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New COVID-19 cases on Long Island surpass 1,000, state figures show

A syringe is filled with the Johnson &

A syringe is filled with the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine on May 7 in Los Angeles. Credit: TNS/Frederic J. Brown/AFP

Long Island logged more than 1,000 new daily cases of COVID-19 in test results released Friday, and also surpassed 4% in positivity levels in testing as the delta variant continued to surge.

Nassau County registered 504 new cases in test results completed Thursday, while Suffolk had 568, for a total of 1,072.

As recently as June, the daily level for the region was well below 100. Long Island already had surpassed 900 cases twice this week.

Long Island also registered a 4.07% seven-day average for positivity in testing, passing that bench mark for the first time in months. The average was 0.35% on June 29.

The statewide seven-day average in the latest test results was 3.13%.

Medical experts say the numbers are rising on Long Island and statewide because the delta variant is highly contagious, mitigation measures such as social distancing and mask wearing have been relaxed or dropped, and many people refuse to get vaccinated.

The number of people in the state hospitalized with the virus dropped by three people, to 1,934, after rising for weeks.

Across New York, 17 people died on Thursday of causes related to the virus, including one each in Nassau and Suffolk.

New York City logged 2,050 new cases in the latest results released Friday.

With the numbers rising, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo — who resigned and leaves office Tuesday — urged people to get inoculated.

"The vaccine is the best weapon we have in our fight against COVID — it's proven effective, easily accessible and entirely free," he said in a statement.

The surge in numbers comes as schools prepare to reopen over the next few weeks. Debates over wearing masks in schools are heating up again, with some parents opposing it as an infringement on personal freedoms, while medical experts say the decision should be left to physicians and scientists.

Doctors and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are recommending students and staff wear masks indoors when school resumes.

In New York City, athletes, coaches and other personnel in public schools must be vaccinated against the coronavirus to participate in some sports, including football, volleyball, basketball, wrestling, lacrosse, rugby and bowling, Mayor Bill de Blasio said Friday.

The mandate, covering 20,000 people in the Public Schools Athletic League, requires that the first dose be completed by the first day of competitive play, which varies by sport, according to a memo sent by the city’s Department of Education.

Earlier this week, the city league’s counterparts on Long Island announced public school districts could issue their own mandates, but there would be no Islandwide mandate when practices for fall sports begin on Monday.

Appearing on WNYC radio’s "Brian Lehrer Show," de Blasio said: "We want to make sure our athletes are safe, given, particularly, the nature of these sports, and so we’re putting that mandate in place."

Requirements would be tougher for athletic personnel than for others in the Department of Education, such as classroom teachers, who have the option of being tested weekly for the virus instead of being vaccinated.

The policy covers "high-risk sports" — football and volleyball in the fall; basketball and wrestling in the winter; lacrosse, stunt, and rugby in the spring.

"In addition, vaccination will be required for bowling, because while not high-risk, it takes place in spaces that require vaccination," the memo said. "Fully vaccinated participants can remove their masks while engaging in high-risk PSAL activities held outdoors."

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