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NYS Coronavirus Update: Upcoming Changes To Micro-Cluster Focus Zones -- Pre-Thanksgiving Break Testing at Northeastern Colleges

Nov 18, 2020

- After Canadian Thanksgiving, on October 12, Canada saw a major spike in COVID cases. It is our deep concern that the same thing will happen here. For that reason, I have continued to raise the alarm about the risk of COVID spreading in smaller indoor settings — so-called "living room spread" — including at holiday dinners.

We all wish the pandemic was over and we didn't have to worry about it this holiday season. Sadly and very clearly that's not the reality — on the contrary, COVID is getting worse. So I am asking all New Yorkers again: Be smart and help us avoid a Thanksgiving spike. That means having Thanksgiving with your immediate household only, not attending Thanksgiving dinners with over ten people, and taking all the recommended health precautions. The best way to show your thanks and love this year is to stay apart. A small Thanksgiving dinner, or one over Zoom, is no less meaningful a way to reflect on our blessings and mark a great American tradition.

Video of the Day: Nourish NY continues to connect farms with food banks to bring good, local food to families in need. Watch the video explaining how the program works.

Here's what else you need to know tonight:

1. The positivity rate in the micro-cluster focus areas dropped slightly to 4.73 percent. Excluding these areas, it was 3.10 percent. Of the 154,434 tests reported yesterday, 5,294, or 3.43 percent, were positive. Total hospitalizations rose to 2,202. Sadly, we lost 35 New Yorkers to the virus.

2. New York will modify micro-cluster focus zones in response to updated metrics. Part of Erie County's Yellow Zone will transition to an Orange Zone. Parts of Niagara County and the Bronx will go into Yellow Zones. There will be an expanded Yellow Zone in Queens. Meanwhile, due to improvements, the Yellow Zones in Broome County and Orange County will be removed, and the Brooklyn cluster's Orange Zone will transition to a Yellow Zone. These changes go into effect Friday for businesses and Monday for schools.

3. If you get a call from NYS Contact Tracing, pick up. Contact tracers are working around the clock to trace clusters and inform people who have been in contact with someone who tested positive for COVID. How can you help? Simply by picking up the phone. If your caller ID says "NYS Contact Tracing," pick up and help New York stop the spread. (Tracers will never ask for your Social Security Number or financial information; if someone does, they are not an official tracer and you should hang up.)

4. Northeastern colleges are asked to provide testing for students before students leave for Thanksgiving break. Today, I was joined by the governors of New Jersey, Connecticut, Delaware, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and Massachusetts in recommending that residential colleges in our respective states provide testing prior to sending students home for Thanksgiving. Read more about the regional coalition's announcement here.

Tonight's "Deep Breath Moment"
: The Little Shelter Animal Rescue in Suffolk County is celebrating its 93rd anniversary this year. Instead of a fundraising gala, they are expanding two charitable programs. The first program aids families who are struggling to provide for their pets' needs, delivering them pet food and other goods so that they don't need to surrender their pets to shelters. The second, a soup kitchen, primarily serves seniors and disabled individuals. During the pandemic, volunteers coordinated no-contact delivery to protect both the staff and the pet owners.

andrew-cuomo-news-conference.jpgIf you were forwarded this email, you can subscribe to New York State's Coronavirus Updates here.
Ever Upward,
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo