Fans can return to arenas, stadiums starting Feb. 23

People wait for COVID-19 vaccinations at Citi Field in Queens.

People wait for COVID-19 vaccinations at Citi Field in Queens. Credit: Corey Sipkin

While Cuomo said professional sports and other events can return to large arenas and stadiums later this month at 10% capacity, they'll have to follow a few protocols first.

Participants will have to present a negative COVID-19 test within 72 hours before the event, and follow social distancing and mask requirements.

The rules will apply to venues that can accommodate more than 10,000 people, which include Madison Square Garden, Barclays Center, Nassau Coliseum, Yankee Stadium and Citi Field.

In vaccine news: Two new mass COVID-19 vaccination sites in Brooklyn and Queens will inoculate a total of 6,000 people a day in the largest such sites in the state, Cuomo said Wednesday.

The new vaccine centers at York College in Jamaica, and Medgar Evers College in the Crown Heights section of Brooklyn will be part of an effort, supported by President Joe Biden's administration, that launches the week of Feb. 24 to reach "socially vulnerable communities" across the state.

While the goal of the sites is to get people in minority communities vaccinated at higher rates, any resident of those boroughs is eligible there, state officials said.

The number of new positives reported today: 566 in Nassau, 539 in Suffolk, 3,318 in New York City and 7,101 statewide.

The chart below shows the positivity rates over the past month in New York City and in the state.

This chart shows what percentage of coronavirus tests came back...

This chart shows what percentage of coronavirus tests came back positive for the virus each day.

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

Vaccine resources

About 10 million people in New York are currently eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine. With limited supplies and constantly changing conditions, it can be difficult for Long Islanders to find an appointment. These resources may help.

Don’t be surprised if many sites aren’t showing any available appointments — officials advise that you keep trying as more doses become available and new appointments open.

See a list of people currently eligible for the vaccine in New York.

Pop-up sites: What are they, can anyone sign up and how are they different from other venues? Find out more in this Q&A.

After getting vaccinated: How long after vaccination can you start gathering with others, and is there still a risk of infection? Get answers to these post-vaccination questions and more.

Vaccine eligibility to expand to those with 9/11-related cancer

Tom Wilson, a retired NYPD sergeant who worked at Ground...

Tom Wilson, a retired NYPD sergeant who worked at Ground Zero, inside his Bellport home. Credit: James Carbone

For the past two months, 9/11 first responders suffering from cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and other respiratory diseases that have left their immune systems weakened and vulnerable to severe cases of COVID-19 weren't qualified to receive the vaccine.

That ends Monday, when the list of qualified vaccine recipients is expanded to those with serious health conditions, including 9/11-related cancers.

"It's important for me to get vaccinated because I want to live for my wife and five kids," said Tom Wilson, 52, of Bellport, who spent five weeks digging through the rubble at Ground Zero and later developed oral cancer. "I have been through so much but I just drive on."

16 Suffolk HS teams in quarantine, games canceled or postponed

In Suffolk County, 14 basketball teams and two wrestling programs...

In Suffolk County, 14 basketball teams and two wrestling programs were forced to quarantine due to positive COVID-19 tests or contract tracing. Credit: Kathleen Malone-Van Dyke

Long Island high schools were coming to grips with the challenges of playing high-risk sports during a pandemic on Tuesday — the opening day of games for boys and girls basketball.

In Suffolk, 14 basketball teams and two wrestling programs had to pause activities for either positive COVID-19 tests or contact tracing, according to Tom Combs, the executive director of Section XI, the county's governing body of high school sports. Combs would not say which teams were affected. Suffolk requires athletes in high-risk sports to undergo weekly testing.

In Nassau, which does not require testing, 10 basketball games had to be canceled or rescheduled because of district COVID-19 test results or contact tracing on one or both teams, according to Section VIII executive director Pat Pizzarelli.

Celebrating the Lunar New Year during a pandemic

Red envelopes are used to gift money during the Lunar New Year,...

Red envelopes are used to gift money during the Lunar New Year, which in 2021 ushers in the Year of the Ox. Credit: Getty Images/Kevin Frayer

In pre-pandemic times, Kevin Sun would be rushing around Flushing this week to shop for fish, crab, oranges, apples, lanterns, empty red envelopes and plum blossoms in preparation for the Lunar New Year that arrives Friday.

This year though, Sun, of Great Neck, has ordered groceries online and is planning a scaled-back meal with his wife, their two young daughters and his in-laws. With no fresh materials to decorate, he figured he would go dig out the two red lanterns in the basement to place in the living room.

"Because we can’t gather and there are limited ways to celebrate, we are just trying to make the best out of it," Sun said in Mandarin.

The Lunar New Year is the holiday equivalent of Thanksgiving and Christmas combined for China. Other Asian countries, including Vietnam, Korea and Singapore, also celebrate it. Like other major holidays in the past year, planned festivities celebrating the beginning of the Year of the Ox look different.

Here's a look at some celebrations, shows and activities for the occasion going virtual this year.

More to know

A group of upstate Democrats is suggesting New York implement a vaccine "preregistration" system to stem a sign-up free-for-all that they say has sparked stress around the state.

Two masks are better than one in slowing the spread of the virus, U.S. government researchers found, but health officials stopped short of recommending everyone double up.

Paycheck Protection Program funding in the current round is likely to last longer than in the first round, but to maximize chances of getting a loan, experts said companies would benefit from connecting with business support groups on Long Island.

News for you

A bowl of hand-pulled beef la mien at China Station...

A bowl of hand-pulled beef la mien at China Station in Stony Brook. Credit: An Rong Xu

Foodie day trips. Chances are, you're not going on any international vacations any time soon. Coronavirus concerns have kept people away from most nonessential travel — but you can still get a taste of destination this season by taking trips around Long Island. Here's a guide to eateries you can visit, broken down by cuisine.

Quilting for a cause. Long Island’s charity quilting scene hasn't slowed down during the pandemic. Groups with a charity component have made thousands of masks and other goods for hospitals, shelters, veterans’ groups and more.

Virtually reuniting with 'The Love Boat' cast. The cast from the 1977-87 series about romantic misadventures on a cruise ship will gather for a virtual reunion to benefit The Actors Fund on Thursday night via YouTube.

Plus: It's Black History Month. Here's a list of virtual events, exhibits and more taking place across Long Island.

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Teens 'spread love,' raise money with lawn signs

From left, Morgan Harloff, 14, James Bivona, 16, Julianna Bivona and...

From left, Morgan Harloff, 14, James Bivona, 16, Julianna Bivona and Avery Testa, both 14, created a sign to help raise vaccine awareness. Credit: Newsday/Alejandra Villa Loarca

Four teenagers are spreading love from Nassau to Suffolk with lawn signs — for a good cause.

Last month, Julianna Bivona, Morgan Harloff and Avery Testa were chatting one night after soccer practice with their mothers. They grew up together in Rockville Centre.

"We really missed how we used to do community service before the pandemic," said Julianna, 14. "We started thinking about what we could do for the community and who’s been the most impacted by the pandemic, and we thought about education."

The group later started worked with a graphic design company in Lynbrook to create signs that read, "Spread Love, not COVID." The money raised from the signs will go to the Hempstead Scholarship Fund. Keep reading.