New York's micro-cluster strategy is designed to reduce the spread of COVID with the least disruption and the most targeted approach. Today, after 14 days of data monitoring, we are modifying existing cluster zones and adding new ones in Steuben and Chemung Counties — areas that have seen recent upticks in positive cases.
"Cluster zones" can be either Red, Orange or Yellow and each carries different restrictions. The boundaries are set based on actual COVID cases using sophisticated mapping software. Defined criteria determine when an area will enter or exit a zone. These changes, and the new cluster zones, take effect tomorrow (Thursday, October 22nd) for impacted businesses and houses of worship. The changes take effect on Monday, October 25th for impacted schools. See all of the cluster zone maps here.
As we identify small outbreaks this fall and winter, we will continue to take quick action to contain and eliminate them. New Yorkers have come too far and made too many sacrifices to risk going back. Wear a mask. Get tested. Stop the spread.
Photo of the Day: The It's Up to Us, New York campaign displayed at Times Square (Photo by Susan Segrest)
Here's what else you need to know:
1. The positivity rate in the "Red Zone" focus areas rose to 6.61 percent. The statewide positivity rate excluding these areas was 1.42 percent. There were 950 total hospitalizations. Of the 124,789 tests reported yesterday, 2,026, or 1.6 percent, were positive. Sadly, we lost seven New Yorkers to the virus yesterday.
2. We are expanding testing along the Pennsylvanian border in response to a recent uptick in cases. The Department of Health is partnering with local health departments to open new rapid testing sites in communities in the Southern Tier and Western New York. Rapid testing sites located in those counties can be found here.
3. The test positivity rate remains below 3 percent in every region of the state. In New York City, the positivity rate yesterday was 1.6 percent. In Long Island, it was 1.6 percent. In the Capital Region, 0.8 percent. In Central New York, 1.9 percent. In the Finger Lakes, 1.7 percent. In the Mid-Hudson Region, 2.6 percent. In Mohawk Valley, 0.5 percent. In the North Country, 0.6 percent. In Western New York, it was 2.0 percent. And finally in the Southern Tier, 1.3 percent. Remember that you can look at updated regional COVID data anytime online.
4. Binghamton University will resume in-person classes today, Thursday. The university shifted to remote learning on October 7th but after a drop in COVID cases, in-person class is back. The school will continue to perform surveillance testing, provide diagnostic testing to symptomatic students and ensure that all students follow proper health protocols. SUNY Chancellor Jim Malatras, in thanking the students for their cooperation during the two-week pause, said the campus community "did the right thing."
Last Night's "Deep Breath Moment": A small Chihuahua called "Kenz" was named the 2020 American Hero Dog by the Humane Society for helping and mothering countless disabled animals at the Mia Foundation in Rochester, NY. Even though Kenx was born with a cleft-palate, she has served as a mother figure to a myriad of young animals who could not stay with their mothers due to medical issues. From puppies to kittens and even a squirrel, Kenz nurtures baby animals regardless of species or size.
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo