COVID NYC: 7 On Your Side investigates which businesses, activities have been traced to outbreaks

NEW YORK CITY (WABC) -- A shutdown of indoor dining in New York City appears imminent, but is that the cause of COVID outbreaks?

New York City is days away from facing additional bar and restaurant closures as the hospitalization rate continues to rise do to COVID-19.

But 7 On Your Side Investigates found it is difficult to find out how many outbreaks have been linked to businesses.

The information has not been readily available to the public.

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When someone's infected with the virus, it's contact tracers who call to help identify who they were with and where they were infected to track down the source and to keep it from spreading.

"We estimate over 70% of the spread is coming from small gatherings," New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said repeatedly over the past two weeks.

But it hasn't been easy getting information as to whether those small gatherings are linked to businesses in each community.

Rockland County says the tracing points to youth sports, parties and family events as the main driver of new cases.

But three local health departments in New York City, Westchester and Nassau said they couldn't give Eyewitness News the information that we had to reach out to the state department of health for answers.

However, a spokesperson for the department keeps telling us the information isn't "publicly available" and that we'd have to contact the local health departments for answers.

Other states, like Illinois, breakdown where the virus is spreading by percentages from offices, to colleges to daycares.

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Seven On Your Side asked the mayor of New York City about it during his latest press conference.

"Sorry if there's been a situation where the information wasn't provided to you clearly, we'll fix that," Mayor Bill de Blasio said.

He said most new cases have been tied to travel and family gatherings.

Governor Cuomo then addressed why the information hasn't been publicly released during his latest press conference.

"We're doing that right now as a matter of fact in coming up with the next configuration of our plan," Cuomo said.

He says it could be released soon and that the spread of the virus tied to bars and restaurants is increasing.

Regardless, closures are based on how many people are hospitalized, not on contact tracing.

But public health experts say with the deadly virus, knowledge is power and the more information released the better.

"It is power but in all honesty, when the spread is as high and increasing as we see it now, vigilance is the answer," said Dr. Ayman El-Mohandes of the CUNY Graduate School of Public Health.

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