Laura Curran Touts Progress Slowing Coronavirus Cases In Five Towns Area

Originally published in CBS New York on October 27, 2020.

CEDARHURST, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) – Progress is being made to slow down the number of coronavirus cases in the Five Towns and Far Rockaway.

The orange zone stretching through parts of the Five Towns meant a two-week closure of some schools, indoor houses of worship and non-essential businesses.

“We had orange and yellow places. There’s no more orange, only yellow and it’s a smaller amount,” Nassau County Executive Laura Curran said. “So kids are back in school. Businesses are back open again. Barbershops, hair salons, gyms, et cetera have been able to reopen.”

Curran called it “incredible progress.”

Leaders of faith and schools are touting a remarkable outcome. The new Five Towns drive-thru rapid testing, contact tracing and compliance meant cutting overall Five Towns COVID cases by a third, more in Lawrence.

“Lawrence cases continue a steady drop in positivity, dropping 25% since last week and about 75% drop in the last three weeks,” Curran said.

Woodmere, Inwood and Cedarhurst are also seeing a drop in positive COVID cases.

“We went to every single place in the orange and yellow zones within 48 hours,” said Nassau County Health Commissioner Dr. Lawrence Eisenstein.

Eighty restaurants were visited and 40 were given notices of violation warnings.

“Nobody had to come to court. Nobody was fined. Everybody learned the safe way,” Eisenstein said.

No shaming or finger-pointing, all hands on deck.

Many successfully moved worship outdoors.

“Besides the lights we put in, we created this tent ourselves,” said Rabbi Yaakob Trump, of Young Israel of Lawrence-Cedarhurst. “We just invested in heaters. Now we have a heating system. We’re talking about $15,000 worth of investment.”

“Worship is the centerpiece of our community here, worship and education is the centerpiece,” Lawrence Deputy Mayor Michael Fragin told CBS2’s Jennifer McLogan. “They were very sensitive to how they approached it.”

Trusted messenger liaisons went into the community and shared the science.

“This is a national model of how when you see a potential outbreak, how to clamp down on it and drive the numbers down,” Sen. Todd Kaminsky said.

As the weather changes, they want to be ready for COVID fatigue and double down on efforts to stop the spread.