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COVID-19: NY Starts Direct Enforcement In 20 Hotspots; Cuomo Threatens To Close Some Schools

A look at New York's 20 "hotspot" ZIP codes and the latest COVID-19 positive testing ratings for each.
A look at New York's 20 "hotspot" ZIP codes and the latest COVID-19 positive testing ratings for each. Photo Credit: New York State

New York State will launch direct enforcement of businesses in "hotspot" cluster areas and Gov. Andrew Cuomo said some schools may be ordered to close in-person learning due to insufficient COVID-19 testing.

Within the top 20 ZIP codes in counties with recent outbreaks - Brooklyn (Kings), Queens and Rockland and Orange counties - the average rate of positive tests is 4.8 percent. 

The rate of positive tests for the remainder of New York State, not counting these 20 ZIP codes, is 0.91 percent. These 20 ZIP codes contained 21 percent of all positive cases in New York State on Saturday, Oct. 3, but represent only 6.7 percent of the state's population.

New York State will start to deploy personnel to directly enforce state guidance within the hotspot ZIP codes on Monday, Oct. 5 and increase during the week. 

The new effort is modeled on the State Liquor Authority and State Police Task Force that has been enforcing state guidance at bars and restaurants in New York City and on Long Island. 

Local businesses that violate the law can be subject to fines and closures.

New York State continues to track clusters with a particular focus on areas where there are hotspot, cluster situations. 

"Local governments have not done an effective job of enforcement in these hotspot ZIP codes,"  New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said on Sunday, Oct. 3. "The state will be doing aggressive enforcement starting tomorrow.

"As we saw with bars and restaurants, when the state initiated enforcement actions compliance greatly increased. 

"However, the state cannot take over effective enforcement for every jurisdiction and if a local jurisdiction cannot or will not perform effective enforcement of violating entities, notify the state and we will close all business activity in the hot spots where the local governments cannot do compliance."

The top 20 ZIP codes for the highest positivity over the past seven days are shown in the image above.

Cuomo said he's also "concerned" about the lack of testing in the schools.

"If the localities do not do testing immediately in the schools in those areas, the state will close them immediately," Cuomo said. "We all want schools to reopen if they can reopen safely. 

"I have assured the parents of this state that I would not send my child to a school that I didn't know was safe. 

"Without testing, we can't assure parents and teachers of the safety of that school."

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