Staten Island Coronavirus Cases Rising, de Blasio Warns

NEW YORK -
Mayor Bill de Blasio at City Hall on Wednesday, November 4, 2020. (Michael Appleton/Mayoral Photography Office)

Two zip codes in Staten Island are seeing an uptick of coronavirus cases, Mayor Bill de Blasio said at his press conference on November 5th, 2020.

“[This] is, at this point, a pretty narrow problem, isolated primarily to two ZIP codes – some concerns in a few others ZIP codes, but the real issue we’re focused on now is two ZIP codes – 10305 and 10314 in Staten Island,” de Blasio reassured.  “So, we’re going to send out a lot of activity now to address this. Fully expect the community, community leaders, elected officials, clergy, everyone’s going to get involved as we’ve seen everywhere else so we can address this problem.”

Zip code 10305 is the neighborhood of Rosebank, and 10314 is the neighborhood of Willowbrook and Manor Heights. Both of them have positive infection rates above 3%.

He said the strategy for tackling the uptick will be similar measures to what the city took in September to bring down infection rates in Queens and Brooklyn; there will be testing readily available, mask distribution, and community outreach. “[The city is] in a much better place than we were even just a few weeks ago in Brooklyn, Queens. And important improvements in terms of how people are responding, a whole lot more people going out and getting tested, a lot more people wearing masks. We’ve got more work to do, but that’s been good news.”

The city has set up ten COVID-19 testing sites in Staten Island, including one at the ferry terminal that can deliver results within minutes. Test-and-trace representatives will be there to interview anyone whose result comes back positive.

Jay Varma, Senior Advisor for Public Health, noted that there was no underlying super spreader event or common denominator underlying the new cases.  “As the weather gets colder people move indoors and we know indoors is a higher risk than outdoors. As people continue to try to maintain these measures, they get tired, they become a little bit more relaxed about wearing masks in certain places and about maintaining that distance. [We] need to move to a very aggressive attempt to improve adherence to all of the important measures, and of course use our tests and trace resources and help support people through the difficult task of isolation and quarantine, if necessary.”

The current seven-day rolling average number of cases is 633 cases, more than a hundred above the city’s warning threshold of 550. The seven-day rolling average percentage of positive tests in New York City is 1.81%, consistent with what has been reported in the past few weeks.