NY, NJ continue to see concerning spike in coronavirus cases

Coronavirus
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A health official prepares to take samples for a coronavirus test. (AP Photo/George Calin)

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NEW YORK — New York and New Jersey health officials continued to monitor a troubling uptick in coronavirus cases Saturday.

The Empire State reported 1,447 new COVID-19 cases on Saturday. Gov. Andrew Cuomo said coronavirus clusters in Brooklyn, Queens, Rockland and Orange counties continue to fuel the spike in cases.

While the red zones of these clusters make up 2.8% of the state’s population, they accounted for 18% of positive cases reported this week, according to the governor.

“Our numbers remain good news, even as clusters appear in certain areas of the state. Our testing system is so advanced that we were able to track clusters to 2.8 percent of the state’s population and attack the virus within that population,” Cuomo said Saturday in a statement. “It’s going to take the work of all of us now to make sure we don’t go backwards on our hard-fought progress. We must all continue to wear our masks, wash our hands, remain socially distant, and above all, stay New York Tough.”

Of the 3,901 test results reported Saturday in just the cluster red zones, which are being over sampled as part of the state’s efforts to slow the spread of COVID-19, 193 were positive for a positivity rate of 4.95%, according to the state Health Department.

The red zone cluster in Brooklyn had a positivity rate of 6.03%. Queens’ red zone cluster had positivity rate of 3.15%. The Rockland and Orange clusters were 4.55% and 3.29%, respectively.

The positivity rate in the rest of the state, without counting those clusters, was .96%.

Health experts have said a positivity rate below 1% is ideal in slowing the spread of COVID-19.

An additional eight deaths were reported in New York on Saturday, bringing the death toll since March to 25,569.

In New Jersey, an uptick in cases across several counties is driving up the daily number of new positives.

There were 901 new cases reported Saturday, pushing the statewide total since March 4 to 212,877, Gov. Phil Murphy said.

The top three counties with new COVID-19 cases were: Ocean County (129); Middlesex (92); and Monmouth (87).

Seven additional lab-confirmed deaths were reported, bringing the total to 14,383 lives lost.

Speaking on PIX11 News Friday evening, Murphy said health officials are seeing “some amount of community spread” throughout the entire state.

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