It’s been a little more than seven months since New York essentially shut down for the coronavirus epidemic. Today, the state’s infection rate is 1.01%, the lowest in the nation. We have reason to be proud.

But we also have reason for concern.

State health experts warned since midsummer that a second wave of COVID-19 could start rolling out this fall as cooler weather sets in and schools reopen. But we’ve seen the regression as colleges send students home and elementary and high schools try to maneuver between classrooms and remote learning.

New coronavirus cases were reported in Columbia County. Eleven workers at a fruit farm near Hudson tested positive for COVID-19. In Greene County, the number of active positive cases jumped from 13 last Friday to 23 on Monday, according to Greene County Public Health’s daily COVID-19 update.

COVID-19 infection rates are spiking in 20 ZIP codes around the state, primarily in Brooklyn and Queens in New York City and Orange and Rockland counties in the Hudson Valley. The coronavirus infection rate in those hot spots is 5.5%. There is also concern over rising rates in Western New York and Broome County in the Southern Tier region.

That’s disturbing news for us and the rest of the state.

The spiking rates led to Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s decision to close both public and private schools in hot spot ZIP codes in New York City. Schools may be closed in other hot spots, such as Orange and Rockland counties, in the future.

Upward trending of the coronavirus continues to prove the most important tools in fighting COVID-19 are wearing face coverings, keeping social distance, frequent hand washing, testing, contact tracing and enforcement of state health mandates.

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Johnson Newspapers 7.1

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