Catholic schools go remote on Staten Island after rise in COVID positivity, NYC Public Schools increase testing

COVID-19 News and Information
ST. GEORGE, Staten Island (WABC) -- Governor Andrew Cuomo said the increasing COVID infection rates in New Jersey could be driving the rate on Staten Island, which is seeing more cases than the rest of the city.

Staten Island is of particular concern with the positivity rates in Great Kills reaching as high as 5.44%.

Over the past 10 days, parts of Staten Island have had 7-day average positivity rates above 2.5%, and cases per 100,000 and new daily hospital admissions have increased, meeting the metrics for a yellow zone designation.

On Thursday, all Catholic elementary and high schools are switching to remote learning.

As for public schools, the yellow zone designation require schools to randomly test 20% of their population to remain open.

"Staten Islanders spend a lot of time going back and forth to New Jersey, and I think that's part of what's driving the high rate and Staten Island which is higher than the rate in the rest of New York City," Cuomo said.

Starting Thursday there are new mandates that will impact all five boroughs.

Just before Thanksgiving, indoor gatherings at homes are now limited to 10 people.

Bars, restaurants, and gyms must close at 10 p.m.

Right now, positivity in New York is the highest it's been since June at 2.61%.

The uptick triggered a warning from the borough president.

"Man I am a born and raised Staten Island so that gives me certain privileges and I can talk about my home community, we resist these steps because some feel it's too much, that eventually leads us to more onerous restrictions, control, we can control, wear the mask," Staten Island Borough President Jimmy Otto said.

Meanwhile, volunteers fanned the borough, urging people to get tested, and wear a mask.

They could be found at the Staten Island Ferry Terminal and also in several shopping centers, again offering PPE, information, and testing.

It's being run by the city's test and trace corps. Once inside, the process is designed to be quick. Then you're called with the results.

"We give you the rapid swab then we give you the standard PCR swab at the same time if you get a negative test we send second one out to validate," said Shifra Goldenberg of the Test and Trace Corps.

The CDC has found more than half of households with one COVID case see a second.

Test and Trace Corps are sending kits to positive case homes to monitor temperatures and oxygen to stop the spread.

New York City residents may qualify to self-isolate in a hotel for free, up to 14 days, if they do not have a safe place to self-isolate.

RELATED: Cuomo says vaccine distribution will be a slow process

New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene updated its data by zip code.

- Seven day average of percent positive by zip code

- Weekly counts of cases and persons tested by zip code
- More refined age breakdowns and trend data
The Mayor also provided guidance for the upcoming holidays.

- Safer holiday activities; get creative and stay smart, stick to core four
- Religious services: go virtual or outside
- Gatherings: know your own and others' risk, keep it small, outdoors is safer
- Travel: stay local, travel safely, get tested and quarantine after travel

Find a testing location near you.

MORE NEWS: New Jersey targets indoor dining, bars, casinos amid rising COVID-19 rates

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