COVID-19 CLUSTERS: Rates still rising in six of nine Brooklyn & Queens hot spots

Masked workers at a nail salon in Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn on Oct. 4, 2020. (Photo by Todd Maisel)

As the city and state take action to slow the spread of COVID-19 in nine Brooklyn and Queens communities, the latest figures from the city’s Health Department show a continued growth of the virus in six of them.

The newest data, released late on Tuesday morning, came after Governor Andrew Cuomo ordered all public and private schools in the nine areas closed as of Oct. 6. Mayor Bill de Blasio had wanted to close the schools Wednesday as part of an action plan to put the communities back on “pause,” including closing non-essential businesses.

The Health Department data indicated slow yet spread of COVID-19 in two-thirds of the nine ZIP codes targeted for the “pause” plan. All nine areas have experienced more than 7 consecutive days of 3% positivity rates for COVID-19 tests — an indicator which led the de Blasio Administration on Sunday to take action.

Cluster breakdown

As previously reported, the hot zones consist of three separate clusters: Far Rockaway, Central Queens and Southern Brooklyn. The six ZIP codes within the Southern Brooklyn cluster are, by far, the most populous, with more than 550,000 residents, according to the latest Census data.

In the Southern Brooklyn cluster, five of the six ZIP codes saw a one-day increase in COVID-19 positivity rates, as reported on Tuesday:

  • 11210 (Flatlands/Midwood) had a 6.56% positivity rate, up 0.42% from the 6.14% rate reported Monday.
  • 11223 (Gravesend/Homecrest) had a 8.27% positivity rate, up 0.22% from the 8.05% rate reported Monday.
  • 11230 (Midwood) had a 7.46% positivity rate, up 0.18% from the 7.28% rate reported Monday.
  • 11229 (Gerritsen Beach/Homecrest/Sheepshead Bay) had a 5.07% positivity rate, up 0.38% from the 4.69% rate reported Monday.
  • 11204 (Bensonhurst/Mapleton) had a 6.75% positivity rate, up 0.28% from the 6.47% report from Monday. That had followed a 0.11% decrease from Sunday.

The 11219 ZIP code (Borough Park) continues to have the highest positivity rate in the cluster, at 8.22% as of Tuesday. But that’s down 0.14% from the previous day.

In the Central Queens cluster of two ZIP codes, the 11367 area (Kew Gardens Hills/Pomonok) saw its positivity rate increase on Tuesday to 4.62%, up 0.30% in just 24 hours. The news was slightly better in the 11415 area (Kew Gardens), which saw its positivity rate drop to 3.58%, down 0.05% from the previous day.

The Far Rockaway cluster, comprised of the 11691 ZIP code, registered a 5.87% positivity rate on Tuesday, down just 0.02% from Monday.

ZIP codes in danger

Meanwhile, the city’s Health Department is keeping a close eye on two more ZIP codes in Brooklyn and Queens that have experienced COVID-19 positivity rates higher than 3% for each of the last six days.

The 11235 area (Brighton Beach/Manhattan Beach/Sheepshead Bay) in Brooklyn logged in a 4.12% positivity rate on Tuesday, down just 0.01% from the previous day.

In Queens, the 11374 area (Rego Park) registered a 3.27% positivity rate, which is down 0.22% in 24 hours.

Both areas could be subject to pause orders from the city and state if the positivity rate remains above 3% tomorrow.

Second tier areas

Meanwhile, the Department of Health also announced it’s monitoring a second tier of nine other ZIP codes in Brooklyn and Queens where COVID-19 rates are increasing slowly.

The 11218 area (Kensington/Windsor Terrace) in Brooklyn had exceeded 3% COVID-19 positivity rates on Monday, clocking in with 3.02%, but dipped back below the 3% threshold on Tuesday, for a rate of 2.99%.

The other areas being watched in the second tier are the following:

  • 11213 (Crown Heights east) in Brooklyn, 2.41% positivity rate, up 0.12% in 24 hours.
  • 11205 (Bedford-Stuyvesant/Clinton Hill/Fort Greene) in Brooklyn, 1.92% positivity rate, down 0.01%
  • 11211/11249 (Williamsburg/East Williamsburg) in Brooklyn, 2.25% positivity rate, up 0.02%.
  • 11234 (Bergen Beach/Flatlands/Marine Park/Mill Basin) in Brooklyn, 2.74% positivity rate, up 0.26%
  • 11365 (Auburndale/Fresh Meadows/Pomonok/Utopia) in Queens, 2.16% positivity rate, no change from Monday’s rate.
  • 11366 (Fresh Meadows/Hillcrest) in Queens, 2.53% positivity rate, down 0.44%
  • 11375 (Forest Hills) in Queens, 1.98% positivity rate, up 0.03%.
  • 11432 (Hillcrest/Jamaica Estates/Jamaica Hills) in Queens, 2.47% positivity rate, up 0.20%. 

The city also added to the Tier 2 watch list on Tuesday the Williamsburg ZIP code of 11206. The area recorded a 1.90% positivity rate.

Updated on Oct. 6 at 1:45 p.m. with the most recent totals provided by the NYC Health Department and the Mayor’s Office.