N.Y.C. Schools Report Only 18 Positive COVID Cases Out of More Than 10 Thousand Tests

New York City schools are showing a surprisingly small number of COVID-19 cases after over 15,000 staff members and students across the city were randomly tested.

According to The New York Times, of the 10,676 test results that the city got back after its first week of its testing regimen, only 18 were positive: 13 staff members and five students.

In addition, schools near Brooklyn and Queens neighborhoods where cases recently spiked were given mobile testing units that showed only four positive cases out of the over 3,300 tests conducted since the last week of September, the NYT reported.

“That data is encouraging,” Paula White, executive director of Educators for Excellence, a teachers group, told the outlet. “It reinforces what we have heard about schools not being super spreaders.”

New York became the first big urban district to reopen in-person schools in September amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. The city is home to 1,800 public schools.

Following a recent uptick of COVID-19 cases in Brooklyn and Queens, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced earlier this month that public and private schools in nine zip codes throughout the two boroughs would switch to remote learning.

The day prior, N.Y.C. Mayor Bill de Blasio called for a shutdown of non-essential businesses and schools in those zip codes, repeatedly noting that it “pains me to be putting forward this approach.”

Over half a million residents are predicted to be affected by the closures, as well as around 100 public and 200 private schools, according to ABC 7. The mayor has estimated that the shutdown would last for between 2-4 weeks, and they have not announced plans for reopening.

As of Monday, there are at least 489,016 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in New York, while over 32,000 people have died, according to the NYT's coronavirus database.

As information about the coronavirus pandemic rapidly changes, PEOPLE is committed to providing the most recent data in our coverage. Some of the information in this story may have changed after publication. For the latest on COVID-19, readers are encouraged to use online resources from CDC, WHO, and local public health departments. To help provide doctors and nurses on the front lines with life-saving medical resources, donate to Direct Relief here.

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