| Rochester Democrat and Chronicle
Update: Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced new metrics that would determine whether regions will be designated Yellow, Orange or Red pandemic zones as part of a statewide “Winter Plan” for managing the spread of the coronavirus during December and January.
Monroe County had met the previous metrics for designation as a Red Zone. Now Red Zone designation will be based on whether a regional hospital system is on track to be at 90% capacity within 21 days.
Cuomo said Friday that currently the Finger Lakes region has the highest hospitalization rate in the state per population.
This story will be updated.
As of Friday, Monroe County was operating under two levels based on the earlier metrics. An Orange Zone designation focused heart-shaped around the city of Rochester, with the rest of the county operating under Yellow Zone guidelines that went into effect Nov. 25 for businesses and Nov. 26 for schools.
According to public data from the Monroe County COVID-19 dashboard, the county met the earlier criteria that would have seen all, or parts of it, move to designation as a Red Zone; the highest level of restriction the state applies in its attempts to limit pandemic spread.
Latest updates: COVID news and developments for Rochester and Monroe County
Definitions: What do NY’s red, orange and yellow zones mean?
What are Red Zone restrictions?
- Non-essential businesses are closed.
- Non-Residential Gatherings are prohibited.
- Residential Gatherings are prohibited.
- Houses of Worship must operate under the lesser of – 25% of maximum capacity or 10 people.
- Dining will limited to takeout and delivery only.
- As of Dec. 4, schools in Red Zones do not have to close, but must adhere to guidelines that are outlined here in interim guidance from the sate DoH.
Cuomo has said Friday that for this level of shutdown, the hospital systems would have to in danger of being overwhelmed. New data from the department of Health and Human Services will help determine how hospital capacity is tracking.
What are the metrics for becoming a Red Zone?
There are two measures that tip a region over into Red Zone status.
1. A geographic area has 7-day rolling average positivity above 5% for 10 days.
2. A geographic area has 12 or more new daily cases per 100,000 residents on 7-day average.
The state has classified Monroe County as a Tier 2 County, a classification based on population levels.
Why does Monroe County meet them?
1. Monroe County has had a 7-day rolling average positivity rate above 5% since Nov. 28, according to the Monroe County COVID-19 dashboard. That was 14 days ago.
The 7-day rolling average as of Thursday was 8.62%.
Monroe County meets this criteria.
2. According to the Monroe County Department of Public Health, the 7-day rolling average of new cases was 581. The 7-day rolling average has exceeded 400 since the end of November.
Monroe County meets this criteria.
There are additional factors that officials consider before designating Red Zones, including whether the infection is driven by an extreme outbreak at one location such as a school, church or nursing home.
What other parts of the state could also see tighter restrictions?
Other counties also meet the same metrics that would potentially move them into Red Zone designation, they include Oneida County and Niagara County.
Update: This story has been updated to link to revised guidelines on schools remaining open in Orange and Red Zones.