Gov. Cuomo: Downstate clusters raise New York’s infection rate to 1.3%

State News

NEW YORK CITY (WROC) — Gov. Andrew Cuomo gave an update regarding the state’s ongoing response efforts to the coronavirus pandemic on Tuesday from New York City.

The governor said the state’s regional infection rates for Tuesday, the 213th day of the pandemic in New York state, are as follows:

  • Rochester & Finger Lakes — 0.9%
  • Western New York — 1.3%
  • North Country — 0.2%
  • Capital Region — 0.9%
  • Long Island — 1.2%
  • New York City — 1.3%
  • Hudson Valley — 2%

“We do more testing than any state in the nation, more testing than any country on the globe per capita,” Gov. Cuomo said. “Why do we do that? because when you have that level of data you can really identify what’s going on geographically across the state. You can identify hotspots very quickly and you can target hotspots.”

The governor said this process, of targeting hotspots and addressing the situation, isn’t new for New Yorkers.

“We have seen hotspots before, if you remember we had some factories upstate that had clusters,” Gov. Cuomo said. “We’ve had gatherings that developed a cluster, but this is probably the largest cluster that we have addressed before and the clusters are Brooklyn, Orange, Rockland — that’s where were seeing clusters. We have zip codes where you have 18% positivity.”

The clusters are primarily downstate regions, and the governor says the state government will aggressively target these areas.

“These are embers that are starting to catch fire in dry grass — send all the firefighting equipment and personnel to those embers and stamp out the embers right away,” Gov. Cuomo said. “That’s what this data does. A cluster today can be community spread tomorrow.”

The governor said he would be meeting with local leaders in these hotspots, as well as religious leaders to discuss prevention tactics and strategies.

“This was a dramatic period, don’t underestimate it,” Gov. Cuomo said. “I get the anxiety, but we have to keep it in focus and we have to address it. Constructive anxiety, not negative anxiety, but the anxiety is the body’s way of saying there’s possible danger. By the way, there’s possible danger and there has been disruption, but deal with it factually, deal with it logically, take action.”

The governor also reiterated the importance of mask wearing, saying its the law to do so, and he once again urged local municipalities to enforce compliance in regards to COVID-19 precautions.

“You don’t enforce the mask ordinance you will have a higher infection rate — those are the facts,” Gov. Cuomo said. “COVID is real, you don’t do the testing, you don’t do the compliance, you don’t have the hospital beds, more people die — that is the reality of the situation.”

The governor said without the top 20 zip codes with the highest infection rates, the statewide infection rate Monday was 1.1%. Additionally, he said there were two COVID-19 deaths in New York Monday, while 571 were hospitalized with the virus, 147 in an ICU, and 61 people intubated.

“Those hotspots, which again are disproportionate, and add them into the overall state number then we would be at 1.3% with that oversample, but were at 1.1% — which is basically the lowest infection rate in the nation,” Gov. Cuomo said.

Regarding parental concern in New York City, the governor said the state is monitoring the situation will closely and act as neccesary.

“You have my word as a parent, as a citizen, as your representative — if a school is not safe I will not allow it to operate,” Gov. Cuomo said. “If you can operate the school safely, we want children back in school, that’s the best by every expert. If you can operate safely, you want students back in school. The question is, can you operate safely?”

The governor also addressed the issue of rising crime in New York City — which the governor says is real, based on recent data.

“Shootings with victims are up over 100%,” Gov. Cuomo said. “That’s why New Yorkers are concerned about crime. The percent of shooting victim: 86% black and brown. That’s why Bronx, Queens, Brooklyn, Staten Island, that’s why they’re concerned. The crime problem in New York City is real. I don’t believe in denial as a life option. If you deny a problem you will never solve it. You deny a substance abused problem you’ll never solve it.

The governor reiterated a previous executive order that requires every police department in New York state to redesign their policy and organizational infrastructure — by April 2021, and with community input — or those municipalities will risk losing state funding.

MORE | Gov. Cuomo issues executive order on police reform, no state funding if departments don’t comply

“Denial doesn’t work,” Gov. Cuomo said. “It didn’t work with COVID, it’s not going to work with crime, it’s a real issue, and its also an opportunity. Redesign your public safety. Why is the only answer to a 911 call a person with a gun? Why? Why is the only answer to a 911 call an arrest?”

According to the governor, 146 municipalities in New York state have already started started the reimagine police plan; including local law enforcement agencies like Rochester Police Department, Monroe County Sheriff’s Office, Irondequoit Police Department, Brighton Police Department, Fairport Police Department, Gates Police Department, Ogden Police Department, and East Rochester Police Department.

Monday the governor announced that New York state’s residential tenant eviction protection is now extended through Jan. 1, 2021. That protection, made through an Executive Order earlier this year, states that no resident can be evicted for failure to pay rent due to the pandemic. A similar eviction order for commercial tenants was previously extended through the same date.

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.”

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

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