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COVID-19 infection rates inch down in some areas with clusters, state figures show

"It's going to take the work of all

"It's going to take the work of all of us now to make sure we don't go backward on our hard-fought progress" on COVID-19, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo said Saturday. He is shown at the New York Stock Exchange on May 26. Credit: AFP / Johannes Eisele via Getty Images

Infection rates inched down in some areas with clusters of COVID-19 on Friday, while the infection rate for Long Island and other areas remained steady, according to state figures released Saturday.

Overall, the infection rate for all "red-zone" areas, where infections have been spiking in recent weeks, was 4.95% Friday, down a bit from the 5.4% rate the day before, the figures showed.

In addition, the infection rates showed improvement in cluster areas in Brooklyn, Queens, Rockland and Orange counties.

The "red zone" areas are home to 2.8% of state population yet had 13.3% of all positive test results reported to the state Friday, and 17.9% of all positive case results reported to the state this week. The positivity rate for test results this past week in "red zone" areas has been 6.17%, down slightly from the previous week, according to state figures.

"Our numbers remain good news, even as clusters appear in certain areas of the state," said Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo. "Our testing system is so advanced that we were able to track clusters to 2.8% of the state's population and attack the virus within that population."

Within the "red zone" focus areas, 3,901 test results were reported Friday, yielding 193 positives or a 4.95% positivity rate. In the remainder of the state, not counting these "red zone" areas, 130,678 test results were reported, yielding 1,254 positives or 0.96% positivity rate.

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Long Island's positivity rate was 1.1%, around where the number has hovered for days. New York City registered a rate of 1.1%.

Nassau County had 105 new cases, for a total of 47,841.

"Approximately 1.2 percent of Nassau County residents tested positive for the virus in the latest batch of testing, which is a testament to the outstanding job that our residents and health officials are doing to keep the virus down as spikelets pop up in and around the city," said Nassau County Executive Laura Curran.

She added, "We are aggressively addressing any coronavirus areas of concern that flare up in communities with education and enforcement of social distancing protocols."

Suffolk, in turn, had 72 new cases for a total of 47,357, resulting in an infection rate of 0.9%, according to state and county figures.

A total of 30 people were hospitalized, an increase of 1, county figures showed. Five patients were in the ICU, no change in 24 hours.

As of Saturday, 249,895 New York City residents have tested positive for coronavirus since late February, with 19,239 confirmed deaths and an additional 4,643 suspected to have been caused by the coronavirus, according to state figures.

The Oceanside School District this week reported four positive cases of the virus, including three at one of its high schools and one at an elementary school, Superintendent Phyllis Harrington said in notices to families.

The first case reported on Tuesday was of a student at the high school, followed by a positive case of a staff member there on Wednesday, Harrington said. After consulting with the Nassau County health department, the two cases did not "appear to be related," Harrington said.

A third case at the high school was also reported Wednesday, but Harrington did not specify in a notice whether it was a student or teacher, or if it was related to either of the first two cases. Three cases over the course of 24 hours was "concerning" enough for the district to close the high school Thursday and Friday, she said.

On Thursday, a fourth positive case in the district — this one of a student — was reported at Fulton Avenue Elementary School #8, Harrington said. The school remained open Friday, she said.

The state suffered eight deaths Friday due to virus-related illness.

The State Liquor Authority and State Police Task Force visited 722 establishments in New York City and Long Island and observed eight establishments that were not in compliance with state requirements. That included six in Suffolk and two in Nassau, the figures showed.

"It's going to take the work of all of us now to make sure we don't go backward on our hard-fought progress. We must all continue to wear our masks, wash our hands, remain socially distant, and above all, stay New York Tough," Cuomo said in a statement.

With Catherine Carrera and Matthew Chayes

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