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'Superspreader' concerns in Suffolk

Suffolk fines country club $17G after 'superspreader' event

A total of 30 people have tested positive since attending a wedding earlier this month at the North Fork Country Club in Cutchogue, which had nearly double the capacity allowed by state guidelines.

The country club has been fined $15,000 for violating Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo's executive order, which limits gatherings to 50 people or fewer, and another $2,000 for violating Suffolk's sanitary code, Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone said at a news conference Wednesday.

Those who tested positive include 22 adult guests, five children and three staffers, one of whom also works for East Quogue Elementary School, county officials said. There are 159 people — including guests, staff at the country club and other contacts — who are quarantining. Six schools have seen cases of the coronavirus linked to the party, although no schools have been forced to close, officials said.

The venue did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

"This type of blatant disregard for the well-being of others is not only extremely disappointing, but it will not be tolerated," Bellone said. "If you violate the rules, you will be caught and held responsible."

The number of new positives reported today: 167 in Nassau, 169 in Suffolk, 837 in New York City and 2,031 statewide.

This chart below shows the number of new cases reported in New York City and in the state in recent days.

Search a map and view charts showing the latest local trends in testing, hospitalizations, deaths and more.

Travel advisory list: View a map of the current states and territories on the list.

NY infection rate among lowest; new positive cases ID'd in schools

New York State has the second-lowest level of COVID-19 infection in the nation, higher only than Maine's, Cuomo said Wednesday — even though he has concerns about large gatherings.

Meanwhile, more schools on Long Island announced closures after positive cases surfaced this week. As of Wednesday afternoon:

  • Long Beach public schools will be closed for in-person instruction for two weeks due to new cases, officials said. All students will receive full instruction remotely during that time and schools will reopen to in-person instruction on Nov. 12.
  • Hempstead High School closed after a staffer in the school health clinic tested positive for the virus, and the Jackson Annex Elementary School in Hempstead closed after two students tested positive, according to information posted to the schools' website. All classes in the two schools will be held remotely from Monday through Friday of this week and will reopen for in-person instruction on Monday.
  • The Lindenhurst Academy closed for in-person instruction Tuesday after a student tested positive for the virus. The academy remains closed and school officials have yet to announce when it will reopen.

9/11 workers who die of COVID-19 will be added to Nesconset wall

A memorial wall of granite in Nesconset will start including workers who were sickened by the 9/11 wreckage if they also die of COVID-19, so long as they had an underlying condition related to their work in the attacks’ aftermath, officials said.

More than 1,500 names are on the wall at 9/11 Responders Remembered Memorial Park honoring those whose causes of death are from ailments certified to have been contracted due to the toxins from Ground Zero.

But citing a decision by the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund giving benefits to grantees who die of COVID-19, the nonprofit head decided to adopt the broader standard for the Suffolk wall, too.

Responders' "immune systems are compromised, so for the last 19 years their immune systems have deteriorated," Feal said Tuesday night, adding: "They were not able to fight COVID-19 like they could have."

Poll: Minorities hit harder by pandemic job losses, changes

Black and Latino residents of Long Island and New York City are more likely to say they've changed or lost jobs during the pandemic, a new poll finds. Mount Sinai South Nassau hospital in Oceanside commissioned the poll, which was of 600 randomly selected people Oct. 4-8.

The poll found:

  • 82% of white respondents were employed at the same job as before COVID-19 — but only 68% of Hispanic and 69% of Black respondents were.
  • 31% of Black and Hispanic residents said they were either unemployed or had a different job than before the pandemic, compared with 18% of whites.
  • More than half of the respondents either will not take a vaccine or are not sure if they will.
  • More than 90% of residents with children attending in-person classes believe school reopenings have been at least moderately successful.

Read more of the poll findings.

Going small for Halloween, but the sales are up

The number of trick-or-treaters might be lower because of pandemic concerns, but alternative plans to celebrate Halloween are yielding strong sales of candy, pumpkins and other merchandise tied to the holiday, retailers said.

Nationwide, sales of Halloween chocolate and candy are up 8.6% compared with the same period last year, according to the National Confectioners Association.

"It’s slammed. We’re very busy," said Lisa Hodes, owner of Sweeties Candy Cottage in Huntington.

The specialty candy store is having its best Halloween season in the 15 years Hodes has owned the business, she said. The pandemic leading to cancellations of large events has prompted her customers to think smaller, Hodes said.

More to know

Stocks around the world were tumbling Wednesday on worries the worsening pandemic will mean more restrictions on businesses and drag down the economy.

The Marriott International Inc. system will begin allowing hotel guests to check in at 6 a.m. and stay as late as 6 p.m. the next day, a promotion aimed to help remote workers looking for a change of scenery.

Ex-Met Justin Turner was removed from the Dodgers’ World Series-clinching victory last night after testing positive for the coronavirus.

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Let's not fool ourselves about COVID and schoolkids. Ferdinando Giugliano writes for Bloomberg Opinion: What to do about schools is perhaps the biggest dilemma facing policymakers right now.

Closing them could lead to a "lost generation" of learners and make it harder for parents to get back to work. Keeping them open could further propagate the virus. Should governments choose the latter, they will need other ways to mitigate the impact on health.

After closing down schools earlier in the pandemic, many European leaders insisted on letting students resume in-person classes after the summer break. Now with new infections on the rise again, some are having to backtrack. Italy is to switch back to distance learning, at least for high school students. Other countries may be forced to do the same. Keep reading.