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Coronavirus on Long Island: Updates from June 15

Danieille Abrego, 29, and her brother Celvin, 39,

Danieille Abrego, 29, and her brother Celvin, 39, of Queens, cool off in the water at field 6 at Jones Beach on Sunday, June 14, 2020. Credit: James Carbone

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

What's happening:

Monday afternoon updates

New York: More food assistance through crisis

New York State is adding $100 million to an emergency food assistance program to help low-income people get through the coronavirus pandemic, officials said Monday.

Some 750,000 people and families will benefit from the boost to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), allowing them to receive the maximum allowable benefit for June.

“No New Yorker should be left wondering whether or not they can afford to eat — especially not during an unprecedented public health crisis,” said Commissioner Mike Hein of the Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance (OTDA). “This funding will help these families, and many others thrust into food insecurity, to put meals on the table as our communities begin to mend from this global pandemic.”

The OTDA will be issuing the emergency assistance to any SNAP household that does not ordinarily receive the maximum allowable benefit per month, which is $194 for an individual and $646 for a family of four, officials said. The emergency assistance will be distributed later this month, after the regular benefits are issued. 

It marks the fourth consecutive month all SNAP recipients in New York State have received the maximum benefit. —BART JONES

Bellone: Businesses, restaurants have to 'be smart' in reopening

Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone said as the reopening goes forward, its progress will depend on people “following the guidance and using common sense.”

He said the county is working with law enforcement to make sure reopened businesses and restaurants, especially those on the East End, follow social distancing rules.

“They have to be smart and do the right thing,” he said. Those restaurants that don’t follow the guidance are at risk of having their liquor license suspended or revoked, he said.

Bellone said numbers indicating the virus' decline on Suffolk are “very good,” although deaths did increase to 7 in the last 24 hours. The total death toll is now 1,955 for the county.

Just 33 people tested positive for the virus, with any number under 50 considered “very good,”  he said. Hospitalizations remained virtually flat with 127 patients now being treated for COVID-19 and 12 discharged.-- NEWSDAY STAFF

Watch Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone’s press briefing:

Watch Nassau County Executive Laura Curran’s press briefing:

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Watch Gov. Andrew Cuomo's press briefing:

Cuomo: NY went from worst infection rate to best infection rate

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo on Monday showed a chart with daily test results showing Long Islanders  who were tested for COVID-19 had 0.9% positive results on Sunday.

The number remained unchanged from the day before and  was down from 1.0% on Friday. A similar pattern has been documented for New York City with daily test results showing a drop in three-day figures. The five boroughs show 1.3% positive results on Sunday, down from 1.7% on Friday and 1.4% on Saturday. 

Total number of hospitalizations, the lowest since March 20, were 1,608 on Sunday, according to a chart the governor showed. -- NEWSDAY STAFF

Cuomo: As NY reopens, ‘virus continues to go down’ 

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo said at his news briefing Monday that “here in New York we reopened and the virus continued to go down.” 

Cuomo said 22 states and Puerto Rico have seen an increase in coronavirus infections but the number of hospitalizations and deaths in New York have declined. Speaking from the Mario M. Cuomo Bridge in Westchester County, the governor said the state saw a drop in COVID-19 deaths on Sunday to 27 from 32 on Saturday.

For regions in Phase 3, gatherings of up to 25 people, up from 10, will be allowed, the governor said. – NEWSDAY STAFF

Northwell Health COVID-19 patient count drops by nearly half since Memorial Day

Northwell Health on Monday said it had 357 COVID-19 patients at the 19 hospitals it owns and operates, as the number of patients continues to decline despite ongoing protests and summer weather that has led Long Islanders to increasingly go to parks and beaches.

The New Hyde Park-based health system said it's seen a 16% decrease from the same period a week ago, and daily admissions are consistently at or close to single digits. Northwell said its COVID-19 patient count has dropped by nearly half since Memorial Day, when it had 680 hospitalized for the virus. Also, about 11% of its COVID-19 patients are in ICU, which a Northwell spokesman said is as low as it’s been.

Long Island Jewish Medical Center in New Hyde Park has the most COVID-19 patients, at 73, followed by North Shore University Hospital in Manhasset, which has 65. Five Northwell-operated Long Island hospitals have fewer than 10 COVID-19 patients: LIJ-Valley Stream, Mather Hospital in Port Jefferson, Plainview Hospital, Peconic Bay Medical Center in Riverhead and Cohen Children's Medical Center in New Hyde Park. -- DAVID REICH-HALE

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