Mayor: We don’t see a cluster situation

August 17, 2020 Jaime DeJesus
Mayor: We don’t see a cluster situation in Sunset Park
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Mayor Bill de Blasio provided an update Monday on the increase in COVID-19 cases in Sunset Park and announced that a free shuttle bus will take locals to the Brooklyn Army Terminal for free testing throughout the week. 

“We do not see a cluster situation at this point in Sunset Park based on the information we’ve gleaned over the last few days from this intensive testing,” said de Blasio. “We do see individual households with specific problems. Those households are being engaged intensely to ensure that they quarantine, that they safely separate, and what we’re finding is a very strong response.”

Since the warning to the neighborhood was issued last Wednesday, more than 7,300 doors have been knocked on and 77,000 robocalls and 35,000 live calls have been made to Sunset Park residents.

“We do know with our intensive outreach to those whose families have at least had one member test positive, we are seeing about a 90 percent compliance rate with safely separating,” de Blasio said. “We are doing constant follow-ups with those families to make sure that stays the case.”

Since late July, 5,200 tests have been administered, with almost 800 of them at mobile vans in the last few days.

This week, the Brooklyn Army Terminal, 140 58th St., will have free testing available, including antibody testing, for all community members from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., and the city will provide a free shuttle bus to the testing site. There will be dropoffs at Sixth Avenue and 44th Street and Seventh Avenue and 60th Street from 9 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. every day this week until Sunday.

“The important thing is, if you live in Sunset Park and haven’t gotten tested recently, please take advantage of this free testing,” said de Blasio. “It will help us all.”

Following last week’s warning about the rise in positive tests, Community Board 7 Chairperson Cesar Zuniga and District Manager Jeremy Laufer wrote a letter to the mayor, claiming that the city has done a poor job in helping the neighborhood.

“The announced locations for testing include the Brooklyn Army Terminal, which requires our residents, most of whom do not have cars, to cross beneath the Gowanus Expressway along the most dangerous pedestrian corridor in the community,” the letter read. “This location is several blocks into our industrial community, along the southern border of our district, and is very difficult for seniors and small children.”

Zuniga and Laufer suggested that the city provide mobile and stationary testing capacity near the 36th Street, 59th Street and Eighth Avenue subway stations; that every school in the district have testing capacity so that students, parents and staff can be tested before the start of the school year; and that the Sunset Park Recreation Center, Widdi’s Catering Hall and Grand Prospect Hall be used as testing sites due to their large amount of space.

Mayor Bill de Blasio holds a press conference at City Hall on Monday, Aug. 17. Credit: Ed Reed/Mayoral Photography Office.

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