Gov. Andrew Cuomo intensified restrictions in several parts of New York on Monday as the coronavirus infection rate climbs. He also delivered a stern warning to New Yorkers who are tempted to break the rules during the holiday season, saying careless behavior will lead to more deaths.
Cuomo designated parts of upper Manhattan and portions of Long Island as yellow zones. On Staten Island, which is now an orange zone, hospital space is running out and the state will reactivate and emergency health facility there which was created last spring.
Parts of the cities of Rochester, Syracuse and some surrounding suburbs will also be designated orange zones, with restrictions on public gatherings, houses of worship and a ban on indoor dining, gyms and personal care services, including hair salons. Schools will be closed, except for remote learning, and can open only with adequate testing of students and teachers.
There are several areas that Cuomo said are on the “warning track,” including parts of the City of Buffalo and some of its suburbs, which could be declared red zones, as well as parts of Westchester County. Portions of Orange, Putnam and Ontario counties are also on track for more restrictions if the rate of the virus does not improve there.
Cuomo said the numbers are already going up across the state, with a 122% increase in the rate of hospitalizations for COVID-19 in the last three weeks. He said that’s happening even without the added social temptations of the holidays, and he finds it very worrisome.
“These numbers have kept me awake for many, many, many nights,” said Cuomo. “Positivity rate goes up. Then the hospitalization rate goes up. Then the number of people in intensive care goes up. Then the number of people in intubation goes up. And then the number of people who die goes up. That is what happens.”
Cuomo said it’s not a normal Thanksgiving, and no one should expect it to be. He said his own family is limiting their gathering. One of his daughters, Mariah, who lives in Chicago, tearfully decided it’s too risky to come home for the holiday, he said.
“Mariah loves me so much, she’s not coming to celebrate Thanksgiving with me,” said Cuomo. “That’s how much she loves me. We have to get our head there.”
The governor said people need to find the deeper meaning of Thanksgiving and that it’s not just about gathering at the dinner table.