Coronavirus News: Hot spot COVID positivity rates down in NY, Cuomo says

NEW YORK CITY (WABC) -- Governor Andrew Cuomo says the positivity rate of COVID cases in New York's hot spot zones are beginning to decline.

The cases in those hot spots now stand at 3.7 percent, and the state's positivity rate without those hot spots is just over one percent.

Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Tuesday that restrictions in COVID hot zones could be lifted soon, but it depends on what happens the rest of this week.



Nevertheless, some Orthodox Jewish activists say they'll continue to fight state-mandated restrictions in the cluster areas.

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More crowds in gathered in Borough Park, Brooklyn over the weekend, despite the governor's order banning large gatherings and requiring masks be work in public.

COVID has spiked there, Cuomo says, because many in the Hasidic community have refused to wear masks or socially distance.

Still, Cuomo and Mayor Bill de Blasio say the numbers are beginning to trend in the right direction, and right now we're in a critical week.

"This week will be absolutely decisive, I just want everyone to understand, this is a decisive week in our battle against coronavirus," Mayor de Blasio said. "This is the week we can start to turn the tide in those red zone areas and contain the problem we are seeing there. I fundamentally believe we can stop this problem we are seeing in Brooklyn and Queens before it grows, we can stop it from turning into a larger second wave in New York City. There is absolutely still time to do that."

The mayor also announced random testing results from 56 schools that happened on Friday.

Of 1,751 tests, he said, just one came back positive.

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The first day of random testing in NYC schools revealed only one positive case of COVID-19.



Regarding the city's hot spots, Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams called for more precision in enforcement, so as to not punish the large parts of the community that are following public health guidelines.

RELATED | New map highlights the new zones

The city tweeted that it issued 62 summonses from Friday to Sunday, totaling more than $150,000 in fines. Of those summonses, five were to non-compliant religious congregations.

Houses of worship in the red zone are limited to gatherings of 10 people.

You can find your zone at NYC.gov/covidzone.
Over the weekend, A federal judge shot down a lawsuit brought by the Brooklyn Diocese, accusing the state of infringing on its rights.

"Several religious communities have said, they don't want to comply with the rules. I understand it, that's what I say is an unfortunate situation. We want to have religious ceremonies, I understand. Do you want people to die is my question," Cuomo said.

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The sense of doom grew, especially after March 1, when the first confirmed case arrived in Manhattan. Soon, there was a hotspot in New Rochelle, and small curfews and containment zones across the area offered a hint of a frightening future we still thought we could avoid.


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