N.Y. officials investigate four COVID clusters

Gov. Andrew Cuomo pleads during a pandemic briefing at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., for federal lawmakers to pass COVID-19 legislation to assist state and local governments during the pandemic. The state Department of Health is investigating COVID-19 exposure in four virus clusters after officials traced multiple new infections to a student who recently traveled to Florida and attended a downstate graduation ceremony. Courtesy of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s office

The state Department of Health continues to investigate COVID-19 exposure in four virus clusters after officials traced multiple new infections to a student who recently traveled to Florida and attended a downstate graduation ceremony, said Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who signed an executive order over the weekend limiting virus paid sick leave eligibility for state employees.

Health officials and contact tracers have identified three other clusters of COVID-19 cases across New York at the Oswego Apple Factory, the Washington County/Vermont Slate Quarry and the Montgomery County Aluminum factory. The state reported 12 cases from the quarry, 82 apple factory employees infected with the virus of 179 tested and 74 COVID-19 cases from the aluminum factory, where 500 employees were tested. The downstate factory remains closed.

“This is actually good news — it means the contact-tracing system works,” the governor said during a pandemic briefing in Manhattan on Monday.

Cuomo issued a new executive order Saturday making any New York employee who voluntarily travels to high-risk states after June 25 ineligible for COVID-19 paid sick leave.

State employees will not receive the paid sick leave if they travel to a high-risk coronavirus state for any nonessential purpose, including vacation.

“If we are going to maintain the progress we’ve seen, we need everyone to take personal responsibility — that’s why I’m issuing an executive order that says any New York employee who voluntarily travels to a high-risk state will not be eligible for the COVID protections we created under paid sick leave,” the governor said Saturday.

The provision does not apply if the employee travels for work or at their employer’s request.

New York reported its lowest number of COVID-19 hospitalizations since March 18 on Monday at 853 patients statewide. Seven reported New Yorkers died from the virus Sunday, including six in hospitals and one in a nursing home, and five Saturday. The low daily death rate has continued to decline, bringing the state’s three-day fatality average down to eight — also the lowest since the pandemic first ravaged the state.

The state reported 391 new COVID-19 cases, or 0.84%, of the 46,428 tests conducted Sunday. Each of the state’s 10 regions reported a positive COVID-19 testing rate of 2.2% or lower.

To schedule a COVID-19 test or for more information about the virus, visit coronavirus.health.ny.gov/covid-19-testing

Johnson Newspapers 7.1

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