NEW YORK (Reuters) – The rate of positive coronavirus tests in 20 New York “hot spot” ZIP codes rose to 6.5% from 5.5% the day before, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo told reporters on Thursday.
The overall rate in the state was 1.27%, or 1,382 positive tests out of the 109,218 reported on Wednesday, Cuomo said.
He also encouraged New Yorkers to download to their smartphones a new contact-tracing app created by the state’s health department and called COVID Alert NY. The app will alert users if they have recently been near someone who goes on to test positive for the novel coronavirus.
Many of the 20 hot spots include Orthodox Jewish communities, and Cuomo said he had had productive conversations with community leaders about enforcing social distancing measures.
“A cluster today can become community spread tomorrow,” Cuomo said on a briefing call with reporters. “These ZIP codes are not hermetically sealed.”
He implored local authorities to increase enforcement measures.
“If they’re not wearing masks, they should be fined,” Cuomo said. “If you speed in your car, you get a ticket. That’s how it works.”
(Reporting by Jonathan Allen; Editing by Franklin Paul and Jonathan Oatis)