De Blasio Calls for Urgent Action to Reduce Covid Spike in Southern Brooklyn

De Blasio Calls for Urgent Action to Reduce Covid Spike in Southern Brooklyn

By Yehudit Garmaise

  Six neighborhoods in southern Brooklyn, unfortunately, have seen in the past two months, a steady increase in positive Covid cases, for which Mayor de Blasio called for urgent action this morning at his daily press conference.

   Right now, avoiding any large indoor gatherings is of greatest concern,” de Blasio emphasized. “My hope is that everyone will work together to address this problem.”

  Although the citywide rates of Covid-19 infection have dramatically decreased and remained under a rate of 1% of positive infection rates in recent weeks Covid cases in the Jewish communities of Brooklyn have been steadily increasing since August 1. In many neighborhoods, the New York Post reported yesterday, the rates have been doubling and tripling.

   This morning, the mayor referred to southern Brooklyn’s recent increase in Covid-positive patients as the “Ocean Park Cluster.”

 Boro Park, along with Midwood and Bensonhurst are currently reporting the city’s highest Covid positive rates, which today increased to 4.7%. Edgemere-Far Rockaway report a 3.7% positive rate, Kew Gardens report a 2.2% rate, and Williamsburg reports a 2% positive Covid rate.

 The situation [of the high rate of people testing positive for Covid], particularly in southern Brooklyn, is causing a lot of concern,” Mayor de Blasio emphasized. “We have a lot to do because we are seeing a serious uptick in multiple [southern Brooklyn] neighborhoods simultaneously, and it is something we have to address with a very aggressive public health effort right away.”

   Among de Blasio’s strategies to increase the city’s efforts to educate and enforce the preventive measures that have been shown to keep everyone healthy are: the distribution of thousands of free masks, delivering pre-recorded phone messages in English and Yiddish, placing newspaper ads in Brooklyn newspapers, reaching out to community, business, and religious leaders, and even sending sound trucks to drive through neighborhoods to remind New Yorkers to wear masks and practice social distancing.

  De Blasio also warned that the New York Police Department, as well as the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, are working to help, advise, and enforce rules with institutions, organizations, businesses that are not being responsive to the need to protect everyone.

     “There are four simple ways of preventing the spread of Covid,” said Mitch Katz, M.D. the CEO of New York’s Health + Hospitals. “Without exception, everyone must: stay home if he or she is feeling sick, practice physical distancing, wear a face covering, and practice good hand hygiene.”

   De Blasio called Dr. Katz “one of our leaders in our efforts to fight the coronavirus and someone who knows the communities of Brooklyn very well.”

   “I am so distressed by the large increase in Covid infections in these four neighborhoods including the Ocean Parkway area, which is where I grew up, where I went to the synagogue, where my brother currently lives,” said Dr. Katz, who also shared that his father-in-law, a”h, passed away in Israel two days ago from the virus.

  “We want to be sure that the message is getting out in reaching those who need to hear it,” Dr. Katz explained.

  Dr. Katz shared that because of Israel’s current lockdown, his family could make only a very small funeral for his father-in-law and that his mother-in-law could not even be joined by her son during shiva.

   De Blasio kindly offered Dr. Katz and his family condolences.

   “You have been in the lead in the fight against the coronavirus for months and months, de Blasio said. “It is so sad to remember that this disease keeps coming home to so many families, including your own. My condolences to you and thank you for expressing in personal and passionate terms to the people of the city why we need to get this right, and why we need to protect everyone.”

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