Orange County executive: 50% of new COVID-19 cases are in Palm Tree; Cuomo needs to step in
Orange County Executive Steve Neuhaus says 50% of his county's new COVID-19 cases are coming out of Palm Tree and that Gov. Andrew Cuomo needs to step in to get control of the situation.
"We had a phone call with the leaders of Kiryas Joel. They said we don't listen or obey to your executive orders. We listen to two people – God and Andrew Cuomo," says Neuhaus.
Orange County issued a cease and desist in Palm Tree two weeks ago, threatening legal action, after photos were posted to Twitter showing thousands of residents - shoulder to shoulder and without masks - at their main synagogue.
Two weeks later, county officials say cases have increased by 300% in a week.
The Orthodox religious community is one of a handful of hot spots that Cuomo singled out Tuesday in his daily briefing, saying he'll be speaking with religious leaders to urge enforcement of state laws.
Cuomo went on to blame local governments for the surge in cases. The county executive however says local law enforcement is tapped and that it's state authorities that aren't enforcing the laws.
Gov. Cuomo plans to meet with Orthodox leaders this week.
Neuhaus says if the governor’s warnings are ignored, the surge could be the start of a second wave in the state.