‘Real Concerns’ Over Rising NYC Coronavirus Levels: De Blasio

Matt Troutman
·2 min read

NEW YORK CITY — Indicators tracking the coronavirus’s path through New York have taken a troubling turn, Mayor Bill de Blasio said.

De Blasio on Thursday said recent upticks in certain daily COVID-19 numbers raise “real concerns.”

The city’s positivity rate over a seven-day average reached 1.92 percent, he said, calling it a “meaningful jump” for a measure that has hovered near 1.5 percent for weeks.

“That alone is not a number that would overwhelm us, but the growth is what worries me,” he said.

The growth appears only partially tied to localized coronavirus clusters and associated testing efforts in Brooklyn and Queens, de Blasio said.

Many of those areas remain under color-coded, tiered state restrictions designed to slow the virus’s spread.

But health officials have also seen a slow and steady rise in coronavirus cases in many places in the city, said Jay Varma, the city’s senior adviser for public health.

They haven’t identified a specific focal point, but roughly 10 percent of new cases are linked to travel, and various indoor settings have also contributed, Varma said.

“That’s why right now our guidance is not about any one specific industry or type of setting, changing its behavior, but it really has to be across the state — wearing a mask, avoiding gatherings, keeping physical distance, particularly as it gets colder and people move indoors,” he said.

The broad, unspecified rise has been reflected in the city’s new case count indicator. This week, it rose above the 550-case threshold that officials set as a warning light.

De Blasio said that as of Thursday, it stands at 532 cases over a seven-day average. He also pointed to a spike in the city’s daily positivity rate, which measured 2.70 percent.

“That would be undoubtedly, and is, a worrisome number,” he said. “To be fair, every day varies according to what test results come back and in what quantity. The daily report is not a perfect measure, but it’s a very worrisome number — it’s literally twice yesterday. But it also points out it’s somewhat aberrant.”

Hospitalizations from suspected coronavirus cases remain low — 81 admissions were reported Wednesday, de Blasio said.

De Blasio repeated a plea that New Yorkers not travel over the upcoming holidays. He also urged people to avoid indoor gatherings and parties for Halloween.

“This is a dangerous time and we have to take it really, really seriously,” he said.

This article originally appeared on the New York City Patch