Suffolk County legislator Jason Richberg, center, uses hand santizer after...

Suffolk County legislator Jason Richberg, center, uses hand santizer after a press conference in Wyandanch 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

Babylon to install public hand sanitizer stations

More than a dozen hand sanitizer stations will be installed across downtowns in the Town of Babylon, officials announced Tuesday.

The partnership between the town and the Babylon Town Industrial Development Agency will fund 15 stations. Town officials also said they will be giving out $200,000 worth of personal protective equipment to businesses, either through direct distribution or via reimbursement of supplies already purchased.

“I’d like to commend the Town of Babylon and the Babylon IDA for helping to make sure our small businesses have everything they need in place for a safe and successful reopening,” Suffolk County Legis. Jason Richberg (D-West Babylon) said in a statement.

The efforts are part of the town’s “Babylon is Back” program, which officials said was created to provide “guidance, resources and assistance” to business owners to prepare for reopening. -- DENISE M. BONILLA

Watch Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone's press briefing:

Bellone: COVID-19 numbers stable

Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone said Tuesday that the numbers reflecting the decline of COVID-19 is “more of the same.

”He said the infection rate has been about 1 percent or less and continues to be with 46 people testing positive for the virus in the last 24 hours out of 4,800 tested.He said hospitalizations have been hovering around 120 to 125 and is currently 121. Hospital capacity is 62% with ICU beds at 58%, he said.

There were eight people discharged and two more people died of the virus, bringing the county death toll to 1,957.Bellone applauded Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s announcement that those hospitalized and in group homes can now have visitors, saying it’s a “big step forward for so many families.”He also said the county’s drive-in movie series starts Saturday night at Smith Point County Park with a showing of “Jaws” at 8:30 p.m.

Reservations can be made on the county website. — NEWSDAY STAFF

Curran: COVID-19 hospitalizations increase by 5

Nassau County Executive Laura Curran said the number of COVID-19 patients hospitalized in the county increased by five in the previous 24 hours, to 108.

“Of course this is a number that we’re watching carefully,” Curran said at her daily coronavirus briefing Tuesday. “We’ll see if it is indeed just a blip” after recent declines.

There were 50 new coronavirus cases in the past 24 hours, bringing the total number to 41,290 in Nassau since the crisis began in early March.

Curran added that three new COVID-19 deaths of Nassau residents brings that total to 2,170.

There was no change in the number of ventilated patients, 24, over the previous day, and nine people were discharged from county hospitals.

“The percentage of people testing positive continues to hover at about 1%, so that’s good news,” Curran said.She said that if the county continues on its current path, “with very few testing positive,” the region should be able to enter Phase 3 of reopening on June 24. — NEWSDAY STAFF

Watch Nassau County Executive Laura Curran's press briefing

Tuesday morning updates

Watch Gov. Cuomo's press briefing

Cuomo: Hospitals, group homes will allow visitors; U.S. Open to go on

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo said Tuesday that hospitals can now allow visitors at their discretion, but they must follow state guidelines including limited visits and requiring visitors to wear personal protective masks.

Visitors will also be subject to temperature and symptom checks.

Cuomo also said that beginning Friday, group homes — but not nursing homes — may begin visitations, also up to the discretion of the group homes. They are required to tell the state they are allowing visits and must follow state guidelines on masks.

Additionally, the governor said the U.S. Open, from Aug. 31 to Sept. 13, will run as a televised event without fans present.

The USTA will take measures to protect players and staff, including testing, additional cleaning, providing extra locker room space, and providing housing and transportation, according to a slide presented at the briefing. — NEWSDAY STAFF

NYC taking steps against crowding

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said “we continue to take action” against venues such as bars that violate government-mandated restrictions on public gatherings.

The city sheriff, NYPD and civilian agencies are at work, he said.

“Clearly any place that’s reported as a place where we’re seeing crowding is going to be addressed. If enforcement is needed, there will be enforcement. I don’t have any doubt in the world that our city agencies can take care of this issue effectively,” he said when asked about Cuomo’s recent threat.

De Blasio also said that the three metrics being monitored to guide when and how the city reopens continue to be below the thresholds needed: numbers of critical care patients and hospitalized coronavirus cases and the percent of tests showing virus infection.  — MATTHEW CHAYES

De Blasio: Stay out of playgrounds amid coronavirus pandemic

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio on Tuesday criticized people who reportedly cut the lock at a Williamsburg playground, which had been shut amid the coronavirus pandemic.

“We’re not going to allow people to take the law into their own hands,” de Blasio said. De Blasio said a decision on opening playgrounds won’t be made until the city enters Phase 2 of its reopening. The city is currently in Phase 1.

“Until the order is given…people need to stay off the playgrounds,” de Blasio said. He added, “I know it’s not easy, but people have to understand that there’s a reason for these rules.” – NEWSDAY STAFF

Number of COVID-19 patients continues to fall at Northwell hospitals

Northwell Health on Tuesday said COVID-19 volume at its hospitals continues to fall, although the rate of patient decline has slowed.

Northwell, the largest health system in the state, said it had 356 COVID-19 patients at the 19 hospitals it owns and operates, down 11.7% from the same period last week. In recent weeks, Northwell had been reporting drops of between 15% and 20%.

Northwell said it had seven COVID-19-related admissions over the prior 24 hours, a number a health system spokesman called slow. Long Island Jewish Medical Center in New Hyde Park has the most COVID-19 patients, at 68, followed by North Shore University Hospital in Manhasset, at 62. A week ago, LIJ reported 81 and North Shore had 71 COVID-19 patients.

Nearly every Northwell hospital on Long Island reported fewer COVID-19 patients this week. The exceptions: Glen Clove Hospital and Southside Hospital in Bay Shore saw small increases.-- DAVID REICH-HALE

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