Most LI communities had one or fewer new cases

Josie Tatz, 3, of Bellmore, jumps for joy as she...

Josie Tatz, 3, of Bellmore, jumps for joy as she and her mom Dawn visit Lido Beach. Credit: Debbie Egan-Chin

Long Island coronavirus cases have dropped by 91% since April, a Newsday analysis of Nassau and Suffolk data shows.

After weeks of staying home and wearing masks, the number of new cases dropped in Nassau from an average of 1,234 per day during the week starting April 7, at the height of the county’s infections, to 93 per day for the most recent week of data.

In Suffolk, new cases dropped from 1,062 for the week starting with its peak on April 8 to 115 during the most recent week of data.

Perhaps most striking, only one case or none at all were identified in 82% of Long Island's communities — areas where 57% of the region's population lives.

Meanwhile, New York City is on track to start reopening on June 8 as the state and city jointly push to target areas where infections are high and to build the stockpile needed in case of a resurgence, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo said Friday.

Inside one LI hospital on the other side of the curve

At the height of the peak just one month ago,...

At the height of the peak just one month ago, there had been too many COVID-19 positive patients to keep all of them isolated. Now, with more manageable numbers, Mount Sinai South Nassau Hospital is able to treat infectious patients in closed rooms Credit: Newsday/Jeffrey Basinger

Although the number of COVID-19 patients at Mount Sinai South Nassau hospital has fallen to levels not seen since the beginning of the state’s March 22 stay-at-home order, the anguish caused by the pandemic endures. People recovering from the disease continue to struggle at home, and patients who arrived during the peak remain weeks later, clinging to life on ventilators.

Newsday had visited South Nassau in mid-April, when patients with COVID-19 and those suspected of having the disease occupied more than three in four beds and flummoxed doctors and nurses with inexplicable symptoms and sometimes a rapid spiral toward death.

We returned on May 18 and 19 to see how the drop in COVID-19 patients had changed the hospital, and to examine the toll the disease has taken on patients and employees.

The Oceanside hospital, like others across Long Island, is returning to some semblance of normalcy. The intensive care unit, which had nearly quadrupled in size to handle the surge, had 72 COVID-19 patients on several days in early April, but only five on Thursday.

“It’s bittersweet," said intensive-care nurse educator Katie DeMelis. "Our numbers are down, but they didn’t all leave the way we wanted them to.”

Although the virus' peak has passed, the war against it is far from over. These are the medical professionals and the patients who have fought the good fight.

The numbers as of 3 p.m.: 40,226 confirmed cases in Nassau, 39,445 in Suffolk, 201,999 in New York City and 368,284 statewide.

  The map shows concentration of cases within each community...

  The map shows concentration of cases within each community with Nassau data as of May 27 and Suffolk data as of May 25.

The above map shows the concentration of cases in different Long Island communities. Search the map and view more charts showing the latest local trends in testing, hospitalizations, deaths and more.

LI shop owners mostly OK with Cuomo's mask order

An employee at a Southampton hardware store speaks to customers on April...

An employee at a Southampton hardware store speaks to customers on April 8 about allowing only two people in their store at a time and only those wearing masks. Credit: Newsday / Steve Pfost

Entrepreneurs and representatives of commercial groups mostly approve of Gov. Cuomo’s executive order allowing business owners’ wide discretion on who can enter their establishments without wearing a protective mask.

Cuomo issued the order Thursday enabling business owners to kick out, or deny entry, to any customer or patron who is not wearing a face mask or protective covering.

“I don’t see the downside in taking precautions, especially in a closed environment," said Bob Fonti, co-chair of the Suffolk County Alliance of Chambers. 

Juan Munar, owner of Kings of Blades, a barbershop in Farmingville, said he appreciated the order's leeway and sees it as “mostly about the safety of my barbers and the safety of people.”

However, in some instances, Munar said he could envision allowing customers to briefly take masks off. He specifically mentioned shaving men’s faces, a big moneymaker in his shop.

All dressed up with no prom to go to

Nancy Sinoway, who owns the Nancy Sinoway tailoring business on...

