Brooklyn COVID-19 Numbers: 4%

The Grand Army Plaza Christmas tree will be lit tomorrow, Dec 8. at 5:00pm. Liena Zagare/Bklyner

Brooklyn is at solid 4% COVID-19 infection rate based on data from the New York State.

Of the 65,994 individuals tested, 2,765 tested positive in NYC, or 4.2%. 18,400 of the tested were Brooklynites, and 735 got the news that they too, have tested positive. We are still doing better than all other boroughs in NYC, save Manhattan. Staten Island has exceeded 6%, the Bronx and Queens are both above 5% on daily infection rates.

If the city goes to 5%, which may happen as soon as next week, Governor Andrew Cuomo said more restrictions are likely, however this time the deciding indicator will be the hospital capacity – areas where hospitals exceed 90% capacity will see red zone level of restrictions. NYC is currently at 20% hospital capacity based on state data.

At the hospitals, Mayor Bill de Blasio informed, we had 144 people admitted, still under the 200 person threshoild. However, the hospitalization rate per 100,000 residents is now at 2.28%, and needs to be below 2%, health officials say. Mayor also said teh city will no longer be reporting the daily infection rates, only the 7-day rolling averages as those are more complete and thus accurate. We are not relying on city’s data in our reports, as State data is what is used in decisionmaking. What is know is that infections are rising rapidly.

City’s Health Commissioner Dave Chokshi explained the reasoning. The following a transcript of his remarks at this morning’s press conference:

“We will continue to present daily indicators, but, as the Mayor said, we are going to make a few updates so that what we present every day is, number one, comprehensive; number two, stable; and number three, consistent. Today, we reported cases that were based on molecular, or PCR tests, which are the most dependable for a diagnosis of COVID-19. However, antigen tests, which check for a virus protein and can often return a result quickly are growingly used as a screening test for COVID-19.

“I have to point out that there are some limitations to antigen tests compared to molecular tests. And if you have any questions about which one is right for you, please speak with your doctor about it. But because antigen tests have become more common and have improved over the last few weeks and months, we are adding antigen test results to our Health Department website. Positive antigen test results will be reported as probable cases, according to scientific standards, while PCR positives will continue to be reported as confirmed cases. The daily indicator will combine both of these – both confirmed and probable cases in a seven-day rolling average. These counts will ensure that we’re keeping up with the science and making our data more complete.

“The second change, as the Mayor said, is the elimination of single-day percent positivity. We’ve all seen how weekends, weather, or holidays can alter testing patterns, which can result in fluctuations in daily percent positivity. So, moving forward, we’ll focus on the seven-day average indicator, ensuring we get more stability. Our third change is to add per capita hospitalization rates to our current daily admissions indicator. New York State has a system for tracking total hospitalizations and we share the goal of returning hospitalization rates to below two per 100,000 residents on a seven-day average. And so, we’re aligning those figures to ensure consistency.”

Choksi said that “The trends we are seeing across all indicators are worrisome.”

He also advised on the newly revised CDC public health strategies to address high levels of COVID-19 spread, which we all are quite familiar with now, and really need to follow for another few month, possibly the hardest of the pandemic:

  1. universal use of masks, both indoors and outdoors,
  2. physical distancing and limiting contact, avoiding nonessential indoor spaces and crowded outdoor settings,
  3. increased testing diagnosis and isolation,
  4. prompt case investigation and contact tracing,
  5. safeguarding persons most at risk for severe illness or death,
  6. protecting essential workers,
  7. postponing travel,
  8. hand hygiene,
  9. increased ventilation, and cleaning and disinfection,
  10. as we await safe and effective vaccines.

Tree: The 2020 Diocesan Christmas tree lighting ceremony will take place on Tuesday, December 8, 2020, at 5 p.m., in front of the Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Arch located at 20 Grand Army Plaza in Brooklyn. The 35-foot Christmas tree shines bright in approximately 14,000 Christmas lights that were still being put up when we saw it a few days ago. Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio will also officially bless a replica of the Angels Unawares sculpture, designed by Canadian artist Timothy Schmalz. More on this after the event.

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Liena Zagare

Editor of Bklyner.com. Tips? Complaints? Suggestions? Email me at Liena@bklyner.com.

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