Coronavirus cases in Orange and Rockland county red-zone micro-clusters are dropping, according to New York state data.
However, Orange County Health Commissioner Dr. Irina Gelman extended her order closing schools in Kiryas Joel, one of New York’s six red-zone micro-clusters due to high coronavirus cases. She told the Times Herald-Record that religious schools in the ultra-Orthodox enclave were operating despite being ordered to close, that they were not reporting cases of coronavirus to the state as required, and that school officials were ignoring the mandate to wear masks and practice social distancing.
There were 36 new confirmed cases in Rockland County Sunday, and Orange County reported 13 new cases, state officials said.
One person died in Rockland County on Sunday, out of a total of 14 New Yorkers who died due to COVID-19. The total since the outbreak started was 25,659 as of Sunday.
Over the weekend, Gov. Andrew Cuomo outlined a refined version of the red-zone initiative, calling it a new “micro-cluster” strategy to tackle coronavirus hot spots that may come with the fall and winter weather. The strategy is predicated on three principles: refined detection, specific and calibrated mitigation, and focused enforcement, he said during a news briefing Saturday.
It’s much the same as the red-zone initiative now in place in Orange, Rockland, Brooklyn and Queens.
State officials plan to implement rules and restrictions directly targeted to areas with the highest concentration of cases, known as red zones, and put in place less severe restrictions in surrounding communities, known as orange and yellow zones that serve as a buffer to ensure the virus does not spread beyond the central focus area. Enhanced focused testing and enforcement will follow, he said.
The current red zones are more than halfway through their 14 days of restrictions on mass gatherings, businesses and schools. Orange and Rockland show a steep decline in positive cases since the end of September.
The red zone restrictions are scheduled to end Friday. Cuomo has not said whether they will be.
This article originally appeared on the Nyack-Piermont Patch