COVID-19 growing at ‘alarming’ rate in some Brooklyn neighborhoods

covid increasing
A health worker takes a swab sample from a man to test for COVID-19.
REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

COVID-19 cases are spiking at an “alarming” rate across Brooklyn, Health Department officials said on Monday, adding that the borough is home to nearly one quarter of all positive COVID-19 cases in New York City over the last two weeks.

ZIP codes in Gravesend, Bensonhurst, and Sheepshead Bay are now experiencing coronavirus upticks in addition to four other Brooklyn hotspots announced last week: Williamsburg, Midwood, Flatbush, and Borough Park. The upticks have caused the city’s daily rate of positive virus tests to rise to 3.25 percent on Tuesday — a rate not seen in New York City since early June.  

The department updated the Brooklyn neighborhoods experiencing a spike in infection rates: 
  • Gravesend/Homecrest [11223] (6.72 percent positivity rate)
  • Midwood [11230] (5.53 percent)
  • Borough Park [11219] (5.26 percent)
  • Bensonhurst/Mapleton [11204] (5.15 percent)
  • Gerritsen Beach/Homecrest/Sheepshead Bay [11229] (4.05 percent)
  • Flatlands/Midwood [11210] (4.08 percent)

Two Queens ZIP codes are also seeing a spike in cases:

  • Kew Gardens [11415] (3.61 percent)
  • Edgemere/Far Rockaway [11691] (3.98 percent)

The Health Department is also monitoring COVID-19 increases in three other ZIP codes in Brooklyn and Queens — Rego Park [11374], Kensington/Windsor Terrace [11218] and Brighton Beach/Manhattan Beach/Sheepshead Bay [11235], where positivity rates have increased to 2.49 percent, 2.50 percent and 2.63 percent respectively.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo said in early September that “1 percent is very low… it’s almost artificially low,” “2 percent, I start to get nervous,” and “3 percent, I start to have heart palpitations … the alarm bells go off.”

Williamsburg is seeing the fastest increase of COVID-19 cases in the city, even though the positivity rate is 1.84 percent, officials said. 

Health officials said they will continue to monitor spikes in coronavirus-related hospitalizations.

“We continue to monitor emergency department visits, hospitalizations, and intensive care unit admissions. With COVID-19, increases in hospital visits generally follow an increase in cases,” a Health Department statement read. “Data show we are starting to see an uptick in the number of hospitalized patients with COVID-19 in the city overall. “

In order to reduce positivity rates, the city plans to deploy 11 mobile testing units to neighborhoods experiencing upticks, triple capacity at the express COVID testing sites in Crown Heights and Fort Greene, and work with community health clinics to supply to new rapid tests. 

In addition, members of the city’s Test and Trace Corps will visit private and charter schools to educate students and teachers on pandemic health guidelines, distribute audio messages that reinforce COVID-19 health and safety precautions, and canvass commercial areas to spread COVID-19 guidance compliance.

On Friday, anti-maskers heckled city health officials during a southern Brooklyn press conference meant to address a recent uptick in COVID-19 cases — forcing the medical professionals to cut the gathering short. 

“Today I want to be very clear. This may be the most precarious moment that we’re facing since we have emerged from lockdown,” city health commissioner Dr. Dave Chokshi told reporters at Gravesend Park. “We can deliver these messages, we can continue to have the conversations, but this takes a group response.”

This article first appeared on AMNY.com.