Story at a glance

  • Cuomo said antibody testing shows about 27 percent of the state’s lower-income communities tested positive for the coronavirus, while the general population is about 19 percent.
  • Last week, the state kicked off a campaign to expand coronavirus testing in low-income and minority communities in partnership with Northwell Health.
  • The state will expand the testing to 72 locations in some of the hardest-hit communities, as well as in 40 public housing developments.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) Wednesday said coronavirus numbers are “headed in the right direction,” but noted antibody testing shows most new coronavirus cases in the state are coming from low-income communities and communities of color when compared with the general population. 

During a news briefing, Cuomo said antibody testing shows about 27 percent of the state’s lower-income communities tested positive for the coronavirus, while the general population is about 19 percent. The Bronx had the highest percentage of positive tests with 34 percent. 


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“Low-income communities, communities of color, tend to be high Latino, high African American populations. We’re seeing that pattern continue in zip codes, lower income, predominantly minority,” Cuomo said. “That’s where the cases are still coming from, that’s where the virus is still spreading.”


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The state recently kicked off a campaign to expand coronavirus testing in low-income and minority communities in partnership with Northwell Health, New York’s largest healthcare provider, opening 22 temporary testing sites at churches and other locations. The state will expand the testing to 72 locations in some of the hardest-hit communities, as well as in 40 public housing developments. 

“I’m asking all local governments to do the same thing that we did in New York City. Focus on low-income communities, do the testing, and do the outreach,” Cuomo said. 

The governor said the next step will be getting personal protective equipment, hand sanitizer and promoting the importance of social distancing in those communities, noting the challenges they face when it comes to protective measures. 

“How do you social distance in an elevator in a public housing complex? How do you socially distance in the hallways in a public housing complex,” he said. “We understand the challenge.”

Overall, Cuomo said new coronavirus cases and hospitalizations are down, but emphasized that 112 New Yorkers died from COVID-19 Tuesday. 

As of Wednesday, New York reported 353,000 COVID-19 cases and more than 22,000 deaths. 


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Published on May 20, 2020