Mayor Bill de Blasio said that New York City's COVID-19 cases appear to be "leveling off" but there is "still more work to do."
The mayor said that he knows everyone wants the restrictions now in place in the COVID cluster red and orange zones lifted as soon as possible but he asked residents in those areas to "dig deeper" and continue to wear their masks and social distance.
De Blasio noted that in Central Queens the numbers have dropped dramatically.
"We are also waiting to get the final word from the state but we are hopeful about Central Queens. Obviously, we have look at data every day and sometimes you have a variation in the data that causes a concern. But if we continue to see what we see over the last few days, I have every expectation that the state is preparing to act to remove restrictions in Central Queens. But again, pending final confirmation, pending final look at the data," he said.
In Queens, the positivity rate went from 3.3% last week to 2.3%.
Governor Andrew Cuomo also weighed in on the hot zones saying that he plans on refining the restrictions and zones.
"So you could have circumstances where you had certain actions you have taken in a community where we feel comfortable it will bring down the numbers. We have three bars in some counties. If you said to me, we are closing those three bars, and then I would feel more comfortable about reopening. So we are looking at situations like that in the red zones," Cuomo said. "The numbers have come down, particularly in Queens, and we can adjust the zones. You can make them bigger, can make them smaller, the numbers are block by block. We are going to do that today, tomorrow and on Wednesday we will announce changes to the zones, and I do anticipate changes to the zones."
Both urged people to remain vigilant and stay the course. "Right now we are stopping a second wave." de Blasio said.
However, the daily positivity rate in the city announced by the mayor was up to 2.17% with a 7-day average of 1.62%.
Governor Cuomo's numbers had the positivity in the city much lower at 1.3%
The total positivity rate of all red zones is 3.3%, much lower than it was.
It still remains above 5% in parts of Brooklyn and at above 4% in Rockland and Orange counties.
NYC Schools Press Secretary Miranda Barbot also gave an update on testing in schools.
Testing update in NYC Schools as of October 16:— Miranda Barbot (@MirandaBarbot) October 19, 2020
Since October 9, we have conducted 16,348 COVID-19 tests and have 16,298 results.
We currently have 28 positives: 0.17 percent. 20 are staff & 8 are students.
99 percent of our tests have been returned in 48 hrs.
School officials say families can opt into remote learning at any time. The window for fully-remote learning students to opt into the blended learning model will soon open and they will communicate more information to families shortly.
"We know that nothing can replace in-person instruction and the many supports, including social-emotional and health benefits, that students get in the classroom," NYC schools said. "Using the most current data from this survey, approximately 46% of students are returning to school buildings this fall. The share of remote learning requests by race has not shifted."
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