The city declared a coronavirus cluster site Tuesday after half a dozen neighborhoods recorded upticks in recent days, Department of Health officials announced.
Officials are referring to a rise in cases in Borough Park, Midwood and Bensonhurst as "The Ocean Parkway Cluster” because of the especially rapid increases in rates there over the last three weeks. That cluster represents 20% of all new COVID-19 citywide in the past week.
Other neighborhoods with alarming increases in the positivity rate include Williamsburg in Brooklyn, and Kew Gardens and Far Rockaway in Queens.
"At this point in time, these increases could potentially evolve into more widespread community transmission and spread to other neighborhoods unless action is taken," health officials said in a press release.
Mayor Bill de Blasio spoke about the uptick during his daily press briefing Tuesday morning but did not go into detail about the source of the cases. In recent months the city has reported other upticks tied to large gatherings -- including a large wedding that took place in Borough Park resulting in over a dozen cases of the virus in that neighborhood.
City officials said Tuesday the city will be launching a hyper-local outreach effort to make sure people are being tested. The neighborhoods, which also include large Orthodox Jewish communities have been some of the hardest hit by the virus. During his press conference on Tuesday, de Blasio did not go into detail about whether the uptick in cases was tied to a specific activity or event, but he stressed large scale gatherings like weddings and religious activity are still banned.