KEW GARDENS, QUEENS — A cluster of coronavirus cases could send Kew Gardens back into lockdown, the NYC Health Department warned.
City health officials will restrict gatherings and shutter non-essential businesses, private schools and child care centers in Kew Gardens on Tuesday if COVID-19 cases continue to rise in the neighborhood, according to an alert issued Thursday night.
Kew Gardens is among nine Queens and Brooklyn neighborhoods that have been seeing "considerable growth" in coronavirus cases, the Health Department said.
In Kew Gardens, the rate of people testing positive for the virus has spiked to about 4 percent, compared to 1.2 percent citywide.
Other clusters have been detected in South Brooklyn, Edgemere-Far Rockaway and Williamsburg.
"For the first time in the city's recovery period, there could be the immediate scaling back of activities in these ZIP codes if progress is not made by Monday evening," the Health Department's alert said.
Starting Friday, the agency will start regular inspections of non-public schools within the clusters and their adjacent ZIP codes to monitor compliance with pandemic-related guidelines.
The NYPD and the NYC Sheriff's Office will monitor mask compliance in the neighborhoods, which is "overwhelmingly low" compared to other parts of the city, the Health Department said.
The city will also send a mobile testing center to Kew Gardens as part of a push for more testing.
Health officials have recently said they are especially concerned about COVID-19 spikes in the city's Hasidic communities in many of the same neighborhoods mentioned in the alert, especially amid the Jewish High Holidays.
Earlier this month, NYC Health Commissioner Dave A. Chokshi sent an email alert to local Orthodox Jewish news outlets warning of "heightened rates" of the virus in Orthodox communities.
As part of the current push to crack down on the coronavirus hotspots, the city placed ads in local and community newspapers with a focus this week on Yom Kippur, and is sending sound trucks and ambulances to repeat messages about testing in English and Yiddish.