Cuomo warns WNY against Thanksgiving gatherings, as COVID-19 cases double in 1 day

Oct 28, 2020

Gov. Andrew Cuomo provided a COVID-19 status update Wednesday, saying the highest infection rate in the state is here in the Western New York Region.

Cuomo said the daily positivity rate doubled, from 1.3% on Sunday to 2.6% on Monday -- the highest rate for the area in five months. More than 100 new cases were recorded in Erie County, the most since May.

Meanwhile, the Genesee and Orleans County Health Departments, which are considered in the state's Finger Lakes Region, said18 positive cases have been linked to an Oct. 17 wedding on Acton Road in the Orleans County town of Clarendon, near Genesee County.

"Our problem at one time was large gatherings -- bars and restaurants, right?" Cuomo said. "We're now getting it from small gatherings. We had a wedding that was in, uh, the Genesee-Orleans area. Eighteen people, 18 cases, from one wedding."

The Health Departments are advising anyone who attended that wedding to monitor their symptoms through Oct. 31. If there are positive symptoms, people are advised to self-isolate and contact their primary healthcare provider.

Even so, the governor said there are no travel restrictions in the state for the upcoming holidays, although he advised against it.

"You can travel wherever you want for Thanksgiving or for any holiday that you choose to travel," he said. "If you're asking advice, I have said publicly that I think, my personal advice is, you don't have family gatherings, even for Thanksgiving."

Questions also arose about the usefulness of travel restrictions, like those agreed on by New York, Connecticut and New Jersey. The latter two states recently surpassed their own thresholds to require travelers to quarantine.

But all three have agreed to not enforce their travel rules against one another. Each state also has exempted other adjoining states that qualify for the restrictions, including New York with its neighbors Pennsylvania and Massachusetts.

Enforcement has been lax and uneven.

"Factually, legally, New Yorkers can travel wherever they want," Cuomo said. "People can come into the state, but you have to live within the quarantine policy."

SUNY this week mandated that all on-campus students be tested for COVID-19 within 10 days of leaving for Thanksgiving break and suggested the same for faculty and staff.