Crunching the COVID-19 numbers: NYC hotspots continue to show rising infection rates

Ariel Quero, 16, receives a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine against COVID-19 at a vaccination clinic at Lehman High School in the Bronx, July 27.
REUTERS/David 'Dee' Delgado

COVID-19 hotspots continued to see high infection rates over the past week, especially in Staten Island and sections of other outer boroughs as the highly-contagious Delta variant spreads, according to the latest data from the city’s Health Department.

Postal Codes from the Rock topped the neighborhoods with the highest percentage of coronavirus infections again this week, with a 6.88% positivity rate in Annadale/Rossville (10312) — the highest in the city — followed by 6.84% in Charleston/Prince’s Bay/Woodrow (10309).

Country Club/Throgs Neck (10465) in the Bronx showed a positivity rate of 6.12% but had an inadequate testing sample.

Continuing a trend of recent weeks, Staten Island dominated the top 10 ZIP codes with four of those areas coming from the Rock, along with south and eastern parts of Brooklyn.

Areas near Ozone Park and Howard Beach in Queens, and Throgs Neck, The Bronx, also registered among the highest rates in the city, according to DOH’s latest local measurements between July 22-28.

Some 30 ZIP codes had rates above 4% and 29 areas had 50 or more new people that tested positive during that time period.

The highest positivity rates were again found in Staten Island and parts of Brooklyn. NYC DOH

Citywide, the agency registered a positivity rate of 2.97% and 1,140 new confirmed and probable cases across a seven-day average on July 30. Hospitalization rates inched up slightly, but were still low at 0.67 per 100,000, up from 0.53 last week, while deaths remained stable at three across a seven-day average, as of July 28.

Some 55% of New Yorkers are fully vaccinated as of Aug. 1 — meaning they got both doses of either the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines, or the one-and-done Johnson and Johnson shot — and 60% have received at least one dose.

The top three ZIP codes for infection rates all registered below-average vaccination percentages, with Annadale/Rossville showing 50% of people fully vaccinated and 54% with at least one dose, Charleston/Prince’s Bay/Woodrow at 46% full and 49% at least one, and Country Club/Throgs Neck had 48% and 52%.

The more infectious delta variant makes up almost three-quarters (72%) of tested cases in the city, up from 57% last week, and vaccination rates remain stubbornly low in parts of the Rockaway Peninsula in Queens and southern and eastern Brooklyn.

The lowest vaccination rate areas of the city remained largely the same as in weeks past, with Edgemere/Far Rockaway (11691), Queens, again at the bottom with just 38% of people who got at least one dose, meaning 72% residents in that area remain entirely unvaccinated against the virus.

Three parts of eastern and southern Brooklyn tied for second lowest vaccine rates at 40% of people got at least one dose, including Bedford-Stuyvesant (East)/Ocean Hill-Brownsville (11233), Borough Park (11219), and Flatlands/Midwood (11210).

The areas with the lowest vaccination rates in the city. NYC DOH

The majority of people have yet to get any shots in 42 out of the city’s 117 ZIP codes, and the city, state, and federal government have all announced stricter requirements to encourage — or in some cases make — people get their COVID-19 shot.

Mayor Bill de Blasio said last week he will offer an update on mask guidance Monday, Aug. 2, after previously declaring that city employees will have to get the vaccine or submit to weekly testing, which is set to roll out across different agencies in the coming weeks.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo introduced the state’s first governmental vaccine mandate without a testing option for public-facing workers at state-run hospitals, along with a vaccine-or-testing regime for other state workers by Labor Day.

President Joe Biden also announced a similar shot-or-swab framework for federal employees last week. However, Biden’s chief medical adviser Dr. Anthony Fauci said Sunday he does not expect lockdowns to return to the United States.

The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention last week released new guidance recommending people, including those who are fully vaccinated, wear a mask in public indoor settings if they are in an area of substantial or high transmission, which applies to all five boroughs of New York City.

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