Lack of data plagues lawmakers in Queens’ coronavirus hotspots

Astoria, Queens – A city councilor, Costa Constantinides, has discovered a surprising rise in the rate of people who test positive for the coronavirus in his Astoria neighborhood in the same way that many of his constituents have done.

Find the statistic on the New York City Department of Health data portal. Then he read about it In the news.

The Positive rate for COVID-19 for seven daysWhich measures the percentage of positive tests, rose significantly above the citywide average in parts of Queens, according to data released by the city.

However, lawmakers in Richmond Hill and Astoria, home to the highest and third-highest in the city, told Patch that they were hampered in their efforts to curb the spread by the near-silence of contact trackers in the city, tasked with tracking down close contact with anyone who tested positive for the virus.

“The Testing and Tracking Authority in New York City has not been close to its results, and this is very frustrating to all of us, elected officials and the public alike,” Constantinides wrote in a letter to Mayor Bill de Blasio. Powered by Patch. “Until now, the Corps has not disclosed which positive cases were contracted nor how they spread. We are not told in specific terms whether certain industries or commercial activities contribute more to the spread than others.”

As of Friday, Richmond Hill zip code 11418 had the highest positive rate in the city: Nearly 6.5 percent of coronavirus tests have returned positive, according to city data.

Astoria’s Postal Code 11105 ranks third, after Tottenville on Staten Island, with a positive rate of 4.8 percent. (Although the data is updated on Friday, there is a lag in reporting; the prices mentioned in this article are from Nov 3 to Nov 9).

According to de Blasio, the citywide positivity rate was 2.8% as of Friday.

A spokesperson for city councilor Adrian Adams, whose area includes part of the Richmond Hill zip code with the highest positive rate, said their office had experienced a similar lack of communication from the contact tracing team. The spokesman said they had received no advance notice of the slight rise in the area.

A spokesperson for Test & Trace Corps said the team publishes weekly reports on demographics and comprehensive tracking data, as mandated by City Council, and indicated that the New York City Health Department is setting the postal code level data on rates of positivity.

De Blasio entrusted overseeing the Test & Trace Corps to NYC Health + Hospitals, the city’s public hospital system, in place of the Department of Health, Due to an internal dispute with the department and its delegatePolitico New York reported that Oxiris Barbot. Barbot resigned several months later.

Patch contacted the New York City Health Department for comment and is awaiting a response.

“When Test & Trace Corps was launched, we promised to build a fair and transparent program for New Yorkers who rely on our proven approach to help the city recover from this virus,” Carla Griffiths, a spokeswoman for the city’s hospital system, said in an email statement. “We did exactly that and remain committed to this promise by freely sharing information and resources with full data transparency.”

Griffith’s response did not directly address a question about Test & Trace Corps’ protocol to notify local lawmakers of the surge in their areas.

In an email to Patch, representatives of Test & Trace Corps narrowly defined the team’s role – such as identifying contacts who may have been exposed to the coronavirus and helping them quarantine.

But Test & Trace Corps has played a key role in the city’s response to excessive local activity in cases of COVID-19, most recently in Staten Island, where 70 employees were sent to do “big” outreach, says Test & Trace Corps CEO, Ted Long.

Long said when interviewing those who tested positive, contact tracers also pinpointed the whereabouts of those people, enabling Test & Trace Corps to spot local elevations early.

“If there is an increase or increase in the level of the virus anywhere, we will know about it early, and we can then intervene immediately and decisively,” Long said on November 5. “Our intervention is our excessive local response.”

This is exactly the kind of information Constantine is looking for, and he said the weekly report does not interrupt it.

“The problem at the moment is that we do not know how the cases are increasing, and the city is not deploying enough resources to the regions experiencing a rise,” Constantinides Patch said through a spokesperson. “The positivity rate of 4.81% should send out traffic lights. We must address this problem, rather than wait for a weekly report. People’s lives are at stake, so city agencies must work together to determine the cause of the increase, inform the public, and deploy resources to keep them safe. Something less than that will result in the loss of more lives. “

Constantinide and Adams representatives said they could deploy resources and outreach efforts more effectively if the city provided details about where people were experiencing positive and societal sites that might have played any role.

City health officials have revealed little information about what is driving the further spread of COVID-19, in part due in more than half of the cases to contact tracers. I was not able to identify a clear source of transmission.

About 10 per cent of cases are travel-related, and another 5 per cent could be linked to indoor gatherings, Jay Varma, a senior public health adviser, told reporters this week.

Still others have a question mark.

Meanwhile, New York City remains on edge Second wave Pandemic.

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