Coronavirus Rates Keep Growing Amid Citywide Surge In Harlem

Coronavirus rates continue to rise in Harlem and Upper Manhattan this week, part of a citywide resurgence in cases that is fueling fears of a second wave.

In West Harlem’s 10031 ZIP code, 3 percent of coronavirus tests came back positive in the 7-day period ending Monday, according to the latest city testing data released Thursday. If the entire city reached that positivity rate, the public school system would shut down.

Positivity rates in three Harlem ZIP codes ranked among the 10 highest in Manhattan that week, and all but two of the neighborhood’s ZIP codes had rates above the borough’s average.

City Councilmember Mark Levine, who represents West Harlem and chairs the council’s health committee, said Thursday that the second wave isn’t just imminent — it has already arrived.

Multiple factors are likely causing the resurgence, from infections in the workplace to out-of-state travel, Levine said. In Upper Manhattan, the biggest cause may be crowded apartments, where COVID-19 spreads easily between residents.

“It’s just very, very hard if you’re living in a crowded Manhattan apartment — which almost everybody is Uptown — to protect one family member from another,” Levine told Patch.

Here is the COVID-19 testing data in Harlem’s ZIP codes between Nov. 3 and Nov. 9:

  • 10026 – Central Harlem (South): 1,215 people tested, 18 positive cases, 1.48 percent positivity
  • 10027 – Central Harlem (South)/Morningside Heights/West Harlem: 2,623 people tested, 32 positive cases, 1.22 percent positivity
  • 10029 – East Harlem: 1,706 people tested, 38 positive cases, 2.23 percent positivity
  • 10030 – Central Harlem (North): 779 people tested, 19 positive cases, 2.44 percent positivity
  • 10031 – Hamilton Heights/West Harlem: 1,401 people tested, 42 positive cases, 3 percent positivity
  • 10035 – East Harlem: 869 people tested, 13 positive cases, 1.5 percent positivity
  • 10037 – Central Harlem (North)/East Harlem: 505 people tested, 9 positive cases, 1.78 percent positivity
  • 10039 – Central Harlem (North)/Washington Heights (South): 531 people tested, 14 positive cases, 2.64 percent positivity

By comparison, during the week that ended Oct. 3, positivity rates in all eight Harlem ZIP codes stood below 1.7 percent.


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Rates are even higher in neighboring Washington Heights and Inwood, where positivity rates rose well above 4 percent in one ZIP code. The city’s overall 7-day positivity rate stood at 2.6 percent Thursday.

Levine suggested that Upper Manhattan residents could benefit from the city’s COVID-19 Hotel program, which provides a free hotel room — including food and other services — to anyone with the virus who wants to avoid infecting others in their household.

While the recent spike in cases hasn’t spared any borough, the most significant spikes have been outside Manhattan, like in Staten Island, where the state announced new restrictions this week as positivity rates rose above 4 percent in much of the borough.

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