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Coronavirus on Long Island: Updates from June 9

Masks, social distancing reminders and dividers are the

Masks, social distancing reminders and dividers are the new normal at the office. With more Long Islanders set to return to work, we took a look at how one local business has put safety measures in place. Credit: Newsday / Thomas A. Ferrara, Chris Ware

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

What's happening:

Tuesday afternoon updates

About 800,000 use subway system Monday

The region’s public transportation system continued its bounce back in the second day of New York City’s reopening.

Speaking at a news conference at the Fulton Center subway station, New York City Transit interim president Sarah Feinberg released new ridership figures for the subways, which returned to nearly full service Monday after operating a reduced schedule for more than two months.

Feinberg said some 800,000 people used the subway system Monday — the first time the system has carried that many people since before the pandemic began. It was a 17% increase in ridership from the previous week. Overall, subway ridership has rebounded to about 15% of normal levels.

“There was a real spring in people’s step,” said Feinberg, who visited several subway lines and stations Monday. “I feel like people felt optimistic and glad to be back. They were entering the system with confidence, and not hesitancy. And we’re continuing to see that today.” – ALFONSO A. CASTILLO

Bellone: Suffolk ready for Phase Two of Reopening

In the final day of Phase One of Suffolk’s reopening, County Executive Steve Bellone said the numbers reflecting the virus’ decline “are moving in a positive direction.”

Bellone said the county will be monitoring to make sure there are no new outbreaks, using testing and contact tracers to investigate potential exposures.

But for now, there has been a “continued decline in our numbers” and Suffolk can move forward to Phase Two.

In the last 24 hours, 49 people tested positive for the virus, bringing the county total to 40,426, not including the 15,856 that tested positive for antibodies.

There are now 155 people being treated for COVID-19 in county hospitals, a number that went down by 3 in the last day.

Ten people were discharged, and the hospital occupancy rate is 63% generally and 53% for intensive care beds, well below the guidelines for reopening.

Nevertheless, four more people died of the virus, bringing the county death toll to 1,139.

Bellone said the county is starting a new program called “Suffolk Cares” of delivering non-perishable food to homebound people and others with “food insecurity.”

He said those in need should call the county’s 311 line to arrange help, which will be coordinated through their local towns. — NEWSDAY STAFF

Watch Suffolk County Exec. Steve Bellone's daily press briefing

Curran: New food distribution center to open in Long Beach

A new pop-up food distribution center will open in Long Beach next week, Nassau County Executive Laura Curran announced Tuesday.

The center will open Monday at the Magnolia Senior Center, 650 Magnolia Blvd., and operate one day a week for six months, Curran said. It’s from a partnership between the county and Long Island Cares – The Harry Chapin Food Bank.

Paule Pachter, CEO of Long Island Cares, said that during the pandemic, 48,000 people have come to the regional food bank’s sites for the very first time.

“What is concerning us most right now is the number of seniors who are struggling with food insecurity and a record number of children who currently don’t have access to nutritious food every day,” Pachter said.

Curran also announced the county is teaming with the Long Island Nets for mask giveaway for seniors and veterans, from 10 a.m. to noon Saturday at the Nassau Coliseum. It’s a rain-or-shine event with a limit of four masks per person. — NEWSDAY STAFF

Curran pushes for immediate return of outdoor youth sports

Nassau County Executive Laura Curran said Tuesday that she has appealed to Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo for the immediate resumption of outdoor youth sports and practices at county parks and facilities in the wake of the pandemic.

“Kids have been cooped up for months,” Curran said.

Under the state’s guidelines, reopening recreation falls under Phase 4, which could be several weeks away.

Curran also repeated her call to reopen malls with other retail in Phase 2, set to kick in Wednesday on Long Island, rather than wait for Phase 4. And she is pushing to have high school graduations expanded to accommodate more than 150 attendees, as Cuomo had announced Sunday.

Curran said there were 148 COVID-19 patients in county hospitals, a one-day decline of five. Two months ago, she said, there were 2,500 hospitalized COVID-19 patients.

There were five new deaths, bringing the county’s total to 2,150. – NEWSDAY STAFF

Watch Nassau County Exec. Laura Curran's daily press briefing

Tuesday morning updates

Cuomo: New dashboard to track possible uptick in COVID-19 cases 

With all regions of the state now at least partly reopened, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo said Tuesday that his team will design a new dashboard that focuses on the number of daily positive coronavirus tests.

The number of daily coronavirus deaths is so low that the number is no longer that informative, Cuomo said. What’s important to watch, he said, is the day-to-day testing.

“Every region in the state is now reopening,” Cuomo said. “Question now is could there be any spikes in the rate of transmission upon reopening. It’s a whole different universe now.”

The dashboard will look at tests day by day, by region and county, and what percentage of those tests are positive.

“If you see it [the number of positive tests] ticking up…then it’s something people have to pay attention to,” Cuomo said.

New York City entered Phase 1 on Monday. Long Island is set to enter Phase 2 on Wednesday.

The mid-Hudson region, including Rockland, Westchester and Sullivan counties, entered Phase 2 on Tuesday. – NEWSDAY STAFF

Watch Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo's daily press briefing

De Blasio: Positive COVID-19 tests down to 1%

For the first time since the beginning of the coronavirus crisis, only 1% of those tested for COVID-19 in New York City had positive results, Mayor Bill de Blasio said Tuesday.

That is “unbelievably good news,” de Blasio said.

New admissions to the city’s public hospitals for the virus was at 52 patients. The number of people in intensive care was 337, de Blasio said.

With the numbers declining, de Blasio said city officials can “absolutely” have a conversation about allowing swimming at city beaches.

The city had banned swimming at its beaches over fears of the spread of the coronavirus, prompting counties and municipalities on Long Island to bar non-residents from their beaches. – NEWSDAY STAFF

Northwell: 6 COVID-19 admissions in the last 24 hours
Northwell Health on Tuesday said it had only six COVID-19 admissions in the last 24 hours at the 19 hospitals it owns and operates.

Daily admissions were in the midteens last week, and that was considered low, said Terry Lynam, a Northwell spokesman.

"Every number continues to look very positive," he said.

The New Hyde Park-based health system reported 62 discharges in the last 24 hours.

Northwell said it had 403 COVID-19 patients at its hospitals, down 88% from the peak the first half of April, when there were more than 3,400. It's also down more than 25% from the same period a week ago.

Long Island Jewish Medical Center had the most COVID-19 patients, with 81, followed by North Shore University Hospital in Manhasset, at 71. -- DAVID REICH-HALE

Suozzi, Curran, Bellone in Telephone Town Hall tonight
Rep. Thomas Suozzi (D-Glen Cove) will host a Telephone Town Hall event for constituents Tuesday evening on the federal response to the coronavirus pandemic and the reopening of Long Island’s economy.

Suozzi will be joined by Nassau County Executive Laura Curran, Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone, and former Nassau County health commissioner Dr. Maria Carney, according to a statement from the congressman’s office. The event starts at 7.

Those who join the conversation will be able to ask questions on the topics, according to the statement.

To take part, go to https://suozzi.house.gov/live to sign up before 6:30 p.m. and for more information. Or, call 877-229-8493 and enter the code 117061. 

Phase 2 of reopening, with outdoor dining, curbside retail, office work and other activities permitted, is expected to begin Wednesday on Long Island. -- NEWSDAY STAFF

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