Cuomo Tightens Focus to City Blocks to Determine Sources of COVID Outbreaks and Better Identify Where Restrictions are Needed

Cuomo Tightens Focus to City Blocks to Determine Sources of COVID Outbreaks and Better Identify Where Restrictions are Needed

   Gov. Andrew Cuomo may have found a way to enforce restrictions not on entire neighborhoods or zones, but only on the people who live in the city blocks in which actual COVID outbreaks are found.

 Today, Gov. Cuomo announced that instead of targeting coronavirus at regional levels, the state will use contact tracers to identify outbreaks “block-by-block.”

   By identifying exactly where COVID cases are originating, the state can then identify which businesses or sites are and are not contributing to the spread of COVID, and restrictions can be adjusted accordingly.

 Gov. Cuomo said that the “micro-cluster approach” will allow more businesses to reopen, once the clusters on their blocks are controlled.   

   On Wednesday in a press conference, Gov. Cuomo called the state’s outbreaks, “micro-clusters,” which he said is “new word that we designed during COVID” to describe “small situations” from which COVID outbreaks emerge.

  “You draw a very tight focus, bring it down within those targeted areas, and you don’t disrupt anyone else in the meantime,” the governor said.

  “We are now going to analyze [COVID rates] block-by-block," said the governor, who mentioned that micro-clusters are contained in Brooklyn, Queens, Orange, Rockland counties. "We have data so specific that we can't show it because it could violate privacy conditions. We know exactly where the new cases are coming from."

    After the state identifies city blocks with high infection rates, an increase in testing and more strict enforcement of the restrictions will follow only in those blocks, the governor said.

   “Very few of the outbreaks, the clusters that we have had in New York would have happened had we had compliance and had we had enforcement,” Gov. Cuomo said at a press conference on Wednesday. “In other words, we are looking and finding out [exactly] where the outbreaks are coming from.

  “If there is a cluster, it means, there wasn’t compliance,” the governor said.

   Gov. Cuomo did mention on Friday that although he will continue to focus on the micro-clusters, the statewide positivity rate in the red zones has flattened out at 4.84%

 “New York’s numbers remain steady, despite the handful of clusters we are currently focused on,” Gov. Cuomo wrote yesterday in his New York State Coronavirus Update. “We are addressing these clusters through our targeted approach to ensure that they don’t become community spread.

“As we go through the fall and winter, and cases continue to rise [G-d forbid] across the country, it's going to take the work of all New Yorkers to maintain our progress.

  “We cannot and will not risk going backward to where we were in the spring.”

.(Kevin P. Coughlin / Office of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo)

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