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Coronavirus on Long Island: Updates for May 28

Liza and Alex Yeres with their kids Harper

Liza and Alex Yeres with their kids Harper and Jared wave as the faculty of Saddle Rock School in Great Neck passes by in a car parade to good-bye to their students on Wednesday. Credit: Newsday/William Perlman

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

Latest updates

Thursday afternoon updates

Bellone: New program helps create safer outdoor dining

Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone has enacted an emergency measure to encourage restaurant owners to expand seating into the outdoors, where the threat of exposure to the coronavirus is less likely.

Bellone said the county health department would grant “automatic approval” for outdoor dining to eateries without a current permit for it, as long as local authorities approve.

The program is designed to help eating establishments bring dining to sidewalks or back areas not previously used.

He said the county “wants to make sure there is nothing preventing us from being able to move ahead and provide that service.”

Bellone said 101 more people tested positive for the virus as of May 26, bringing the total to 39,359. Another 12,956 tested positive on antibody tests measuring exposure.

Hospitalizations for the virus continue to do down but there are still 301 people in Suffolk hospital beds.

Twelve people were discharged and ten more people died from COVID-19. He said 1,871 people have now died from the virus. --NEWSDAY STAFF

Watch Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone's daily coronavirus press briefing

Curran announces Open Streets pilot program

Nassau County Executive Laura Curran on Thursday announced the launch of a program to help businesses use street space as they attempt to recover from the pandemic.

Curran, speaking from Main Street in Farmingdale, detailed the Open Streets pilot program, which she said will fast-track permits from communities seeking to close county roads so businesses can use the street space.

Curran said that in those outdoor settings, municipalities can put tables on the streets, and then restaurants can deliver food to the tables -- before the eateries are allowed to fully reopen under Phase 3 of the state’s economic recovery plan.

Using the same protocols of delivery and takeout, we can do the same thing with our main streets,” Curran said. She said the county is committed to approving the permits within a week of receiving applications.

Curran also announced there were 106 new coronavirus cases in the county for a total of 40,140 since the pandemic began.

She said there were three new deaths, bringing the county’s death toll to 2,114. — NEWSDAY STAFF

Watch Nassau County Executive Laura Curran's daily coronavirus press briefing

Thursday morning updates

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

Cuomo: Private businesses can deny entrance to people who don't wear masks

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, at his news briefing Thursday from Brooklyn, said he is signing an executive order authorizing businesses to deny entry to those who do not wear masks or face-coverings.

Cuomo also said New York State is partnering with Northwell Health System to bring more health care services to impacted communities in New York City.

He again appealed to Congress and President Donald Trump to help out states with funding. The governor met with Trump and members of Congress on Wednesday. Cuomo said the federal relief bill so far has shortchanged some hard-hit states, including New York.

In New York City, Cuomo said, more progress needs to be made on metrics, including contact tracing before reopening. Also, he said “we have the added situation of public transportation. Have a system that is clean, safe and not overcrowded."

Hospitalizations, intubations, and new COVID cases also were down at 163, Cuomo said. The statewide toll of people lost to COVID-19 on Wednesday was 74, the same toll as Tuesday, Cuomo said. — NEWSDAY STAFF

De Blasio: NYC preparing for safe return to work when economy reopens
An estimated 200,000 to 400,000 people are expected to return to work when New York City’s economy starts reopening, Mayor Bill de Blasio said Thursday.

To help make that return as safe as possible, de Blasio outlined basic rules for businesses to follow, including maintaining a 6-foot distance as much as possible, requiring employees to wear face coverings and frequent cleaning and disinfecting.

Businesses will also have to conduct daily health screenings of its employees, which could take the form of temperature checks or questionnaires, de Blasio said. Communication will also be emphasized, with signage reminding employees of the rules and markers indicating six feet, the mayor said.

“We want this to work,” de Blasio said.

City officials’ will take a “light touch,” de Blasio said, with the goal being to educate businesses. But if they find problems that persist, he said, they could issue fines or take more aggressive action. – NEWSDAY STAFF

Northwell: Number of COVID-19 patients continues to fall
Northwell Health on Thursday said the number of patients hospitalized with COVID-19 continues to decline, while the number of deaths at Long Island hospitals remains low. The health system said it had 647 coronavirus patients at its 19 hospitals, down 19% from the same period last week.

The patient count fell at nearly all of its hospitals, large and small. For example, there are 112 COVID-19 patients at North Shore University Hospital in Manhasset, down 13% from last week. Smaller facilities such as Peconic Bay Medical Center in Riverhead and Plainview Hospital and Mather in Port Jefferson all saw drops of at least 25% in the last week.

Northwell reported three deaths on Long Island in the last 24 hours, compared to six deaths on Long Island a week ago.

Separately, Northwell said it had 29 COVID-19 admissions on Wednesday. -- DAVID REICH-HALE