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Cuomo: State will withhold funds for localities & schools in COVID-19 cluster zones that fail to enforce public health law

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Wed, Oct 14th 2020 04:45 pm

Sends letter warning local governments in cluster zones that they will lose state funding if they fail to enforce gathering limit and school closure rules

Sends separate letter warning public and private schools in cluster zones that they will lose state funding if they do not comply with closure and testing rules

Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Wednesday announced New York will withhold funds for localities and schools in COVID-19 cluster zones that fail to enforce public health laws. The New York State Department of Health will send a letter warning local governments in cluster zones that they will lose state funding if they fail to enforce state limits on gatherings and the closure of schools. The letter will be sent to New York City, Orange County, Rockland County, the Town of Ramapo and the Village of Spring Valley.

Cuomo also announced DOH will send an additional letter warning public and private schools in cluster zones that they will lose state funding if they do not comply with state requirements on closure and testing.

"We know that public and private schools in the red zones are supposed to be closed. We know that there were violations where yeshivas were operating. We know there were violations where religious gatherings were happening that exceeded the guidelines. This is especially a problem in Brooklyn and Orange and Rockland Counties," Cuomo said. "No. 1, we are sending a notification to local governments saying they must enforce public health law under Section 16. If the local government does not effectively enforce the law, we will withhold funds. We're also sending a letter to all schools in the red zones saying to them that they must be closed. If they violate the Section 16 order, we will withhold funding from the schools. This is a last and final warning."

In "red zone" focus areas included as part of the governor's cluster action initiative, the positivity rate for test results reported yesterday is 6.29% – up from the 4.13% the day before.

Within the "red zone" focus areas, 3,053 test results were reported yesterday, yielding 192 positives or a 6.29% positivity rate. In the remainder of the state, not counting these "red zone" focus areas, 108,691 test results were reported, yielding 1,040 positives (0.95% positivity rate). The state's overall positivity rate is 1.10% with focus areas included. The "red zone" focus areas are home to 2.8% of the state population yet had 15.6% of all positive test results reported to the state yesterday, and 12.2% of all positive case results reported to the state this current week.

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