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Coronavirus Clusters Reported In 2 More Central Queens ZIP Codes

KEW GARDENS, QUEENS — The Health Department has added two Central Queens ZIP codes to a list of neighborhoods where cases of the coronavirus appear to be increasing more quickly than in most of New York City.

The city is now monitoring five coronavirus clusters in Central Queens, within the ZIP codes 11415, 11366, 11367, 11374 and 11432, Mayor Bill de Blasio said Thursday.

New to that list are the ZIP code 11366, an area of Fresh Meadows and Hillcrest that saw more than 3 percent of coronavirus tests come back positive over the last two weeks, and 11432 in Hillcrest, Jamaica Estates and Jamaica Hills, where the positivity rate was just under 2.7 percent.

The ZIP codes 11366, 11367 and 11415 are all seeing cases of the virus grow at “alarming” rates, with positivity rates that exceed 3 percent, according to a Health Department advisory sent to reporters Wednesday evening. The positivity rates represent a 14-day average of test.

New York City’s 14-day positivity rate hit 1.43 percent Wednesday, though the daily rate spiked to a high of 3 percent the day before, largely because of the neighborhood-level upticks in Central Queens, Edgemere-Far Rockaway and a swath of Southern Brooklyn deemed the “Ocean Parkway Cluster.”

In response to the upticks in Central Queens, the city is sending more testing resources to the neighborhood, including testing trucks stationed in Rego Park and Kew Gardens this week, and conducting increased enforcement of health and safety guidelines to curb the spread of the virus, officials said.

The city has also opened two “block parties” outside the Kew Gardens LIRR station and at 72nd Drive and Vleigh Place, where streets have been closed and transformed into coronavirus testing sites.

The sites will offer self-swab tests supervised by clinical staff, and results will be available in one to two days, NYC Health + Hospitals President and CEO Mitchell Katz told reporters Wednesday. Each location will be able to offer up to 500 tests a day.

This article originally appeared on the Forest Hills Patch

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Several New York zip codes are reporting infection rates five times higher than statewide rate

New York has reported several Covid-19 clusters that have created “hotspot” zip codes, the governor said, with a positivity rate about five times more than statewide.



a person taking a selfie in a car: Medical technicians work at a drive-thru coronavirus disease (COVID-19) testing facility at the Regeneron Pharmaceuticals company's Westchester campus in Tarrytown, New York, U.S. September 17, 2020. Picture taken September 17, 2020. Brendan McDermid/Reuters


© Brendan McDermid/Reuters
Medical technicians work at a drive-thru coronavirus disease (COVID-19) testing facility at the Regeneron Pharmaceuticals company’s Westchester campus in Tarrytown, New York, U.S. September 17, 2020. Picture taken September 17, 2020. Brendan McDermid/Reuters

The new clusters are a “stark reminder” that the state is still not out of the woods when it comes to the pandemic, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said.

“We’ve had clusters in the past stemming from factories, churches, bars and other locations,” Cuomo said . “We’re quite familiar with this, and when there’s a cluster, we are very aggressive on it and we’re oversampling in the clusters.”

Cuomo’s announcement comes as states across the US have begun reporting alarming Covid-19 trends in recent days — and after experts warned of a coming surge in cases.

Wisconsin reported its highest number of Covid-19 hospitalizations on record, with patients nearly doubling in the state since September 18, according to hospital officials. The governor of Illinois is tightening restrictions in one part of the state after an increase in positivity rates. And in Kentucky, Gov. Andy Beshear urged the state needs to stop a recent “escalation” of cases after reporting more than 1,000 new infections for the second day in a row.

At least 27 states have reported more new cases since the previous week and only nine are reporting a decline, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. Nationwide, more than 7.2 million people have been infected and more than 206,000 Americans have died.

When a vaccine could be available to US population

On Wednesday, Moderna CEO Stéphane Bancel said if their Covid-19 vaccine is proven safe and effective, it could be available to the general population by late March or early April.

