Some Long Island communities are on the verge of being designated as COVID-19 “yellow zone” micro-clusters due to a recent rise in new cases as the virus continues to rapidly spread.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced over the weekend that by the end of the week, some areas that have seen a rising infection rate will see new restrictions put in place due to the second wave of the virus.
“We have several communities that are in the warning track,” Cuomo said on Sunday, Nov. 22. “Right now, unless they dramatically change the trajectory of the infection rate, this week, they will go into those zones.”
Cuomo said that parts of Upper Manhattan, Staten Island, and areas in both Nassau and Suffolk County are likely to be designated as “yellow zones,” though he didn’t specify where specifically on Long Island.
An announcement could come as early as Monday, Nov. 23.
"Between now and January, there will be increased social interaction, and the consequence, I believe, will be an increase in the rate of cases,” the governor reiterated. "The only question of how much and how fast is up to you.
“You can change what you do, and you can change how your community acts. We have several communities across the state in the warning track to yellow zones or become red or orange zones this week and while a vaccine is expected to come in December or January, we cannot let our guard down.”
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An area is designated as a “yellow zone” if it sees positive infection rates of 3.5 percent or more for 10 straight days.
Yellow zone restrictions include a 25-person maximum capacity on mass gatherings, four-person to a table maximum while dining, and 20 percent weekly testing of in-person students, faculty in schools. Bars and restaurants located in the zone are also subject to curfews.
Gatherings in private homes remain limited to 10 people, while information on public school impacts will come directly from each school district.
“The vaccine will be first distributed for high-need populations, but it will be six months at a minimum before it is widely available, so we simply cannot afford six months of a sustained increase in cases,” Cuomo stated.
On Long Island, the infection rate rose from 2.9 percent on Thursday, Nov. 19 and Friday, Nov. 20 to 3.5 percent on Saturday, Nov. 21, according to the state Department of. Health. The seven-day rolling average positive infection rate has climbed to 3.23, among the highest of the state’s nine regions.
“The post-holiday increase is purely a function of what we do and New Yorkers have already proven their toughness, but as Thanksgiving and the holiday season approaches, we need to stay the course,” Cuomo continued. “If we all continue to wash our hands, wear our masks and avoid gatherings, we will be able to keep our infection rate down and keep New Yorkers safe.”
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