New York City’s Average Positivity Climbs as Hot Spot Cases Continue to Rise

New York City’s seven-day rolling average of positive coronavirus tests rose to 1.46% as cases continued to climb in parts of Brooklyn and Queens.

The city’s daily indicators showed 87 hospital admissions with suspected Covid-19 symptoms, compared with 71 Tuesday; and new cases increased to 354 from 338. The one-day citywide positivity rate decreased to 0.94% with stepped-up testing, after climbing the prior day to more than 3% for the first time in months.

The seven-day rolling average is the indicator that would force the closing of schools if it reaches 3%. The average as of Tuesday was 1.38%. The uptick is happening as about 500,000 students are returning to school this week in a blended program of at-home and in-school instruction. Michael Mulgrew, president of the United Federation of Teachers, said Tuesday that if the rates continue to increase in the hot spots, the union would urge the city to shut down about 80 schools in those neighborhoods.

Nine ZIP codes account for 25% of all cases citywide over the past two weeks, according to Mayor Bill de Blasio. The areas of most concern are Gravesend/Homecrest, with positivity of 6.92%; Borough Park, 6.23%; and Bensonhurst/Mapleton, 6.05%; as well as Midwood, Kew Gardens, Edgemere/Far Rockaway, Gerritsen Beach/Homecrest/Sheepshead Bay; Flatlands/Midwood; and Kew Gardens Hills/Pomonk.

ZIP codes in Rego Park, Kensington/Windsor Terrace and the Brighton Beach/Manhattan Beach are seeing increases in cases but positivity remains below 3%.

The city is increasing New Yorkers’ access to testing with “block parties” in which streets will be closed to traffic and tents will be set up, each capable of testing 500 day; and a fleet of 11 mobile vans conducting tests, said Mitchell Katz, who heads the public hospital system running the city’s test and contact tracing program.

Officials also are setting up 19 sites in grocery stores, houses of worship and schools for self-administered tests, and doctor’s offices will offer nasal swab tests with results available in 20 minutes, Katz said.

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