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Cuomo warns that parts of Rochester could enter the 'orange zone' if infection rates don't improve

Nov 22, 2020

Credit Office of Gov. Andrew Cuomo

Gov. Andrew Cuomo warned Sunday that several areas of the state could face new COVID-19 restrictions this week (including parts of the City of Rochester) after the positivity rates in those areas remained relatively high over the weekend and continued to increase in some cases, according to state data.

Part of Manhattan, Staten Island, Rochester, Syracuse, and Long Island could face new, or stronger, restrictions if the positivity rates in those areas don’t decline in the coming days.

Some of those areas, like the cities of Rochester and Syracuse, are already under the state’s most mild COVID-19 restrictions, but those could escalate this week if the share of positive tests remains high, Cuomo said.

Cuomo did not give details on which parts of those areas would be affected by new restrictions, but said the positivity rates were trending in that direction. (the state's micro-cluster strategy includes having the City of Rochester and several towns in Monroe County in a yellow zone right now. At his Sunday briefing, Cuomo only referenced the city, and said nothing about other communities in Monroe County).

He also predicted that the statewide COVID-19 positivity rate could more than double after the holidays as a result of families coming together over the next month and a half, which would result in a significant uptick in hospitalizations and deaths from the virus.

"That could very easily happen if we're irresponsible,” Cuomo said. “It could even be higher if we're irresponsible."

That comes as an additional 119 people were hospitalized due to COVID-19 on Saturday, bringing the total number of people hospitalized statewide to 2,562. Of those, 234 people were intubated.
The statewide positivity rate was 2.74% on Saturday, Cuomo said. That’s essentially flat over the last few days, but lower than in recent weeks, when the positivity rate exceeded 3% statewide more than once.

Dan Clark is host and producer at New York NOW. WXXI News also contributed to this story.