Daniel Romano, of Frankie's East Side Gourmet Pizza, speaks about...

Daniel Romano, of Frankie's East Side Gourmet Pizza, speaks about requiring customers to utilize masks and face coverings as discussions around phase two opening focus on outdoor seating for restaurants, in downtown Farmingdale on Thursday. Credit: Johnny Milano

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

What's happening:

Thursday afternoon updates

Watch Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone's town hall:

Watch Nassau County Executive Laura Curran's town hall:

Bellone asks county department heads to look at cuts, savings

Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone said he asked county department heads Thursday to identify potential cuts and savings as a “financial emergency” looms because of the pandemic.

Bellone said that as preparations continue for the 2020-21 budget, he is seeking a 5% cut in discretionary spending, or $60 million. “This will involve hard choices, we know that,” he said.

Bellone cited an independent report that said the budget deficit in the county could reach $590 million this year and $1.5 billion over the next 2 ½ years. And he again appealed to the federal government for financial relief.

Bellone also said that one person died in the county of COVID-19 in the past 24 hours, a level not seen since early March.

A total of 225 COVID-19 patients were in the county’s hospitals, he said, a decrease of 11.

Bellone said he will host a town hall meeting Thursday at 6:30 p.m. on coronavirus testing and contact tracing. Those interested can watch it on Facebook Live, at facebook.com/stevebellone. — NEWSDAY STAFF

Watch Gov. Andrew Cuomo's press briefing:

Watch Nassau County Executive Laura Curran's press briefing:

Curran: 30% drop in COVID-19 hospitalizations from the start of the week
Nassau County Executive Laura Curran said Thursday there were 210 COVID-19 patients in the county’s hospitals – a 30% decline just from the beginning of this week.
Curran, at her daily coronavirus briefing in Mineola, also said the percentage of those testing positive for the virus “continues to be very low”: 3% or under for the past five days.
“Numbers continue to go in the right direction,” she said.
She said close to 5,000 people per day countywide are being tested for the virus.
Curran added that the Long Island Region is on track to start Phase 2 of reopening on Wednesday.
Phase 2 reopenings will include professional services, in-store shopping, barbershops and most hair salons, and outdoor dining, with precautions and restrictions.
“We need to get people back to work, and we need to reopen our society,” Curran said. “We’re getting there.”

Thursday morning updates

Cuomo: 2% of LIers tested positive yesterday

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo said at his news briefing Thursday the number of COVID-19 related deaths in the state went up slightly to 52 on Wednesday, up from 49 reported Tuesday. But, he added, overall movement is still in a positive direction.COVID-19 testing, averaging 50,000 tests a day, show that on Long Island, “we went from 20% to 2% in six weeks,” Cuomo said.

“Everything we have done is smart and is working and is in the numbers,” the governor said.But reiterating his concern about the dangers protesters are exposing themselves and others to, Cuomo said, “We are going to open the testing facilities for all people who are at a protest.”  The protesters have a civic duty here also, the governor said. Tell people “I may have been exposed” if you are participating in protests against the death of George Floyd, he said. The governor also said as the school year comes to a close, the state will be allowing drive-in and drive-through graduations and that “we will keep evaluating” the situation.– NEWSDAY STAFF

Cuomo: Decision on sleepaway camps is about a week away
Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, speaking on Long Island News Radio with Jay Oliver Thursday morning, said a decision on whether summer sleepaway camps will be held was still about a week away.

He said he wants to gather more information on a pediatric inflammatory syndrome that’s been linked to the coronavirus and has stricken some children in New York and elsewhere. “We have to have a decision in about a week,” he said on the camp question.

Three people, including an 18-year-old girl from Suffolk County, have died from the syndrome, Newsday reported in mid-May.

As of May 21, the state Health Department was investigating at least 157 instances of illnesses among children, teenagers and young adults who could have the syndrome. Cuomo previously described the illness as similar to Kawasaki disease and toxic shock syndrome.

He announced earlier this week that summer day camps will be permitted to open starting June 29. -- NEWSDAY STAFF

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