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Niagara County moving into 'yellow zone'

by jmaloni
Mon, Dec 14th 2020 02:10 pm

Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Monday announced Niagara County areas including Lewiston and Niagara Falls are moving into his micro-cluster action initiative “yellow precautionary zone.” The following restrictions will be put into place:

Yellow Zone — Precautionary Zone

  • Houses of worship go to 50% capacity
  • Nonresidential gatherings are limited to 25 people maximum, indoor and outdoor; residential gatherings are capped at 10 people – indoor or outdoor
  • Indoor and outdoor dining has a four-person maximum per table, and bars and restaurants close at 10 p.m. for on-premises consumption
  • Businesses remain open
  • Schools: Open with mandatory 20% weekly testing of in-person students and faculty

A geographic area is eligible to enter a “yellow zone” if it has a 3% positivity rate (seven-day average) over the past 10 days and is in the top 10 percent in the state for hospital admissions per capita over the past week and is experiencing week-over-week growth in daily admissions, related to the coronavirus.

Niagara County’s positivity rate on Sunday was 7.6% (110 positive cases from 1,446 tests. The seven-day rolling average is 8.4%.

Click here to see the "yellow zone" map.

UPDATE: Per the Niagara County Center for Economic Development, the full list of areas entering the “yellow precautionary zone” includes the entirety of the cities of Lockport, Niagara Falls and North Tonawanda; the towns of Lockport, Niagara, Pendleton and Wheatfield; and the Village of Lewiston. Also included are portions of the towns of Cambria, Lewiston, Newfane, Hartland and Royalton.

The “yellow zone” regulations take effect for businesses on Wednesday, Dec. 16, and for schools on Monday, Dec. 21.

What is a Micro-Cluster?

Cuomo announced this micro-cluster action strategy on Oct. 6. He said then, "A cluster is just that – it's a cluster of cases, a high density of cases, and it seeps and grows from that cluster almost in concentric circles. Drop a pebble into the pond, the pebble goes in, then there's one ring, two rings, three rings, and the rings continue across the pond. When you see the cluster, you have to stop it at that point. Our strategy is to crush the cluster and stop the spread, and we're announcing a special initiative to do just that. Step one, you take the most dramatic action within the cluster itself where you have the highest density of cases. Understanding that the people in that cluster interface with the surrounding communities, take additional action in the communities surrounding the cluster. Then as a precautionary measure, take action in the communities that are outlying that area."

On Oct. 17, Cuomo further explained, "We now have more sophistication because we've been at it for seven months. So rather than looking at COVID-19 data on the state level, regional level, county level or even neighborhood level, we are now going to analyze it on the block by block level. The micro-cluster strategy is not just to calibrate the state or the region, but to calibrate just those specific geographic areas. Target it and target your strategy down to that level of activity. It requires more testing, more targeted testing, and then you have to be responsive to the situations in that specific locality with mitigation measures. It has the advantage of causing less disruption" than “New York State on PAUSE” and a complete shutdown of all nonessential businesses.

North Tonawanda and a portion of Wheatfield were placed in a “yellow zone” one month ago.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo provides a coronavirus update from the Red Room at the State Capitol. (Photo by Don Pollard/Office of Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo)


COVID-19 Statistics

The Niagara County Department of Health issued the following update on positive COVID-19 cases:

“We regretfully report the death of four Niagara County residents. We send our deepest condolences to the family and friends of these individuals: A 68-year-old male with underlying health conditions; another 68 year-old male with underlying health conditions; an 85 year-old male with underlying health conditions; a 99 year-old female with underlying health conditions.”

The rest of the update is as follows:

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