Nassau and Suffolk counties are now free of their Covid-19 yellow zones, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said during his news briefing Wednesday.
Hampton Bays, Riverhead, Great Neck, and Massapequa Park were designated “yellow zones” under New York State’s COVID-19 Cluster Action Initiative just before Thanksgiving 2020. The governor lifted these and nearly all yellow and orange zones — also called microclusters — statewide on Wednesday as virus positivity rates continue to drop post-holiday season surge.
“The microcluster zones are down all across the state,” Cuomo said. “Given the progress they’ve made, the restrictions are lifted in those zones.”
With yellow zones lifted on Long Island, the four towns will now follow all the same guidelines as the rest of the state, whereas they had additional restrictions for the past two months, such as weekly testing in schools and lower capacities for restaurants and other gatherings.
“I am happy to report, positivity levels in Riverhead are now declining,” Town of Riverhead Supervisor Yvette Aguiar said in a statement following Cuomo’s announcement. “Now, more than ever, the public needs to strictly adhere to all COVID-19 protocol, while we await widespread vaccination. I am hopeful we are entering into the recovery stage of the pandemic.”
Long Island still remains at the highest Covid-19 positivity rate of any region in New York. Its seven-day average is currently 6.83 percent, while the statewide positivity rate is 5.44 percent.
“Long Island, Long Island, Long Island,” Cuomo said. “All the numbers are down across the state, so then we focus on who is highest in the state.”
After Cuomo’s announcement, yellow zones remain only in the Bronx, Newburgh, Queens, and Washington Heights. The state is now focusing on hospital capacity to determine its microclusters. If a region’s hospital capacity drops to 15 percent, it will be deemed a red zone and get more restrictions. Long Island’s hospital capacity is at 29 percent.
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