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The Battle against COVID-19: Vaccinations Ramp Up during Third Wave of the Coronavirus

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Josue Lora/NJ Governor's Office
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N.J. Governor Phil Murphy conducts a vaccine site visit at Kean University on March 26, 2021.

New York City officials are warning folks to be careful with gatherings for Passover and Easter.

New York City’s Health Commissioner Dr. David Chokshi calls the next few weeks a crucial time in the pandemic because he says the city is seeing a worryingly high level of cases. He says holiday gatherings should be small and outdoors if possible.

“And remember that the virus hitches a ride on our relationship. If you do chose to celebrate in person, please wear a snug fitting face covering and keep distance.”

Meanwhile, there are new pop up vaccine sites open now through Sunday at a number of public housing buildings throughout the city. Mayor de Blasio says this is an effort to increase vaccine equity. The city has now administered more than 4.1 million vaccine doses.

Those warnings in New York come as New Jersey’s health commissioner Judy Persichelli says we are now in third phase of the virus. She spoke to reporters this week about some of the discouraging trends.

During that briefing, we also learned that New Jersey's new vaccine finder is now online to help residents find appointments.

Governor Phil Murphy hopes the new online portal will take some of the stress out of finding a vaccine appointment.

"This new tool aggregates information across multiple scheduling platforms, multiple times an hour, letting you know where appointments are open and directing you on how you can make one for yourself."

Murphy noted that the portal is still in the beta stages. That means officials will be testing and improving it. The governor said the site WILL be able to handle a surge in traffic as thousands more residents become eligible for the vaccine on Monday. The website can be found at COVID-19-dot-N-J-dot-gov-slash-finder.

New Jersey’s SMALLEST businesses are the target of the latest coronavirus relief effort in the state.

A state law enacted this week allocates 25-million dollars in grants to firms with up to five employees … so-called micro businesses. Governor Phil Murphy signed the law and says the goal is to help the kinds of place people think of when they think of small businesses…

“They think of the stores along Main Street that are owned by their neighbors and friends, which cater to the needs of the community and that hire from within the community, if they’re big enough to hire at all.”

Dawn Marie Addiego, a Democratic state senator from Burlington County, sponsored the legislation.

“New Jersey never fully recovered from the Great Recession, and a lot of that was due to the limited relief residents, businesses, and organizations received. Microbusinesses shouldn’t have to permanently close their doors because of the pandemic.”

New Jersey is using federal coronavirus relief money to pay for the program … which will be administered by the state’s Economic Development Authority.

You will soon be able to give yourself a COVID19 test at home..The Food and Drug administration yesterday approved two rapid antigen home tests for use in the United States. NPR’s Salina Simmons Duffin

The BinaxNOW and Quickvue tests are expected to be sold in two-packs for around $15-20.

Doug Doyle has been News Director at WBGO since 1998 and has taken his department to new heights in coverage and recognition. Doug and his staff have received more than 200 awards from organizations like PRNDI, AP, New York Association of Black Journalists, Garden State Association of Black Journalists and the New Jersey Society of Professional Journalists.