Schools in COVID hotspots will be shut down
Gov. Andrew Cuomo confirmed Monday that schools in ZIP codes that have seen a spike in COVID-19 cases will be closed beginning Tuesday, Oct. 6.
Non-essential businesses will remain open pending a review to determine the exact locations of the hotspots.
“We need to have the right template designed before we can do that with full accuracy,” Cuomo said. “The only action we are taking today on this data, we are using the ZIP codes to close those schools tomorrow. If we expand the regions and it includes other schools, we’ll notify people as soon as we know.”
Mayor Bill de Blasio had asked the state government to close non-essential businesses and public and private schools in ZIP codes where positive rates have remained over three percent for the past seven days.
In the past 14 days, nine ZIP codes were designated as hotspots, including 11219 (Borough Park), which had an 8.31 positivity rate; 11223 (Gravesend/Homecrest), 7.59 percent; and 11204 (Bensonhurst/Mapleton), 6.47 percent.
“New Yorkers have worked hard to fight back COVID-19, and we don’t make this recommendation lightly,” de Blasio said Sunday. “But science guides our decision-making in this city – and we go where the facts take us. Once again, it’s time for our city to dig deep and fight this virus the best way we know how: by wearing a mask, practicing social distancing and looking after our seniors and most vulnerable neighbors.”
Although de Blasio’s plan was for schools and non-essential businesses in the nine ZIP codes to reopen after two weeks if rates fell below three percent, Cuomo didn’t confirm when the schools would reopen.
The mayor said that if the number of cases continues to rise, all schools and non-essential businesses should remain closed for four weeks.
“This is the strategy that worked for us in the spring and summer, which is limiting activity in a community to stop the spread,” he said. “That’s how the city came out of an extraordinarily difficult crisis in the spring, a much tougher situation than what we’re dealing with now.”
Cuomo said that he will meet with Orthodox Jewish leaders tomorrow to discuss guidelines.
“[I will] see if they will agree to live and abide by the rules and advocate compliance,” he said. “If the rabbis advocate compliance, that would be a great start. If they don’t agree, the state will take action.”
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