This is our daily update of breaking COVID-19 news for Sunday, September 27th, 2020. Previous daily updates can be found here, and up-to-date statistics are here.

New York City is in Phase 4 of reopening now, which includes zoos, botanical gardens, museums, and gyms. A look at preparing for the spread of coronavirus is here, and if you have lingering questions about the virus, here is our regularly updated coronavirus FAQ. Here are some local and state hotlines for more information: NYC: 311; NY State Hotline: 888-364-3065; NJ State Hotline: 800-222-1222.

Here's the latest:

There are now two more hospitals that are seeing a rise in COVID-19 cases after eight neighborhoods found in Brooklyn and Queens have been shown to be experiencing high rates of the virus in recent weeks.

The Mayor's Office and the DOH declined to disclose the locations of the two hospitals to Gothamist, beyond that they are both in Brooklyn and Queens. The DOH previously said hospitalizations were increasing at a hospital in south Brooklyn.

The news comes as DOH updated its figures showing positivity rates in in eight ZIP codes. New figures updated on Sunday show the number of neighborhoods with positivity rates higher than 3%:

  • Gravesend/Homecrest (6.75%)
  • Midwood (5.34%)
  • Kew Gardens (3.82%)
  • Edgemere/Far Rockaway (3.9%)
  • Borough Park (4.63%)
  • Bensonhurst/Mapleton (4.41%)
  • Gerritsen Beach/Homecrest/Sheepshead Bay (3.91%)
  • Flatlands/Midwood (3.85%)

When taken together the neighborhoods represent 23% of positive cases the city has seen overall in the past two weeks even though those neighborhoods comprise just 7% of the city‘s overall population.

On top of those 8 ZIP codes, DOH also tracked four other ZIP codes showing an uptick in the number of cases with positive rates just over 2% or more over the last 14 days. They include:

  • Rego Park (2.34%)
  • Kew Gardens Hills/Pomonok (2.71%)
  • Kensington/Windsor Terrace (2.45%)
  • Brighton Beach/Manhattan Beach/Sheepshead Bay (2.74%)

DOH has since expanded its outreach efforts, though critics say it did not come fast enough.

3:30 p.m. The New York City Sheriff's Office once again broke up another illicit gathering in Queens, finding 192 revelers inside the premises of a building in Queens. The discovery comes just over a day after officers broke up large two separate gatherings that are considered illegal during the coronavirus pandemic.

Deputies arrived to 46-08 Kissena Boulevard in Flushing just after midnight on Sunday, according to Sheriff Joe Fucito, head of the sheriff's office. Deputies spotted illegal alcohol sales happening there, Fucito added.

"Deputy Sheriffs observed many rooms occupied with patrons drinking alcoholic beverages, smoking, not wearing masks and not social distancing," said Fucito.

The club's owner and an employee were arrested, issued appearance tickets, and released. Charges for the owner include selling alcohol without a license, employing an unlicensed security guard, and obstructing visibility into premises by covering the windows. The employee, said to be a security guard, was charged with failing to attend security training. Both faced charges of violating Mayor Bill de Blasio's executive order barring such gatherings.

A phone number listed for the business was not working.

This is the third such raid sheriffs had to bust up in Queensover the last two days. On Friday evening, deputies broke up a party filled with 284 guests in attendance at a catering hall in Maspeth. In Woodside, 78 people were found hanging out inside a karaoke bar by deputies, who ordered guests to disperse.

The news also comes as the city attempts to bring down alarmingly rising rates of COVID-19 in certain neighborhoods in Brooklyn and Queens.

People wait in line to receive free food outside a New York City school in August.


State Sees Small Increase In COVID-19 Rates, But Remain Relatively Low

1:20 p.m. The state’s COVID-19 positive rate showed a small uptick at 1.02% Saturday Governor Andrew Cuomo announced Sunday.

There were 866 new cases reported in the state in 44 counties, bringing the total to 455,626 cases.

Six people died from COVID-19 across the state on Saturday, including two people in the Bronx and one person in Manhattan.

"COVID-19 remains a force to be reckoned with throughout the country and around the globe, and we cannot drop our guard. While our numbers remain relatively flat, we continue to closely monitor the data daily as always," Cuomo said in a statement Sunday. "I urge New Yorkers to keep wearing masks, socially distancing and washing their hands, and local governments must continue to enforce state public health guidance. By staying vigilant and smart, we can beat COVID together."

There were 541 patients hospitalized, an increase of 14 over Friday; 88 newly admitted patients, and 155 remaining in intensive care, a decrease of nine patients over Friday. There were 59 patients in ICUs with intubations, showing a decrease of 16 over Friday.

On Saturday, the New York City Department of Health warned that several ZIP codes in Brooklyn and Queens were showing high coronavirus positivity rates above 3%—well over the citywide positivity rate of 1%.

Grab-And-Go Meals Program To Change Hours During School Year

12 p.m.: The city’s grab and go meals program to feed hungry New Yorkers will change once the school year begins in earnest next week. Given worries over the spread of COVID-19 at schools, the Department of Education said these changes are to ensure that “adults are not in the buildings getting food at the same time as student instruction."

Starting on September 29th, the program will now distribute meals from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays through Fridays on school days only, according to the city. Public schools will be closed on Monday, September 28th, in observance of Yom Kippur.

Multiple meals can be obtained at one time, and there are dedicated kosher locations, and halal options. The program is open to everyone -- no registration or ID is required.

The locations are also shifting to 200 sites instead of every public school.

Check out the list of pickup locations here: