City monitoring COVID-19 increases in four Brooklyn neighborhoods

COVID increase
Nurses work at a drive-thru testing site.
REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

The city is monitoring increases in COVID-19 cases in Williamsburg, Midwood, Flatbush, and Borough Park, according to Mayor Bill de Blasio, who promised that health officials would be ramping up efforts to quash the spread of the disease in those areas. 

“All these are neighborhoods where we’ve seen some upticks recently, and we need to apply energy and focus to these areas,” Hizzoner said at a Sept. 22 press conference. “We’re going to work with community leaders, community organizations, trusted members of the community to get the word out — particularly in any place where we see an uptick.”

In addition to the four Brooklyn neighborhoods, the city is also monitoring case spikes in Queens’ Far Rockaway and Kew Gardens.   

The mayor noted that the trend of citywide cases is still steadily improving — as the daily average of new cases over the previous seven days is just 333 — but the city is pushing to combat the spread on a “hyperlocal” level to ensure that any recorded outbreaks are contained. 

As an example of their planned efforts, Hizzoner cited the city’s actions in Sunset Park in August, when health honchos opened three new testing sites and began an awareness campaign in response to a similar outbreak. 

“We saw a challenge some weeks ago in Sunset Park, Brooklyn, [and] a huge hyperlocal effort made all the difference — the numbers came right back down,” said de Blasio. “Now we’re going to be focused on these communities, to make sure those numbers get right back down, where we need them to be.”  

The mayor, who did not provide exact numbers in the communities experiencing an uptick, hinted that new testing sites could come to those newly afflicted areas, in addition to the standard testing sites at all NYC Health+Hospital locations and CityMd clinics

De Blasio also used his Tuesday press conference to warn that the colder weather might incentivize people to gather indoors in large numbers — but noted that such actions are both against safety protocols, and a violation of the state law. 

“The weather is starting to get a little cooler. It’s turned from summer to fall pretty rapidly, as you can feel,” he said. “So now, we have particular challenge around indoor gatherings — we have to keep reminding New Yorkers, large indoor gatherings are not acceptable.”