NEW YORK (CBSNewYork)Gov. Andrew Cuomo says Staten Island has gone from having the lowest COVID-19 death rate in New York City to the highest.

Staten Island has the smallest population of the five boroughs, yet the governor says it has a 40% higher COVID death rate than the rest. Borough President Jimmy Oddo is begging residents to heed the warnings, or else face even stricter rules and even more deaths, CBS2’s Ali Bauman reported Wednesday.

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Marcia Moreno was known for her fiery red hair around her Staten Island neighborhood. At the end of November, the 84-year-old tested positive for COVID-19.

“One day I got the phone call she was transferred to the emergency room and then everything was really fast. The next call I got was her lung has collapsed,” daughter Anayancy Housman said.

Moreno died on Friday.

“I do really want people to know that this is not fake, especially, I guess, on Staten Island. This is real,” Housman said.

CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC

Cuomo said Wednesday that the borough’s COVID-19 death rate has now surpassed every other borough.

“Twenty five percent of all the fatalities in New York City come from Staten Island. Staten Island is only 5% of the New York City population,” Cuomo said.

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The governor scolded locals who’ve thumbed their noses at his restrictions, including the manager of Mac’s Public House, who welcomed lockdown defiance before being arrested last week.

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“The juxtaposition of what we’ve seen on Staten Island in the last week and a half to what the leaders of our hospitals are saying is like they’re worlds apart,” Oddo said.

Congresswoman-elect Nicole Malliotakis said she believes there’s a communication issue in the borough.

“A lot of people may not agree, including myself, with some of the arbitrary restrictions our governor, our mayor put in place. So we have to be mindful that the way we combat that is by being responsible, cooperating with the regulations,” Malliotakis said.

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Both Malliotakis and Oddo are urging residents to follow Centers for Disease Control guidelines if they want to avoid even harsher restrictions.

“This is about your behavior. This is about personal responsibility,” Oddo said. “Maybe the message now needs to come, locally at least, from faces they recognize, but not local officials.”

Cuomo warned that new restaurant restrictions could come as soon as Monday, eliminating indoor dining in New York City, and reducing it to 25% in the suburbs.

“If you could just wear a mask and save a life so someone else doesn’t have to lose their parent,” Housman added.

On Wednesday, both the governor and Mayor Bill de Blasio also made a pitch for federal aid in order to avoid devastating tax hikes, layoffs and service cuts, but Cuomo said even with federal money, he would likely still have to raise taxes. He did not specify which taxes and by how much.

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