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Gov. Andrew Cuomo: COVID-19 Outbreaks Will Be Analyzed On 'Block-By-Block Level' As State Targets Micro-Clusters To Slow Spread

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- Gov. Andrew Cuomo says New York is shifting to a micro-cluster strategy to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

Neighborhoods considered in the red zone will get targeted testing and ramped up enforcement of restrictions.

"We are now going to analyze it on the block-by-block level," Cuomo said during a press conference Saturday.

Watch Gov. Andrew Cuomo's full press conference --

The governor says the state is all-in on micro-clusters. The hot spots identified by COVID case numbers and mapped out as red zones are replacing the old ways of going by region or zip code.

"We actually have data that is so specific that we can't show it because it would violate privacy conditions. But we know exactly where the cases are coming from," Cuomo said.

Cuomo calls it more precise and less disruptive.

"We can adjust the zone quickly," he said.


Spiro Gatanas owns two restaurants on Queens Boulevard in the hot spot neighborhood of Rego Park.

He had just started very limited indoor dining when he was told to shut down Diner Bar and nearby Tower Diner.

"We opened up on September 30 and we closed this past Thursday," Gatanas said. "It's a triangular red zone. It doesn't make sense."

CORONAVIRUS: NY Health Dept. | NY Call 1-(888)-364-3065 | NYC Health Dept. | NYC Call 311, Text COVID to 692692 | NJ COVID-19 Info Hub | NJ Call 1-(800)-222-1222 or 211, Text NJCOVID to 898211 | CT Health Dept. | CT Call 211 | Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Queens Boulevard makes the difference because it's a dividing line. Cafe Bora-Bora can be open without the restrictions facing Diner Bar, which is just across the street, but in the red zone.

Watch Dave Carlin's report --

Diners keep getting turned away and are forced to go elsewhere.

"What's stopping somebody from just going across the street with the coronavirus and going to a different place? Like that's going to stop the spread?" one man said.

"I get that people are tired of the enforcement, and I get that they're tired of compliance," Cuomo said.

RELATED STORY: Chris Christie's Bout With COVID A Stark Reminder Of The Dangers Of Letting Your Guard Down

CBS2's Dave Carlin asked the governor if a micro-cluster could apply to a single street.

"It's not a zip code anymore, it's a block or a couple of blocks. How small does it get?" Carlin asked.

"It gets as small as you want to make it that is operationally efficient," Cuomo said.

Gatanas says he received no notification and now he wonders when he can reopen beyond take-out and delivery and bring back dozens of his workers.

"They said two weeks. This coming Thursday is going to be two weeks and we still have no idea," he said.

That Gatanas and others are not fans of the micro-cluster approach doesn't matter. The governor says underline this in red -- it's here to stay at least through the winter.


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