Niagara County's COVID-19 numbers continued to inch up on Wednesday.
The Niagara County health department reported three more county residents died in the past 24 hours after being infected with the coronavirus.
At the same time, public health officials announced that testing had shown 121 new positive cases in the county. That brought the total number of positive cases in Niagara, since the start of the pandemic in March, to 10,933.
As the total number of Covid deaths rose to 178, public health officials said 8,487 residents have recovered from their infections.
There are currently 2,268 active COVID-19 cases in the county, with 2,245 residents isolating at home while 23 are hospitalized. Officials said 247,242 COVID-19 tests have been given to Niagara County residents.
The county operated a vaccination site at the Transit Drive In on Wednesday. Separately, Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center dispensed COVID- 19 vaccine to those who qualified at the Niagara Falls School District’s Field House on the high school campus.
“I applaud School Superintendent Mark Laurrie for making this spacious and very accessible facility available to us,” Memorial Medical Center President & CEO Joseph A. Ruffolo said. “It vastly improves our ability to serve our neighbors as we strive to defeat the virus that causes COVID-19.”
Laurrie, in response, said, “We are always happy to support their efforts.”
Statewide, Governor Andrew M/ Cuomo and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said on Wednesday that the federal government must speed the delivery of COVID-19 vaccine doses to New York, as appointments are snapped up as quickly as they go online.
“At the end of the day, this is a supply issue and we need the federal government to provide us with more vaccine as quickly as possible because there is simply not enough and this is the weapon that will win the war,” Cuomo said.
The governor said more than 7 million people statewide are now eligible to be vaccinated but the state is receiving just 300,000 vaccine doses a week from the federal government. “We are making the vaccine available based on federal guidance and are continuing to push it out the door quickly and efficiently, but due to the federal government’s limited allocation, appointments are filling up fast," Cuomo said in a statement.
The drive to vaccinate in New York and elsewhere has ramped up after a shaky initial rollout last month. According to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 1.8 vaccine million doses have been distributed to New York state and more than 630,000 have been administered.
The vaccination effort comes as New York continues to see thousands of new, confirmed COVID-19 cases every day. Cuomo said nearly 9,000 people were hospitalized with the virus statewide as of Tuesday. “The vaccine is the weapon that ends the war, but we’re locked in a footrace between its quick distribution and the spread of new cases,” Cuomo said.