Most of the new COVID-19 cases in the New York City area are coming from poorer communities and municipal housing with high percentages of black and Latino populations, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo told an Albany news conference today. Cuomo also suggested that it’s also the case outside of New York City.
He reported results of a project to test for the presence of COVID-19 in predominately black and Latino areas that was proposed by U.S. Rep. Hakeem Jeffries whose district covers parts of Queens and Brooklyn. For the project, Northwell Health worked with houses of worship in certain areas to conduct testing of about 8,000 residents.
The Bronx had 34% positive tests compared with the citywide average of 19.9%. In the Morrisania section of the Bronx, the positive test rate hit 43%. In the Brownsville section of Brooklyn, the positive test rate was 38%.
Overall throughout the city, 22% of blacks tested positive while 29% of the Latino/Hispanic population was positive compared with the 19.9% rate in the city’s general population.
Cuomo said that the state is directing all municipalities to focus on low-income communities. He said the state is promoting outreach programs that would include educational efforts about the virus, ways to hold down its spread and getting personal protective equipment, hand sanitizer and related materials into the communities.
Cuomo said that beginning tomorrow, religious ceremonies attended by up to 10 people will be permitted. The state’s Interfaith Advisory Council that has representatives of the religious community across the state will be working on ways to expand religious activities as the state reopens.
“I think those religious ceremonies can be very comforting, but we need to find out how to do it safely and do it smartly,” Cuomo said. “The last thing we want to do is have a religious ceremony that winds up having more people infected. A religious ceremony by definition is a gathering. It’s a large number of people coming together. We know from New Rochelle, Westchester, the first hotspot, that religious ceremonies can be very dangerous. We all want to do the same thing. The question is how do we do it and how do we do it smartly and efficiently and I’ll be talking with members of the religious community to address that and I’m sure we’ll come up with a way that does it but does it intelligently.”
Cuomo said there is no date set yet for the reopening of casinos. He said he has talked with Gov. Ned Lamont of Connecticut and Gov. Phil Murphy of New Jersey to be sure reopenings in the states are coordinated.
The Mohegan Sun and Foxwood Resorts casinos in Connecticut, owned by Native American tribes, had said they intended to reopen quickly despite the urgings of Lamont not to do so. Native American tribes are independent of state regulation.
Cuomo’s daughter Mariah Kennedy Cuomo announced that about 600 submissions were received for a contest in which New Yorkers were asked to submit 30-second videos urging people to wear masks.
She had volunteered to coordinate selection of a winning ad to be posted online. She said that five finalists have been selected and people could go online to vote for a winner at WearAMask.ny.gov.
Cuomo reported that there were 112 deaths in New York yesterday from COVID-19, 30 in nursing homes and 82 in hospitals. That represented a slight uptick from the 105 deaths reported the day before.