Coronavirus News: No 'red zone,' but cluster forces Nassau County officials to act

COVID-19 News and Information

WABC logo
Wednesday, October 7, 2020
Nassau officials warn of going 'backwards' with recent cluster
EMBED <>More Videos

Kristin Thorne has the latest on a spike in COVID cases in Long Island.

LONG ISLAND (WABC) -- Health officials announced a spike in coronavirus cases on Long Island.

Nassau County Executive Laura Curran unveiled a hot spot map of the impacted area during her press conference Wednesday.

The map is broken down by three colors: Red is the cluster center. Orange is the surrounding area -- a ring around the center. Yellow is a ring around the orange ring -- the precautionary area.

Rules in the red area:

-Houses of worship - 25% capacity, 10 people maximum
-Mass gatherings prohibited
-Nonessential businesses closed
-Takeout dining only
-Schools closed

Rules in the orange area:

-Houses of worship - 33% capacity, 25 people maximum
-Mass gatherings - 10 people maximum, indoor and outdoor
-Businesses - Closing high risk nonessential business such as gyms and personal care
-Outdoor dining only with 4 person max per table
- Schools: remote learning only

Rules in the yellow area

-Houses of worship -50% capacity
-Mass gatherings - 25 people maximum, indoor and outdoor
-Businesses open
-Indoor and outdoor dining
-Schools - Mandatory weekly testing of students/teachers/staff for in-person classes. Testing will start next week.

Curran indicated that Nassau County has no red zone, only orange and yellow.

Areas that are found in the orange area include Lawrence and Inwood, which per state guidelines will force schools to be remote-only.

Ann Pedersen, the Superintendent of the Lawrence School District, said students, faculty and staff have been following all the safety guidelines.

"However, we have to look at a bigger picture here and we have to follow the mandates of the state," she said.

RELATED: NYC schools' COVID shutdowns part of Cuomo's bigger plan

The village of Lawrence has the highest COVID-19 rate in the county.

"We cannot go backwards," said Nassau County Executive Laura Curran.

New York State has mandated new rules for areas of Inwood, Lawrence and Cedarhurst because they have the highest infection rates in Nassau County.

Beginning Friday, schools in part of Lawrence and Inwood will have to go completely remote for at least 14 days.

In yellow zone areas, like primarily Cedarhurst, schools can remain open but will have mandatory testing of faculty, staff and students.

"We're waiting on the state to find out what percentage of students have to be tested per week," Nassau County Health Commissioner Dr. Lawrence Eisenstein said.

Gyms and salons in Lawrence and parts of Inwood will also have to close Friday for at least two weeks. Restaurants in certain areas will no longer be allowed to have indoor dining.

"It's not a punishment. It's extra precautions to keep people healthy," Eisenstein said.

The Town of Hempstead distributed PPE kits Wednesday to more than 70 business owners in Cedarhurst.

The new rules will also put stricter limits on worship services and gatherings.

RELATED: Fiery protest in Brooklyn amid Cuomo's call for new restrictions

County officials wouldn't say if they will issue fines for violations.

"Our police officers are out there doing their patrol duties," Nassau County Police Commissioner Patrick Ryder said. "If they see any large gatherings, they will go out and enforce the rules."

Officials say they are "closely monitoring areas of concern." Testing will be implemented soon in those areas.

Click here to view the cluster maps if using the mobile app

124 people tested positive out of 7,817 in Nassau County, according to the state. The positivity rate is at 1.6%, with 64 hospitalizations and five on ventilators.

RELATED: Rising COVID-19 cases spark new restrictions in Rockland Co., New York

WATCH: Eyewitness to a Pandemic

Jim Dolan begins our story at the end of last year, as hundreds of thousands pack into Times Square to ring in 2020. Unbeknownst to us, a health crisis that would make such a mass gathering illegal and deadly, transform daily life, kill tens of thousands of our neighbors and cripple the economy was already forming in China.


How coronavirus changed the New York region

Do you have coronavirus symptoms?

What's Open, What's Closed in the Tri-State area

Back to school information

COVID-19 Help, Information. Stimulus and Business Updates


New York City

New Jersey

Long Island

Westchester and Hudson Valley


abc7NY Phase Tracker: