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Coronavirus on Long Island: Updates from July 8

A day at the Long Island Aquarium. Checking out animals at the Long Island Game Farm. See how some residents on Wednesday spent the first day of Phase 4 on Long Island. Credit: Newsday staff; Facebook / Governor Andrew Cuomo; File footage

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

What's happening:

Wednesday afternoon updates

Watch Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone’s press briefing:

Bellone: No deaths as Suffolk enters Phase 4

As Suffolk County enters Phase 4 of the reopening, Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone said there were zero deaths from the virus in the last 24 hours. There were just 50 people remaining in the county hospitals with COVID-19, 7 less than the day before, and just nine in intensive care beds. The number of people testing positive for the virus was up slightly, however, with 69 testing positive out of 4,108 tested, which is an infection rate of 1.7%.

That is “higher than we have seen but that’s just one day’s numbers,” Bellone said in his final virus online briefing.“After 122 days I will be ending my daily COVID-19 briefings,” he said, but he added, “We still have more work to do.”

Bellone said he would still be giving briefings “as needed” and updates would be posted on his website.He said a total of 41,799 people have tested positive in Suffolk and another 20,004 have virus antibodies.Hospital capacity generally was 68% and icu beds were at 59%.Six people were discharged in the last 24 hours.Phase 4 means “low-risk” indoor and outdoor activities will be allowed now.

- NEWSDAY STAFF

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Cuomo: Decision on schools by August 7

The state will decide by early August if schools can reopen in September, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo said at a press briefing on Wednesday.

The state will publish guidelines on school reopenings by July 13, school district need to submit their plans by July 31, and the state will decide between Aug. 1 and 7 whether schools can reopen for the fall semester in any form, he said.

Earlier, Mayor Bill de Blasio said most of New York City’s 1.1. million public school students would attend classes in person two or three days per week to limit the spread of the coronavirus, with the balance of time spent doing remote learning. -NEWSDAY STAFF

Cuomo: Malls can reopen under certain conditions

Malls will be allowed to open on Long Island and in other Phase 4 regions this Friday under certain conditions, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo said. Cuomo said malls would need special air filtering systems to be allowed to reopen. -NEWSDAY STAFF

Watch Gov. Andrew Cuomo's press briefing:

Curran: State allowing malls to reopen is “great news for our economy”

Nassau County Executive Laura Curran reacted with excitement Wednesday to the news that malls can reopen on Friday under certain conditions.

“This is great news for our economy, great news for our families,” Curran said.

The county executive has been pushing for malls to be allowed to open. She learned the news, announced by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo Wednesday morning, as she gave her own coronavirus briefing at the Cradle of Aviation Museum in Garden City.

Long Island started Phase 4 of its reopening on Wednesday.

Malls can reopen for regions in Phase 4, provided they have special air filtering systems in place, Cuomo said.

Curran said one of the county’s mall operators had assured her that such a system has been installed. She declined to name the mall, other than to say it is a “big mall right here in the heart of Nassau County.” – NEWSDAY STAFF

Watch Nassau County Executive Laura Curran’s press briefing:

De Blasio: NYC students to have in-person classes only 2-3 days a week

Most of New York City's 1.1 million public school students will attend in person classes only two or three days per week to limit the spread of coronavirus, with the balance of time spent doing remote learning, Mayor Bill de Blasio said Wednesday.

That's because fewer students can fit in classrooms due to the need to impose six feet of social distancing, he said at his daily news briefing.

"The math just makes it clear," de Blasio said, adding: "Most schools will not be able to have all their kids in school at the same time, and schools that are historically over crowded will really particularly struggle."He has said that masks, frequent building cleanings, handwashing and other precautions would be in place.

The city will offer an option for families who don't want to send their students in person at all and want only remote-only learning, he said.Matthew Chayes

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