Model behavior: How NYC reduced viral spread and how it could be applied here

Coronavirus

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — The COVID-19 infection rate is rising across the state but the Finger Lakes remains among the highest regions. Governor Cuomo has compared our region to the New York City region and questioned why a more dense area has only a 6.4% infection rate and our region, which is far less dense, has a 10.1% rate.

At the beginning of the pandemic, NYC was the epicenter. Now, it has remained relatively low as the Finger Lakes and some other upstate regions rise.

Dr. Ted Long is the executive director of New York City Test and Trace Corps.

“I was on the front lines myself, I will never forget what I saw, that’s why we wear masks now. We will never forget,” he said about NYC residents being diligent with wearing masks.

Dr. Long said he recommends his patients get tested once a month, and said he’s doing all he can to bring testing to people’s doorsteps.

“We even now have a mobile fleet, 22 units on the ground today, and 25 more coming online, and every new unit has rapid testing capabilities. So if you see a mobile unit come into your neighborhood, your community, you can now even get a rapid test, get results back within 15 minutes, completely free to you.”

He also said choosing to pick up the phone when a contact tracer calls is important.

“If you’re a new case, you’re under no obligation to tell my contact tracers anything, yet 8 out of 10 New Yorkers that are diagnosed with coronavirus every day are choosing to complete our interviews.”

For enforcement, Dr. Long said there is a travel unit in the mayor’s office which implements the Governor’s executive order with the sheriff’s office. When people return from traveling to another state, they must get tested before leaving that state and again four days later or quarantine for 10 days.

“We are able to see if people are following those rules, and if they’re not, have orders issued to follow those rules and if they are not followed it will result in a fine,” Dr. Long said. “If you’re coming back from another state in New York City you can have the sheriff knock on your door.”

The Governor closed indoor dining in NYC about a month ago, which Dr. Long said could also be helping slow the spread. He said limiting any opportunities inside without a mask on is an important thing to do.

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