Moderna began their Phase 3 clinical trial for Covid-19 in the US in July. It’s one of four companies that have begun Phase 3 Covid-19 vaccine trials in the US — the others include Johnson & Johnson, Pfizer/BioNTech and AstraZeneca. The AstraZeneca trial was paused after an unexplained illness in a volunteer, and US health authorities are still considering crucial questions that remain around the injections of the experimental vaccine.

“I think a late Q1, early Q2 approval is a reasonable timeline, based on what we know from our vaccine,” Bancel said at a conference hosted by the Financial Times.

But there are several steps that will have to come before that.

If the safety and efficacy data checks out, Bancel says he expects Moderna will be able to file a Biologics License Application (BLA) with the US Food and Drug Administration by late January or early February. That application asks the FDA to consider fully licensing a drug, while an emergency use authorization (EUA) expedites a drug candidate for use on an emergency basis.

Moderna could file for an EUA as early as November 25 for

Bed-Stuy ZIP Code Added To City Watchlist For Coronavirus Growth

BED-STUY, BROOKLYN — A ZIP code covering Bed-Stuy has been added to a list of areas where city health officials are worried about an increase in coronavirus cases, the health department said Wednesday.

The 11205 ZIP code — which stretches over Fort Greene, Clinton Hill and an eastern portion of Bed-Stuy — is one of seven neighborhoods where the coronavirus test positivity rate has been on the rise, and recently reached between 2 and 3 percent.

The seven neighborhoods were added Wednesday to the Health Department’s areas of concern, though they have not yet reached the “alarming” rate of 10 New York City neighborhoods where positivity rates have spiked above 3 percent.

Those 10 Brooklyn and Queens neighborhoods, now including Fresh Meadows/Hilcrest, are part of coronavirus clusters that have prompted a ramp up in testing and enforcement of coronavirus rules in the last week.

The city’s overall 14-day positivity rate was at 1.43 percent Wednesday. The daily New York City rate had spiked to a months-long high of 3 percent on Tuesday, largely because of the neighborhood-level upticks.

In the Bed-Stuy ZIP code, the positivity rate’s 14-day average reached 2.07 percent Wednesday, which includes an increase of .3 percent from the previous day.

The Health Department has already tripled the capacity of COVID Express testing sites in Fort Greene and Crown Heights, another newly-added ZIP code to the watchlist, the department said.

The city has also started fining New Yorkers who refused to wear masks after being offered one and have started checking up on private schools throughout the areas of concern.

Here are the 14-day average positivity rates for all 17 neighborhoods of concern as of Wednesday:

10 Neighborhoods With Rates Above 3 Percent

  • Edgemere/Far Rockaway (11691): 4.74%

  • Gravesend/Homerest (11223): 6.9%

  • Midwood (11230): 5.62%

  • Borough Park (11219): 6.51%

  • Bensonhurst/Mapleton (11204): 6.31%

  • Gerritsen Beach/Homecrest/ Sheepshead Bay (11229): 4.13%

  • Flatlands/Midwood (11210): 4.66%

  • Kew Gardens (11415): 3.29%

  • Kew Gardens Hills/Pomonok (11367): 3.68%

  • Fresh Meadows/Hillcrest (11366): 3.08%

Seven Neighborhoods With Rates Between 2 and 3 Percent

  • East Williamsburg/ Williamsburg (11211/ 11249): 2.06%

  • Bedford-Stuyvesant (West)/Clinton Hill/Fort Greene (11205): 2.07%

  • Kensington/Windsor Terrace (11218): 2.79%

  • Brighton Beach/Manhattan Beach/Sheepshead Bay (11235): 2.97%

  • Crown Heights (East) (11213): 2.30%

  • Rego Park (11374): 2.66%

  • Hillcrest/Jamaica Estates/Jamaica Hills (11432): 2.69%

This article originally appeared on the Bed-Stuy Patch

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