Below 4% positivity rate in Monroe County’s COVID-19 yellow zone for 3rd straight day


ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — Monroe County’s COVID-19 yellow zone positivity rate was 3.64% Wednesday, according to an update from Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s office Thursday.

That positivity rate was down from Tuesday’s 3.87%. The yellow zone’s seven-day rolling average positivity rate is now 4.39%, according to state officials, and the county has now had three straight days of positivity rates below 4% — a benchmark for future zone designations.

According to the New York state guidelines, microclusters are reevaluated 14 days after an initial determination. Monroe County’s yellow cluster was declared last Monday and brought about new rules and restrictions for schools, dining, religious worship, gatherings, and more.

MORE | Gov. Cuomo: ‘You will see a tremendous spike in COVID-19 after Thanksgiving’

While a zone update isn’t expected until at least Monday, based on the guidelines, the positivity rate has consistently surpassed the 4% criteria. Monroe County micro-cluster positivity rates since the yellow zone designation were as follows (these are single day figures, not the seven-day rolling averages for each):

  • November 9 — 4.76%
  • November 10 — 6.21%
  • November 11 — 5.69%
  • November 12 — 5.90%
  • November 13 — 5.09%
  • November 14 — 4.68%
  • November 15 — 4.77%
  • November 16 — 3.68%
  • November 17 — 3.87%
  • November 18 — 3.64%

To qualify for orange zone designation, Monroe County would have to meet the following benchmarks:

  • Geographic area has 7-day rolling average positivity above 4% for 10 days AND
  • Geographic area has 12 or more new daily cases per 100,000 residents on 7-day average

By being under 4%, Monroe County’s yellow zone resets its criteria for an orange zone upgrade. According to the governor’s office, orange zone restrictions would include:

  • Closing high-risk non-essential businesses (gyms, personal care, etc).
  • Schools move to remote-only instruction model
  • Outdoor dining only, four people maximum per table
  • 33% capacity for religious worship capacity, 25 people maximum

MORE | Advocates say gyms unfairly blamed for virus spread, worried about potential orange zone closures

“If you look around the country, around the world, COVID is surging. In New York, we are not immune to what’s happening around us – and with the cold weather and holiday travel, from here to January is going to be very dangerous. We’re going to add some additional micro-cluster zones. While some areas have improved over the past weeks, other parts have seen a higher positivity rate,” Gov. Cuomo said in a Thursday press release. “These next few weeks will be challenging with the holidays, especially since we all want to see our loved ones after the year we have had, but we cannot let our guard down. Love is sometimes doing what’s hard – this year, if you love someone, it is smarter and better to stay away, as hard as that is to say and hear. We can get through this if we all continue to wear our masks, stay socially distant, avoid gatherings, wash our hands and above all, stay New York Tough.”

Thursday’s statewide COVID-19 data is summarized briefly below:

  • Patient Hospitalization – 2,276 (+74)
  • Patients Newly Admitted – 342
  • Hospital Counties – 50
  • Number ICU – 437 (+14)
  • Number ICU with Intubation – 200 (+8)
  • Total Discharges – 82,507 (+246)
  • Deaths – 31
  • Total Deaths – 26,257

Each region’s percentage of positive test results reported over the last three day and current 7-day average, according to the governor’s office, is as follows:

Capital Region2.8%3.3%2.2%2.31%
Central New York4.5%3.7%3.3%3.55%
Rochester & Finger Lakes3.7%3.9%2.9%3.89%
Long Island3.5%3.6%3.1%3.26%
Mohawk Valley3.1%2.6%2.2%2.44%
New York City2.9%2.9%2.4%2.53%
North Country2.2%1.9%1.3%1.75%
Southern Tier0.7%1.4%1.4%1.14%
Western New York6.5%5.6%4.1%4.85%

Metrics to Exit a Focus Zoneaccording to NYS DOH:

“After 14 days from being placed in a focus zone, the State DOH, in coordination with the local health department, and in consultation with global health experts, will determine whether data sufficiently demonstrate that the area has successfully reduced viral spread to a level able to be contained given testing, contact tracing and other health system metrics. Based on the below metrics and expert advisement, the State DOH will decide whether the Focus Zone will be extended, modified (redrawn geographic boundaries based on case prevalence and positivity data), or ended. For Orange and Yellow Zones that are put in place solely as “buffer zones” to monitor case spread beyond a designated focus zone, these will be evaluated based on positivity data, cases per capita, and daily hospital admissions over the entire 14 day period to ensure there are no signs of broader spread from the focus area that prompted the zone creation. If after 14 days there has been no notable increase in positivity, new cases, or new hospital admissions from the buffer zone, the buffer zone will – based on other epidemiological factors – become eligible to qualify for a new zone designation, or ending a zone designation, if appropriate.”

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