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City Adds Fresh Meadows-Hillcrest to Central Queens COVID-19 Cluster

COVID-19 testing outreach workers (Michael Appleton/Mayoral Photography Office)

Oct. 1, 2020 By Allie Griffin

Another Queens neighborhood is seeing an alarming uptick in COVID-19 cases, Mayor Bill de Blasio said Thursday.

Fresh Meadows was added to the list of neighborhoods forming a coronavirus cluster in Central Queens, which includes Kew Gardens and Kew Gardens Hills.

The neighborhood represented by the 11366 zip code now has a 14-day COVID-19 positivity rate of 3.08 percent, de Blasio announced today.

The announcement brings the the total number of zip codes with COVID clusters to 10 citywide.

“Yesterday another zip code, Fresh Meadows/ Hillcrest passed 3 percent in Queens, so we’re now at 10 zip codes,” de Blasio said.

All 10 zip codes in the cluster areas each have a 14-day positivity rate of more than 3 percent.

“We all have to buckle down at this point in those 10 zip codes and go hard at this challenge,” de Blasio said.

Far Rockaway/Edgemere (11691) is another Queens cluster area with a 14-day positivity rate of 4.74 percent.

Meanwhile, Rego Park and Jamaica Estates/Jamaica Hills (11432) are areas of concern with 14-day positivity rates of 2.66 percent and 2.69 percent respectively. The city is sending additional support to these areas as well.

Citywide, the percentage of New Yorkers tested for COVID-19 who had positive results was at 1.59 percent on Tuesday and the seven-day rolling average rate is 1.52 percent, de Blasio said Thursday.

The mayor urged people in the hotspot areas to go get a COVID-19 test.

“The message to people in those communities, the message to all New Yorkers is ‘Get tested,'” de Blasio said. “We need the best possible look at what is happening in every part of New York City.”

The city has flooded the problem neighborhoods with extra testing measures, including mobile testing vans and street closures where testing tents are erected.

Two street closure-type testing sites, which the city has dubbed “block parties”, are now open in the Queens.

One is in Kew Gardens at the Kew Gardens LIRR station, located at Lefferts Boulevard and Austin Street, and the second is in Kew Gardens Hills at Haym Solomon Square, located at 72nd Drive and Vleigh Place.

The city has also sent NYPD officers, Health Department workers and others into the 10 cluster areas to inspect businesses and schools for COVID-19 compliance.

City workers issued 130 warnings and 16 violations to businesses in the 10 zip codes between Tuesday and Wednesday and made 160 private school visits, de Blasio said.

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Sara Ross

I’m in Forest Hills and was on Queens Blvd. today. I saw more than 20 people without masks and others who were either holding their masks, wearing them like a bracelet or wore them on their chins. Too bad we who care about our health can’t arrest them. Jewish holidays are this weekend and that’s hundreds more going to the different temples walking in groups without masks. I hate selfish people.

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