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Coronavirus on Long Island: Updates from July 7

People enjoy a cloudy and warm day at

People enjoy a cloudy and warm day at Lake Ronkonkoma County Park on Tuesday. Credit: James Carbone

Newsday is providing all readers with access to this breaking news blog on important developments about the coronavirus and our community.

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Tuesday afternoon updates

Bellone: One Suffolk death from COVID-19 but virus numbers otherwise good

As Long Island prepares to enter Phase 4, Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone said one person died from COVID-19 in the last 24 hours but other indicators are in “really good shape.”Nine people were discharged from the hospital and for the first time since March, the number of people hospitalized fell below 60 to 57", he said.

The total death toll from the virus is 1,975, he said. Bellone said 45 people tested positive out of 4,226 tested in the last 24-hours, making for an infection rate of 1.1%. The total number of residents testing positive in Suffolk is now 41,730. There are also 20,003 people who tested positive for virus antibodies, meaning they had the virus at some point.

Wednesday, the county enters Phase 4 of reopening which means low-risk outdoor and indoor activity can resume. That includes such venues as the Long Island Aquarium in Riverhead and the Long Island Game Farm and Wildlife Park in Manorville. Houses of worship can increase their capacity and certain forms of arts and entertainment forums can open up in, Bellone said. - NEWSDAY STAFF

Watch Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone's press briefing:

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Curran: Nassau wants to keep number of COVID positives below 1%

Nassau County Executive Laura Curran said Tuesday there were 50 hospitalizations across the county’s 11 hospitals, an increase of one patient in the last day. Curran said one more COVID patient was in the ICU, for a total of 2. And one more patient is ventilated, for a total of 2. “The last batch of testing saw 4,066 tested, of which 35 tested positive, or 0.8 % , “which is excellent news,” Curran said at her daily briefing.

“We want to do everything we can to keep it that way,” she said of testing numbers staying below 1 percent. Curran said “concerning to us” is the trend that over the past 2 or 3 weeks, 15%-25% of those testing positive have come from out of state, “we see the math, we see the escalation in cases in so many states cases across this country. … It’s a really big concern as we watch the map,” because Nassau County has done a really good job here of stopping the spread of the virus. “If you’re visiting, we welcome you, but if you’re coming from another state where there are a rising number of cases, we want you to take some time to quarantine, get tested,” she said.

Regarding Long Island’s entering Phase 4 on Wednesday, Curran said: “It’s a lot of things like zoos, museums, historical sites, botanical gardens, aquariums…some higher education as well.” Curran said film and movie production can resume as well. “It’s actually a huge generator for Nassau County,” she said.

HBO is building a set for a very big ambitious show in Nassau County. Malls “are not in Phase 4, we’re still awaiting word on that,” she said.

Watch Nassau County Executive Laura Curran's press briefing:

Demand continues to climb for COVID-19 tests

Demand for COVID-19 tests continues to rise in the region, even though the pandemic peak hit Long Island nearly three months ago, said Dr. Dwayne Breining, executive director at Northwell Health Labs.

"Some people are returning to work in an office setting, and they're being tested," Breining said. "We also must test all patients who are coming in for treatment, and we had a long backup of patients who were waiting to get treatment during the height of the pandemic."

The demand, as well as increased COVID-19 cases in many parts of the country, has led to a slowdown in how quickly some patients get their results.

Nidhin Mohan, owner of Deer Park-based New Island Pharmacy, said he made phone calls for three patients who needed to be tested, and many offices were saying the turnaround time for results was up to 10 days.

Breining said Northwell is delivering results within three days of a test, as it churns about 5,000 to 6,000 daily results at its lab."We plan to be able to double that," Breining said, adding that demand could continue to rise if schools reopen.- DAVID REICH-HALE

Tuesday morning updates

Cuomo: Three more states added to COVID-19 quarantine travel advisory

Travelers from Delaware, Kansas and Oklahoma must now self-quarantine for 14 days upon arriving in New York State, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo said Tuesday, as the total states under those orders in New York grew to 19.

Cuomo announced the move as the number of coronavirus cases is increasing in most states in the country, and in some cases breaking daily records and threatening to overwhelm hospitals and testing centers.

The quarantine orders apply to any person arriving from a state with a positive COVID-19 test rate higher than 10 per 100,000 residents over a 7-day rolling average, or a state with a 10% or higher positivity rate over a 7-day rolling average.Cuomo has said violators of the orders could face fines up to $10,000 for a third offense.

The other states under the self-quarantine orders are: Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, California, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Idaho, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, Nevada, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Utah. – BART JONES

Northwell: 19% decrease in COVID-19 patients in the last week

Northwell Health on Tuesday said it had 125 COVID-19 patients at the 19 hospitals it owns and operates, as the number of patients with the coronavirus continues to slide.

Northwell, the largest health system in the state, said it has seen a 19% drop in the last week, even as Long Island as a region continues to reopen. Some of the hardest-hit hospitals in the Northwell system are reporting staggering declines from the peak in April.

For example, Southside Hospital in Bay Shore, which is near one of Suffolk County’s hotspot areas of Brentwood, has gone from 310 COVID-19 patients on April 7 to four such patients on Tuesday. Huntington Hospital, which had 225 patients on April 7, is down to six COVID-19 patients.

Northwell also reported no COVID-19 deaths in its system over the last 24 hours. The system has not reported a Long Island COVID-19 related death since it said on July 2 that one person died of the virus over the previous 24 hours. -- DAVID REICH-HALE

De Blasio: Child-care centers ready to reopen

New York City is aiming to reopen child care by July 13, Mayor Bill de Blasio said Tuesday.

Under rules to be considered later Tuesday by the city board of health, an estimated 3,000 child care programs could reopen, de Blasio said at his daily briefing. The programs had been among the sectors of the economy shut down by state government order to halt the spread of the coronavirus.

Reopening child-care centers is “crucial” to letting parents “to get their livelihoods back,” the mayor said. The rules being considered this week requires no more than 15 children per room, social distancing, face coverings for all, health screenings, frequent cleaning and disinfection and limiting sharing of toys.

“They are ready to go,” de Blasio said of child care operators. -- MATTHEW CHAYES

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