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How long must we stay 6 feet apart?

Get used to social distancing

Families are hunkered down at home. Workplaces are shuttered. Handshakes and hugs are out while masks and gloves are in. The 6-feet rule has become commonplace. But for how long?

Without a vaccine or effective treatment for COVID-19, public health experts expect authorities to allow people to venture out gradually after infection rates drop to levels deemed acceptably safe — provided extensive social distancing policies remain in effect.

Testing will also be key. New York will launch what Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo called "a significant operation" to test the state's residents, trace back contacts of those infected and isolate people who may have been exposed.

Cuomo said former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg "has volunteered to help" develop the state's program, which will require cooperation with neighboring states and intensely focus on New York City, Long Island and Westchester.

The state will start with about 500 people tracking down cases and build out an army of tracers, he said.

A Cuomo aide said Bloomberg's own contribution to the effort would be "upward of $10 million."

The above map shows the concentration of cases in Nassau and Suffolk communities. You can look up this data for specific communities and see charts tracking hospitalizations, testing, deaths and other statistics for Long Island. 

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The numbers as of 3 p.m.: 31,555 confirmed cases in Nassau, 28,854 in Suffolk, 142,432 in New York City and 257,216 statewide.

40 years after lifesaving surgery, dad beats COVID-19

Adam Lilling is a two-time winner when it comes to lifesaving medical treatment. 

The Roslyn father of two had pancreatic surgery shortly after he was born on March 22, 1980.

Forty years to the day later, his life was once again in the hands of doctors when he was admitted to North Shore University Hospital in Manhasset with a severe case of coronavirus.

After he was successfully treated and discharged, Lilling ordered pizzas for the staff but wanted to do more. So far he's raised more than $11,000 through his efforts.

“I have a lot more living to do,” he said. “I’m really blessed … Anything I can do to help them [the hospital], I will."

Health care systems forecast $1B losses

New York State health care systems collectively expect losses of more than $1 billion during the height of the pandemic, hospital executives said this week.

The losses at the not-for-profit health systems are coming from hiring extra staff to treat patients, paying higher prices for hard-to-find personal protective equipment and lost revenue due to the regional ban on elective surgeries, health care officials said.

Health care systems, however, expect a cash infusion from the $2 trillion stimulus package signed by President Donald Trump on March 27. Another stimulus bill being hammered out in Congress could bring additional funding to hospital systems.

A socially distant 107th birthday

Sister Francis Piscatella lived through both world wars, the Great Depression, the invention of the internet and the turn of the century.

She celebrated birthday number 107 during another historic time — the COVID-19 pandemic.

Although the deadly virus kept Piscatella from being treated by her family to a celebratory dinner at her favorite Italian restaurant, it didn’t stop her from smiling and waving out a window to relatives and friends gathered outside her East Williston apartment.

Watch the parade that was held for her.

More to know

Many food pantries on Long Island report seeing increases in the number of people seeking their help — some for the first time.

One Long Island school district has furloughed or laid off 108 employees, citing “the adverse economic impact” of the pandemic, officials said.

The Senate approved a more than $480 billion interim coronavirus spending bill after Democratic leaders and the White House agreed on a compromise that will expand small business loans and add money for health care and testing.

Two people died with the coronavirus in California weeks before the first reported death from the disease, health officials say.

The spring sports season at public high schools on Long Island has been canceled.

News for you

Guide to grocery deliveries. If just thinking about taking a trip to the supermarket nowadays sounds more exhausting than ever — reusable bags? Check. Gloves? Check. Mask? Check. — these 10 apps and websites will deliver your groceries and other household essentials.

'Nightly News' for kids. Hoping to ease some of the mystery and worry among young people about the pandemic that's kept them out of school, NBC's Lester Holt is hosting a twice-weekly newscast just for kids.

Can you escape? Although it may feel like you're trapped inside your home these days, Puzzle Break LI is giving you the chance to break out — at least virtually. It has moved its in-person escape rooms online.

Help for gig workers. If you're an Uber driver or other gig worker, independent contractor or self-employed New Yorker whose livelihood has been hurt by the pandemic, it's now easier for you to apply for unemployment benefits under a new procedure launched this week.

Free music therapy. One Long Island native, who has a master’s degree in music therapy, is offering free virtual sessions through Instagram.

Join the discussion. Get answers to your questions and learn vital information about this rapidly evolving pandemic by participating in Newsday’s latest free webinar Thursday. It will feature experts from Stony Brook University Hospital. Reserve your spot.

Plus: If you've missed this morning's webinar with the Federal Reserve Bank of New York's Daleep Singh or any others in our series providing resources for local businesses during the pandemic, watch the replays.

Stay connected to real-time updates about the virus' impact on the Island by visiting our live blog, and watch the latest daily wrap-up video.

Commentary

Helping the homeless in a shutdown world. For Long Island’s homeless population, hunkering down indoors isn’t an easy option. The latest episode of “Life Under Coronavirus” follows Dwayne Brown, outreach worker for the Long Island Coalition for the Homeless, while Brown meets with James Hayden, who has been sleeping near the water in East Rockaway and trying not to get sick.

Hayden talks about the impact of public spaces being closed, which Brown agrees has only made life harder for already vulnerable Long Islanders.

“There's nowhere for them to go,” Brown says.

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