New York launches COVID-19 cluster action initiative, details mass gatherings, schools, dining

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FILE – This 2020 electron microscope image provided by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases – Rocky Mountain Laboratories shows SARS-CoV-2 virus particles which causes COVID-19, isolated from a patient in the U.S., emerging from the surface of cells cultured in a lab. On Monday, Oct. 5, 2020, the top U.S. public health agency said that coronavirus can spread greater distances through the air than 6 feet, particularly in poorly ventilated and enclosed spaces. But agency officials continued to say such spread is uncommon, and current social distancing guidelines still make sense. (NIAID-RML via AP)

ALBANY, N.Y. (WWTI) — During a live press conference on October 6, Governor Andrew Cuomo launched a new initiative to address COVID-19 hotspots.

Alongside national health experts, Governor Cuomo officially launched the cluster action initiative following the emergence of COVID-19 hotspots in Brooklyn, Queens, Broome, Orange and Rockland counties. This initiative is based on proximity to a COVID-19 “hotspot.”

According to Governor Cuomo, the initiative involves taking immediate action within the cluster, taking action in areas surrounding the cluster to stop the spread and taking precautionary action in outlying communities. Once in place, these restrictions will remain in effect for 14 days.

The cluster action initiative will divide clusters into “zones,” which specific restrictions in each category. These include the red zone; the cluster, orange zone; “warning zone,” and the yellow zone; precautionary zone.

Restrictions within each zone are detailed below:

“A cluster is just that – it’s a cluster of cases, a high density of cases, and it seeps and grows from that cluster almost in concentric circles. Drop a pebble into the pond, the pebble goes in, then there’s one ring, two rings, three rings, and the rings continue across the pond. When you see the cluster, you have to stop it at that point,” Governor Cuomo said. “Our strategy is to crush the cluster and stop the spread, and we’re announcing a special initiative to do just that.”

Currently, Broome and Brooklyn Counties will be subject to these regulations and examples of the zones are featured below:

Governor Cuomo stated that enforcement of these rules will go into effect as soon as Wednesday and no later than Friday. Additionally, sponsors of mass gatherings in violation of state regulations can see up to a $15,000 fine.

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