Governor Andrew Cuomo announced on Tuesday that he plans to meet with Orthodox Jewish leaders to address the clusters of COVID-19 in their communities “downstate.”

“I’m going to be meeting with religious leaders of the Orthodox community and local officials,” Cuomo told reporters. “If you look at those clusters and you look at those zip codes, you will see there’s an overlap with large Orthodox Jewish communities. That is a fact. I will be meeting with them to talk about it.”

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“This is a public health concern for their community,” the governor stressed, adding, “It’s also a public health concern for surrounding communities. I’ve said from day one, these public health rules apply to every religion, atheists – it just applies to every citizen of the State of New York, period.”

According to Governor Cuomo, “We have seen hotspots before, but this is probably the largest cluster that we have addressed before, and the clusters are Brooklyn, Orange, Rockland. The activity in the cluster is very different than what’s going on in the rest of the state. That’s actually good news in some ways because you have effectively identified the genesis of the potential growth of the virus. Once you have the information, you aggressively target these clusters. These are embers that are starting to catch fire in dry grass. Send all the firefighting equipment and personnel to those embers and stamp out the embers right away. That’s what this data does. Local governments are the first line of defense and they must respond. Competent government must do compliance and enforcement. A cluster today can be community spread tomorrow.”

According to the NY Daily News, NY State’s worst “cluster” is in the mostly-Satmar town of Kiryas Joel in Orange County, where 19% of the tests Monday came back positive. Two other areas, in Rockland County, had 10% and 9% rates. In some Brooklyn and Queens neighborhoods, the rates are around 5%.

NYC Mayor de Blasio on Tuesday cited the clusters of coronavirus in Brooklyn and Queens and vowed that the city will enforce the strict wearing of masks and other steps in those hot spots, which include Gravesend/Homecrest, Midwood, Kew Gardens, Edgemere/Far Rockaway, Borough Park, Bensonhurst/Mapleton, Gerritsen Beach/Homecrest/Sheepshead Bay, and Flatlands/Midwood.

According to the Daily News, the outbreaks in Orthodox Jewish neighborhoods, as well as other parts of Brooklyn and Queens, have by now pushed NY City’s infection rate to 3.25%, after months of successfully keeping the rate at around 1%.

“This is an inflection point,” Mayor de Blasio said. “We have to take more action at this point and more serious action and we will be escalating with each day depending on what we see happening on the ground.”

The Governor noted that 20 hotspot ZIP codes on Monday reported a 5% positive rate. Areas that have high positive rates will be subject to focused testing efforts including access to rapid testing machines. These ZIP codes include:

REGION

COUNTY

ZIP

% POSITIVE

TESTS

POSITIVES

Mid-Hudson

Orange

10950

18%

211

39

Mid-Hudson

Rockland

10952

10%

154

15

Mid-Hudson

Rockland

10977

8%

330

27

NYC

Kings

11223

7%

347

24

NYC

Queens

11374

5%

151

8

NYC

Queens

11691

4%

608

27

Southern Tier

Broome

13760

4%

163

7

NYC

Kings

11229

4%

299

12

NYC

Kings

11235

4%

366

14

NYC

Kings

11219

4%

455

17

NYC

Kings

11211

4%

329

12

NYC

Kings

11230

4%

482

17

NYC

Kings

11204

3%

272

9

NYC

Kings

11218

3%

417

13

Mid-Hudson

Westchester

10801

3%

137

4

NYC

Richmond

10301

3%

208

6

NYC

Kings

11210

3%

248

7

NYC

Richmond

10306

3%

359

10

NYC

Queens

11432

3%

223

6

NYC

Queens

11370

3%

115

3

 

 

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David writes news at JewishPress.com.