A health worker takes a swab sample from a man on September 25, 2020 in Brooklyn, New York, to test for coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
Brendan McDermid | Reuters
Coronavirus infection rates in the New York City area are rising just days after indoor dining rooms reopened and far more students were entering classrooms for personal study.
New York is responding to growing clusters of coronavirus cases in 20 "hotspot" -P zip codes that report positivity rates or the number of positive recurring tests of up to 18% based on a weekly average, according to a government statement by Andrew Cuomos Office on saturday.
More than half of the hotspot's zip codes are from Counties of Kings and Queens, which are located in the Brooklyn and Queens boroughs of New York. Two other counties just north of New York City – Rockland and Orange – make up the remaining hotspot areas.
Although 6.7% of the state's population lives in the top 20 zip codes, they accounted for 26% of new Covid-19 cases on Friday, Cuomo said. The average positivity rate among them is 5.2% – well above the 1% rate for the rest of the state.
"So my message to New Yorkers is, please stay vigilant, and my message to local governments is enforcement. We can solve this problem if we work together and New York stand firm," Cuomo said in the statement.
Dr. Tom Frieden, the former director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention under President Barack Obama, warned on Twitter Saturday that New York City is "on the edge of an abyss" and "at high risk of Covid resurgence" be. ""
New York state reported a record 134,267 Covid-19 tests on Friday, and health officials will step up their testing efforts in the hotspot's zip codes, the statement said.
The spike in Covid-19 cases is a worrying sign for the state just days after dinner resumed in the Big Apple on Wednesday and the city's public schools returned their final group of students to the classroom for face-to-face study on Thursday .
Cuomo said Tuesday that many of the reported clusters are in zip codes that "overlap" with large Orthodox Jewish communities. The governor's caution towards the religious community comes amid the Jewish holy days of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, which began in mid-September, and just before Sukkot, another celebrated Jewish holiday that began on Friday.
"This is a concern for their community, a public health concern for their community. It is also a public health concern for the surrounding communities," Cuomo said Tuesday. "Today's cluster can be disseminated tomorrow by the community."