The Co-op City and Edenwald sections of the Bronx have the highest rate of hospitalizations citywide, according to data released Thursday.
If you’ve heard jokes about the “Eris” Tour, it’s not a new segment of Taylor Swift’s concert series. It’s a nod to something else making its way around the country: a subvariant of Omicron called EG.5, nicknamed Eris.
Weekly COVID-19 hospital admissions have been rising in the United States in recent weeks, leading to 10,320 visits the week of Aug. 5, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) data. Still, visits are less than a fourth of what they were during a peak in early January of this year.
Cases have also been on the rise in New York City since mid-to-late July, though the trend has been falling back down among those vaccinated while the increase has been stark among those unvaccinated, according to NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene data through Aug. 5.
As of Thursday, the city health department has tracked a daily average of 672 cases and one death over the past week. The health department only includes results from PCR tests, and not at home tests, however.
The Co-op City and Edenwald sections of the Bronx — or the 10475 zip code — rose to the highest rate of hospitalizations in all of New York City at 25.7 per 100,000 people, according to July 7-Aug. 3 data just released by the health department on Thursday. Previously, the area ranked second highest behind Ocean Hill and Brownsville in Brooklyn from June 30-July 27.
While the second though fifth highest hot spots are in other boroughs, Mott Haven ranks sixth with 19.1 per 100,000 and Allerton/Norwood/Pelham Parkway/Williamsbridge is seventh with 18.6.
Hospitalizations include people who are in the hospital because of COVID-19 as well as those hospitalized for other reasons and found to have the virus.
City health department spokesperson Patrick Gallahue told the Bronx Times that while there is currently an increase in COVID-19 transmission in New York City, “there is nothing to suggest that COVID-19 is more transmissble or more likely to cause severe disease.”
Gallahue said people getting vaccinated and staying home when they’re sick are ways to keep New Yorkers safe.
“Masks are another important layer of protection, especially if you are at increased risk of severe COVID-19 or around others who are, or when in crowded, indoor settings,” he added. “If you have symptoms that could be a sign of COVID-19 or were recently exposed to someone with COVD-19, wear a mask when around others and get tested right away. And if you test positive, make sure to get treatment by calling your provider or 212-COVID-19.”
In the Bronx, 77% of people have completed their primary series of vaccinations, which falls lower than the citywide rate of 81%. But those numbers fall drastically when it comes to receiving the more recent bivalent dose with a citywide rate of 16%, and just 11% in the Bronx.
Bivalent vaccines combat both the original virus strain and the omicron variant, and everyone 6 years and older is up-to-date with their vaccination if they received one dose of the bivalent vaccine, according to the health department. But people who received their primary vaccines also need a bivalent dose to be considered up to date.
Officials expect to see a new COVID-19 vaccine this fall.
There is overall less data to point to with spikes since federal authorities ended the public health emergency in May, so while the CDC measures hospitalizations, deaths, emergency department visits and vaccinations, it no longer counts positive test results, like many states.
Dr. Mandy Cohen, the new CDC director, said she expects people will get their COVID-19 shots where they get their flu shots — at pharmacies and at work — rather than at dedicated locations that were set up early in the pandemic as part of the emergency response.
“This is going to be our first fall and winter season coming out of the public health emergency, and I think we are all recognizing that we are living with COVID, flu, and RSV,” Cohen told The Associated Press. “But the good news is we have more tools than ever before.”
Getting tested and vaccinated for the virus is free in New York City.
The city health department has COVID Express sites throughout the city that offer PCR tests — which can detect even a small amount of virus in someone’s system — with results within 24 hours or less. These tests are free to all New Yorkers, regardless of immigration status. Tests are available by appointment only and can be scheduled by scrolling down on the city’s COVID-19 Express Testing webpage.
Additionally, free at-home rapid tests are available for pickup with information at nyc.gov/covidtest.
COVID-19 vaccines are available for people 6 months and older, and are available for free regardless of immigration status. Appointments can be made on the NYC vaccine finder at vaccinefinder.nyc.gov.
–The AP contributed to this report
Reach Aliya Schneider at [email protected] or (718) 260-4597. For more coverage, follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram @bronxtimes