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Coronavirus Updates: As NYC Cases Rise, New Outbreaks Surface In Staten Island – Gothamist

This is our daily update of breaking COVID-19 news for Thursday, November 5th, 2020. Previous daily updates can be found here, and up-to-date statistics are here.

New York City is in Phase 4 of reopening now, which includes zoos, botanical gardens, museums, and gyms. Certain parts of Brooklyn and Queens are under a zoned shutdown. Get answers to questions you may have with our “Ask An Epidemiologist” series, or learn more about NYC COVID-19 testing options with our explainer. Here are some local and state hotlines for more information: NYC: 311; NY State Hotline: 888-364-3065; NJ State Hotline: 800-222-1222.

Here’s the latest:

1 p.m. After battling hotspots in parts of Brooklyn and Queens, New York City health officials have now identified coronavirus outbreaks in two parts of Staten Island.

Mayor Bill de Blasio said Thursday that two Staten Island ZIP codes—10305 and 10314—now have a seven-day test positivity rate over 3%.

The average citywide test positivity is currently at 1.8%.

Rather than imposing new restrictions, the mayor said the city would deploy more testing to those neighborhoods, saying that the outbreaks were more isolated and less severe than those in Brooklyn and Queens a few months ago which prompted state-ordered business and school closures.

The news comes as new virus cases have been gradually climbing in the city. On Thursday, the latest average number of new daily cases rose to 633 from 628 the prior day. It marked the sixth straight day where new infections surpassed a warning threshold of 550 cases.

City health data has shown that following the outbreaks in Brooklyn and Queens, the virus is now spreading more broadly citywide.

The two latest concerning ZIP codes encompass the Staten Island neighborhoods of Arrochar, Dongan Hills and South Beach near the Verrazanno-Narrows Bridge and the western portion of the borough, including Bulls Head, New Springville, Heartland Village and Castleton Corners.

Reached for comment, Steven Matteo, a Staten Island Councilmember who represents areas with the upticks, said, “Any uptick in COVID-19 cases is reason for concern. We have to continue to spread the message for people to observe health and safety protocols and do all that we can to curb any further spread in order to keep everyone safe and our schools and businesses open.”

The city plans to expand testing in those areas in the form of 10 new testing sites across the borough as well as a new rapid testing site at the Staten Island Ferry terminal. In addition, more than 70 staff members from the city’s test and trace operation will be sent to the affected neighborhoods.

Health department officials used a similar approach this summer when there were upticks in Brooklyn’s Sunset Park and Soundview in the Bronx. Under the city’s test and trace plan, individuals who test positive and do not have places to quarantine are offered hotel rooms as well as food delivery.

During a press briefing with the mayor, health officials were unable to pinpoint the cause of the outbreaks in Staten Island.

Dr. Jay Varma, the mayor’s top public health adviser, said there was “not a single common exposure” but instead “many factors going on at the same time.”

He cited the cold weather moving more people indoors, one of the main reasons experts have predicted a second wave.

Both Varma and de Blasio also noted a growing weariness among New Yorkers resulting in some to become more lax in social distancing and mask wearing.

“We know everyone is fatigued,” the mayor said. “It’s never a surprise when we see an area where we have to address a challenge.”

U.S. Surpasses 100,000 New Infections For First Time; NY & NJ Cases Continue To Rise

Patrons wear protective masks and maintain social distancing as they browse the galleries at the Whitney Museum of American Art.

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Patrons wear protective masks and maintain social distancing as they browse the galleries at the Whitney Museum of American Art.


John Minchillo/AP/Shutterstock

The United States on Wednesday reported more than 100,000 new coronavirus infections, a new single-day record that reflects the intensifying public health crisis across the country.

All told there were 103,000 new virus cases nationwide and 1,116 fatalities on Wednesday, according to the COVID Tracking Project. In a sign of the strain facing hospitals, the Washington Post reported that 18 states are reporting record numbers of coronavirus hospitalizations.

Overall, there are more than 50,000 people currently in U.S. hospitals for coronavirus, up about 64 percent since the beginning of October.

Once seen as a relative safe zone, the Northeast is witnessing a second wave. In New York State, daily new infections have topped 2,000 for about a week, after having plummeted to around 650 during the summer. At the peak of the outbreak on April 7th, there were nearly 10,000 cases in one day.

New Jersey on Wednesday reported more than 2,400 new cases, the highest it has been since May, and an alarming tally in a state that has less than half of New York’s population.

Pennsylvania reported 2,795 new cases on Wednesday, according to the COVID Tracking Project, while Connecticut had 1,515.

The U.S. is not alone in fighting a resurgence. In Europe, several countries have imposed national restrictions. The United Kingdom launched a second national lockdown on Thursday with a four-week stay at home order that will require restaurants, bars and all other nonessential businesses to close until December 2nd.

London mayor Sadiq Khan tweeted that the shutdown would come as a “huge blow” to businesses and Londoners.

“But it’s the right thing to do to save lives, and livelihoods,” he added.

France is already under a lockdown expected to last until December 1st. Most non-essential businesses, including restaurants and bars, were ordered to close but schools remained opened. In Germany, a four-week “lockdown light” that started Monday prohibits restaurants and bars from serving customers indoors. Schools, shops and workplaces have been permitted to stay open.

Greece and Italy announced their own nationwide shutdowns this week.

Italy is planning to lock down four regions, including Milan, for at least two weeks. With few exceptions, residents of those in locked down or “red zone” areas are prohibited from entering or leaving.

Meanwhile, Greece will impost a three-week nationwide lockdown in which residents can only leave their homes for work, physical exercise and medical reasons, and only after they send a text message to government authorities, according to the Associated Press.

The country has reasons to apply extreme precautions: it has one of the lowest rates of intensive-care beds per capita in Europe.

“I chose to take drastic measures sooner rather than later,” said Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis in a televised address.

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