Positive tests for the coronavirus in New York state shot up to more than 1,000 for the first time since June 5, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Saturday.
The news that there were 1,005 positive cases Friday in the state came as New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio threatened to shut down private schools and non-essential businesses in certain Queens and Brooklyn neighborhoods where COVID-19 cases have surged recently.
Officials have targeted nine neighborhoods - home to large communities of ultra-Orthodox families - where there is less compliance with wearing face coverings and keeping 6 feet apart compared to other parts of the city.
City health officials said they want to see progress on compliance by Monday night or they will take action.
“This may be the most precarious moment that we’re facing since we have emerged from lockdown,” city health commissioner Dave Chokshi said at a news conference Friday in Gravesend, Brooklyn, that was cut short by hecklers, according to The Wall Street Journal. “We will move as swiftly as the situation warrants.”
The number of positive coronavirus tests in the state has been steadily inching up in recent weeks, a trend possibly related to businesses reopening, college campuses reopening and children returning to school, WNBC-TV reported.
Cuomo said 99,953 coronavirus tests were reported Friday with 1,005, or 1 percent, coming back positive.
In the seven-day period that ended Friday, the state averaged 817 positive tests per day, according to the station. From late July through the start of September, an average of around 660 tests were coming back positive.
When New York crossed the 1,000 threshold on June 5 it had 1,108 positive coronavirus cases. Back then the total number of tests conducted was 77,895 tests for a positivity rate of 1.4 percent, according to the governor’s office. The seven-day average of new positive cases in early June was 2 percent. The seven-day average now stands at 1 percent. New York’s infection rate has been at or below 1 percent since Aug. 4.
On Saturday, New York also reported four new deaths from the virus, two in Brooklyn and two in upstate counties, bringing the state’s total to 25,450.
Cuomo didn't address crossing the 1,000-case threshold in his update Saturday as he reiterated his call for vigilance.
"It’s vital that New Yorkers continue to practice the basic behaviors that drive our ability to fight COVID-19 as we move into the fall and flu season," Cuomo said in a prepared release. "Wearing masks, socially distancing and washing hands make a critical difference, as does the deliberate enforcement of state guidance by local governments.”
New York City has distributed thousands of masks to more than 300 synagogues in advance of the Yom Kippur holiday, which begins Sunday, the Journal reported.