The coronavirus is still spreading through New York City's low-income, predominantly minority communities when compared with the general population, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said on Wednesday.
Cuomo said data from approximately 8,000 antibody tests conducted by Northwell Health in New York City found that the Bronx had the highest percentage of positive tests at 34%. New York City overall had a positive rate of nearly 20%.
The state has partnered with the faith-based community in lower income, predominantly minority communities to conduct the antibody testing, which found that 27% of people in that group tested positive, he said.
"Low-income communities, communities of color, they tend to be high Latino, high African American populations. We're seeing that pattern continue in zip codes, lower income, predominantly minority," Cuomo said. "That's where the cases are still coming from, that's where the virus is still spreading."
He said the state plans to implement targeted strategies in highly impacted communities moving forward to control the spread of Covid-19. He said Northwell Health plans to double the number of churches they're working with in the city, and the state will double its testing program to 44 total churches in impacted communities.
SOMOS community care will open 28 additional testing sites in zip codes where the virus has been spreading, Cuomo said. The state will also expand testing from eight public housing developments to 40.
Cuomo said the state is also working with religious institutions statewide to encourage drive-in and parking lot services for ceremonies.
"The spread is continuing in those communities, and that's where the new cases are coming from," he said. "What we're seeing in New York City is going to be true across the state."
Cuomo said New York's effort to stop the spread in impacted communities will include additional personal protective equipment and hand sanitizer distribution as well as encouraging social distancing.
"It's a public health education effort," Cuomo said. "I've been all across the state; you drive through some of these communities and you can see that social distancing isn't happening, PPE is not being used, and hence the virus spreads."
New York is slowly reopening its economy in the upstate and central regions. Seven of 10 regions in the state are allowed to move into a phased reopening, including the resumption of manufacturing and curbside pickup and in-store drop-off at retail stores.
New York City has met only four of the seven required metrics to begin its phased reopening.