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Cuomo focuses on enforcement in COVID hot spots as state infection rate hovers around 1%

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Gov. Cuomo said the state is taking action regarding alleged safety violations in red zones (Photo: Office of Gov. Cuomo)

Albany, N.Y. – Gov. Andrew Cuomo provided updated COVID-19 infection rates from across the state Wednesday.

During his conference call, the governor said the state continues to deal with hot spots downstate. With oversampling in these regions taken into account, New York’s overall infection rate is 1.1%. Without that oversampling, the overall rate is 0.95%.

The micro-cluster downstate has an infection rate of 6.2%, which the governor said was lower than the overall infection rates in some states.

Infection rates by region are as follows:

  • New York City: 1.2%
  • Capital: 1.2%
  • Central NY: 1.2%
  • Finger Lakes: 0.7%
  • Long Island: 1%
  • Mid-Hudson: 1.6%
  • Mohawk Valley: 0.1%
  • North Country: 0.1%
  • Southern Tier: 1%
  • Western NY: 1%

Seven deaths were reported in the past 24 hours, while hospitalizations increased by 15.

Speaking on the micro-cluster Wednesday, the governor said the state’s focus has shifted from public education to enforcement. Throughout the pandemic, Cuomo has called on local governments to enforce COVID-19 policies – however, in many regions, he said this has not taken place.

"If I had to do this all over again, lessons learned, I would have had the state take over or his statewide enforcement, because the enforcement from the local governments is very uneven – especially when it’s politically sensitive,” said Cuomo.

The governor said the state is taking actions related to health order violations in red zones, areas which he says the state has been made aware of school closure violations and religious events that were over capacity. Schools in the red zones are currently supposed to be closed.

Cuomo said the state will be sending letters to local governments indicating that, if enforcement is not carried out, state funds will be withheld. Similar letters will be sent to schools, indicating if they violate closure rules, they could lose funding. He also said schools that have been found to have already violated these rules will be served with notices today, and that funding will be withheld until the matter is addressed.

"We have the ability to impound all funds to the locality - all of the funding, which is significant," said Cuomo. "How much would we penalize them? It depends and it would be in our discretion, but we could impound all funds. More than anything, I want them to do the enforcement."

Cuomo also mentioned that music group The Chainsmokers are being fined $20,000 for a concert in Southampton which was found to have violated COVID-19 safety regulations. Additionally, he said the town is being sanctioned and will require state approval going forward before issuing permits for group gatherings.

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