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Coronavirus on Long Island: Updates from June 26-28

Lifeguards, all wearing face covers, get their assignments

Lifeguards, all wearing face covers, get their assignments at Smith Point County Beach in Shirley on Sunday. 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:

Sunday updates

Watch Steve Bellone's Sunday update:

Saturday updates

Bellone: Summer's COVID-19 numbers should remain low

COVID-19 numbers are expected to remain low through the summer, Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone said Saturday, though he worries about a second wave when residents return indoors in the fall.

"I feel confident we will effectively contain the virus this summer," Bellone said at his daily briefing. "My concern remains in the fall when we are all indoors once again."

Bellone said residents were complying with social distancing guidance and wearing face coverings.

"We are outdoors in the summertime," Bellone said. "One clear thing we've learned is outdoors the virus is much less contagious than indoors."

The county had 45 additional positive tests reported Saturday, bringing the county's total to 41,253.The county's positive testing rate was 0.98% out of 4,615 tests. Suffolk County has recorded 18,816 positive antibody tests, Bellone said.

Hospitalizations remained unchanged at 77 patients, with eight patients discharged. COVID-19 ICU patients discharged was 25. The county recorded under 80 patients hospitalized for the first time Friday. The county's hospital bed capacity is at 70% available with 60% of ICU beds available.

The county also recorded three new deaths, totaling 1,979 people who have died from COVID-19.

Bellone said the numbers have remained low while the county has pushed for outdoor dining and beaches to reopen. He also wants the Long Island Ducks to take the field at Bethpage Ballpark with fans in Phase 4. —JOHN ASBURY

Cuomo: NYS workers who travel to COVID-19 hot spots won't get paid sick leave

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo said Saturday that he issued an executive order denying COVID-19-related paid sick leave to state employees who voluntarily travel to Florida and other high-risk states.

Cuomo also announced that at least five people who attended a Westchester County high school graduation ceremony have tested positive for the coronavirus after a student returned from a trip to Florida.

Florida is seeing a surge in coronavirus cases as New York's infection rate continues to decline.

The new executive order applies to travel to states that meet the same infection-rate criteria that Cuomo and the governors of New Jersey and Connecticut said would be covered by quarantine restrictions that went into effect on Thursday. In addition to Florida, seven other states — including Texas, North Carolina and Arizona — are currently covered by the quarantine, which requires 14 days of self-isolation for travelers from those states. — DAVID OLSON

Friday afternoon updates

Nassau buses to charge fares again

In Nassau County, the public bus provider is taking steps to return to normalcy following the height of the pandemic.

The Nassau Inter-County Express, or NICE Bus, will resume fare collection on Saturday. NICE did not collect fares from riders for the better part of the last three months, when passengers were directed to board from rear doors.

The bus operator said the move was intended to “support social distancing between passengers and operators while providing economic relief to essential workers using public transit.” —ALFONSO A. CASTILLO

Bellone: COVID-19 ‘numbers are really outstanding’

County Executive Steve Bellone praised the work of Suffolk residents in bringing down the level of COVID-19, even as spikes and surges occur across the country.

“Relative to where we’ve been, these numbers are really outstanding,” Bellone said Friday. “We’ve been successful.”

He also urged Suffolk residents to continue to wear face coverings in public, safely distance from others, and stay home should they feel sick.

An additional 57 people tested positive for the virus, bringing the county total to 41,208, Bellone said at his daily briefing Friday.

He noted that 5,076 people tested positive for antibodies who had not had a previous diagnosis.

Suffolk’s number of hospitalizations is below 80 for the first time since March, he said. A total of 77 people remain in hospitals, a decrease of eight from the previous day.

In addition, a total 26 people are in ICUs, an increase of one, Bellone said.

Ten people were discharged from hospitals in the past 24 hours, he said.

One person died of the virus, he said. — CRAIG SCHNEIDER

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Curran calls for “safe reopening” of schools in September

Nassau County Executive Laura Curran on Friday declared her support for the reopening of in-person classes in the county’s school districts.

Curran said evidence shows children are not the main drivers of the coronavirus pandemic. Children seem to be infected less frequently than adults even with the same exposure, she said.

“I personally would like to work towards a safe reopening of in-person school in September,” Curran said. “There are so many moving parts.”

She noted the families who rely on school meals to feed their children and said the county set aside $1 million in federal funds to support food banks and have distributed more than 15,000 meals to families. – CANDICE FERRETTE

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