What there is to know
- COVID clusters in Brooklyn, Queens and Rockland and Orange counties continue to grow at a rate well above the city and state average; Governor Andrew Cuomo warned that rollbacks were on the table with no improvement
- Mayor Bill de Blasio said on Tuesday the city is reserving its options regarding new restrictions in certain neighborhoods, focusing first on awareness and mask denial fines. Tougher measures could take place as early as Wednesday
- The concerns come as dining room returns to New York on Wednesday for the first time in six months; public schools also complete their staged reopening this week, welcoming around half a million students in person
Dining room returns to New York on Wednesday for the first time in more than six months, a boon for long-struggling restaurant owners and staff and yet another sign of progress for the former U.S. COVID epicenter even as ‘It’s fighting skyrocketing infection rates in half a dozen neighborhoods.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo tore up New York City officials, as well as those in Rockland and Orange counties, during a fiery press briefing on Tuesday, blaming local governments for the clusters, which he said , marks a compliance and enforcement failure.
At this point, the governor described the problem as a “cluster problem”, albeit the most important one he said the state has had to resolve. He warned that could evolve into community spread and that short-term reopening cancellations are on the table if local authorities cannot get the situation under control.
Mayor Bill de Blasio on Tuesday described the Brooklyn and Queens clusters as a source of “extreme concern”, announcing mask denial fines going into effect immediately amid ongoing targeted outreach efforts. When asked why he had not implemented tougher restrictions, such as closing private schools and non-essential businesses, de Blasio said the city reserved the right to assess the need. to take stronger action – but he warned that tougher action could come on Wednesday if the data warrants.
Daily percentage of positive tests by New York region
With all of New York State in a reopening phase, Gov. Andrew Cuomo is focused on daily monitoring test results in each region to identify potential hot spots before they emerge. Here is the latest tracking data by region. For the latest county-wide statewide results, click here
The clusters, which are mostly found in Orthodox communities, are starting to affect the city’s daily positivity rate as a whole, de Blasio said Tuesday. For the first time, the daily indicator of this metric by city was above 3%. While de Blasio urged positivity rates to be put into context on a weekly average, which would put the city at 1.38% on Tuesday, he noted great concern even over the one-day count. Seven days of that would close the city’s public schools.
Meanwhile, up to 80 public schools near the affected areas could be temporarily closed if the situation in the cluster does not improve quickly, given their proximity to the hotspot zip codes, the city said.
Indoor dining is expected to return to New York on Wednesday with 25% capacity; the mayor said on Tuesday it would go as planned. Reports from Ida Siegal of NBC New York.
“It’s an inflection point. We have to take some serious action and we will step up every day based on what we see on the ground, ”de Blasio said, urging people in the relevant postal codes to get tested to give a truer picture.
Some Brooklyn, Queens, Rockland County and Orange County zip codes are recording daily positivity rates of up to 30%, while the top 10 zip codes of concern in the state account for 25% of its recent daily cases of COVID.
Areas of concern
The cluster areas in Brooklyn, Queens, Rockland, and Orange counties are predominantly Orthodox communities. Cuomo said he planned to meet with Orthodox leaders in the worst-hit areas to discuss compliance and next steps, although he was reluctant to designate any particular group as extremely problematic.
“It’s a concern for their community,” Cuomo said. “It is also a public health problem for the surrounding communities. And I said from day one, these public health rules apply to all religions. Atheists. It just applies to all citizens of New York State, period.
In Rockland County, the main areas of concern are Monsey and Spring Valley; in Orange County, it is zip code 109250, while Cuomo cited Brooklyn zip codes 11219, 11210, 11204 and 11230 and Queens’ 11367 as areas with high infection rates.
New York City health officials last released positivity rates for their areas of concern on Monday. On Monday, that data indicated:
- Gravesend / Homecrest (6,72%)
- Medium wood (5.53%),
- Kew Gardens (3,61% t)
- Edgemere / Far Rockaway (3,98%),
- Borough Park (5,26%),
- Bensonhurst / Mapleton (5,15%),
- Sheepshead Bay (4,05%),
- Flatlands / median timber (4.08%)
- Kew Gardens Hills / Pomonok (3,04%)
Other areas that are closely watched also include:
- Rego Park (2,49%)
- Terrasse Kensington / Windsor (2,50%)
- Brighton Beach / Manhattan Beach / Sheepshead Bay (2,63%)
Report on NBC New York’s Tracie Strahan, Katherine Creag and Marc Santia.
As indoor meals begin on Wednesday despite warning signs, they could be set aside again if the clusters turn into larger outbreaks, officials have warned. As it is, restaurants can only open indoors at 25% capacity.
In addition to social distancing and wearing masks, diners must agree to temperature checks and submit contact tracing information to the restaurant. Doubling down on the app, the mayor of Blasio said on Tuesday that people would be fined for refusing to mask. The maximum fine for not wearing a mask is $ 1,000.