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NYC Sending Coronavirus Resources To Sunset Park, Brooklyn Amid Uptick In Cases

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- New York City is bringing its hyper-local coronavirus testing approach to Sunset Park, Brooklyn.

Mayor Bill de Blasio said Wednesday the city's test and trace program has identified an uptick in cases in that part of the borough.

"When we see any kind of trend that's unusual, that's when you double down. That's when you throw in more focus, more resources," the mayor said.

Residents agree.

"They have to. If you look around, especially in certain parts of the neighborhood, you're gonna see so many people, not just young, not wearing masks and it's not right," a resident named Al told CBS2's Marcia Kramer.

"I heard it on the news that there was a big cluster in Sunset Park. It got me nervous because I take care of my aging mother. She's 82, and I got to take care of her. It's scary," Norma Hernandez added.

Watch: Mayor De Blasio's Daily Coronavirus Briefing 

With a population of only 38,000, the neighborhood is a small slice of New York City. But the uptick has triggered a massive effort to try to find out what's causing the problem.

"In a way, the zip code-wide rate was like the 'beep' of a metal detector that told us where to dig," said newly appointed Health Commissioner Dr. Dave Chokshi.

The mayor and health commissioner urged residents to get tested and said the city will be making robocalls, handing out flyers, and knocking on doors to get the word out.

"We now have a warning light. We have a sign there's something going on that we want to know more about, we want to delve into further," De Blasio said. "The way we do that is by getting out into the community deeply, communicating with people at the grassroots."


Chokshi said 3,300 people were tested over the past two weeks in Sunset Park, and 228 came back positive.

Rapid testing will be available at Brooklyn Army Terminal, and two mobile testing vans are coming to the area.

Labs will be set up at the corner of 44th Street and 6th Ave from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday, and at the Brooklyn Herald Gospel Center on 44th Street from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

"This is what a data-driven, hyper-local approach looks like," Chokshi said. "One that strategically deploys testing resources and enrolls people in the critical services needed to allow New Yorkers to keep their friends, families and neighborhoods safe."

The city is asking everyone in the neighborhood to cooperate and get the free test.

People who test positive will be connected with resource navigators for things like medication, hotels and food.

The city also took a similar approach in the Tremont section of the Bronx and the Rockaways in Queens.

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