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Coronavirus on Long Island: Updates from June 22

Workers remove wood panels that covered window displays

Workers remove wood panels that covered window displays at the Macy's Herald Square flagship store in Manhattan on June 12.  Credit: Getty Images/David Dee Delgado

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

Bellone: Virus numbers look good

Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone said just one Suffolk resident died from COVID-19 in the last 24 hours and just 90 people are in the hospital with the virus.

“The numbers continue to look very good,” he said in his daily video briefing.

He said 17 people who had been treated for the virus in the county’s hospitals had been discharged in the last day and just 38 people tested positive out of 4,000 tested, bringing the total to 41,010 with another 18,122 showing antibodies for the virus.

The total death toll from the virus, as the county reopens from the shutdown, is 1,965.The county’s closure, however, left the government’s coffers in dire straits with a predicted $800 million budget gap.

Bellone has asked for federal aid to help close it but also said the county must make “difficult choices” in budget cuts.He also signed an executive order Monday freezing all step increases and raises for management and exempt employees through 2021. — NEWSDAY STAFF

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LIRR ridership up to 15%

As more New Yorkers returned to their jobs Monday for Phase 2 of the city’s reopening process, MTA officials said Long Island Rail Road weekday ridership is up to 15% of normal levels — up from a low of 3% at the height of the pandemic. And New York City buses and subways are up to 24% of their usual ridership, having carried a combined 2 million people last week — the most since the pandemic began. 

Metropolitan Transportation Authority chairman Patrick Foye, speaking at a Manhattan news conference, called the figures “a significant milestone” and “a sign that New York’s careful, thoughtful, reopening is gaining steam.”

Even while celebrating the rebounding ridership, MTA officials continued to ask commuters to avoid using the system during its busiest times — 5-7 a.m., and 3:30-5 p.m. Speaking to LI News Radio, LIRR president Phillip Eng suggested there is already evidence of changing commuting patterns. Weekend ridership has grown faster than weekday ridership, and is up to 20% of pre-COVID-19 levels. And, Eng said, the railroad has seen an increasing number of commuters opting for “Ten-Trip” tickets, rather than unlimited-ride monthly passes.

“We see a lot of daily trips because not everyone's going in five days a week or seven days a week anymore,” Eng said. “And until the businesses that are restarting have figured out how they're going to restart all their work, we're going to continue to monitor ridership, and we're going to continue to ensure that we have sufficient service throughout the day.” – ALFONSO A. CASTILLO

Monday morning updates

Cuomo: 10 New Yorkers died of COVID in 24 hours 

On MSNBC Monday morning, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo said the state was reporting its best numbers since the start of the pandemic.

In the past 24 hours 10 New Yorkers died from the virus and total hospitalizations fell to 1,122, both the lowest since early March. The state also performed nearly 57,000 tests – the highest of any state – with an infection rate of less than 1%, Cuomo said.

“That’s the lowest transmission rate in the United States of America,” Cuomo said. “So far so good.”

But with transmission rates increasing in many states across the country, Cuomo said he is considering taking action with other regional leaders to control the state’s infection rates.

Cuomo said he is talking with the governors of New Jersey and Connecticut about requiring residents of certain states with high transmission rates, including Florida and Texas, to quarantine themselves if they visit New York.

“I wouldn’t target a specific state but we know the transmission rate of every state in the United States,” Cuomo said on CNN Monday. “I would consider states with the highest transmission rate, that if somebody comes from that state to New York, there is a period of quarantine … to make sure they are not spreading it.” –ROBERT BRODSKY

Northwell Health sees 9% drop in COVID-19 patients from week ago

Northwell Health on Monday said it had 326 COVID-19 patients at its hospitals, a 9% drop from the same period a week ago. Northwell said the number dipped to 299 on Saturday before creeping back up slightly over the last two days.

"That could be because our discharges are often lower during the weekend," said Terry Lynam, a spokesman at Northwell, the largest health system in the state.

Northwell discharged 13 COVID-19 patients over the last 24 hours, Lynam said. The discharge number is often double or triple that, according to Northwell data.

The health system reported no COVID-related deaths over the last 48 hours, and said it admitted 16 COVID-19 patients over the last 24 hours.

"The admission number has bounced around a bit over the last 10 days, ranging from four to 18," Lynam said. "It's lower than it had been, but it still fluctuates a bit."

North Shore University Hospital in Manhasset had the most COVID-19 patients in the health system, with 53, followed closely by Long Island Jewish Medical Center in New Hyde Park, at 52. -- DAVID REICH-HALE

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