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Coping with the emotional toll of COVID-19

Suffolk support groups aim to help COVID-19 survivors

The Ronkonkoma-based Association for Mental Health and Wellness is launching a four-week online bereavement support group for Spanish speakers dealing with losing a loved one from COVID-19.

The Spanish-speaking group will meet weekly for 90 minutes, said Mike Stoltz, CEO of the association. The organization has already run virtual bereavement groups for veteran families affected by the virus who often are unable to access their usual networks of support, he said.

"If you look at the areas of Long Island that have had a disproportionate impact from COVID, it's included many minority areas," Stoltz said. "That's included many areas that are Spanish-speaking."

Meanwhile, Stony Brook Medicine, Stony Brook University's health, science and medical enterprise, is seeking COVID-19 survivors to join a new virtual support group for those struggling. It will focus on those who contracted and survived the disease, said Dr. Jenna Palladino, a licensed clinical psychologist at Stony Brook. They're seeking 10 participants in its first group, which will meet once per week for an hour for 12 weeks.

"We are hoping this group can serve as a research pilot about what people's experiences have been and that, in turn, can help us deliver better care in general," Palladino said. Find out more about the groups.

State virus cases stay low, but NYC has compliance concerns

New York's positivity rate for COVID-19 continues to remain under 1%, but the head of New York City’s public hospital system warned Wednesday of renewed lockdowns and business closures if preventive measures — such as wearing masks and ending large, indoor gatherings — are not taken in communities with high rates of infection.

State officials said 70,930 coronavirus tests were reported Tuesday, with 665, or 0.94%, coming back positive. Long Island has a 1% positivity rate.

Statewide, hospitalizations grew by 20 to 490 while intensive care patients ticked up by 8 to 141.

Dr. Mitchell Katz, president and chief executive of NYC Health + Hospitals, the largest municipal health system in the nation, said Wednesday that neighborhoods such as Midwood, Borough Park, Williamsburg, as well as Edgemere-Far Rockaway, Kew Gardens and Bensonhurst, accounted for 20% of all city cases as of Sept. 19.

The number of new positives reported today: 63 in Nassau, 32 in Suffolk, 280 in New York City and 665 statewide.

The chart below shows how many people in the state have been hospitalized for the coronavirus on each given day this month. Search a map of cases and view charts showing the latest local trends in testing, new cases, deaths and more.

Production begins for LI company's COVID-19 vaccine candidate

A global vaccine manufacturer has begun producing the COVID-19 vaccine candidate of Long Island-based Codagenix Inc. even before it begins its Phase 1 human clinical trials in the U.K.

Farmingdale-based Codagenix has completed preclinical animal studies of its CDX-005 vaccine candidate and expects to begin Phase 1 human clinical trials by year's end.

"Currently, there are no licensed vaccines for COVID-19," Codagenix chief executive J. Robert Coleman said in a statement Tuesday. "Given the scale of the pandemic — more than 28 million confirmed cases worldwide and more than 900,000 deaths — the normal development process of waiting until after a vaccine has been proven effective to begin manufacturing wastes precious time."

Coleman said preclinical testing of a single dose in animals administered through the nose has yielded positive indications of safety and effectiveness.

Students on LI, across U.S. left without places to take the SAT

Thousands of students who signed up to take the SAT college-admissions exam this week must now deal with test-site closings prompted by the COVID-19 pandemic, testing authorities announced Tuesday.

Among sites listed by College Board as closed were the private Ross School in East Hampton and public high schools in the districts of Amityville, Middle Country, Connetquot, Deer Park, Sewanhaka, Plainedge, Roslyn, Seaford, Southampton and South Huntington.

Officials at the Manhattan-based College Board, which sponsors the SAT, said 183,000 students registered for September exams nationwide were without test sites as of this week. Site closings also affected 154,000 students registered for October tests.

Student registrations will be canceled and refunded, the agency said. In addition, College Board has asked colleges to extend deadlines for receiving test scores, and to equally consider for admission students unable to take the test.

More to know

The Times Square ball drop will be virtual this year, the latest tradition to change due to COVID-19 restrictions.

The Long Island unemployment rate dropped from 13.8% in July to 10.5% in August, the lowest rate the region has reported since the pandemic began, state data shows.

Violent crime fell across Long Island during the first half of 2020, but commercial burglaries skyrocketed because businesses closed by the pandemic became targets, officials said.

Johnson & Johnson is beginning a huge final study to try to prove if a single-dose COVID-19 vaccine can protect against the virus.

Dave & Buster’s has filed notices with the state labor department to make more than 1,400 temporary employee layoffs permanent, including 421 on Long Island.

News for you

Doing home renovations the right way. Spending more time in the house means some are looking for a change. Once the economy started reopening, Long Islanders started doing more home renovations. Follow these tips for best practices and avoiding common mistakes.

Summer is technically over, but... There are still some beaches open with lifeguards on duty. Check out our list.

Elton John is getting back on the calendar. After postponing several shows because of the pandemic, Elton John announced Wednesday that his "Farewell Yellow Brick Road Tour" will return to North America on Jan. 19, 2022. It will include four New York shows.

Plus: Join us on Sept. 30 for a chat with Long Island novelists as part of Newsday's Live Author Series. We'll have a virtual roundtable discussion and live Q&A with three authors about their latest books. Find out more and register here.

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Experts: Amusement parks, live music venues need financial help

Businesses that have yet to be allowed to open are in dire need of guidance and additional financial help if they're going to survive the pandemic's economic toll, a panel of experts said during a Newsday Live event co-sponsored by the Long Island Association business group.

Movie theaters, amusement centers, and live theater and music venues are among the industries still affected by state shutdowns and, with no timeline for reopening, no revenue, and high overhead costs, many are concerned they’ll be shut down for good, according to Rev. Moose, executive director of the National Independent Venue Association.

"We talk about the second wave, but I think the second wave is going to come — removing the health aspect from it — from a business perspective," Rev. Moose said. "The second wave is going to be looking at your books in 2021 and realizing how much debt you have, realizing what it would take to potentially get out of that debt."

Watch the full webinar here.