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A medical worker takes a nasal swab sample from a student to test for Covid-19 at a pop up testing site in New York on October 8. Angela Weiss/AFP via Getty Images

New York state will employ a “micro-cluster” strategy to combat Covid-19 during the fall months, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced at a press conference Saturday.

Cuomo acknowledged that the state will likely see an increase in the transmission rate in the coming months due to schools reopening and cooler weather driving people indoors. Additionally, increased rates throughout the country will continue to affect New York, because many people have continued to travel to New York, Cuomo said. 

The “micro-cluster” strategy will use enhanced data that the state has been able to collect through increased testing and will enable state authorities to fight Covid-19 on a “block by block” level, rather than on a larger state, region, or county level. 

Cuomo said the state has now been able to collect testing data that is so specific that they are not permitted to show it because it would violate privacy laws. However, the data will allow the state to target Covid-19 clusters to the block(s) where it is originating, and therefore allow for targeted mitigation and enforcement efforts, he said. 

By fighting “micro-clusters” at the block level, rather than at a larger state or county level, mitigation efforts will cause less disruption to other areas with low transmission rates, Cuomo said.

When a “micro-cluster” is identified, the state will ramp up testing, mitigation, and social distancing enforcement in those specific areas, Cuomo said, adding that this approach would continue even after a vaccine becomes available.

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