This story was reported by Rachelle Blidner, Matthew Chayes, Scott Eidler, Thomas Maier, Bart Jones is Carol Polsky. It was written by Jones.
State and citizen officials are launching a campaign to stop the spread of the coronavirus in “hot spot” clusters that are increasing infection levels in New York and other parts of the state, including several Long Island neighborhoods.
The areas with the highest positivity rates are postcodes centered around Huntington Station, Dix Hills and South Huntington, Valley Stream and North Valley Stream and Brentwood, officials said Wednesday. In all those areas the level of infection was 3%, compared to a state average of about 1
However, the percentages represent a handful of cases in each of these communities for Tuesday’s test results. Postal code 11746 in the Huntington areas had 5 positives out of 183 tested; the CAP 11717 of Brentwood tested 4 out of 125; and postcode 11580 in the Valley Stream area had 4 out of 138 positive results tested.
In New York City, the neighborhoods with the highest positive percentages according to state data were in Brooklyn, with 8 percent positive, or 29 cases, around Midwood; 6%, or 13 cases, in Mapleton and Bensonhurst; and 5%, or 12 cases, in Borough Park.
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo in his press conference Wednesday read a list of “hot spot” postcodes mostly in the borough of Brooklyn and Rockland and Orange counties in mid-Hudson, but said Nassau County “has a couple of affected communities “with higher positivity rates.
He said the top 20 postcodes for the recent spread have a COVID-19 positivity rate of 5.5 percent and “that’s about five times the statewide infection rate.”
In Rockland County, two postcodes have infection levels of 17 percent and 14 percent, he said. In all, the 20 hot spots account for 23 percent of COVID-19 cases in the state but have only 6 percent of the state’s population, he said.
Cuomo called on local governments to step up efforts to enforce the use of masks, social distancing and other rules that aim to limit epidemics.
New York City officials along with Cuomo said this week that some of the hotspots – including some in Rockland and Orange counties – have large Orthodox Jewish populations. Cuomo said he met with religious leaders from those communities on Wednesday morning to address compliance issues, noting that coronavirus laws apply to people of all faiths.
New York State data on postcode “hotspots” released Wednesday showed no concentration in Long Island’s predominantly Jewish communities.
“Community leaders understand and are about to act and we are about to come up with a plan of action,” Cuomo said. The leaders “said they pledged to take a more aggressive stance”.
Community awareness begins
Part of the plan will be public education to educate people about what he called the “myth” of herd immunity, which has led some to believe that the virus could not spread further because enough New Yorkers were infected. He said scientists say 50% to 60% of a population needs antibodies for herd immunity to work, but in New York City the level is only about 18-19%.
Rabbi Tuvia Teldon, head of the Chabad Orthodox Jewish movement on Long Island, said he and his group support adhering to mandates to wear masks and social distancing. He said many Orthodox communities are obeying the mandates but there is some “resistance”.
“Leadership must take a much stronger stance” to ensure compliance among the faithful, Teldon said. The “resistances” are “very disturbing to me personally”.
The states / regions in red are included in the New York travel advice list as of September 29, 2020. Guam and Puerto Rico, not pictured, are also on the list.
Dr. Aaron Glatt, chair of medicine and chief infectious disease expert at Mount Sinai South Nassau Hospital in Oceanside, as well as a rabbi at the Young Israel of Woodmere congregation, has expressed caution in linking the recent increase in virus infections to a any community, including Orthodox Jews. He said the public needs to do a better job at preventative measures like wearing a mask to prevent the spread.
“There are a lot of communities across the country that are experiencing upsurge and in many of those places there are no Orthodox Jews,” Glatt said. “It is difficult to say that this is a problem of Orthodox Jews … We should not isolate certain groups.”
Guillermo Perez, 66, who heads the reborn Christian Hombres de Palabra ministry, which works with Hispanic men in Huntington Station, Brentwood and across the island, lamented brief memories of the devastation the virus peaked in the spring.
