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Hell’s Kitchen’s COVID-19 infection rate is trending up with an exponential curve as positive cases in the neighborhood increased by 578% since this time in November, according to city data released this afternoon.

Hell’s Kitchen COVID-19 cases from Sep-Dec 2021


The trend tracks the rest of the 5 boroughs and Manhattan. However, in Zipcode 10036 the positive test rate is at the top of the city’s neighborhood lists at 3.164 per 100,000 people. The most recent data released takes in all tests through the labs up to Saturday, December 18 (this does not include self-testing).

Hell’s Kitchen COVID-19 cases — by Zipcode


Erik Bottcher, who will become council member for the area on January 1, said on Instagram: “Council District 3 (HK, Chelsea, West Village) is racking up some of the highest numbers of new cases in NYC. This may partly be attributed to more testing, but it is nonetheless very troubling. The good news is that we have some of the highest vaccination rates, and hospitalizations among vaccinated people appear to be remaining low.”

The area has been hard hit over the past week, with long lines at COVID test centers, Broadway canceling shows and local bars and eateries deciding to close until after the holidays. The Brazen Tavern was added to that list today, saying that they would close until after Christmas. “We are fortunate that our staff is healthy and safe at this time and we’re going to do our part to make sure they stay that way. We have made the decision to close through Christmas and reopen on December 26th,” they said on Instagram. “We wish you all a safe and happy Christmas and encourage you to get tested, wear your mask, and check in on your friends and neighbors!”

The Brazen Tavern has decided to stay closed until after Christmas. Photo: Phil O’Brien

Also, Hush on W52nd between 8/9th Avenue, said this evening that they had suspended their nightly drag shows. However, the bar and club will remain open.

This afternoon, New York City mayor-elect Eric Adams said that he is postponing his inauguration due to the Omicron surge. Also, Lion King announced that they will not resume shows until their matinee performance on Monday, December 27 — adding to a long list of Broadway shows already suspended until after Christmas.

On Saturday, the last day which the city has issued results, the average positive test rate in the area was 8.7%. “The infection rate in the city is high. Our clinic is seeing high positivity of about 25-30%,” said Dr Vino Palli from MiDoctor on 9th Avenue this afternoon. “Omicron is the predominant strain.” He emphasized that everyone should “continue masking, washing hands, get boosted, get tested if exposed or symptomatic — and change travel plans if you can!”

Lines were around the block for testing and boosting at MiDoctor at lunch hour today. Photo: Phil O’Brien.

Even with the surge, hospitals in the city appear not to be getting overwhelmed. However, as the city reported data today they emphasized that “to accommodate standard reporting delays, hospitalization and death data are published at a 14-day lag.”

Testing in the area continues to have mixed results, in terms of time spent in line and how quickly test results come back. Readers continue to send us pictures of the lines for testing around Hell’s Kitchen.

Readers have told us that some of the less obvious testing sites have short waits and quick results. “I was in and out in 15 minutes at the test site on W36th Street last night with results already back this morning. The same with the tent/van on W47/48th Street and 10th Avenue,” shared one reader via Instagram.

There are more and more testing spots popping up around the city. Photo: Phil O’Brien

While the lines for testing at emergency care places such as CityMD and MedRite grow — the number of pop-up vans and tents offering COVID testing on the street multiply. William Arboleda from Ryan Chelsea-Clinton Community Health Center on 10th Avenue advises: “If you see a short line, jump on it.”

Join the Conversation


  1. Although it wasn’t free, I had an excellent testing experience at Esco Pharmacy on 9th Ave. This past Monday night I booked an online appointment for Tuesday mid-day and pre-paid for my visit. On Tuesday I scanned my Q-code outside the pharmacy 15 minutes before my appointment to check in; then went inside at my scheduled time and waited 10 minutes with about a dozen people safely spaced. The only person I interacted closely with was the person swabbing my nose. Because they have an in-house lab, I had my PCR results within a few hours. It felt good to support a privately owned local business while receiving amazing service. Thank you Esco!

  2. The only reason positive cases surged is because testing surged as people wanted to travel for the holidays.. It’s like saying more people are dying on bicycles without admitting that a lot more people are riding bicycles. Also the tests have a lot of false positives constantly I constantly I’ve seen staggering numbers of false positive tests. Don’t believe anything you read or hear it’s all a lie and if it’s not, why were there 30 million cases of the flu in 2019 and then under 2000 in 2020? Riddle me that 1 Batman.

  3. And I just came back in and the testing statement had A-line of block long yesterday has 5 people on it now. There will be a massive drop after the spike which is due solely to extra testing for travelers.

  4. PCR tests are riddled with false positives peris positives. The inventor of the PCR test died mysteriously about a year ago which also raises eyebrows. Asymptomatic positive testing is 97% false.Meaning if you’re not sick, you’re not sick. What a brilliant idea 🙂

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