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Long Island sees improved testing levels

Figures show 1% of people tested on LI are positive

The latest state figures issued Wednesday morning showed 1% of people tested on Long Island came back positive, compared to 2% for the previous day of testing.

Despite the lower level, an increase in the daily percent of new positives in Suffolk reported Tuesday prompted state and county officials to point to instances of COVID-19 spread at a Fourth of July celebration and among lifeguards who had gathered outside duty hours.

Statewide figures released Wednesday also showed slight daily increases in newly admitted patients and overall hospitalizations across the state: 831 people were being treated for ailments related to COVID-19, a net increase of 11 people, with 94 new patients on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, how and when to reopen more of New York City — Phase 4 of the state's reopening plan — is being considered by the state and city, with an update coming Thursday or Friday, Mayor Bill de Blasio said.

The number of new positives today: 39 in Nassau, 53 in Suffolk, 366 in New York City and 831 statewide.

The chart below shows the number of new cases recorded in New York City and in the state. Search a map and view more charts showing the latest local trends in testing, hospitalizations, deaths and more.

Nassau DA: Local workers targeted in unemployment fraud schemes

Prosecutors say criminals are seizing on a surge in job losses during the pandemic to carry out unemployment fraud schemes targeting workers at some of Nassau's colleges, villages and school districts by using their identities to submit phony claims for job loss benefits.

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Nassau District Attorney Madeline Singas said a fraudulent ring or rings stole the identities of about 400 workers in what she called "a far-reaching scheme" and filed claims for hundreds of thousands of dollars in unemployment benefits since March.

"The COVID pandemic has wreaked havoc in so many homes ... and the Department of Labor is trying to get funds to people who need it because they lost their jobs and now here comes these rings or these criminals who seize on that," Singas said Wednesday in a phone interview. "I wanted to make sure that we get the word out to our communities that they should be on the lookout for this."

Young people dreaming of life in NYC are pressing pause

Living in the city that never sleeps has been a lifelong dream for generations of young Long Islanders. But the pandemic has meant hitting snooze on that plan for many.

Fewer people have been moving into New York City during the past four months, real estate industry figures show, a trend that appears to be continuing even as the city warily awakens.

It’s up in the air whether the market will recover anytime soon, said Jonathan Miller, president and chief executive of Miller Samuel Inc., a real estate appraisal and consulting firm.

“Now they’re living with their mom and dad in the suburbs,” he said of young people.

Jake's 58 in limbo on when it can reopen

Suffolk OTB officials and the owners of Jake’s 58 say the Islandia casino-hotel, which has been closed since March, may remain shuttered for at least two more months.

Delaware North, Jake’s 58’s Buffalo-based owner, said in an email it had implemented safety measures to prepare the facility for customers, but hasn't been told by state officials when it can reopen.

Casinos attached to hotels are not allowed to reopen, according to the website for New York's reopening plan. There is no indication on the site when casinos will be allowed to go back into business. The hotel portion of Jake's 58 also is closed.

"We appreciate the approach being taken by New York State to reopen smartly and safely, and we do not have any further information on when we will reopen," Suffolk OTB spokesman Jon Schneider said in an email. "However, once we are allowed to reopen, we look forward to all our employees returning to work."

More to know

Grocery prices in the metropolitan area continued their sharp rise last month compared with a year earlier, especially for meat, poultry, fish and eggs, which saw increases of up 9.7%.

The first COVID-19 vaccine tested in the U.S. revved up people’s immune systems just the way scientists had hoped, researchers reported Tuesday, as it's poised to begin key final testing.

Countries around the world are reimposing lockdowns and starting new health checks to curb a resurgence of the coronavirus. Here's what some countries are doing.

Nassau County postponed the deadline for filing assessment challenges in small claims court until Sept. 4.

Stop & Shop has halted extra payments to its employees exposed to the coronavirus, drawing angry criticism from the union representing the supermarket workers, including more than 8,000 on Long Island.

Federal disaster loans for small businesses, farms and nonprofits trying to survive the pandemic have been reduced from a maximum of $2 million per applicant to $150,000, sources said.

News for you

Finding hidden gems at local parks. If a trip to Yellowstone or Yosemite isn't possible this summer, you can get a dose of adventure much closer to home. Here are five ways to experience Long Island's wildlife, outdoor adventure and Instagrammable wonders.

About those cardboard cutouts of fans. The Mets announced any fan can get a cardboard cutout of themselves in the stands at Citi Field, but for an $86 price tag. And, find out which other MLB teams offer such a program, and how much they're charging.

For you and your pet. The Suffolk County Sheriff's Office, with the Suffolk County SPCA, will host a free pet food giveaway on Thursday in Riverhead. Free dog and cat food will be distributed to families in need.

A new option in the age of takeout. Drifters Kitchen and Bar in Ridge opened in late June on the site of a former McDonald's, with its takeout window and wraparound driveway spared during the renovation.

Another drive-in concert series. The Town of Babylon is jumping into the drive-in concert craze by launching its own summer series at the Tanger Outlets in Deer Park (for town residents only).

Vacations and COVID-19. Join us for Newsday's free virtual event on Thursday to learn what you can expect if you book a trip, how vacationers are being kept safe and more. Save your spot.

Plus: Looking for a job? The Suffolk County One-Stop Employment Center is hosting several virtual employment events to assist residents in their job search. Find out more here.

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

Sign up for text messages to get the most important coronavirus news and information.

Commentary

Renting and homebuying swap roles in the COVID-19 market. Conor Sen, a Bloomberg Opinion columnist, writes: Normally in recessions, renting becomes more appealing than owning as workers lose jobs, suffer cuts in personal income and choose to avoid long-term financial commitments.

That's what happened during the 2008-09 Great Recession. This time, we've seen the opposite, with a strengthening market for homes but softening demand for apartments.

This shift, although counterintuitive, makes sense in the context of the unique behavioral changes brought about by the coronavirus pandemic. It's a dynamic that could intensify as long as the coronavirus drastically alters daily life, but could sharply reverse when things go back to something approaching normal.

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