We've seen time and time again throughout this pandemic that mass gatherings can spread this virus and result in clusters which can in turn become community outbreaks. While New York's numbers remain low across the most of the state, the positivity rate in "hot spot" ZIP codes was 5.1 percent yesterday — five times the rate in the rest of the state. We are moving quickly to stop further spread. Yesterday, we announced restrictions that will be enforced in these hot spot ZIP codes for a minimum of 14-days.
We know that some of these restrictions will be unpopular and difficult for many people. Still, these actions are far less restrictive than implementing a full shutdown, as some foreign countries and states have had to do following a resurgence of the virus. Remember too, that there are lives at stake. We went through hell in March and April — I remember the horrors of that period all too well — and we will not go back. We are prepared to take all necessary steps to stop the spread and save lives.
Photo of the Day: I Love NY's Fall Foliage Report shows that leaves are starting to change in New York City and Long Island, while the most of the rest of the state is near, at, or past peak.
Here's what else you need to know tonight:
1. See the Cluster Action Initiative maps. Yesterday, we announced the implementation of Red, Orange and/or Yellow Zones in and around clusters in Broome County, Brooklyn, Orange County, Queens/Far Rockaway, Upper Queens and Rockland County. Click each county name to see the map for that cluster.
In Red Zones, mass gatherings are prohibited, only essential businesses are open, schools are remote-only and houses of worship are limited to 25 percent capacity (up to 10 people maximum). In Orange Zones, mass gatherings are limited to ten people (indoor and outdoor), high-risk non-essential businesses are closed, schools are remote-only and houses of worship are at 33 percent capacity (up to 25 people maximum). In Yellow Zones, mass gatherings are limited to 25 people (indoor and outdoor), schools are open with increased testing, businesses are open and houses of worship are limited to 50 percent capacity. Read more here.
2. We are carefully watching New York's total COVID hospitalizations. Yesterday, there were 748 total hospitalizations. Of the 108,246 tests reported yesterday, 1,360, or 1.25 percent, were positive. Sadly, we lost eight New Yorkers to the virus.
3. Congratulations to Dr. Charles Rice of New York-based Rockefeller University on winning the Nobel Prize in Medicine. Dr. Rice, who won the Nobel Prize along with two colleagues for their discovery of the hepatitis C virus, will serve as one of the co-chairs of NY's independent Clinical Advisory Task Force advising the state on future COVID vaccines. We're lucky to have his advice and expertise.
4. A reminder to New Yorkers to get a flu shot. While we continue battling COVID, flu season is fast-approaching. This year it is especially important that New Yorkers get their flu shot. Find a flu vaccination site near you.
Tonight's "Deep Breath Moment": Over the weekend, the Great Pumpkin Farm in Clarence, NY held the 25th annual World Pumpkin Weigh-Off. Sixteen gigantic pumpkins were brought to the farm to compete. The winning pumpkin, grown by Andy Wolf of Little Valley, weighed in at an impressive 1,982 pounds.
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo