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Update on COVID-19 Clusters Coming Wednesday as Central Queens Cluster Improves

Central Queens COVID-19 cluster and zones (NYC COVID-19 Zone Finder)

Oct. 19, 2020 by Allie Griffin

Governor Andrew Cuomo said Sunday that he will reevaluate the five COVID-19 clusters across New York State and announce any changes — such as a rollback of restrictions — on Wednesday.

The data for the Central Queens cluster continues to improve, with the infection rate in the red zone falling.

The coronavirus infection rate within the two Queens red zones — which include the central Queens and Far Rockaway clusters — has decreased from 3.36 percent for the week ending Oct. 10 to 2.37 percent this past week, according to state data.

On Saturday, the positivity rate was at just 1.89 percent in the two Queens red zone clusters.

Each COVID-19 hotspot has a red, orange and yellow zone with varying levels of restrictions in each. The red zone is the cluster itself, the orange zone surrounds the cluster and is the warning zone and the yellow zone, outside of orange, is the precautionary zone.

“The numbers are all moving in the right direction,” Cuomo said. “That’s what the data shows.”

He said he will continue to watch the data and make any adjustments based on the numbers.

“We can adjust what is in that cluster, we can make it a little bigger, we can make it a little smaller, we can relax some regulations, we can increase regulations,” Cuomo said during a press briefing Sunday. “We’ll do that all based on the data.”

The state numbers do not differentiate between the Central Queens cluster and the Far Rockaway cluster, but Mayor de Blasio said today that Central Queens shows the most improvement among the city’s three clusters — which also include a large section of South Brooklyn.

“There is an area where we have seen particular progress and that is notable and appreciated — that’s in the Central Queens red zone,” de Blasio said during a Monday morning briefing. “Those numbers have gotten substantially better so that’s an area that we’re pleased about.”

Overall, the mayor said the infection rates are leveling off across the three clusters, but more progress must be made before the red, orange and yellow zone restrictions can be lifted. He said it looks like it might be another week or two before that can happen at least for the Brooklyn and Far Rockaway clusters.

As for the Central Queens cluster — where a red zone covers parts of Forest Hills, Rego Park and Kew Gardens — de Blasio said he would speak with the state about how they will analyze its progress.

“We want to see obviously a couple more days of data before any final decisions,” he said. “I think it’s a little early to project or predict, but still it is possible that we could see some action later on this week based on our conversations with the state.”

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