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Casinos are next to reopen — with restrictions

Cuomo: NY casinos can start reopening Sept. 9

Plans are already in motion to put Long Islanders back in play. The casino at Jake’s 58 in Islandia will reopen next Wednesday, said Glen A. White, spokesman for Delaware North, the betting parlor’s Buffalo-based owner. The hotel portion of the facility remains closed, he said.

In a joint statement, White and Suffolk OTB said the casino would reopen following Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines. Masks and social distancing will be required, and hand sanitizer will be available on the gaming floors. Customers will have their temperatures checked when they enter, he said.

Under the state's plans, casinos will be able to reopen with a limited 25% capacity, as long as they have in place enhanced air filtration systems and have set up their machines at least 6 feet apart and with physical barriers.

Meanwhile, malls in New York City will be able to reopen at 50% capacity, but they also need to have enhanced air filtration in place and observe other physical distancing requirements, Cuomo said.

The number of new positives today, as of 3 p.m.: 79 in Nassau, 66 in Suffolk, 304 in New York City and 889 statewide.

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

Staff coronavirus cases at 3 LI schools

Islip, Smithtown and Bellmore-Merrick school districts each reported a positive case of COVID-19 on Wednesday, as the districts prepare to reopen after Labor Day.

  • An Islip High School teacher tested positive, district officials wrote in a letter Wednesday while trying to reassure parents concerned that an outbreak could occur once classes begin next week.
  • A staff member at St. James Elementary School in the Smithtown district tested positive, Superintendent Mark Secaur said in a letter to parents. That staff member was last in the building on Aug. 27.
  • A staff member at Merrick Avenue Middle School tested positive and won't be allowed to return to the building for 10 days and after a negative test result is provided to the district, said Bellmore-Merrick Superintendent John DeTommaso and school Principal Katelyn Dunn in an email to parents.

Some school employees across Long Island districts have been back in the buildings preparing for the first day of school. Smithtown and Bellmore-Merrick are scheduled to reopen on Tuesday, while Islip is set to begin classes the following day. 

Is indoor dining possible in NYC?

Cuomo said he wants to lift his monthslong ban on indoor restaurant dining in New York City, but only if the city takes steps such as deploying what amounts to about 10% of the NYPD police force to enforcing reduced capacity.

He did not impose a similar burden on other jurisdictions in the state. At a news briefing Thursday morning, Cuomo suggested the city government set up a COVID-19 enforcement task force and deploy some 4,000 NYPD cops to monitor restaurant compliance.

“If we now open restaurants, that is going to complicate by the hundreds if not thousands the number of establishments that have to be monitored,” Cuomo said at the briefing. “How is that going to happen? I don’t have any more state resources to do it.”

On Wednesday, Mayor Bill de Blasio said he’s aiming to say by the end of September whether indoor dining would be permitted for the rest of the pandemic.

Northwell Health lab ramping up testing capacity ahead of fall

Northwell Health on Wednesday said it's added COVID-19 testing machines at its lab in Lake Success to ensure that it could continue to quickly test thousands of patients, boosting capacity on Long Island if a second wave takes hold.

Experts have said the faster test results can be processed, the easier it could be to contain COVID-19 spread. Northwell has said it generally produces a test result in about 48 hours.

Since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, the Northwell lab has acquired 65 machines.

"For positive test results, there are obvious infection control implications," said Dr. Dwayne Breining, executive director of Northwell Labs. "For everyone else, we need to process tests as quickly as possible, because they're being screened before undergoing a procedure. This way, if they happen to be positive, they're not infecting others when they go in."

Summer gets an extension — at least for beachgoers

It may be time for a return to school and work, but summer fun is not going anywhere just yet — in no small part due to the pandemic.

The staples of a Long Island summer — open parks, campgrounds, beaches and pools fully staffed with lifeguards — will live on for several more weeks as officials announced an extension of activities beyond Labor Day, the unofficial end of the season.

The move aims to offset some of the ravages of the coronavirus, which spread rapidly through the area and prompted widespread closures.

“The onset of COVID-19 cut the start of our summer season by two months, an impact that has crippled the businesses and attractions that make up Long Island’s $6.1 billion tourism industry and whose livelihoods critically rely on that seasonal business,” said Kristen Jarnagin, president and chief executive officer of Discover Long Island. “This year summer doesn’t stop on Labor Day. The extension of our beaches, parks, campgrounds and attractions will help our small businesses and continue to boost economic recovery for the region.”

More to know

SUNY Oneonta is canceling in-person classes this fall and sending students home after 389 people tested positive for COVID-19, the upstate college announced Thursday.

Hempstead school officials on Wednesday said the start of student instruction would be moved from Sept. 8 to Sept. 14 after the local teachers union reported schools were inadequately equipped to protect against the spread of the virus.

The number of laid-off Americans applying for unemployment benefits fell to a still-elevated 881,000 last week, evidence the pandemic keeps forcing businesses to slash jobs.

The incidences of fraud, waste and abuse with Paycheck Protection Program loans exceed $1 billion, or less than 1%, of the $525 billion lent by banks and other private lenders to small businesses and nonprofits, according to a congressional report.

Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson revealed that he, his wife and their two young daughters recovered from COVID-19, urging the public to "control the controllables" and take precautions.

Major crime increased in New York City in August compared with the same month last year, fueled by a spike in homicides and shootings, as well as burglaries, robberies and car thefts, NYPD officials said.

News for you

Trying it for the first time. With many staying close to home this summer, there was more time to try something new. From mountain biking to oversized 3D puzzles, here are seven hobbies Long Islanders tried for the first time. 

Annual 'Foodie Tour' goes virtual. The North Fork Foodie Tour is taking on video tours and webinars this year, instead of the usual self-guided tour of North Fork farms, vineyards and artisanal food producers. See what's planned.

Financial lessons from the pandemic. It's been six months since the financial fallout from the pandemic began. Here are six financial lessons learned so far.

Plus: Medical officials said during a Newsday virtual event that Long Islanders should be patient as clinical trials proceed for a vaccine. Read the recap and watch the full webinar here

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Black newspapers are a vital source of public health info. As the racially disproportionate impact of the COVID-19 pandemic becomes ever more apparent, the media has scrambled to keep up, writes E. James West for The Washington Post.

Responding to demands for greater government transparency on COVID-19 data, the Atlantic launched the COVID Tracking Project, which includes a "racial data tracker" developed in collaboration with Ibram X. Kendi's Center for Antiracist Research at Boston University. However, while racial disparities are now being tracked and covered extensively, media outlets have struggled to provide deeper context for the disparate outcomes, and coverage has often provided more heat than light.

Many outlets have given oxygen to fringe anti-lockdown protests and helped to circulate misinformation. Right-wing outlets have overlooked the significance of race as part of a broader effort to downplay the impact of the virus. Meanwhile, President Donald Trump's eagerness to "reopen" the nation and his racist naming of the virus show scant regard for America's communities of color.

In the face of such challenges, Black newspapers and media outlets such as the Sacramento Observer, the Chicago Defender and the TRiiBE have all turned their attention toward the pandemic. Trade organizations such as the National Newspaper Publishers Association have followed suit, stressing COVID-19's racially disproportionate impact on Black communities and pushing back against racist media narratives. In doing so, they are continuing the Black press' historic mission as an important disseminator of public health information to Black communities.