Coronavirus News: Cases on the rise in 6 NYC neighborhoods, city to ramp up testing

COVID-19 News and Information

ByEyewitness News via WABC logo
Wednesday, September 23, 2020
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New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said the city is targeting six neighborhoods that have seen recent upticks in coronavirus cases, with an emphasis on expanded testing and contact tracing.

NEW YORK CITY (WABC) -- New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said the city is targeting six neighborhoods that have seen recent upticks in coronavirus cases, with an emphasis on expanded testing and contact tracing.

As part of its "Get Tested Tuesday" initiative, the city is now focusing its hyperlocal response on Borough Park, Kew Gardens, Midwood, Edgemere-Far Rockaway, Flatbush, Bensonhurst and Williamsburg.

"We have some other areas where we need to really focus more, and we're going to see expanded community outreach efforts in some neighborhoods where we are seeing some upticks," de Blasio said. "We need to apply a lot of energy and focus to these areas. You're going to see a lot of activity in the community to remind people of the basics, how important it is what we call the core four things that you can do. That makes such a difference, wear a mask, socially distance, wash your hands, and stay home if you're sick."

Related: United States surpasses 200,000 reported COVID-19 deaths

The neighborhoods will have increased robocalls and WhatsApp messages, communications with houses of worship, distribution of hand sanitizer and more testing. Sound trucks will broadcast messages in the neighborhoods, as well.

"We're launching a targeted approach that applies more pressure where there is growth in COVID-19 rates," Health Commissioner Dr. David Chokshi said, "We're doing this to communicate the urgency we feel, and that we need everyone to feel about following guidance to prevent the spread of COVID, and to protect one another."

According to the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, the south of Brooklyn has seen a cluster they are calling the Ocean Parkway Cluster.

The four areas that saw a large increase in cases from the week ending August 1 to the week ending September 19:

- 3 of 4 areas have tripled in that time (Ocean Parkway, Far Rockaway, and Williamsburg)

- 1 of 4 has doubled in that time period (Kew Gardens)

- This increase has led to the four areas above making up 20% of all cases citywide as of Sept. 19

"At this point in time, these increases could potentially evolve into more widespread community transmission and spread to other neighborhoods unless action is taken," the NYC DOHMH said. "We are monitoring the situation for the need to take further steps in these areas."

Some tips provided by the health department:

- Large indoor gatherings must be avoided.

- New York State law requires face coverings be worn by everyone older than two-years-old when in public if unable to maintain at least 6 feet of distance from others. Hands must be washed frequently and anyone who is ill must stay home. Anyone who has been exposed to COVID-19 must safely separate from others. Anyone who can't safely separate at home is able to receive accommodations or additional resources from the city.

- All New Yorkers should get tested for COVID-19. Find a testing site or go to or call 311. In addition, please answer the phone if you get a call from NYC Test+Trace, which will be from a phone number beginning with 212-540-XXXX or 212-242-XXXX.

- New Yorkers should not use antibody test results to determine whether to return to school or work. Past infection does not guarantee protection from being infected again. In addition, a test should not be used to stop following quarantine precautions. If someone is identified to be a close contact of a confirmed case of COVID-19, they must stay home for the required 14 days, regardless of a negative diagnostic or antibody test.

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