There Are Widespread Increases In The Coronavirus Positivity Rate In Harlem

October 30, 2020

Most Harlem ZIP codes have seen an uptick in the percentage of coronavirus cases coming back positive, part of a trend that has alarmed health officials, according to city data released Thursday.

The data, which includes COVID-19 test results over four weeks until October 24, 2020, shows that the positivity rate has risen in six of the eight ZIP codes covering Harlem compared to the previous four-week period.

The ZIP code with the highest rate is 10031, covering West Harlem and Hamilton Heights, where 2.1 percent of tests came back positive during the most recent period. That makes it one of 67 ZIP codes around the city with a positivity rate above 2 percent over those four weeks, according to Gothamist, which first reported on the new data. Sixteen are above 3 percent.

Last month, by contrast, only 20 ZIP codes had rates above two percent, including eight above 3 percent, Gothamist reported.


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The only Harlem ZIP codes where the positivity rate decreased were 10027, covering Central Harlem and Morningside Heights, and 10037, which includes a small notch in Northeastern Harlem.

Some other Harlem ZIP codes saw significant jumps. In East Harlem’s 10035 ZIP code, the positivity rate more than quadrupled from 0.37 to 1.53, and it more than doubled in Central Harlem‘s 10030.

Here is the four-week testing data through Oct. 24 for the eight ZIP codes covering Harlem:

  • 10026 – Central Harlem (South): 38 positive cases, 1 death, 1.01 percent positivity
  • 10027 – Central Harlem (South)/Morningside Heights/West Harlem:49 cases, 1 death, 0.69 percent positivity
  • 10029 – East Harlem: 112 cases, 0 deaths, 1.59 percent positivity
  • 10030 – Central Harlem (North):34 cases, 0 deaths, 1.38 percent positivity
  • 10031 – Hamilton Heights/West Harlem:101 cases, 3 deaths, 2.1 percent positivity
  • 10035 – East Harlem: 51 cases, 0 deaths, 1.53 percent positivity
  • 10037 – Central Harlem (North)/East Harlem: 15 cases, 1 death, 0.83 percent positivity
  • 10039 – Central Harlem (North)/Washington Heights (South)23 cases, 0 deaths, 1.22 percent positivity

Mayor Bill de Blasio said Thursday he had “real concerns” over the citywide case increase. New York’s positivity rate over a seven-day average reached 1.92 percent, which de Blasio called a “meaningful jump” for a measure that has hovered near 1.5 percent for weeks.

“That alone is not a number that would overwhelm us, but the growth is what worries me,” he said.

Notably, much of the recent growth has occurred outside of the localized coronavirus clusters and associated testing efforts in Brooklyn and Queens. Many of those areas remain under color-coded, tiered state restrictions designed to slow the virus’s spread.

Instead, health officials have also seen a slow and steady rise in coronavirus cases in many places around the city, Jay Varma, the city’s senior adviser for public health, said Thursday. They haven’t identified a specific focal point, but roughly 10 percent of new cases are linked to travel, and various indoor settings have also contributed, Varma said reported Patch.

“That’s why right now our guidance is not about anyone specific industry or type of setting, changing its behavior, but it really has to be across the state — wearing a mask, avoiding gatherings, keeping physical distance, particularly as it gets colder and people move indoors,” he said.

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