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County partners with North Fork TV Festival for latest vaccine incentive

The latest effort to boost vaccination numbers in Suffolk County will provide residents a chance to win entry into screenings and events at the North Fork TV Festival this summer.

Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone and the North Fork TV Festival announced the partnership Monday, saying residents who get vaccinated at county-run sites will automatically be entered into a raffle as part of the county’s ongoing #TakeYourShot initiative.

The North Fork TV Festival began in 2017 and is held in Greenport to “celebrate the evolution of television and independent television.” It’s scheduled Aug. 4-6.

There will be five pairs of tickets to the festival, for a total of 10 tickets, that will be reserved for individuals who get vaccinated at a country-run site.

“In Suffolk County we are getting creative to give our residents who may be a little hesitant the nudge they need to keep our communities safe and healthy,” County Executive Steve Bellone said in a statement. “By getting vaccinated at a County site, not only are you protecting yourself and your loves ones, now you will have the chance to score tickets to this world-class event.”

Winners will be randomly selected and notified by county officials. The winners must be 18 or older.

“As we fight to emerge safely from the pandemic, this is such a meaningful partnership for our festival,” said festival founder Noah Doyle in a statement. “We stand with Suffolk County in helping residents to get vaccinated. That will help everyone join us in-person — and safely — for fun-filled activities in Greenport this August.”

Suffolk County recently surpassed the 50% mark for the total population who is now fully vaccinated. Just under 70% of the county’s 18 and older population has received at least one dose.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Monday said the state is nearing its goal of 70% of New Yorkers to receive at least one dose. The latest numbers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show 69.9% of New Yorkers 18 and older have gotten at least one vaccine dose. That figure is slightly higher than the number reported on the state’s Vaccine Tracker. The difference is due to the federal data including “federally-administered doses and other minor differences,” according to the governor’s office, which releases both figures.

“We need one more push to really get vaccinated and get the COVID beast under control,” Mr. Cuomo said Monday. “So we’re going to focus on those areas in the state that have the lowest vaccination rate, because we know where they are.”

He said the focus will also be on the youngest demographic of children ages 12 to 17.

The positivity rate for COVID-19 in Suffolk remains at 0.4%. There was one fatality reported in the data released Sunday, bringing the total deaths during the pandemic in Suffolk to 3,400. There are now 61 people across the county hospitalized with COVID.