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Stay up to date with the latest news on the coronavirus and COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus. We'll post regular updates from NPR and regional news from the WRVO newsroom. You can also find updates on our live blog.

Cuomo announces new COVID-19 restrictions on Onondaga, Monroe, Erie counties

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Governor Andrew Cuomo's office
Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

On Monday, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced that parts of Onondaga, Monroe and Erie counties will be in a precautionary, yellow zone of restrictions. It’s the lowest category of restrictions placed on an area or cluster of increased COVID-19 infections.

The new restrictions include a maximum of 25 people for mass gatherings, four people at a table for dining, schools will get 20% testing and bars and restaurants close at midnight.

Cuomo said over the weekend, they worked with county executives, including Onondaga County Executive Ryan McMahon about the restrictions.

“The zones increase rigor, discipline, restrictions and enforcement,” Cuomo said.

Onondaga County has had nearly 500 cases of the coronavirus in the past four days. Over the past several weeks, the 7-day average positivity rates for Erie and Monroe counties has also sharply risen.

Cuomo said it was great news that Pfizer has developed a vaccine to COVID-19 with 90% efficacy. He said in a matter of days, the federal government wants to ship the Pfizer vaccine, so when it’s fully proven, states can distribute it. Cuomo said he has serious questions about how the federal government will be able to distribute the vaccine.

“I think the federal government has always been wrong, throughout COVID, and has been incompetent in their operation,” Cuomo said. “We have to get it right this time. Going to just private-market participants, hospitals, clinics, drug stores, compounds the injustice that’s been done, because that infrastructure doesn’t exist in poorer communities and black and brown communities. We already have a higher infection rate.”

Cuomo said he’s working with other governors and organizations, but overall he said, it’s very good news.

“I just want to make sure the vaccine gets to more people, faster, and more fairly,” Cuomo said.

Tom Magnarelli is a reporter covering the central New York and Syracuse area. He joined WRVO as a freelance reporter in 2012 while a student at Syracuse University and was hired full time in 2015. He has reported extensively on politics, education, arts and culture and other issues around central New York.