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Tri-State Area Officials Sound Alarms As Coronavirus Shutdowns Likely To Impact Holiday Season

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- Coronavirus cases are sharply increasing across the U.S. and elected officials in the Tri-State say new restrictions are needed to stop the spread.

New Jersey on Saturday reported its highest number of daily cases ever -- more than 4,600 new infections.

In New York, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said the state had a record-high number of tests Friday, more than 207,000, and hospitalizations are the highest they've been since early June.

In New York City alone, there were 118 new hospitalizations and more than 1,300 new cases, with the seven-day average infection rate at 3.11%.

A curfew is in effect in a COVID hot spot in New Jersey and New York residents are gearing-up for a possible shutdown order, which is likely certain to happen after Thanksgiving, CBS2's Christina Fan reported Saturday.

"The virus doesn't know if it's Thanksgiving or Christmas or Chanukah. It just knows it has to reproduce in a host, and that host is us," said Suraj Saggar, chief of infectious disease at Holy Name Medical Center.

Officials are doubling down as hospitalizations in New Jersey have more than doubled since Nov. 1, but doctors say they are much better equipped to fight COVID now than during the first wave in the spring.

"That time felt like the wild, wild West, a war time scenario. Right now, we feel much more in control but, again, we still have the idea that things could quickly get out of control if numbers reach a breaking point," Saggar said.

Mandatory curfews are in effect in three zip codes in Newark, where the positivity rate soared over 20%.

Barricades now block streets in the East Ward from 8 p.m. to 3 a.m. every night. A citywide lockdown will be in place in an effort to control the spread starting Wednesday, Nov. 25.

MORE: Newark Facing New Restrictions, Partial Curfew In Bid To Slow COVID Spread

"We want to be able to do that for 10 days, and we want folks to come out for essential purposes," said Mayor Ras Baraka.

In New York City, Mayor Bill de Blasio is warning New Yorkers that the statistics point to the city being declared an Orange Zone soon after Thanksgiving.

The city's weekly infection rate is about 3.1%. If that number holds, the Big Apple could turn orange as early as Nov. 30.

"That will happen soon after Thanksgiving, probably the first week of December," de Blasio said.

MORE: Coronavirus In NYC: Businesses Face Potential Setbacks As Mayor de Blasio Tells City To Prepare For Second Wave Shutdown

State metrics dictate New York City would enter an Orange Zone if the weekly infection rate is greater than 3% for 10 days straight, and if there are 10 or more new daily cases per 100,000 residents on a weekly average.

"Orange" status means no more indoor dining. Outdoor dining would be limited to four people per table and close by 10 p.m. Private gatherings would be limited to 10 people. Houses of worship would be limited to 25 people.


Nonessential businesses like gyms, hair and nail salons would have to close, too.

Mayor de Blasio said contact tracers are not seeing major problems coming out of these types of businesses now, but tight restrictions are the only way to turn around this kind of surge.

Cuomo has the final say if and when New York City becomes an Orange Zone.


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