Officials report uptick in Staten Island COVID-19 cases

Health Commissioner Dr. David Chokshi
Mayor’s office

The city health department is creating a new rapid testing site at St. George Ferry Terminal in an effort to knock down rising COVID-19 cases in two Staten Island zip codes, officials announced on Thursday. 

Zip codes 10305 and 10314 on the island now have COVID-19 positivity rates above 3%, Mayor Bill de Blasio said during a morning press conference. “ This is at this point a pretty narrow problem. Isolated primarily to the two zip codes,” said de Blasio. “Some concerns in a few other zip codes but the real issue we are focused on now is two zip codes.”

Today, 70 members of the city’s Test and Trace Corp. will hand out masks and talk to neighborhood residents within the two “concerning” zip codes on how and where to get tested for the virus. The city is also in the process of creating 10 temporary COVID-19 testing sites that will either be testing vans or pop up sites. 

At the moment, the new surge in cases will not result in any new restrictions in the borough, de Blasio said, like what happened in some Brooklyn and Queens neighborhoods experiencing upticks in the virus last month. 

“This is different than what we saw in Brooklyn and Queens which were extended, interconnected areas, a bigger phenomenon, a bigger trend, this is much more isolated,” de Blasio added. “Obviously that would be the state’s decision but by the numbers, not something that would trigger restrictions.”

Officials have not been able to link the uptick in cases in the two zip codes to a single event or a common exposure, according to senior advisor on public health Dr. Jay Varma. Officials said that the spike in cases could potentially be the result of residents not wearing masks outdoors frequently enough or the change in weather.

The city’s overall positivity rate remains below City Hall’s 2% threshold, de Blasio said. City Hall reported that 1.43% of New York City residents tested positive for the virus on Nov. 3, and the city’s positivity rate based on a seven-day average is at 1.81%. The number of new cases of the virus based on the city’s seven-day average remains well above  the 550 threshold at 633 and about 23 of the 95 New York City residents admitted to a hospital with possible COVID-19 symptoms tested positive for the virus.