NYC Warns of COVID Spike in Queens and Brooklyn, Including ‘Ocean Parkway Cluster’

new york covid outbreak, ocean parkway cluster
New York City health Commissioner Dr. Dave Chokshi at a press conference last month at City Hall. (Ed Reed/Mayoral Photography Office)

New York City health officials are warning of a continued COVID-19 uptick in some Queens and Brooklyn neighborhoods, and issuing “urgent” guidance to residents of those neighborhoods.

The spike has occurred over several weeks in Kew Gardens, Edgemere-Far Rockaway, and Williamsburg; and a section of south Brooklyn including Midwood, Borough Park and Mapleton, which the Department is calling the Ocean Parkway Cluster. These four areas are now responsible for 20% of all COVID cases in the city.

Between the beginning of August and the end of last week, the share of COVID tests with positive results has doubled in Kew Gardens to 2.24%; and tripled in the other three areas, with Williamsburg at 2%, Edgemere-Far Rockaway at 3.69% and the Ocean Parkway Cluster at 4.71%. By contrast, the daily positivity rate for the entire city since the beginning of August has generally fluctuated between 0.8 percent and 1.8 percent, with the exception of one day, Sept. 13, when the rate it a high of 2.2 percent.

“These increases could potentially evolve into more widespread community transmission and spread to other neighborhoods unless action is taken,” the Department said in press release Tuesday evening. “We are monitoring the situation for the need to take further steps in these areas. We will have more to say in the days ahead, however, our guidance to community members is as urgent as it has ever been.”

The Department is asking that people avoid large indoor gatherings and practice frequent hand-washing, and that all New Yorkers take a COVID test; testing sites are available at or by calling 311.

New York State law requires that face coverings be worn by people older 2 when in public places where social distancing is impossible. Anyone who has been exposed to COVID must quarantine; those unable to quarantine at home can receive accommodations from the city

The Health Department also says that past infection doesn’t guarantee immunity, and that people shouldn’t use antibody test results to determine whether to return to school or work, or to stop following quarantine precautions. Furthermore, people identified as close contacts of a confirmed case of COVID case must stay home for the required 14 days, regardless of a negative diagnostic or antibody test.

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