He said “some people think it’s over. Some people, ah, take it for granted.”
“COVID-19 has been very successful in Huntington Station, same in Brentwood, where there is a large Latino population,” said Perez, a butcher at a King Kullen supermarket.
Suffolk County Health Commissioner Dr Gregson Pigott said the agency “is aware of these isolated cases and continues its vigorous investigation of the cases and efforts to trace contacts.”
He said that while the cases “do not represent a cluster or an epidemic,” the county continues to urge residents to follow guidelines for social distancing and wearing the mask “to keep their friends, family and neighbors safe”.
Christine Geed, a spokesperson for Nassau County Executive Laura Curran, said those same protective measures “are the keys to our success in containing COVID-19.” He added that the police, the fire marshal and health department personnel “will continue to be on the ground to enforce the governor’s mandates to protect the health and well-being of our residents.”
NYC is launching a push for law enforcement
Coronavirus infection rates continue to rise in six of nine New York City postcodes that have morphed into clusters of hot spots, Mayor Bill de Blasio said Wednesday.
The New York City Department of Health said Wednesday that there are 10 neighborhoods where cases continue to grow at an alarming rate, and those areas account for more than 27.5 percent of new cases in the past two weeks, despite accounting for 7. , 5% of the population.
Cuomo said the state is over-sampling in clusters and has a statewide positivity rate of 1.02%, but excluding those areas the infection rate is 0.82%.
To crack down on the virus in those Brooklyn and Queens postcodes, the city is employing 1,000 city staff – including 400 NYPD cops – to enforce the mask’s state mandate and issue fines to anyone who refuses to cover their face, said de Blasio.
The New York City Sheriff’s Office also carried out 130 inspections of non-public schools to check for masking and social distancing.
Tests completed on Tuesday confirmed 1,000 new cases of COVID-19 statewide, including 66 in Nassau County, 53 in Suffolk County and 446 in New York City.
The level of positivity on Long Island was 1.3% and in New York 1.2%.
Officers from the State Liquor Authority and the State Police inspected 1,114 factories on Tuesday and issued a summons to four – three of them in Nassau County – for violating the laws on the use of masks and social distancing aimed at containing the spread of the virus.
Suffolk Exec warns of budget problems
Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone on Wednesday warned of further potential budget cuts if the federal government does not provide additional aid to address the fiscal impact of the coronavirus on local governments.
Bellone said he should have cut $ 20 million to contract agencies that provide health services at a time when people are struggling more. Agencies that could face cuts, including the Long Island Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, the Family Service League, Long Island Against Domestic Violence, the Child Care Council of Suffolk and Long Island Cares, help people suffering from addiction, mental health and domestic violence and provide other support services. Bellone said the cuts could undermine the region’s recovery from the social impacts of the coronavirus.
“We’re going to see devastating cuts, cuts that shouldn’t happen,” Bellone told the Diagnostic, Assessment, and Stabilization Hub, a crisis support center in Hauppauge.
Bellone has already warned of cuts to police, buses and veterans without further federal aid. Its budget proposal for 2021, which includes further potential cuts, will be released on Friday.
Long Island schools continue to see cases
East Hills Elementary School in the Roslyn School District is closed for cleaning on Wednesday, according to a letter from the school principal, after a student was declared positive on Tuesday. The contact search was in progress.
Port Washington’s Carrie Palmer Weber Middle School was notified late Monday of a positive test, which the state COVID-19 School Report Card listed as a student.
The district issued a letter stating that on Wednesday the pods associated with the individual were scheduled for virtual education and that hygiene and tracking protocols were in place.
Other recently reported school district cases include South Grove Elementary and Berry Hill Elementary School, in Syosset; Willets Road School in East Williston; Brentwood High School and Brentwood North Elementary School; Leo F. Giblyn Elementary School in Freeport; Deasy and Gribbin Elementary Schools and Glen Cove High School in Glen Cove.
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