Rising Covid cases in Erie, Monroe counties result in ‘yellow’ cluster zones
2 neighboring counties in danger of more restrictions if cases continue to rise
Two of Orleans County’s neighbors, Monroe and Erie, have been designated with yellow precautionary zone focus areas due to rising Covid cases.
The state’s yellow zone restrictions include a 25-person maximum capacity on mass gatherings, 4-person to a table maximum while dining and 20 percent weekly testing of in-person students, faculty in schools. Bars and restaurants located in Yellow Precautionary Zones must close at midnight.
The two counties could see more restrictions if cases continue to rise.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo said the cluster strategy has worked so far, with increased testing, awareness and actions to rein in Covid.
For example, Brooklyn was changed from the most restrictive red zone to an orange warning zone based on reduced Covid cases. The change to an orange zone allowed many businesses to reopen.
“Covid is surging across the country and the globe, and we expect the rates will continue to go up through the fall and into the winter,” Governor Cuomo said today. “The long-term prognosis is get a vaccine as quickly as possible, and administer the vaccine as quickly, fairly and equitably as possible. In the meantime, we manage the increase by doing more testing and targeted restrictions where necessary, and being more aggressive on enforcement.”
The state designated large portions of Erie, Monroe and also Onondaga counties with yellow zones today.
• Erie County – Over the past 10 days, parts of Erie County have had 7-day average positivity rates above 2.5 percent, and cases per 100,000 and new daily hospital admissions have increased, meeting the metrics for a yellow zone designation. (Click here to see a map of the county in the yellow zone.)
• Monroe County – Over the past 10 days, parts of Monroe County have had 7-day average positivity rates above 3 percent, and cases per 100,000 and new daily hospital admissions have increased, meeting the metrics for a yellow zone designation. (Click here to see a map of the county in the yellow zone.)
• Onondaga County – Over the past 10 days, parts of Onondaga County have had 7-day average positivity rates above 3%, and cases per 100,000 and new daily hospital admissions have increased, meeting the metrics for a yellow zone designation. (Click here to see a map of the county in the yellow zone.)
‘I know people are tired – Covid fatigue is real. But the virus isn’t tired.’ – Gov. Andrew Cuomo
Identifying and Implementing Focus Zone
Daily data monitoring enables the state to identify areas that are experiencing a concerning increase in Covid spread, Cuomo said.
Once an area meets certain metrics – detailed below – that demonstrate substantial spread, it may be designated a focus zone.
• Red Zone — Micro-Cluster: A “Red Zone” focus area is put in place to contain spread from a specific, defined geographic area.
• Orange Zone — Warning/Buffer: An Orange Zone area either is put in place primarily in densely populated urban areas as a tight buffer zone around a Red Zone micro-cluster (“Orange Buffer Zone”) area or is implemented independently as a focus area based on metrics.
The purpose of an Orange Buffer Zone is to 1) restrict activity to prevent further spread from Red Zone area; 2) provide a defined geographic area where metrics can be monitored daily to ensure Covid is not spreading beyond the Red Zone.
• Yellow Zone — Precautionary/Buffer: A “Yellow Zone” area either is put in place as a broader buffer area to ensure Covid outbreak is not spreading into the broader community or is implemented independently based on the metrics.
The purpose of a Yellow Buffer Zone is to 1) restrict some activity to help prevent further spread from Red and/or Orange Warning Zone area; 2) provide a larger defined geographic area where metrics can be monitored daily to ensure Covid is not spreading beyond the Red Zone or Orange Warning Zone.
The restrictions for the three cluster zones include:
• Red Zone — Cluster Itself
Houses of Worship: 25 percent capacity, 10 people maximum
Mass Gatherings: Prohibited
Businesses: Only essential businesses open
Dining: Takeout only
Schools: Closed, remote only
Orange Zone — Warning Zone
Houses of Worship: 33 percent capacity, 25 people maximum
Mass Gatherings: 10 people maximum, indoor and outdoor
Businesses: Closing high-risk non-essential businesses, such as gyms and personal care
Dining: Outdoor dining only, 4 person maximum per table
Schools: Closed, remote only
Yellow Zone — Precautionary Zone
Houses of Worship: 50 percent capacity
Mass Gatherings: 25 people maximum, indoor and outdoor
Dining: Indoor and outdoor dining, 4 person maximum per table
Schools: Open with mandatory weekly testing of students and teachers/staff for in-person settings with percentage of students and teachers to be tested to be established by the New York State Department of Health.
A county or area can be downgraded in zone designation or have the designation ended if the positivity data, cases per capita, and daily hospital admissions over a 14 day period go down, showing there are no signs of broader spread from the focus area that prompted the zone creation.
“I know people are tired – Covid fatigue is real,” Cuomo said. “But the virus isn’t tired. The red, orange and yellow zones are our way of saying the virus is making headway and we’re going to increase restrictions and we’re going to increase enforcement. When we see a small increase, we attack that small increase – and the numbers show it works.”