Nancy Sinoway, who owns the Nancy Sinoway tailoring business on Main Street in Port Washington, is hosting "Prom on Main" photo shoots, like the one pictured above. Dates for the one-on-one shoots may be available through July 4, if demand allows.  Credit: Robert Salzbank

High school seniors missed out on a milestone this spring as proms across Long Island were canceled and postponed, leaving students who had already purchased their attire wondering what to do with their glamorous gowns and high heels. But many are making sure no one forgets about prom amid the pandemic.

“I want to make girls feel better about missing out on something they look forward to,” says Darya Bradshaw, a local photographer who is offering discounted socially-distant, prom photo shoots to students. “I’m hoping these photos do that. Even if they can’t go to prom, they can put on their dress and get all dolled up.”

See more alternative ways local teens are celebrating prom.

More to know

"Bathrooms are becoming a big topic" as workplaces move to reconfigure their restrooms to avoid spreading the COVID-19 virus and reassure patrons and employees ahead of reopening.

Attempting to curtail Gov. Cuomo's emergency powers, which he has wielded to change more than 250 laws amid the pandemic, Republicans are proposing, among other things, a law to force him to ask the legislature every 30 days for authority to renew them.

The U.S. Open may be played in front of limited fans in New York at the end of the summer, one of two scenarios the United States Tennis Association said it is considering.

Long Island Pride will still mark its 30th anniversary this year with a virtual parade, 5K run and online celebration to advocate for equal rights.

U.S. consumer spending plunged by a record-shattering 13.6% in April as the pandemic shuttered businesses, forced millions of layoffs and sent the economy into a deep recession.

News for you

Beginnings Kitchen & Bar in Atlantic Beach has created a...

Beginnings Kitchen & Bar in Atlantic Beach has created a range of boozy ice cream treats with premium spirits and Tipsy Scoop ice cream.  Credit: Ben Freiser

Boozy ice cream. First we had spiked slushies, then "adult ice pops," and now ice cream has gotten into the frozen-alcoholic-treats act. Beginnings Kitchen & Bar in Atlantic Beach has partnered with Brooklyn-based Tipsy Scoop to roll out a menu of "hard" parfaits such as Birthday Buzz (cake-batter-vodka-martini ice cream with Prosecco and sprinkles), ice cream sandwiches and pints.

More time to pay your taxes. Suffolk County property owners will have an additional three weeks to pay their taxes under a new executive order by Gov. Cuomo granting tax extensions to dozens of municipalities.

Lohan on your TV tonight. Even in coronavirus lockdown at her home in Dubai, Long Island-raised actress Lindsay Lohan continues to appear on a small screen near you. She will be among the famous faces appearing on the CBS special "Haircut Night in America." 

Attend a concert. Music fans don’t fret. Despite the pandemic, concerts are being booked all summer at Stage 317 in Farmingdale, My Father’s Place in Roslyn and Grasso’s in Cold Spring Harbor, but you'll have to attend these shows virtually.

Confused about contact tracing? It’s one of the most crucial steps to figuring out where the spread of COVID-19 infection came from — and whom it might attack next, says the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. But if you have questions about how it works, get answers here.

Plus: Need help planning out your weekend? Whether you're looking for guides on local beaches that are open, drive-in movie schedules, hiking trails or foodie road trips, we've got you covered.

Stay updated on the virus' impact in the region by visiting our live blog and watch our latest daily wrap-up video, which looks at how Nassau may soon close down roads to allow restaurants to expand outdoor seating with street dining.

Commentary

Dr. James Mahoney, of Freeport, a lung doctor treating patients...

Dr. James Mahoney, of Freeport, a lung doctor treating patients with severe respiratory illnesses, died April 27 at NYU Langone Hospital after testing positive for COVID-19. He was 62. Credit: Sandra Chisholm

Doctor lost to COVID-19. When coronavirus hit, Dr. James Mahoney of Freeport was about to retire. Instead, he continued serving public hospital patients in Brooklyn, until he fell ill and died from the virus himself. Episode 25 of “Life Under Coronavirus” is a memorial to a pioneering black doctor and mentor to countless New York physicians, a “legend” with a “deep sense of morality” who gave patients his cellphone number and practiced his craft until the end.