Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced new micro-cluster zones in upstate New York Monday, including parts of Erie, Monroe, and Onondaga counties designated as “yellow zones.”

“This is going to be the constant for the foreseeable future. Every few days we will say this place became a micro-cluster. This place is a no longer a micro-cluster,” Cuomo said.

The micro-cluster strategy calls for more aggressive measures to stop the spread of COVID-19 in specific communities that have had higher positive test rates. The rules include limiting gatherings to a maximum of 25 people, allowing no more than four people at restaurants tables, and requiring bars and restaurants to close at midnight.

As part of the state rules, schools will need to test at least 20% of its students and staff every two weeks, for as long as it is a designated yellow zone area. The state will pay for testing, as long as the school districts have been reporting coronavirus data to for the state's school dashboard.

The governor said it’s clear the state and country are in a new phase of the pandemic.

“The rates will all go up. We expect the rates will continue to go up through the fall and into the winter,” he said.



Cuomo said New York continues to see better rates than most other states in the country but has to be vigilant about continuing to manage the spread.

He said the micro-cluster strategy has worked effectively in New York City as well as Broome, Orange, and Rockland counties. The state will also be sending additional testing upstate.