Gov. Cuomo: New York’s COVID-clusters are doing better than many statewide infection rates

New York State

ALBANY, NY – MAY 01: New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo speaks during his daily press briefing on May 1, 2020 in Albany, New York. Cuomo stated that New York will eliminate deductibles for mental health services for frontline workers. (Photo by Stefani Reynolds/Getty Images)

ALBANY, N.Y. (WROC) — Gov. Andrew Cuomo held a conference call with media Wednesday to give an update on New York state’s ongoing coronavirus response efforts.

“COVID has been with us for about seven months, so let’s learn the lessons, and let’s be smart,” Gov. Cuomo said. “Smart works, politics doesn’t work. Unintelligent doesn’t work.”

On being smart, the governor said the state’s heightened testing protocols allows the government to identify and isolate micro-clusters of the virus.

“We go beyond, and we do more tests — and we now do a series of tests where we over-sample,” Gov. Cuomo said. “We test certain small geographic areas because the way of the world, going forward, is going to be that the virus will constantly flare up in certain locations. The trick, the art form, is going to be identifying these small spots where it flares up and being able to stop it before it spreads.”

The governor said that the micro-cluster hot spot infection rate Tuesday was 6.2% and the total statewide infection rate was 1.1%. The governor said that the 1.1% infection rate was “misleading” because of the oversampling of increased testing in the downstate hotspot clusters.

“Our micro-cluster number is actually lower than many statewide infection rates,” Gov. Cuomo said. “What we call a ‘red zone’ is actually less than whole state levels.”

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The state conducted 111,744 tests Tuesday, with 1,232 positives for that 1.1% overall infection rate. The governor said seven New Yorkers died Tuesday from COVID-19, and 938 are hospitalized with the virus — which was up 15 from the day prior.

The state’s hospitalization rate has been trending upward for the past 10 days, the governor said.

Regionally, the governor said the Tuesday infection rates were as follows:

  • Rochester & Finger Lakes — 0.7%
  • Capital Region — 1.2%
  • Central New York — 1.2%
  • Western New York — 1%
  • Southern Tier — 1%
  • North Country — 0.1%
  • Mohawk Valley — 0.1%
  • Hudson Valley — 1.6%
  • Long Island — 1%
  • New York City — 1.2%

The governor announced that the band, The Chainsmokers, would be fined $20,000 for violating an executive order this year by organizing a large gathering for a musical performance in Long Island.

MORE | ‘Appalled’ Cuomo to investigate crowded Chainsmokers concert

The governor says the main focus of the state’s compliance enforcement is religious services and large gatherings.

“The micro-cluster we’re focusing on is the ultra Orthodox communities, as you know it is still the same,” Gov. Cuomo said. “The question now is enforcement. This is no longer a question of public education, it’s enforcement. I’ve been very clear to members of this community what the laws are, what the rules are, what the science is.”

The governor encourages families to monitor the state’s COVID-19 report card which updates daily with new cases reported.

“All these school districts have plans,” Gov. Cuomo said. “The dashboard actually shows you the reality of what’s going on in the school system. The number of people who tested positive is 334: that’s on site and off-site: It’s 240 on-site, which means teachers and students who are in school.”

NYS COVID-19 Report Card

Check back with News 8 WROC as we will continue to update this developing story.

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