Cuomo says COVID-19 cases spiking in Brooklyn, Rockland, Orange counties

Coronavirus in Brooklyn
Photo credit Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images

NEW YORK (WCBS 880) — Gov. Andrew Cuomo has announced a new effort to combat the recent surge in coronavirus cases in Brooklyn, Orange and Rockland counties.

Of the 52,936 tests reported Sunday in the state, 834 were positive (1.5% of total).

"It's basically Brooklyn, Orange and Rockland that are increasing this number," Cuomo said. "Brooklyn is a major contributor in the number of cases."

The governor said the state is taking a targeted approach by focusing on the ZIP codes with the highest infection rates in the state.

"The infection in the top 10 ZIP codes is about 15%. Those top 10 ZIP codes represent 2.9% of the state's population, and 25% of the cases," Cuomo said. 

He listed off the following eight ZIP codes as having high concentrations of COVID-19 cases:

Rockland County: 10977 - 30% positiveRockland County: 10952 - 25% positiveOrange County:  10950 - 22% positiveKings County: 11219 - 17% positiveKings County: 11210 -- 11% positiveKings County: 11204 - 9% positiveKings County:  11230 - 9% positiveQueens County: 11367 - 6% positive

Cuomo wants more testing and compliance enforcement in those areas and said the state is immediately making available 200 rapid testing machines to help.

"The key with these clusters is to jump on them quickly, attack them from all sides," Cuomo said during an afternoon conference call with reporters Monday. 

The governor said he is also encouraging both public and private schools within those ZIP codes to request rapid testing machines from the state that have a 15-minute turnaround, or four tests per hour. 

The governor said those machines and staff can be made available as soon as Monday.

"Also local governments should focus on those cluster ZIP codes in terms of mask enforcement and compliance enforcement," Cuomo said. 

Rockland County Executive Ed Day issued a statement saying in part, "It is concerning that the number of active cases continues to increase throughout Rockland and significantly increase within two zip codes within the Town of Ramapo. I am both privately and publicly urging local municipalities to utilize their employees such as building and fire inspectors and police in educational efforts. It is my expectation that appropriate enforcement action will be taken, as necessary."

He urged residents to take the situation seriously and work together to limit the spread of COVID-19.

Meanwhile, New York City's health department is taking steps to address growing infection rates in eight areas of Brooklyn and Queens.

The department said Monday that COVID-19 cases continue to grow at an "alarming rate" in those neighborhoods, outpacing the citywide average by 3.7 times over the past 14 days.

According to the department, hese areas account for over 25% of new cases citywide over thepast two weeks despite representing just under 7% of the city's overall population.

The areas include Gravesend in Brooklyn where the infection rate has jumped to nearly 6.75%, Midwood where it's over 5% and Borough Park where the rate is over 5%.

Here's a breakdown of the most concerning areas:  • Gravesend/Homecrest (11223): 6.72%• Midwood (11230) 5.53%• Kew Gardens (11415) 3.61%• Edgemere/Far Rockaway (11691) 3.98%• Borough Park (11219) 5.26%• Bensonhurst/Mapleton (11204) 5.15%• Gerritsen Beach/Homecrest/Sheepshead Bay (11229) 4.05%• Flatlands/Midwood (11210) 4.08%• Kew Gardens Hills/Pomonok (11367) 3.04%

The department warned three other ZIP codes are quickly approached a 3% positivity rate:

• Rego Park (11374) 2.49%• Kensington/Windsor Terrace (11218) 2.50%• Brighton Beach/Manhattan Beach/Sheepshead Bay (11235) 2.63%

The department the city is working with community leaders and community-based organizations to distribute face coverings and combat misinformation.

"On Tuesday, to combat these rising rates, the city will conduct outreach to non-public schools about the new guidelines, canvass commercial corridors in these neighborhoods, and use soundtrucks to reinforce COVID-19 guidance and precautions," health officials said. "This week, the City will also be deploying 11 mobile testing units to areas with high rates of COVID-19 positivity, with a focus on the neighborhoods above, tripling capacity of the COVID Express testing sites in Crown Heights and Fort Greene, and working  with community provider offices to supply new rapid testing capacity."

The city had been considering shutting down private schools and non-essential businesses in those areas.

The governor also said the state could step in and act if COVID-19 cases spike in New York City schools.

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