De Blasio: Could be weeks before COVID-19 restrictions in hot spots lifted
Mayor Bill de Blasio suggested Monday it could be weeks before the coronavirus lockdown restrictions in some of the city’s hot spot zones are lifted.
“The big top line here is we do continue to see a leveling off in some areas of the greatest concern … but we’ve got more work to do,” de Blasio said during a City Hall press briefing.
The state-imposed COVID-19 restrictions — which include the closure of schools, non-essential businesses and capacity limits in houses of worship — went into effect in cluster zones in Brooklyn and Queens on Oct. 8.
They’re broken down by three color-coded categories: red, being the most severe, orange and yellow.
“We do overall need to see more progress before we remove restrictions,” de Blasio said, explaining that for at least some red and orange-designated areas it “looks like another week or two of work, overall.”
De Blasio, who did not provide any statistical data regarding the hot spot areas during the briefing, continued, “The fact is we need to see some more progress in most of these areas in red and orange zones.”
“We can get out of this in just a few weeks … but we’ve got to bring the numbers down. Overall, those communities need a little more time,” he said.
Hizzoner urged residents in the hot spot areas to get tested for COVID-19, wear face masks and practice social distancing.
“To everyone in those red and orange zones, continue to dig deeper,” said de Blasio who noted that more testing needs to be done in Brooklyn.
Of testing, he said, “That’s more of a problem in Brooklyn than in Queens.”
Meanwhile, de Blasio said the red zone in Central Queens is making progress and coronavirus data shows that “those numbers have gotten substantially better.”
“That’s a good example to everyone else in the red and orange zones that we can turn this around,” he said.
De Blasio hinted that Central Queens could see some COVID-19 restrictions lifted later this week.
“I think it’s a little early to project or predict, but it still is possible we could see some action later on this week based on our conversations with the state,” de Blasio said.
During his own conference call with reporters later Monday morning, Gov. Andrew Cuomo once again reiterated that the decision to lift any of the new coronavirus restrictions is his.
Cuomo, who noted that the COVID-19 statistics in the city’s red zone areas are improving, promised that on Wednesday, “We will announce changes to the zones, and I do anticipate changes to the zones.”
That could mean adjusting the zone size to smaller or bigger, said Cuomo, who added, that the state is “working on” target infection rate numbers for those hot spot areas.
In a one-week period, Brooklyn went from a 5.8 percent to 5.2 coronavirus positivity rate, while Queens went from 3.3 percent to 2.3 percent, Cuomo said.
State data shows that New York City currently has an overall infection rate of 1.3 percent, said Cuomo.
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