LONG ISLAND, NY — Gov. Andrew Cuomo this week warned clusters of coronavirus cases are popping up across the state, including on Long Island, in New York City and in the Hudson Valley, with some ZIP codes reporting infection rates of up to 18 percent.
Cuomo struck a different tone Tuesday, labeling 20 ZIP codes as hot spots, including in Rockland County, Orange County, Brooklyn and a “little pocket in Nassau and Queens.”
“And in these ZIP codes we’re seeing very high infection rates,” Cuomo told NY1.
Statewide, 1.3 percent of coronavirus tests come back positive Monday for COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus. But that number dropped to 1.1 percent when excluding the 20 ZIP codes with the highest rates.
“We have about a 1 percent infection rate statewide, and we can have 5 percent, 10 percent, even 18 percent in some of these zip codes,” Cuomo said. “If you don’t stop a cluster, the cluster becomes community spread; so this is the early warning system. But we have to jump on those clusters, and we need real compliance and enforcement in those clusters.”
Long Island had a 1.2 percent infection rate based on Monday’s tests, he said. That was just 0.1 percentage points lower than the 1.3 percent seen in western New York — which Cuomo has said was under a “caution flag” in recent weeks — as well as New York City. The Hudson Valley sat at 2 percent.
Cuomo did not elaborate on the Nassau clusters that he mentioned. In a separate coronavirus briefing Tuesday, he mentioned the following Queens ZIP Codes:
- Rego Park, Queens (11375) – 5 percent
- Far Rockaway, Queens: (11691) – 4 percent
- Jamaica, Queens, (11432) – 3 percent
- East Elmhurst, Queens (11370) – 3 percent
“These are embers that are starting to catch fire in dry grass,” Cuomo said. “Send all the firefighting equipment and personnel to those embers and stamp out the embers right away. That’s what this data does.”
Cuomo said he plans to meet virtually with Orthodox Jewish leaders Tuesday and Wednesday to address clusters in downstate communities.
“If you look at Rockland and Orange and Brooklyn and Nassau, you’ll see the zip codes have a high predominance of the Orthodox Jewish community and there have been pictures that have been circulating about lack of compliance at religious ceremonies,” Cuomo said. “Religious ceremonies are only by law 50 percent of capacity, but I’m going to say to the leaders in Orange and Rockland and Brooklyn the law is there to protect you and the local officials are supposed to be enforcing it, and we need the help of the community.”
On Long Island, the state has recorded 21 positive cases based on home address among school-age children since Sept. 1 within the confines of Great Neck Public Schools. That includes 14 from Sept. 15-28 and six from Sept. 22-28. The public school district accounted for one of…