Wakefield section sees COVID-19 case increase, city workers face mandate

On Friday, Oct. 29, 2021, a crowd of 50 municipal workers gathered outside the Bronx Borough Courthouse in the Melrose section, standing against the city’s expanded vaccine mandate for all municipal workers that went into effect on Monday.
Photo Adrian Childress

The Bronx inched near 200,000 COVID-19 cases entering Monday, and after a few weeks of low transmission of the virus in Bronx neighborhoods, the borough’s northernmost region, the Wakefield section saw a sharp rise in cases this past week.

The Wakefield/Woodlawn 10470 zip code surpassed the city’s seven-day median of 5 cases per 100,000 residents, with 8.6 cases per 100,000, according to NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. Sixty-seven percent of residents in the area, however, have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.

The Bronx accounts for 199,977 of New York City’s 2.5 million COVID-19 cases, which is behind Brooklyn and Queens for highest share of the city’s COVID-19 cases. Brooklyn and Queens, combined, account for more than 600,000 cases in the city.

In some areas of the Bronx, like City Island — which has a 75% vaccination rate — COVID-19 cases were nonexistent, as 10464 zip code saw zero cases last week.

A rally on Friday called for an end to the NYC vaccine mandate, which was set to go into effect Monday, Nov. 1, 2021. The mandate requires city personnel, such as police and fire, to be vaccinated or risk losing their jobs. Photo Adrian Childress

Vaccinations should expand to NYC’s younger populations soon after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) gave its formal approval Friday of COVID-19 vaccines for children ages 5-11.

While the Bronx has seen increases in vaccination throughout the borough — the Morris Park, Parkchester and Riverdale sections continue to pace the borough — a host of northern and southern Bronx zip codes are still well under the city’s 74% vaccination threshold.

Monday marked a major shift in the city’s vaccination efforts, as the city’s vaccine mandate for its entire municipal workforce took effect, with more than 22,000 employees subject to unpaid leave as officials hone contingency plans for potential staff shortages.

On Friday, a crowd of 50 municipal workers gathered outside the Bronx Borough Courthouse in the Melrose section decrying the mandate. As American and Gadsden flags waved among chants of “No vaccine mandate” and “our bodies our choice,” protestors argued that the vaccine limits their personal, medical and religious freedoms as reasoning for not getting the shot.

However, the looming mandate did lead to increased vaccinations among municipal workers, with nine in 10 New York City municipal workers have receiving COVID-19 vaccinations, according to Mayor Bill de Blasio.

As of Monday, 91% of the city’s 300,000 employees were in compliance with the mandate. The NYPD, which employs about 36,000 officers and 19,000 civilian employees, reported an 84% vaccination rate, up from 70% on Oct. 20, the day de Blasio expanded the mandate.

NYC Workforce Vaccination Summary by Agency
% of agency with at least one vaccine dose by date (Data courtesy: City Hall)

Agency 10/19 10/30
Total City Workforce 84% 91%
10/20 Mandate-Affected Workforce 71% 85%
LPC 100% 100%
Mayor’s Office 96% 97%
OMB 96% 99%
DOE 96% 96%
DOHMH 95% 96%
H+H 95% 96%
DCLA 93% 93%
DCP 93% 97%
FISA-OPA 92% 97%
DORIS 92% 95%
MOCS 92% 94%
HPD 91% 94%
NYCEM 88% 95%
OATH 87% 94%
LAW 87% 94%
OCME 87% 95%
DCWP 87% 97%
DFTA 87% 93%
COIB 86% 91%
SBS 86% 96%
DDC 86% 95%
DYCD 85% 91%
DOI 85% 93%
DOB 83% 92%
DOITT 82% 94%
TLC 81% 93%
DOF 81% 91%
FDNY (Civilian) 77% 91%
PARKS 77% 92%
ACS 76% 91%
NYCERS 74% 79%
DOP 74% 89%
DEP 73% 90%
DCAS 73% 85%
HRA/DSS 73% 90%
DOT 72% 88%
NYPD 70% 84%
DHS 67% 83%
DSNY 62% 79%
FDNY (EMS) 61% 88%
ALL FDNY 60% 81%
FDNY (FIRE) 60% 77%
NYCHA 59% 74%
DOC 51% 60%

The coronavirus is responsible for more than five million confirmed deaths around the world as of Monday, according to data from the Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins University.

Reach Robbie Sequeira at rsequeira@schnepsmedia.com or (718) 260-4599. For more coverage, follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram @bronxtimes. 

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