The Numbers – the city’s Department of Health (DOH) has switched how they are releasing the data they are disseminating, so the numbers from today cannot be directly compared to previous numbers we have reported as these numbers are averaged over the last 14 days. Here’s from DOH:
“COVID-19 cases continue to grow at an alarming rate in 9 neighborhoods in the city, outpacing the citywide average by 3.5 times over the past 14 days.
Today’s reported citywide 7-day percent positivity is 1.38% and the daily percent positivity is 3.25%, the highest daily report since early June 2020. Daily reports are subject to greater fluctuation than a more prolonged period. These data are preliminary, and we will continue to monitor as we receive more complete data.
Seven of the 9 neighborhoods saw increases even from the prior day’s report, based on our preliminary data.
These areas account for over 25.6% of new cases citywide over the past 2 weeks despite representing 7.4% of the city’s overall population. The data below is based on a 14-day average, which can more accurately reflect sustained trends than data pulled from a single day.
- Gravesend/Homecrest  (6.92%)
- Midwood  (5.64%)
- Kew Gardens  (3.31%)
- Edgemere/Far Rockaway  (4.91%)
- Borough Park  (6.23%)
- Bensonhurst/Mapleton  (6.05%)
- Gerritsen Beach/Homecrest/Sheepshead Bay  (4.05%)
- Flatlands/Midwood  (4.73%)
- Kew Gardens Hills/Pomonok  (3.60%)
In addition to these 9 ZIP codes, we have identified 3 additional ZIP codes that are showing increased growth of cases and test positivity between 2% and 3%, which are:
- Rego Park  (2.64%)
- Kensington/Windsor Terrace  (2.72%)
- Brighton Beach/Manhattan Beach/Sheepshead Bay  (2.85%)
The 3 areas above have also increased in the percent of positive tests since the day before, according to preliminary data.
Williamsburg [11211/11249] remains an area where we are observing a faster increase in cases compared to other parts of the city, even though the test positivity rate is below 3% (1.89%).”
Increases in hospital visits generally follow an increase in cases, according to DOH, and they are starting to see an uptick in the number of hospitalized patients with COVID-19. The city has deployed 11 mobile testing units to these areas and tripled the capacity of the COVID Express testing sites in Crown Heights and Fort Greene.
“For the first time in months, you’re going to see a daily number over three percent – and, obviously, everyone is concerned about that,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said this morning. “That is something we all have to work on together to address and something that says to us we have to be on high alert to make sure we fight back this challenge.”
“Each ZIP code is different. Some we’ve seen some noticeable progress, but, overall, unfortunately, we have not seen enough. In fact, in some ZIP codes, the numbers have been going up,” de Blasio said. “So, this is an inflection point. We have to take more action at this point and more serious action. And we will be escalating with each day, depending on what we see happening on the ground and the test results we’re getting.”
What the city is doing
- More testing. Everyone in those zip codes in encouraged to get tested so the city gets more accurate data. “If you’ve never been tested, we need you to go get tested. If you have not been tested for a while, we need you to go get tested,” de Blasio urged, promising affected areas will see “hundreds of Test and Trace Corps members out in the communities, hundreds of additional City agency personnel, handing out masks for free, encouraging testing, getting people good information, pushing back against misinformation.”
- Fines for refusing to wear face coverings. The mayor announced that effective immediately anyone who is not wearing a face covering, is offered one, and refuses to wear it, will be fined.
- The Department of Health has ordered nonpublic schools and childcare centers to close if they don’t follow the Commissioner’s Order on health safeguards.
Mayor stressed that “If necessary, we will have to prohibit gatherings except for very small gatherings. If necessary, we will have to close nonessential businesses. No one wants that to happen if it can be avoided. If it does have to happen, we would obviously try and target it as carefully as possible, but it is a situation at this point that’s very serious and we have to have all options on the table.”
“I’m very concerned about the infections that have increased in Brooklyn, and in Queens. We fought so hard as New Yorkers. We can’t give up the progress that’s allowed us to reopen our city. Last weekend, and over the weekend, we did extensive engagement in the communities where we’re seeing the greatest increases,” Mitchell Katz, President and CEO of Health + Hospitals, said, reminding of the four essential things we all can do to stop the spread – “stay home if you’re sick; keep physical distance between yourself and others and limit indoor gatherings; wear a face covering; practice healthy hand hygiene.”