NEW YORK (WABC) -- Residents in a New York City neighborhood that was once the epicenter of the COVID-19 crisis in the U.S. are experiencing a kind of deja vu as cases of the virus rise there once again.
The annual tree lighting in Corona, Queens Friday night offered residents some much-needed cheer.
"Some people have lost loved ones here. They will not be able to celebrate, a lot of these businesses have closed. People are unemployed," city councilman Francisco Moya said.
Moya was one of the first to speak out on the heartache as his district recorded thousands of coronavirus cases just in the first few weeks of the outbreak.
Hundreds of people in the community lost their lives.
Nearby Elmhurst Hospital became overstressed with patients and healthcare workers lacked proper PPE.
"We've learned our lessons from the past. I think we are better prepared we have better supplies now and we know how to manage the disease," Moya said.
This district is now seeing daily test positivity rates over 7%, some of the highest in the city.
Those high numbers are of great concern to Maria Perez, a mother of two who lives in multi-family house where the virus took lives.
"Some people are not following the guidelines, not wearing masks, they are throwing parties," Perez said.
Moya said a big issue in this area is communication, due to its large immigrant population in a borough of the city where people speak more than 100 languages.
"We've worked with the health and hospital corporation to bring their mobile units out here to provide free covid testing, we've done it for two weeks, we want to make it accessible for folks," Moya said.
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