NY microcluster strategy, targeting outbreaks ‘block-by-block,’ to continue through fall: Cuomo

nyc subway station in queens

People wearing protective masks during the coronavirus pandemic exit the Kew Gardens subway station on Monday, Oct. 5, 2020.

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NEW YORK CITY — New York’s microcluster strategy, targeting coronavirus outbreaks on a “block-by-block level,” will continue through the fall and into the winter, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Saturday.

The approach to slowing the spread of the virus requires more targeted testing, mitigation measures and enforcement. The mitigation efforts can be specific to each cluster and what activities are causing the outbreak in that location, according to the governor.

“We’re now going to analyze it on a block-by-block level,” Cuomo said. “We know exactly where the cases are coming from … There’s no more statewide-regional — literally block-by-block with specific targeting.”

Enforcement of the restrictions is key, the governor added.

“If people are following the rules, the virus doesn’t spread,” he said. “The only answer to a lack of compliance is enforcement.”

The latest testing data in the current cluster zones show that the strategy is working.

In Queens, the percent of positive cases in the Kew Gardens orange zone for the week of Sept. 27 was 1.59%. Last week it dropped to 1.33% and so far this week it was .43%.

“If you’re at .4(%), frankly you’re in good shape,” Cuomo said. “The strategy is working.”

Statewide, all red zones have a lower infection rate than they did last week, Cuomo said.

At the Kolbert playground, in a red zone COVID-19 “hot spot” in Midwood Saturday, they were playing basketballand most of the teenagers had masks on. They say they’ve been wearing masks for months, way before Cuomo’s new micro cluster strategy was announced.

“We try to put a mask on and try to stay six feet apart whenever playing a game,” Kristofor Kong said.

Most of the kids agreed.

“You got to keep your mask on, you don’t want to catch corona,” Jay Dee added.

Instead of using the same benchmarks for reopening that the state used earlier this summer, the governor said restrictions in each zone will be tweaked as clusters show improvement. However, he did not announce any changes to the current restrictions for existing red, orange and yellow zones.

red zones lower infection rate
The percent of positive coronavirus cases in New York red zone clusters has dropped since new restrictions were put in place, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said on Oct. 17, 2020.

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