There are more than 1,000 cases of the novel coronavirus in Kings County, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Thursday.
With 1,195 total, Brooklyn currently has more confirmed cases than any other borough, compared to 3,615 citywide. So far, 26 people have died.
The increase does not necessarily imply more people are catching the disease, officials warned, but comes as a result of increased testing by the state — with nearly 8,000 tests conducted statewide Wednesday night into Thursday.
“I think the spread of the virus is well in advance of any of these numbers,” Governor Andrew Cuomo said on MSNBC Thursday. “You’re going to see a jump astronomically, I have no doubt, because we did so many tests.”
The city has increased its testing capacity to 5,000 tests per day through a partnership with the private laboratory Bioreference. Multiple drive-through testing centers are opening across the boroughs, with the first Kings County location slated to open Friday at Coney Island Hospital.
“If we’re going to cure this epidemic we need fast and expansive testing for those most at risk for serious illness,” Mayor de Blasio said. “Now we can get more New Yorkers the care they need at the right time.”
The testing centers are restricted to appointments only for those in at-risk groups who are experiencing symptoms. Officials are encouraging those under 50 who may be experiencing symptoms to stay in their homes and contact a doctor if their symptoms do not go away after four days.
Brooklyn’s high number of confirmed cases comes after a cluster of over a hundred cases were identified within Ultra-Orthodox Jewish communities in Williamsburg and Borough Park, as large gatherings continued over the weekend and some yeshiva’s remained in session. Jewish leaders have since encouraged community members to stay in their homes.