The rising coronavirius positivity rate on Staten Island is causing concern among city health officials. Borough President James Oddo told NY1 while residents are generally complying with coronavirus guidelines, there are still those who push back.
“I think the majority of Staten Islanders are complying, but we have pockets of folks who do not. And more times than not, it’s the same folks who aren’t complying who rail about lockdowns and closures. And it’s their behavior that can determine what can happen the rest of this fall and this winter,” said Oddo.
Oddo said neither the city nor the state has pinpointed a reason for the rise. But he said the borough is unique to others in that most residents have cars, and that Staten Island is at 100% mobility.
And while it is “too simple to say” that some Staten Islanders are not wearing masks because of political views, Oddo admitted some have made the pandemic about politics.
“There is a universe of folks in Staten Island who, when you talk about COVID, it immediately gets politicized. And I put my head into the lion’s mouth every time I post on social media, on Facebook. But I can’t give into that and I ignore it, and you have to get out this information out to people,” Oddo said.
In Tottenville, the coronavirus positivity rate is 6.5%, compared to about 2% citywide. With cases rising, the city is holding a "Testing Day of Action" on Tuesday to help curb the spread and bring numbers down.
“You’re seeing some really alarming numbers. Relative to where we were in March and April — low — but a snapshot in time that makes you really begin to fear what happens tomorrow and next week,” said Oddo.
Staten Islanders told NY1 while they do see some compliance, they also notice the opposite.
"You see at the ferry here there's people literally standing next to each other every day, mask on, mask off. They don't really keep to the rules here, so it's fend for yourself kind-of,” said a Staten Islander at the Ferry terminal.
Another resident had similar sentiments, saying, "It's not surprising because I'm out here, I see how comfortable people are getting, people have masks on—but large groups, stuff like that," she said.