Newsday is providing all readers with access to this breaking news blog on important developments about the coronavirus and our community.
Watch Steve Bellone's live press briefing
Watch Gov. Cuomo's live press briefing
Park closures on Sunday
Beaches and state parks on Long Island began filling up Sunday as people looked to take advantage of the sunny skies and pleasantly cool temperatures. Capacity at all sites was slashed to make room for social distancing.
The list so far Sunday: Orient Beach State Park, Bayard Cutting Arboretum, Caleb Smith State Park and Planting Fields Arboretum.
— Newsday staff
Bellone: Pandemic shutdown causes recession in Suffolk
The economic shutdown to curb the coronavirus pandemic has moved Suffolk into a recession, County Executive Steve Bellone said Saturday.
"Our sales tax revenues have plummeted" because of the pandemic shutdown, Bellone said at his daily briefing.
Suffolk will see a sales tax decline of "between $1.1 billion and $1.5 billion" over the next year and a half, Bellone said, citing numbers from municipal financial experts.
He said the federal government must provide financial relief to help Suffolk recover more quickly.
"The recovery must not be borne by local taxpayers," Bellone said.
Suffolk now has 40,615 people who have tested positive for COVID-19, with 56 new positive cases of 5,879 tested in the 24 hours ending June 11, he said.
Hospitalizations were down nine to 125, Bellone said.
And two more people died of COVID-19 in Suffolk, bringing the total to 1,947, he said. — NEWSDAY STAFF
Curran urges residents to wear face coverings
Nassau County Executive Laura Curran urged residents Saturday to wear face coverings when they are in public, to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
"C'mon, don't blow it. We've done such a great job," Curran said at a briefing in response to a question about people not wearing masks in places like Long Beach.
Curran said that most people she has seen are wearing face coverings. But she warned that not doing so could have an impact, as Long Island's economy starts reopening.
The Island is in Phase 2 of its reopening.
"We want to get to Phase 3. We want to get to Phase 4," she said. "They're right just out of reach … If we just keep doing what we've been doing, and we've been doing a great job, we will get there more quickly." — NEWSDAY STAFF
Watch Nassau County Executive Laura Curran's Saturday briefing:
Cuomo: COVID-19 hospitalizations at lowest point since March
Hospitalizations from COVID-19 are at their lowest point since March 20 — when "this nightmare began," Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo said Saturday.
The daily death toll in New York State was 32 people on Friday — 24 in hospitals and eight in nursing homes, according to a slide presented during Cuomo's daily briefing. "We've done it. We have tamed the beast," Cuomo said.The governor also announced that Western New York is expected to start Phase 3 of its reopening on Tuesday, followed by the Capital Region on Wednesday.
And as protests — sparked by the death of George Floyd, the black man who died in Minneapolis police custody — continue, Cuomo urged demonstrators and police to wear a face covering. "Wear a mask. It is the law," Cuomo said. — NEWSDAY STAFF
Watch Gov. Andrew Cuomo's Saturday briefing:
Friday afternoon updates
Curran to parents: 'Use your common sense' as playgrounds reopen
Nassau County Executive Laura Curran urged parents to use common sense and have children follow safeguards against coronavirus spread when the county’s playgrounds reopen Saturday.
At her briefing Friday, she encouraged the use of face coverings, social distancing and hand sanitizers at the playgrounds, and said the county is working on adding signs to remind people of the guidelines.
“Parents, please use your common sense,” she said. “If you feel that it’s not safe, then please don’t go.”
All 67 playgrounds at the county’s 35 public parks will reopen Saturday.
Curran also said the RV campground at Nickerson Beach will be opening Sunday.
She said there were 123 COVID-19 patients hospitalized in the county, 11 fewer than the previous day. There were 55 new coronavirus cases, which represents less than 1% of all those tested in the past day. “Our numbers continue to be very, very good,” she said, while acknowledging that officials are “watching very carefully” the increase of cases in some places across the country.
A milestone in Suffolk: Zero COVID-19 deaths in past day
Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone said that for the first time since the COVID-16 crisis began in mid-March, no one in the county has died of the disease in the past 24 hours.
“That is a great place to be,” Bellone said at his briefing Friday. “It’s a measure of the incredible progress that we’ve made” and a tribute to those who work in the health care profession.
“They held the line,” Bellone said. “Our health care system was not overwhelmed.”
Bellone said that other key numbers continue to decline: The number of patients hospitalized in the county with COVID-19 are down by 17, to 134; and the number of COVID-19 patients in intensive care have decreased by four, to 41, “all great numbers." A total of 47 people have tested positive in the county for the coronavirus in the past 24 hours, he said.
“This is certainly not over, but the numbers continue to move in a positive direction,” he said. – NEWSDAY STAFF
Watch Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone's press brieifing
Northwell: Slight increase in COVID-19 patients in recent days
Northwell Health on Friday said it has seen a minor increase in the number of COVID-19 patients at the 19 hospitals it owns and operates. Northwell said it had 376 COVID-19 patients, up from 372 on Thursday and 367 on Wednesday. Admissions over the last 24 hours rose to 16, up from single digits earlier in the week. The health system said despite the slight increase, the numbers remain low.
"This doesn't set off alarm bells," said Terry Lynam, Northwell's spokesman. "But it reinforces the need for us to monitor these numbers closely."
Admissions were flat between Wednesday and Thursday, which means that fewer discharges led to the increase in patients that day, Lynam said.Northwell has seen a 21% decrease in COVID-19 patients over the past week, and some hot spot hospitals, such as Southside in Bay Shore, continue to trend in a positive direction. Meanwhile, NYU Winthrop said it had 51 COVID-19 patients, down 28% in the last week.Catholic Health Services, with six hospitals on Long Island, also said numbers continue to decrease. - DAVID REICH-HALE
Watch Gov. Andrew Cuomo's press briefing
Watch Nassau County Executive Laura Curran's press briefing
Cuomo: New website tracking COVID-19 cases shows NYS is last in transmission rate
A new website tracking COVID-19 cases shows that New York State is the last state in terms of rate of transmission, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo said Friday.
The founders of Instagram are tracking the rate of transmission of the coronavirus across the nation. Since states have started reopening their economies, Cuomo said, more states have seen an increase in COVID-19 cases, with 23 states hitting a new high of infection rates - up from 21 states Thursday.
“We were the number one state in terms of infection and now we are the last state in terms of transmission,” Cuomo said. “Now is no time to forget what got us here. We have to stay smart.
”There were 42 lives lost to COVID-19 in New York State on Thursday.
The “overall trend on this is down…a far way from where we’ve come,” Cuomo said.–NEWSDAY STAFF
Friday morning updates
De Blasio: Subway and bus ridership, vehicle traffic up since Phase 1 began
Subway and bus ridership and vehicle traffic have all gone up since New York City entered Phase 1 of its economic reopening on Monday, Mayor Bill de Blasio said Friday.
As of Wednesday, subway ridership had increased by 25% compared to the week before. Bus ridership went up by 23%. And traffic into Manhattan was 17% higher via the East River bridges and 14% higher on the Harlem River bridges, de Blasio said during his daily briefing.
The mayor said the Staten Island ferry had also seen a 31% uptick in riders.“Working people are coming back to work,” de Blasio said.The mayor also said that nearly 16,000 work sites were inspected as part of the reopening. Approximately 500 warnings were issued, according to a slide presented during the briefing. – NEWSDAY STAFF