Coronavirus ‘containment zone’ in New York county to shut down for 2 weeks, undergo cleaning

A designated “containment zone” in New York’s New Rochelle will close for two weeks beginning Thursday in an effort to contain the spread of novel coronavirus in the area. In a press briefing on Tuesday, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said the area is a radius of one-mile surrounding a so-called “hot spot” of COVID-19 cases.

Schools and facilities, including some businesses such as “large gathering places” or those that “bring large quantities of people together,” will close for two weeks as officials work to sanitize the area. Cuomo said the National Guard would be assisting the sanitation efforts and that Northwell Health is setting up a satellite testing facility in the area.

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Residents who live in the area, however, would be able to come and go as needed, Cuomo said.

“New Rochelle at this point is probably the largest cluster in the U.S. of these cases,” he said, while announcing 10 new cases in the area that brings the total to 108. “It’s a significant issue for us.”

Statewide, New York has confirmed 173 cases. In Westchester County, the majority of the cases have been traced back to a lawyer who works in midtown and visited a synagogue. His two children, wife and a neighbor, as well as several other members of another family, all tested positive after having contact with him.

“These cases are not representing a random sample,” Cuomo said, while giving an updated case count. “They are not statistically accurate to the spread or growth of the disease, it is a selective sampling – we are primarily testing people who are associated with people who test positive.”

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“This is an evolving situation and we’re addressing many different points as we move forward,” Dr. Howard Zucker, the state’s health commissioner, said.