Cases of COVID-19 are rising at an "alarming rate" in New York City neighborhoods, a number of which are in Brooklyn, as the citywide infection rate hits 1.93% -- up from 1.5% last week.
Six Brooklyn and two Queens ZIP codes are almost four times above the citywide average for positive infection rates over the past 14 days. Those ZIP codes account for more than 25% of new COVID-19 cases, despite making up under 7% of the city's population, NYC Health Department said.
The Brooklyn ZIP codes are:
- 11223 -- Gravesend/Homecrest (6.72%)
- 11230 -- Midwood (5.53%)
- 11219 -- Borough Park (5.26%)
- 11204 -- Bensonhurst/Mapleton (5.15%)
- 11229 -- Gerritsen Beach/Homecrest/Sheepshead Bay (4.05%)
- 11210 -- Flatlands/Midwood (4.08%)
Three other Brooklyn neighborhoods are also causing concern, with COVID-19 positivity rates above the city's average and increasing. They are: Kew Gardens Hills/Pomonok  (3.04%), Kensington/Windsor Terrace  (2.50%) and Brighton Beach/Manhattan Beach/Sheepshead Bay  (2.63%).
On Monday, the Health Department said it would continue to monitor emergency department visits, hospitalizations and intensive care unit admissions and said the city was working with community leaders and community-based organizations to distribute face coverings and combat misinformation.
On Tuesday, the city will continue with outreach to private religious schools about the new guidelines and will canvass commercial corridors in the neighborhoods, using sound trucks to reinforce COVID-19 guidance and precautions.
The Health Department started outreach to private schools last Friday after issuing a Commissioner's Order in six Brooklyn and two Queens neighborhoods.
The department said non-compliance could lead to a violation fine of $1,000 or possible closure.
At the time, Health Commissioner Dr. Dave A. Chokshi said it was the most precarious position the city had experienced with COVID-19 in months.
"We must immediately take action to protect our communities. Protecting against COVID-19 requires a group response," he said, adding it was critical people wore face coverings, kept physical distance, kept their hands clean and stayed home if sick.
This week, the city will deploy 11 mobile testing units to areas with high rates of COVID-19 tripling capacity of the COVID Express testing sites in Crown Heights and Fort Greene.
The rising infection rate comes as the city is slated to reopen public schools and start indoor dining this week, both of which have the potential to increase infection rates.
On Monday, Mayor Bill de Blasio said New York City had 332 new reported cases and urged people to continue distancing, wear face coverings and avoid large crowds. He has previously said he would close down classrooms if the seven-day rolling average went above 3%.
Governor Andrew Cuomo said Monday he would make 200 rapid testing machines available to schools and local governments in areas where rates were rising.