As New York City prepares to enter phase one of reopening next week, officials are targeting areas where the coronavirus continues to spread. Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Saturday announced that the state will open 10 new COVID-19 testing sites in zip codes considered ‘hot spots,’ which includes neighborhoods in the Bronx, Brooklyn, and Queens. The 10 ZIP codes, which consist of predominantly low income and minority communities, have seen higher rates of infection, hospitalization, and death caused by the virus.
Screenshot via Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s Office
“The ten hot spots are those areas that we have identified through testing where we’re still generating new cases,” Cuomo said during a press briefing on Saturday. “We’re the most aggressive state in the country in actually doing testing and the testing tells you where the new cases are coming from.”
Overall, the city has an infection rate of roughly 20 percent. But in some of the hot spots identified by the state, infection rates have been over 50 percent, as antibody test results revealed last week.
The top 10 hot spots classified by ZIP code by the state when looking at the percentage of the population who tested positive for antibodies include:
- 10457 (Belmont, Mt. Hope, Crotona)- 51 percent positive
- 10460 (West Farms, Van Nest) – 50 percent positive
- 10468 (Bedford Park, Fordham, Kingsbridge)- 50 percent positive
- 11226 (Flatbush)- 45 percent positive
- 11427 (Hollis Hills, Jamaica)-45 percent positive
- 10456 (Morrisania)- 43 percent positive
- 11212 (Brownsville)- 41 percent positive
- 11206 (Bushwick, Williamsburg)-40 percent positive
- 10452 (Highbridge, Mt. Eden)- 38 percent positive
- 10469 (Pelham Gardens, Williamsbridge)- 38 percent positive
The neighborhoods identified are communities of color and low-income communities, which have been hit harder by the virus than white and wealthier parts of the city. Earlier this month, the city released the coronavirus death rate by ZIP code, with the data confirming the disparity in rates of death and infection among these communities.
In addition to the added testing sites, Cuomo said these 10 neighborhoods will also get more “PPE, more hand sanitizer, more education, more communication about how important these things are.”
The governor announced on Friday that the city is on track to begin the reopening process on June 8. City and state officials have estimated between 200,000 and 400,000 New Yorkers will return to the workforce during this first phase.
“This is about reopening to a new normal — a safer normal,” Cuomo said Friday. “People will be wearing masks and people will be socially distanced — it’s a new way of interacting, which is what we have to do. Wear a mask, get tested, and socially distance.”
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