finger Lakes: 3.1%
  • Capital Region: 2.3%
  • Mohawk Valley: 1.7%
  • Central New York: 1.4%
  • Southern Tier: .7%
  • Statewide: 1.6%

Gov. Cuomo also talked about the current controversy involving the Johnson and Johnson vaccine—which he received himself earlier in 2021. He said he spoke with Dr. Anthony Fauci and Dr. Rochelle Walensky, who heads the CDC: “The reason they paused the Johsnon and Johson is they want to make sure all health providers know. If a person comes in with these symptoms, the normal medication they give is Heparin for a blood clot. That does not work in this situation, so they want to get the word out to all healthcare providers.”