COVID-19 Hotspots In Nassau County Cooling Off Due To Education, Outreach And Testing

Originally published in CBS New York

MINEOLA, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — COVID-19 hot spots in Nassau County included several ultra Orthodox Jewish communities where some have protested against the cluster restrictions.

But county leaders say education, outreach, and testing are working.

Targeting neighborhoods with high coronavirus infection levels is paying off, CBS2’s Jennifer McLogan reported Tuesday.

In Nassau’s Five Towns, sections of Lawrence, Cedarhurst in yellow and orange zones had been seven times the county average. Now, more mask wearing means those rates are dipping.

“Woodmere has come up a little bit, but we’ve reached the plateau. Disease is still three to four times in the Five Towns the average of the rest of the county. That’s why this initiative is so vital,” said Nassau Health Commissioner Dr. Lawrence Eisenstein.

The initiative is the first free drive-through rapid testing facility there, opening at the Five Towns Community Center, and soon expanding to the JCC in Cedarhurst.

Make an appointment, pull up, get a nose swab, and results take five minutes.

“Hospital is very excited about getting this. Hopefully help the community identify people who are positive, are contagious, very rapidly,” said rabbi Dr. Aaron Glatt of Mount Sinai South Nassau.

Testing positive means isolation, self quarantine for two weeks.

“How will you enforce this?” McLogan asked.

“If you see something that looks troubling, that makes you concerned, please go to our website. You can log in the complaint,” said Nassau County Executive Laura Curran. “Our fire marshals, public safety, health department people will take a look at it and take action as needed.”

The state has asked the country to do the mask and quarantine enforcement, and police will be doing so, they say, with renewed vigor in order to save lives.

Local leaders and elected officials are trying to galvanize the community.

“How to get people to understand that large gatherings are going to feed outbreaks, that masks are important, that we want to be testing as quickly as we can,” said state Sen. Todd Kaminsky.

Inaction allows a cluster to turn into an outbreak, which could cause more suffering to health, and could also impede the reopening of those closed schools and businesses.