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COVID-19 case numbers on Long Island rise again and now top 500

Long Island Rail Road employees hand out masks

Long Island Rail Road employees hand out masks at Penn Station in Manhattan on Friday. Credit: Craig Ruttle

The number of new daily confirmed cases of COVID-19 has surpassed 500 on Long Island as the delta variant spreads rapidly and many people remain unvaccinated, according to state data released Friday.

Nassau County registered 243 new cases in test results from Thursday, while Suffolk recorded 266, for a total of 509, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo said in a statement.

New York City saw its daily number of new cases rise to 1,418 on Thursday.

Positivity levels in testing also continued to rise. The seven-day average for positivity in testing on Long Island has increased over the last three days from 2.42% to 2.58% to 2.73%.

Statewide the average went from 2.04% to 2.17% to 2.28%.

"The delta variant's spread throughout New York State and across the country is reinforcing the need for New Yorkers to get vaccinated as quickly as possible," Cuomo said. "This virus can still infect you and others, and being vaccinated is the crucial action each of us can take to slow the spread."

The number of people hospitalized with the virus throughout the state increased by 46, to 657. Three people died on Thursday from causes linked to the virus. None of the fatalities was on Long Island.

COVID-19 indicators have been rising sharply on Long Island and throughout the state over the past month. In June, the number of new daily cases on Long Island was well below 100.

Governments and some private businesses grappling with the increase are starting to take steps to try to curb the new outbreak, with some requiring employees or customers to be vaccinated. Cuomo said Wednesday that by Labor Day all New York State workers must be vaccinated or tested weekly.

Broadway theater owners announced on Friday that through at least Oct. 31 patrons and employees will be required to be vaccinated.

On Tuesday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended that vaccinated people wear masks indoors in areas with "substantial transmission" of the virus, including Long Island and New York City. The CDC also said teachers, students and staff should mask up when inside school buildings.

New York City is reviewing the CDC's indoor mask recommendation and should announce its decision on Monday, Mayor Bill de Blasio said on CNN on Friday morning.

New York State hospitalizations due to COVID-19 exceeded those reported a year ago Thursday for the first time since the start of the pandemic, according to state data. Long Island hospitalizations, which have now exceeded the prior-year totals for seven consecutive days, were 55% higher than those reported a year ago, at 118 hospitalizations versus 76 on July 29, 2020.

At 657 patients, the statewide hospitalization tally was the highest seen since June 11, when 681 were hospitalized. Long Island's 118 hospitalizations were the most since June 4, when there were 129.

Last winter, New York State hospitalizations reached a maximum of 9,273 patients and Long Island hospitalizations reached a maximum of 1,701.

According to Newsday estimates using state data, 70% of Long Islanders will be fully vaccinated by Nov. 18 if the current rate of inoculations continues, and 90% will be fully vaccinated by June 28, 2022.

On a statewide level, 70% of New Yorkers will be fully vaccinated by Dec. 29, and 90% of New Yorkers will be fully vaccinated by Aug. 15, 2022.

With Matt Clark

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