QUEENSBURY, N.Y. (NEWS10) – The former Sears store inside the Aviation Mall has worn two different hats in 2021. One was the cap of a New York State-run COVID-19 vaccination site. The other was the festive mask of Spirit Halloween. Now that the costumes have been put back away, vaccines are set to resume there.
In a Monday COVID-19 press conference, New York Governor Kathy Hochul announced that the mall vaccination site would reopen effective Wednesday. The site will offer coronavirus testing as well as vaccines and booster shots.
“With the arrival of winter when more people are traveling and gathering indoors, and the emergence of the Omicron variant, we are reminded that we cannot let our guard down in our fight against COVID-19,” Governor Hochul said. “Vaccinations and testing are the best tools we have in preventing further spread of the virus and its variants. If you feel sick, get tested and stay home. If you have yet to get your vaccine, go out and do so as soon as you can and if you’re due for your booster, doses are readily available across the state. Wear a mask, wash your hands, and stay safe as we head into the winter season.”
In the conference, Hochul pointed to parts of upstate New York as among areas of the state where COVID cases were climbing rapidly. Locally, Warren County recently saw a string of days in November where new active case count records were set. Hochul mentioned the Queensbury vaccine site by name, announcing its reopening in the same breath as confirming that 13 more vaccine sites would be opening around New York.
In a look at the state vaccine signup website, openings at the mall can be reserved for as early as 8 a.m. on Wednesday. Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson vaccines and booster doses are available. The site will be open daily from 8 a.m. – 7 p.m., offering testing on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, and vaccinations on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. Walk-ins will be available.
On a visit to the mall around 1 p.m. Monday, no setup was yet taking place. The inside gate connecting the space to the rest of the mall remained gated shut. Aviation Mall Operations Manager James Griffith said that a statement from the mall would be forthcoming.
The tests provided at the mall will be PCR tests. Samples will be sent offsite to be processed, meaning that test results may take as much as several days.
Hochul also pointed to the recently-discovered omicron variant of coronavirus as another reason to expand vaccination resources. So far, no cases of that variant have been identified in New York.
Hochul said that upstate, the rate of deaths of hospitalized coronavirus patients sits at around 70%. That rate is about 150% what it is downstate, Hochul said.
Warren County Board of Supervisors Chairwoman Rachel Seeber said that the site’s reopening syncs up well with work that Warren and Washington counties have put into reaching out to those who have not yet been vaccinated. That work has included education, and getting the message out there about how getting vaccinated can benefit people.
“This team effort is generating real results that we desperately need during these troubling times, and we are thankful to Governor Hochul for recognizing this gap in services, for listening to our concerns and for her quick response in helping our North Country,” Seeber said. “We have heard every day from our residents that the need for accessible vaccinations and testing is growing, and we are very happy to say we have listened and together we are responding as quickly as possible.”
The Aviation Mall vaccine site first opened in March. It was closed in July, at which point approximately 22 million New York State residents had been vaccinated for coronavirus, according to a statement from the Department of Health at that time.