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COVID-19 Cases Continue to Increase Citywide, Concerning City Officials

Mayor Bill de Blasio (Michael Appleton/ Mayoral Photography Office)

Nov. 5, 2020 By Allie Griffin

City officials are concerned over a steady increase in COVID-19 cases citywide.

The number of new coronavirus cases has risen above the city’s cautionary threshold for nearly a week and it hit a new high on Tuesday — the date of the latest data available, Mayor Bill de Blasio said today.

The seven-day average of reported COVID-19 cases grew to 633 on Tuesday — well above the threshold of 550 cases that the Health Department set as an advisory marker when the city reopened over the summer.

“Again today, we’re noticeably above that threshold,” de Blasio said during a press briefing Thursday morning. “That’s an area of concern… We want to see that number go down.”

The average number of new cases has been above the 550 threshold since Thursday, Oct. 29. The number surpassed the threshold — that was set in August — for the first time last month.

De Blasio said part of the reason for the increase is due to increased COVID-19 testing citywide. Still, he said, the number needs to come down.

The increase in cases is one of three COVID-19 data points city officials collect to monitor the coronavirus in New York City. Each data point — new cases, positivity rate and new hospital admissions — has a threshold set by the Health Department.

The thresholds were used to determine when New York City could reopen over the summer. When the data fell below the set thresholds for consecutive days, the city lifted COVID-19 restrictions.

If the data rises above the threshold markers, the city could bring back restrictions and possible closures. An uptick in just one of these variables, however, is unlikely to lead to any restrictions in the short term.

Both new hospital admissions for suspected COVID-19 and the coronavirus positivity rate remain below their respective thresholds across the city.

The seven-day average of New York City residents who tested positive for the virus was at 1.81 percent on Tuesday, below the 5 percent threshold. However, de Blasio said it’s another number he would like to see decrease.

“That number puts it pretty much right in the middle of where we’ve been for the last few weeks — a level that we can work with, but a level we want to push down,” he said.

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