‘Containment Zone’ Created For Cluster of Coronavirus Cases in NY
New York created a coronavirus "containment zone" in the Lower Hudson Valley, which impacts many schools and businesses. In Rockland County, a number of schools are closed after students tested positive for the virus.
On Tuesday, while confirming 12 more coronavirus cases in the Lower Hudson Valley, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced a containment zone within a one-mile radius in New Rochelle. There are currently has 108 confirmed cases in Westchester and the New Rochelle area is considered a "cluster."
The protocols include closing schools, houses of worship and other large gathering facilities within a one-mile radius in New Rochelle for a two-week period, from Thursday, March 12, to Wednesday, March 25th.
"The largest cluster of confirmed coronavirus cases in the country is located in New Rochelle, and as the numbers continue to go up we need a special public health strategy to contain it," Cuomo said. "We are moving from containment to mitigation, and because much of the transmission of this disease tends to happen on a geographic basis, we are attacking this hotspot at the source. As the number of positive cases rises, I am urging all New Yorkers to remember the bottom line: we talk about all this stuff to keep the public informed — not to incite fear — and if you are not a member of the vulnerable population then there is no reason for excess anxiety."
Cuomo has deployed National Guard troops to a Health Department command post in New Rochelle to assist with the outbreak. The troops are mobilizing to deliver food to homes and help with cleaning public spaces in the containment area. The State will work with impacted schools to ensure any child who currently depends on food assistance programs will continue to relieve those benefits during the two-week period.
The new emergency measures come at the recommendation of New York Health Commissioner Dr. Zucker.
"As we see the number of cases continue to rise based upon close contacts with persons who are positive for COVID-19, there is a particular need to reduce the opportunity for further close contacts. These opportunities include schools, churches, synagogues, and other event spaces where large numbers of people gather and remain together for extended periods of time. Although we believe that the risk generally to New Yorkers is low, I have recommended this strategy to reduce opportunities for further spread with the goal of reducing the number of new cases we are seeing in New Rochelle," Zucker said.
On Monday, the Rockland County Commissioner of Health and the New York State Education Department recommended three Rockland County schools, Ramapo High School, Pomona Middle School and Hempstead Elementary School, close after one student at each school tested positive for coronavirus, according to East Ramapo Central School District Superintendent of Schools Dr. Deborah Wortham
The schools will be closed until at least Saturday.