Coronavirus Live Updates: 2 Brooklyn teachers test positive for COVID-19

COVID-19 Live Updates, News and Information
NEW YORK (WABC) -- Two New York City public school teachers have tested positive in District 15 in Brooklyn, officials announced Wednesday.

They were identified only as a teacher at P.S.1 in Sunset Park and a teacher at M.S. 88 in Park Slope, and staffs of those schools have been notified.

"School staff have access to free, expedited testing, and we've encouraged all staff to get tested before they return to buildings while we continue to navigate the realities of a pandemic," the Department of Education said in a statement. "Our protocol is to immediately notify staff, and Test and Trace will begin an investigation to determine any close contacts. We'll require any staff identified as close contacts to quarantine, and remain vigilant to prevent spread."

A third possible case has been identified at P.S. 11 in District 13, but education officials said it has not yet been confirmed.

The United Federation of Teachers union released the following statement:

"Until we have a vaccine in place, the most effective tactics against the spread of the coronavirus have been masks and social distancing, along with testing and contract tracing. All of these are part of the city's safety plan. The plan anticipates that testing will sometimes show that asymptomatic individuals in schools have contracted the virus. The isolation and quarantine of such individuals, followed by aggressive contact tracing, are also key elements of the safety plan. We will be working with the city's Department of Education and NYC Health + Hospitals to make sure that all affected schools follow the quarantine and contact tracing guidelines."

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Here are more of today's headlines:



NYC retirements jump as teachers grapple with COVID challenges
Despite a 28% decline in New York City teacher retirements in 2020, the number of New York City teachers announcing their retirement in September, just before the start of school, jumped over 28% compared to the same month last year, according to data obtained by 7 On Your Side Investigates from the NYC Teacher Retirement System.

The uptick in late retirement announcements follows a similar trend around the state as teachers grapple with challenges created by the coronavirus pandemic.

Nassau home sales surge as millennials flee NYC amid coronavirus pandemic
Thousands of residents have fled New York City during the coronavirus pandemic, and it's unclear how many moves are permanent versus how many plan to return.

If it's more than six months, the city won't collect its more than 4% income tax, and property values will drop. But in suburban areas outside New York City, there's been a real estate boom. In Nassau County on Long Island, home sales are up more than 60%.

Indoor Dining Resumes Sept. 30 in NYC
Governor Andrew Cuomo said that thanks to the compliance by people in New York City, indoor dining will be able to resume at 25% capacity by the end of the month. He says that indoor dining will require temperature checks, one party of each group must leave contact information for contact tracers, no bar service, masks must be worn until seated at a table and tables must be six feet apart.

NYC church parishioners urged to quarantine after monsignor tests positive
Parishioners at a Bronx church are being advised to self-quarantine and get tested after a monsignor contracted COVID-19. Msgr. John Graham, of St. Francis de Chantel on Hollywood Avenue in the Throggs Neck section, hosted Masses last week and has tested positive for the novel coronavirus.

"The health and safety of the parish community at the Church of Saint Frances de Chantal is our top priority," Graham said in a statement. "Anyone who attended the following church services AND was within 6 feet of me for longer than 10 minutes should get tested for COVID-19 and must quarantine, as required by the New York City Department of Health, for 14 days from your last visit to the church until negative test results are received."

Those church services include:
--September 3: 8 a.m. Morning Mass
--September 5: 5 p.m. Masses
--September 6: All Masses

School bus service to resume in NYC on Sept. 21
There will be 100,000 bus seats available on the first day of school in New York City. Masks will be mandatory for adults and children, social distancing will be enforced, windows will be open and buses will be cleaned each night.

NYC malls and NY casinos can reopen
New York City malls and New York casinos have the green light to reopen Wednesday under the condition that they have enhanced air filtration systems in place. Malls in New York City are allowed to reopen at 50% capacity and have to follow strict safety measures including enforcement of face coverings, social distancing and seating. Casinos can reopen in New York with a 25% capacity limit and must follow similar safety measures.

Pope Francis resumes weekly public audiences
Pope Francis arrived at his weekly general audience Wednesday wearing a face mask and used hand sanitizer before appealing for the faithful to look out for the health of others as well as themselves during the coronavirus pandemic. Francis took off the mask as his car pulled into the San Damaso courtyard inside the Apostolic Palace, where last week he resumed his weekly Wednesday public audiences after a nearly six-month COVID-19 shutdown. While chairs were spaced out in the courtyard, the limited crowd massed along the barriers as Francis passed by and some lowered their masks to call out to him. During his remarks, Francis lamented that "partisan interests" were emerging in which some nations and groups are seeking to keep vaccines for themselves, or to further their political or economic interests.

Amazon hiring spree
In the latest sign of how it's prospering while others are faltering during the pandemic, Amazon said Wednesday it is seeking to bring aboard 33,000 people for corporate and tech roles in the next few months. It's the largest number of job openings it's had at one time, and the Seattle-based online behemoth said the hiring is not related to the jobs it typically offers ahead of the busy holiday shopping season.

Outrage, relief over NYC decision to end Manhattan homeless hotel
Activists are blasting City Hall's decision to pull the homeless from a hotel transformed into a shelter on the Upper West Side, ending months of controversy. The city took over the Lucerne Hotel at 79th Street and Amsterdam Avenue and converted it into a temporary shelter during the coronavirus pandemic, drawing complaints from area residents claiming the new arrivals were diminishing their quality of life. Now, the Department of Homeless Services said it will transfer the nearly 300 residents from the Lucerne to other facilities by the end of the next weekend.

Catholic schools in NYC welcome back students on first day of school
New York City public school students are still at least a couple of weeks from getting back into the classroom, but that is not the case for Catholic school students. In-person learning started Wednesday, and educators say they're confident in their safety plan. Things look very different, with social distancing markers, mask-wearing, and reminders to keep safe all over schools. There will also be temperature checks and hand sanitizing stations. In Brooklyn and Queens, where there are 66 schools within the Brooklyn Diocese, 95% will open under a complete in-person model.

2,000 families get fresh produce, groceries at NJ event
The city of Passaic partnered with the Community Food Bank of New Jersey and North Bridge Foundation to give away fresh produce and groceries to 2,000 families in need at an event Wednesday. It was held at the Passaic City Hall Employee Parking Lot, located at the corner of Passaic and State streets with Mayor Hector Lora in attendance, as part of the city's ongoing relief effort to combat food insecurity amid the coronavirus pandemic.

AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine study paused after one illness
Late-stage studies of AstraZeneca's COVID-19 vaccine candidate are on temporary hold while the company investigates if a report of a patient with a serious side effect is linked to the shot. In a statement issued Tuesday evening, the company said its "standard review process triggered a pause to vaccination to allow review of safety data."



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Dan Krauth reports on people leaving New York City in record numbers amid the COVID pandemic.


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