Sept. 29, 2020 By Allie Griffin
New York City’s COVID-19 positivity rate surpassed 3 percent for the first time since June, as thousands of public school students returned to school buildings today.
The city’s daily positivity rate swelled to 3.25 percent, largely due to growing clusters in nine zip codes across Queens and Brooklyn, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Tuesday.
“The fact is for the first time in quite a while the daily number is over 3 percent and that is cause for real concern,” de Blasio said.
The COVID positivity rate, on a seven-day rolling average, however, remained lower — at 1.38 percent.
De Blasio has previously said he would shut down schools if the citywide infection rate exceeds 3 percent. He clarified today that the seven-day average rate must be more than 3 percent to make that call.
However, COVID-19 cases are increasing at an alarming rate in nine neighborhoods which could affect the city’s seven-day average infection rate.
Health officials identified the areas at hotspots last week, including Kew Gardens and Far Rockaway.
Today they announced new enforcement measures to stop the spread of the virus in each zip code.
City workers will now issue fines to people in the nine communities who refuse to wear a mask after they are warned, de Blasio announced. The city health department will also shut down any private school or child care center that doesn’t follow the Department of Education COVID guidelines.
The city will go further and shutdown all private schools and nonessential businesses in the hotspots if the situation gets worse, de Blasio said.
According to the latest data, Kew Gardens (11415) has a coronavirus positivity rate of 3.61 percent and Far Rockaway – Edgemere (11691) has a positivity rate of 3.98 percent.
The virus is growing in nearby communities as well. The infection rate in Kew Gardens Hills – Pomonok (11367) reached 3.04 percent and the rate in Rego Park is at 4.49 percent, de Blasio said Tuesday.