Latest coronavirus updates in New York: Wednesday, September 30, 2020

Coronavirus
Virus Outbreak New York Subway

People in face masks ride the subway in Manhattan during the coronavirus pandemic, Thursday, Aug. 27, 2020 in New York. (AP Photo/Ted Shaffrey)

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NEW YORK — Below you will find the most up-to-date information on coronavirus news impacting New York. You can find additional resources and coverage on our coronavirus page.

11:45 a.m.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo said he spoke with the leaders of the Orthodox Jewish community about a lack of compliance with mask wearing and social distancing.

Orthodox Jewish leaders will meet with the state health commissioner on Wednesday to draft an action plan to encourage communities, particularly in “hotspot zip codes” where cases are spiking, to follow coronavirus restrictions and dispel misinformation.

Cuomo said Jewish leaders offered several theories as to why people in these communities are not following coronavirus rules, including the belief in herd immunity, following President Donald Trump’s anti-mask rhetoric and a lack of enforcement by local governments.

The governor lambasted government leaders in New York City, Rockland, Orange and Nassau counties for what he said has been a lack of enforcement of the mask mandate.

Cuomo said if local governments do not want to enforce the mask mandate for fear of making residents unhappy, he will.

“It’s not a function for the local government to say to someone ‘it would be nice if you wore a mask. Can I give you a mask? We’re past that point,'” the governor said. “It’s not about public education. Enforce the law.”

Cuomo said he will create a task force using a mix of state and local police to enforce mask wearing if local governments refuse to step up.

10 a.m.
NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio held a COVID-19 briefing. Watch in video below.

Daily indicators

  • COVID Hospitalizations: 87 (9% positivity rate)
  • New reported COVID-19 cases on 7-day average: 354
  • Percentage tested positive: 0.94%
  • 7-day rolling average: 1.46%

Neighborhoods of concern in NYC

  • Gravesend: 6.92%
  • Midwood: 5.64%
  • Kew Gardens: 3.31%
  • Edgemere/Far Rockaway: 4.91%
  • Borough Park: 6.23%
  • Bensonhurst/Mapleton: 6.05%
  • Gerritsen Beach/Homecrest: 4.05%
  • Midwood/Flatlands: 4.73%
  • Kew Gardens/Pomonok: 3.60%

Continued action

  • 300 Test and Trace Corps; 400 NYPD officers; about 250 additional agency staff deployed
  • Outreach in multiple languages
  • Thousands of masks distributed
  • No summonses issued

Increased testing

  • 11 mobile testing sites moved into cluster areas
  • Tripled capacity at Health Dept. COVID express testing sites
  • Expanded rapid testing in affected areas with three additional H+H locations:
    • Rockaway: 39-20 Rockaway Beach Blvd.
    • Bensonhurst: 6315 14th Ave.
    • Borough Park: 4002 Fort Hamilton Parkway

Test, test test

  • Dr. Mitchell Katz: Continued outreach and support, lots of compliance
  • “Block Parties” — Converting streets and sidewalks to testing sites, results within 24+ hours
    • 6 sites to start; 500 tests a day each — 3,000 tests/day
  • Self-administered tests at high traffic areas (schools, houses of worship, grocery stores) results 48+ hours
    • 19 sites; 100 tests a day each — 1,900 tests a day
  • Rapid point of care testing machines to H+H sites and local partners
    • 38 machines — 1,150 tests/day
  • Mayor: “Go out and get tested.”

Dining in NYC

  • Outdoor dining initiative will be permanent
  • Indoor dining returns at 25% capacity
  • Health and safety come first:
    • Temperatures checked at front doors
    • Contact info private for each party (for Test + Trace Corps)
    • Tables spaced six feet apart
    • Bar tops closed for seating
    • PPE and other protection for employees
  • Rigorous inspection efforts at restaurants in zip codes with uptick in cases (beginning Wednesday)
  • More info: nyc.gov/restaurantreopening

Schools in NYC

  • 870 schools opened in NYC for in-person learning
  • Beginning Thursday, there will be 1,600 public schools opened, mayor says.

Census 2020

  • Deadline was supposed to be Sept. 30
  • Fill it out online (click here) or call 844-330-2020

Q&A

  • UFT has made it known if numbers don’t turn around in areas of concern, schools in those areas should close
    • Mayor: I’ve talked to union colleagues. We’re making our decisions based on data and based on science.
    • We have a situation room that’s monitoring every school
    • We are not seeing any unusual uptick among schools. We have an uptick in a discrete set of zip codes, but not at public schools.
    • Based on the facts, it is not warranted (right now)
  • NYPD officers not wearing masks:
    • I’ve had this conversation with Commissioner Shea. The vast majority are wearing masks, but our officers need to be held accountable the same way as every New Yorkers. If they don’t, “there should be penalties.”
  • Hundreds going to targeted zip codes. Can you elaborate on disinformation?
    • Dr. Katz: The most common misconception he’s heard is that the virus has changed. It has not.
    • Herd immunity: There’s no neighborhood that has herd immunity
  • Ballot issue:
    • Board of Elections should take proper action and ensure people get the new ballots needed.
  • Mask compliance: Is there a way to quantify compliance?
    • Mayor: It’s based on city officials noting what they’re seeing
    • Dr. Katz: People station themselves in areas and look around and observe. (also look at who is wearing masks correctly)
  • Indoor dining: Are you concerned over the message that it signals to NYC by not indoor dining right away?
    • The important thing is the restaurant industry is coming back. Go out and support restaurants as you’d prefer. Mayor’s preference is outdoor dining.
  • Borough Park gathering with lack of masks. Are you aware and how will it be addressed?
    • We’ll look into that and follow up.
  • NYC has increased furlough to staffers. You’re known to give large raises. Can you ensure there are no raises given this year?
    • The budget of the mayor’s office has gone down 12% since the June budget. We’re going to continue to find savings.
    • We’ve reduced the number of jobs here. There are no plans for raises.
  • Where do things stand with the city’s financial situation?
    • Mayor: We’re having productive conversations with labor. Won’t announce any breakthroughs until they actually break through.
  • Are layoffs still possible?
    • We’re hearing more support in Albany for long-term support. What’s important: If there are more productive options, then we won’t need layoffs. If no progress, there will be layoffs.
  • How prepared are you if there’s a second wave of COVID-19?
    • We are in a very different position than in most places. Places with much stronger national health care systems than we do managed to bring the virus back. We have been very conserative. Despite the problems in certain zip codes, we’ve done a lot to contain the problem.
    • If we saw something bigger hit the city, we’ve put a lot of resources into hospitals, test and trace, etc. We’ll be prepared.

Happening today:

  • Indoor dining returns at NYC restaurants, but capped at 25% capacity. Read more.

Happening this week:

  • Thursday: NYC students from middle, and high schools, as well as secondary schools and transfer/adult education will return to schools. Read more.

The latest official numbers:
As of Tuesday, there were 457,649 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 25,470 confirmed fatalities in NY, according to the Department of Health.

COVID-19 timeline: How novel coronavirus spread

Tips to protect yourself and others amid coronavirus outbreaks

The New York state coronavirus hotline is 1-888-364-3065; information is also being posted here

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