NYC Mulls Shutdowns as Coronavirus Clusters Pop Up

New York City officials are considering a new round of shutdowns after coronavirus cases have spiked in some neighborhoods in Brooklyn and Queens, according to WLNY, a local CBS affiliate.

The Department of Health said if it doesn’t see changes by Monday, schools and non-essential businesses in some neighborhoods may need to be shut down again.

The outlets report that all non-public schools located in areas seeing a spike in cases will be regularly inspected to make sure they are following proper protocols. There will also be increased enforcement on masks and social distancing. Gatherings of more than 10 people could also be banned if the numbers don’t decrease.

“This may be the most precarious moment that we’re facing since we have emerged from lockdown,” New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene Commissioner Dr. Dave Chokshi said during a Friday health briefing in Brooklyn.

He noted that the clusters could turn into widespread transmission of the virus.

“We will move as swiftly as the situation warrants,” he said.

If shutdowns are ordered, health officials said Thursday they would only apply to certain ZIP codes and not the entire city.

The increase in positive COVID-19 cases was largest in the Gravesend/Homecrest area, where the positivity rate hit 6% on Thursday, according to data.

To prevent the virus from spreading, the city has sent out robocalls, direct mailing, newspaper ads, free hand sanitizer, and masks and has increased testing and contact tracing.

The department said the initial spike started between Aug. 1 and Sept. 19 in an area dubbed the “Ocean Parkway Cluster.” The area consists of four neighborhoods that saw virus rates triple in that seven-week time frame.

The outlet reports that earlier this week those four areas accounted for 1 in 5 of all new reported virus cases citywide since Saturday.

Overall, New York City’s infection rate remains at about 1%, according to data released Thursday.

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