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Shelter Island near herd immunity

COVID-19 cases on Shelter Island, which last week were reported at about 1% of the population, have dropped to about 0.8%, Police Chief Jim Read told the Town Board at Tuesday’s work session.

Islanders who have received at least one inoculation of a COVID-19 vaccine total 69.4%, according to Chief Read. He speculated that it’s likely by now to be the same number for those who have received both inoculations of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines, and the single shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

Suffolk County estimates that to achieve herd immunity that would keep a community protected among both inoculated and non-inoculated individuals, there should be between 70% to 85% of people who have been vaccinated.

Chief Read called the Island’s percentage of those inoculated “really good news for us.” At the same time, he’s continuing to call for masks to be worn and to observe other precautions — at least for now.

Activities or visits to the town’s Youth Center will continue to follow school rules that require mask wearing.

But, he said, by the end of the week, some restrictions could be lifted.

Use of the FIT Center still requires patrons to wear masks, but he and other town officials are considering allowing people without masks to use the FIT Center during the last hour of each day. Then the FIT Center would be closed, cleaned and reopened with mask wearing on the following day, the chief said.