Four more Long Islanders have died of the coronavirus, Gov. Kathy Hochul’s office announced Saturday, raising the death toll to 6,687 since the pandemic first hit Long Island in 2020.
The Island's fatality rate has dwindled considerably from the worst days of the pandemic, before the availability of the vaccine, when daily deaths were in the double digits.
Also Saturday, Hochul’s office said that 804 more Long Islanders — 362 in Nassau and 442 in Suffolk — tested positive Friday for the coronavirus. As recently as June, new daily cases were well below 100. About 418,000 people total have tested positive on the Island, according to the state’s online COVID-19 tracker.
The Island’s positivity rate for the virus, averaged over seven days, was 4.23% on Friday, down from 4.28% on Thursday. The rate was 4.27% on Wednesday.
Even with the prevalence of the delta variant — the infectious version of the coronavirus that now makes up the majority of cases — hospitals aren't being overwhelmed with patients as happened during the first waves of the pandemic, when there wasn't a vaccine.
In Nassau, 67.2% of people are vaccinated; in Suffolk, it's 60.7%. In New York City, it's 59.1%. Statewide, it's 59%.
At the current pace of vaccination, 70% of Long Islanders would be fully vaccinated by Oct. 19, and 90% by March 17. Statewide, it would be 70% of New Yorkers by Nov. 16, and 90% of New Yorkers by April 17.
This is the last week before a mandate for all New York City municipal workers goes into effect Sept. 13: Employees will have to be vaccinated or get tested weekly for COVID-19. Certain professions, including hospital workers and schoolteachers, must be vaccinated and do not have the testing option.
Also beginning Sept. 13: enforcement under a mayoral executive order, against businesses that don't enforce the city's vaccine mandate for certain indoor places, such as dining establishments, entertainment venues and fitness centers. Fines are at least $1,000 for a first violation; then go up to $2,000 for a second violation within 12 months, and $5,000 after that.
Last week, Hochul's government announced that across the state unvaccinated teachers, administrators and other school personnel must submit to weekly COVID-19 tests. The rule applies indefinitely until the state says otherwise.
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