Gov. Cuomo: Homeless shelters need to open with COVID-19 precautions, concerns over downstate clusters

State News

In this April 24, 2020 photo provided by the Office of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo, Gov. Cuomo addresses the media while holding an n95 mask during his daily press briefing on COVID-19, Coronavirus, at the State Capitol in Albany, N.Y. The mask was sent to the governor by a retired farmer from Kansas whose wife only has one lung. (Darren McGee/Office of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo via AP)

ALBANY, N.Y. (WROC) — Gov. Andrew Cuomo held a second conference call with media Monday afternoon.

Earlier in the day, the governor announced updated COVID-19 numbers, as well as an extension on tenant eviction protections.

MORE | Gov. Cuomo: NYS tenant eviction protection extended through January, infection rate rises to 1.5%

The governor said that the top 20 zip codes in the state have a collective infection rate of about 10%. The governor said the state’s other 1,769 zip codes, not counting the top 20, have an infection rate of about 1%.

The governor said the the top 10 zip codes in infection rate have a collective rate of about 15%, adding that those top 10 zip sides represent 2.9% of the state’s population, but 25% of the cases.

The governor says it’s imperative to identify COVID-19 clusters and address them swiftly. He said the state would provide increased testing and compliance resources to these regions, which he noted were all downstate areas, to help prevent further spread. Included in those resources are 200 rapid testing machines — which can get virus results within 15 minutes.

“Key with these clusters is to jump on them quickly, attack from all sides: Contact tracing, mask enforcement, hand sanitizer, etc,” Gov. Cuomo said.

The governor also said that homeless shelters, which closed earlier in the pandemic, need to prepare to reopen.

“The state will put out guidance for safe COVID-19 homeless shelters,” Gov. Cuomo said. “We know how to open schools, how to open restaurants, how to open flexible art areas. It’s getting cold, nobody should be on the streets, especially during a global health pandemic.”

The governor said it’s important that New York state’s homeless don’t get overlooked.

“I don’t want the homeless population to be overlooked,” Gov. Cuomo said. “People wanted to open schools, people wanted to open restaurants — maybe homeless people don’t have as loud of a constituency, but I’m advocating to open these shelters and get them help.”

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

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