Some alarm bells are ringing for certain health officials in New York who are investigating new COVID-19 clusters that cropped up in Rockland and Orange counties.
On Monday, Sept. 28, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said that there has been a sharp uptick in new COVID-19 cases in Rockland, Orange, and in some parts of Brooklyn.
Statewide, there were 52,936 COVID-19 tests administered yesterday, with 834 (1.5 percent) testing positive. There are currently 543 people hospitalized with the virus and there were 11 new fatalities.
The 1.5 percent infection rate is up from 1.02 percent on Saturday, Sept. 26. It has mostly hovered around or below 1 percent for several months.
Of those new cases, Cuomo said that they were largely isolated to those clusters, with 25 percent of the new cases limited to just 10 zip codes throughout New York.
In response to the clusters, Cuomo said that the state will be making hundreds of rapid testing machines and staff available to those areas to increase testing and enforce compliance on the state’s COVID-19 mandates.
It is unclear what caused the new clusters in the Hudson Valley.
In Rockland, nearly 70 percent of active cases are in the zip codes for Monsey and Spring Valley. The total of active cases in Rockland rose to 534 on Friday from 460 on Thursday. Friday's active cases were almost double the number (272) as of Sept. 16.
Rockland County Executive Ed Day said that they are working with Cuomo's office to help stop the recent spread of COVID-19 in the region.
"It is concerning that the number of active cases continues to increase throughout Rockland and significantly increase within two zip codes within the Town of Ramapo," he said. "I am both privately and publicly urging local municipalities to utilize their employees such as building and fire inspectors and police in educational efforts. It is my expectation that appropriate enforcement action will be taken, as necessary."
In Orange County, there have now been more than 1,000 confirmed cases in Wallkill, Palm Tree, Middletown, and Newburgh. Cuomo also mentioned the 10950 zip code, which accounts for 22 percent of the positive cases.
That zip code represents parts of Monroe, Woodbury, Kiryas Joel, South Blooming Grove, Marycrest, and Walton Park.
In the past 24 hours, 1,205 COVID-19 tests were administered in Orange County, resulting in 22 (1.8 percent) positive cases. There were 993 tests administered in Rockland, leading to 67 (6.7 percent) new cases.
The overall infection rate in the mid-Hudson Valley has not been below 1.5 percent of those tested since Sunday, Sept. 20. In
"We are going to target zip codes today and then contact the hospitals in those zip codes that have shown increased case numbers," Cuomo said on Monday.
"We'll have zip codes within Brooklyn, within Rockland, within Orange. before we say anything, I want to talk to local health officials to make sure what they're finding is consistent with what we're finding.”
There have been 162,428 tests administered in Rockland County since March, resulting in 15,045 confirmed COVID-19 cases. There are currently 12 hospitalized with the virus, with one case pending. There have been 675 virus-related deaths.
A breakdown of active COVID-19 cases in Rockland as of Sept. 28:
- Spring Valley: 198;
- Monsey: 173;
- Suffern: 36;
- Nanuet: 25;
- Pomona: 21;
- New City: 17;
- Pearl River: 14;
- Stony Point: 7;
- Tappan: 5;
- Blauvelt: 5;
- Haverstraw: 5;
- Orangeburg: 4;
- West Nyack: 4;
- Thiells: 4;
- Nyack: 3;
- Valley Cottage: 3;
- Sloatsburg: 3;
- Garnerville: 3;
- Congers: 2;
- Palisades: 1;
- Sparkill: 1.
Three are no active cases in Piermont, Hillburn, West Haverstraw, or Tompkins Cove.
There are currently 20 COVID-19 patients hospitalized in Orange County, with 14 under investigation for possible exposure. There have been a total of 12,078 positive cases that resulted in 499 virus-related deaths.
A breakdown of total confirmed cases in Orange County as of Sept. 28:
- City of Newburgh: 1,671;
- City of Middletown: 1,245;
- Palm Tree: 1,090;
- Wallkill: 1,008;
- New Windsor: 945;
- Newburgh: 817;
- Montgomery: 692;
- Monroe: 624;
- Warwick: 620;
- Goshen: 527;
- Chester: 383;
- Blooming Grove: 374;
- Woodbury: 337;
- Highlands: 255;
- Wawayanda: 238;
- Mount Hope: 211;
- Cornwall: 169;
- Hamptonburgh: 166;
- City of Port Jervis: 147;
- Crawford: 103;
- Deerpark: 91;
- Minisink: 88;
- Greenville: 82;
- Tuxedo: 74
Since the pandemic began, New York has administered 10,508,186 COVID-19 tests, with 455,626 testing positive. A total of 25,456 New Yorkers have died since mid-March.
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