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NY shutdown extended to May 15

Another month of staying home

The governor said he made the decision to extend the shutdown in coordination with governors from neighboring states so they have a unified approach to reopening their economies, schools and societies in general.

The shutdown, which also ordered residents to stay at home as much as possible, initially was set to expire April 29.

Cuomo said he did not know what will happen after May 15. “I don’t want to project beyond that period. One month is a long time."

New York will continue to work with other state governments to gradually bring the economy back to a "new normal," he said.

What's needed, he emphasized, is “testing and tracing, testing and tracing, testing and tracing” of coronavirus infections.

The above chart shows the total tests conducted on Long Island in recent days. See more charts and maps tracking hospitalizations, deaths, cases by community and other stats for Nassau and Suffok. 

The numbers as of 3:30 p.m.: 27,772 confirmed cases in Nassau, 24,182 in Suffolk, 123,146 in New York City and 222,284 statewide.

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A parade of thanks on the front lines

Food donations, cards, gifts and flower arrangements stream through hospitals across Long Island while parades of cars roll past with well-wishers holding homemade signs with encouraging messages. 

That's how communities have been thanking health care workers on the front lines at a time when social distancing means no hand shaking or hugging.

“It’s stretching our staff thin, way beyond anything they’ve seen before in their medical careers,” said Joe Calderone, spokesman for Mount Sinai South Nassau in Oceanside, of the pandemic. “When they see a caravan out front — and they’re able to take five minutes to go out and wave — it gives them the strength to go back in and keep at it.”

'Overwhelmingly hectic' at cemetery

At Greenfield Cemetery in Uniondale, the number of burials over the past month has been staggering.

Hempstead Town workers have seen nearly double the number of interments compared with the same time last year. Up to 15 burials a day are scheduled as the COVID-19 crisis strains the only town-operated cemetery for Hempstead residents.

“It’s overwhelmingly hectic,” said Patricia Lima, the cemetery’s acting director. “We are keeping up. It’s not easy. It’s not easy to watch the families. I grieve for them.”

Nurses still lacking protective equipment

Nurses at some Catholic Health Services hospitals on Long Island are still reporting substandard protective equipment conditions, union representatives say, even as other facilities cite improvements in mask and gown supplies.

The New York State Nurses Association criticized St. Catherine of Siena Medical Center in Smithtown and St. Charles Hospital in Port Jefferson. The union said nurses at both places are put at increased risk of infection by having to extend use of their N95 respiratory masks for up to a week and — unlike at other hospitals — by wearing the same isolation gown for entire shifts.

Newsday reported last week that nearly 1,200 hospital employees across Nassau and Suffolk counties had tested positive for coronavirus, with nurses blaming shortages of personal protective equipment, or PPE.

11 days later, survivor holds her newborn for first time

After spending 11 days on a ventilator, Yanira Soriano got to hold her newborn son for the first time on Wednesday, a hospital official said.

Soriano, 36, of Bay Shore, was admitted on April 2 to Southside Hospital in Bay Shore with pneumonia from COVID-19, said Alexandra Zendrian, a hospital spokeswoman. The next day, an emergency C-section was performed on Soriano, who was 34 weeks pregnant, Zendrian said.

Video provided by Southside shows medical staff clapping and cheering loudly for Soriano as she is pushed in a wheelchair out of the hospital and the baby’s father, Walter Soriano, hands her their 12-day-old son.

On LI farms, immigrant workers toil and worry

Juan Antonio, a farmworker from Southold, took two weeks off from his job at a Riverhead nursery following the outbreak because of the risk the virus poses for someone his age.

He returned last week wearing a mask issued by his employer.

“The fear is always there,” Antonio, 68, a native of El Salvador, said in Spanish. “But if I don’t work, I won’t be able to keep up [with bills].”

Farms are considered essential parts of the food supply chain, along with their employees. But immigrant rights advocates said not all farms are offering protection for workers, who often are Latino immigrants, as they face a choice between possible exposure or not having income to support their families.

More to know

South Country Ambulance Co., which serves 45,000 residents in south-central Suffolk County, received masks and medical gowns from a collection of Montana seamstresses

Former State Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos, who had been fighting to get released from federal prison because of his fear of coming down with the virus is getting his wish — because he has contracted it, court papers say.

Long Island homeowners struggling to pay their mortgages say they've asked lenders about federal and state mortgage reprieve programs, only to learn any missed payments would be due all at once in a few months.

There's no spring break this week for Long Island students, who continue to pick up homework assignments from the internet as they have for the past month, due to school closings, under orders from Albany.

More than 1 million New Yorkers have filed jobless claims in the past four weeks, with nearly 400,000 new claims filed in the last week alone, according to new U.S. Department of Labor figures.

The College Board plans to expand opportunities for high school students to take the SAT, including offering the college entrance exam once a month beginning in August if public health allows, officials said.

CNN anchor Chris Cuomo, who late last month revealed he had tested positive for the coronavirus, said his wife, Cristina, has also been infected.

News for you

Socially distant block parties. Looking for a fun yet safe way to connect with your neighbors? This Massapequa Park teen hosts DJ sets for his block from his driveway every Friday. 

Movies for Gen X: Skullcaps and goatees and ironic detachment — if these are a few of your favorite things, chances are you’re a card-carrying member of Generation X. This list of movies to watch while you're stuck at home was written just for you.

Helping Long Island businesses. Join us Friday at 10 a.m. for Newsday's latest free webinar in partnership with the Long Island Association to help the local business community survive during the crisis.

Juggling work and school. How's your "new normal" going? We checked in with three local families. See what their coping techniques are and whether being homebound 24/7 is as horrible as they may have imagined.

Dirty Taco returns. The Rockville Centre restaurant will reopen for takeout and delivery starting Friday after closing last month, citing an overloaded phone order system and overflow crowds that violated social distancing mandates.

Crafting night at home. Yaymaker Long Island, the painting and crafting events company that usually hosts in-person get-togethers at restaurants and bars, is now hosting them virtually. The project materials are substituted with items most people already have around the house.

Gardening during a pandemic. Tips for growing a perfect "victory garden": You'll need sunlight, water, seeds or starter plants and fertile, well-draining soil combined with a can-do attitude.

PlusWatch the replay of our previous free webinars that have covered your questions on coronavirus, applying for small business aid and how to care for your mental health. 

Don't feel like cooking tonight? Here's a list of apps that offer contactless deliveries from local restaurants. Some are waiving delivery fees or are hiring more workers to keep up with demand.

Visit our live blog for real-time updates about the virus' impact on the Island and watch the latest daily wrap-up video.

Commentary

Hempstead in the crosshairs again

Today, across the United States and around the world, the coronavirus pandemic has caused us to adopt what is often referred to as a war footing, mobilizing resources and making sacrifices, writes Lane Filler in his latest Newsday Opinion column.

But in the fall of 1918, when the “Spanish” Flu was taking hold on Long Island, the nation was already on a war footing. Battles raged across Europe, and the U.S. military grew from 378,000 soldiers in April 1918 to 4.7 million by the November Armistice. The massing of troops in tents, barracks, ships, foxholes and hospitals intensified an influenza virus, H1N1, that killed between 50 million and 100 million people worldwide, including an estimated 700,000 in the United States.

And according to Hempstead Village historian Reine Bethany, it was the nation’s military mobilization, and in particular the massive Camp Mills, located on the Hempstead Plains and hosting as many as 30,000 soldiers, that made her community a center of that pandemic.

Just as it is today.

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