State officials watching an uptick in COVID cases in five counties

Photo by Kevin P. Coughlin, courtesy of the Governor’s Office
Gov. Andrew Cuomo, joined by Secretary to the Governor Melissa DeRosa, delivers a COVID-19 update during a press conference in New York City on September 29, 2020. On Monday, Cuomo said the state is watching an uptick in virus cases in five counties – Rockland, Orange and Broome Counties, as well as Brookyn and Queens.

In a Monday morning update on COVID and other matters, Gov. Andrew Cuomo addressed a spike positive COVID-19 cases clustered in areas of Orange, Rockland and Broome Counties counties as well as Brooklyn and Queens.

The Governor’s Office sent 200 rapid testing machines and offered Department of Health staff to begin widespread testing in those neighborhoods where the virus is spreading rapidly.

Several zip codes in particular will be closely monitored in the coming days: Rockland County, zip code 10977, had 30 percent of those tested showing positive for the virus; Rockland County zip code 10952, 25 percent positive; Orange County zip code 10950, 22 percent positive; Kings, 11219, 17 percent; Kings, 11210, 11 percent; Kings, 11204, 9 percent; Kings, 11230, 9 percent; So, Queens 11367, 6 percent.

Cuomo noted that many states like Iowa, Utah and Missouri now have a positive test case rate of more than 10 percent.

New York is still one of the states with the lowest positive test case rate. Cuomo stressed that this is the number everyone should be paying attention to. According to Johns Hopkins School of Public Health, an amount of positive cases that would indicate good containment is 5 percent. “We have a president who says to do fewer tests so we report less cases, ” Cuomo said. “But case numbers can be deceptive and misleading.”

“We’re coming into the fall and all the health experts say you have to be careful about the fall. People go indoors, colleges open, and it’s flu season. We have spikes in other states and we have a global spike,” Cuomo said. “We’re also seeing in these numbers significant increases in localized clusters from Brooklyn, Orange and Rockland counties and the Southern Tier.

“This is the point of the testing we’re doing, to be able to pinpoint and identify the clusters to find where the cases are coming from. We have specific zip codes in Brooklyn that we’re going to be looking at because it’s very localized and our health officials are going to be reaching out to those Brooklyn communities, and in Orange and Rockland communities today.”

Cuomo also announced an extension for the residential COVID eviction moratorium that was put in place to January 2021. The official press release for that executive order can be found on the governor’s website.

In response to a bombshell New York Times article about President Donald Trump’s tax returns Cuomo commented, “The president is a marketing man. He markets himself as a successful businessman and a successful president. But if you look at the numbers, he has been a terrible businessman and one of the worst global leaders when it comes to COVID. Reality eventually catches up to perception.”

Cuomo also railed against the federal government for failing to provide local governments with money to fund their large benefits, as many county executives have been stating in press conferences throughout the state. “We are not picking up the bill for a problem Washington is liable for,” Cuomo said. “The federal government missed the obvious fact that the virus wasn’t going to wait in China. It ambushed us through Europe. The federal government owes New York more than any other state.”