Drive thru COVID-19 testing is done at ProHealth in Wantagh...

Drive thru COVID-19 testing is done at ProHealth in Wantagh on April 30, 2020. Credit: Howard Schnapp

New cases of COVID-19 on Long Island topped 900 for the third time this week on Friday after surpassing 1,000 cases the previous day, according to state figures released Saturday.

The number of Island cases, which reached 1,072 on Thursday, dipped to 923 on Friday — 451 in Nassau and 472 in Suffolk, the figures show. As recently as June, the daily case count had been well below 100.

The state had a total of 18 deaths related to the virus on Friday, including two in Nassau and one in Suffolk, the figures show.

"The Delta variant continues to be a very serious threat, and we know what COVID is capable of if we were to let it outmaneuver us," Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo said in a statement. "We simply cannot afford to risk all the progress we've made against this virus."

Long Island's positivity rate, as measured in a seven-day average, stood at 4.06% Friday, up from 3.96% on Wednesday.

Across the state, the number of people hospitalized grew by 44 to 1,978, and the number of people in the ICU increased by six to 407, the state figures said.

The state had a seven-day positivity average of 3.12%.

Statewide, 54,431 vaccine doses were administered Friday. A total of 65.9% of all New Yorkers have received one vaccine dose, and 58.9% have completed the vaccine series, according to the state figures.

On Long Island, 5,267 people received their first dose on Friday, bringing the total to 1.69 million.

Some 3,608 Islanders completed their vaccine series, for a total of 1.51 million, the figures showed.

"Our front line workers and everyday New Yorkers made great sacrifices to get us where we are today — and the best way to honor that is to get vaccinated," Cuomo said.

In New York City, the NYPD said the 60th police officer has died of COVID-19.

Officer Sony Clerge, 60, of Queens, died Friday, said Commissioner Dermot Shea.

"For more than 19 yrs., Police Officer Sony Clerge proudly served the people of NYC & helped keep our transit system safe. This morning we lost him to #COVID19," Shea said in a tweet. "The hearts of the NYPD family are a bit more broken today."

Shea added, in a memo to his officers, "Fluent in French and Creole, Sony worked his entire 19-year career assigned to Transit Borough Manhattan Task Force, where his efforts helped make our city’s subway system a safer, more hospitable place for millions of riders."

NYPD officers without a COVID-19 vaccination must now wear masks on duty or risk disciplinary action, according to an internal department directive.

The so-called internal FINEST message, dated Aug. 17, went out to nearly 35,000 uniformed members of the NYPD. The directive requires officers to mask up at all times on the job, including when driving department vehicles. The message said officers could remove their face coverings only if they were fully vaccinated and had provided proof to the NYPD’s medical office.

Nassau police Det Lt. Richard LeBrun said the department encouraged officers to wear masks if they were not vaccinated.

"If a member has not been vaccinated we strongly recommend that the member wear a mask when practical, when in direct contact [six feet or less] with the public," LeBrun said. "We do not ask if a member has been vaccinated."

Suffolk police officials noted their COVID-19 policy did not require vaccinations, but unvaccinated officers had to wear masks.

Meanwhile, state officials and at least one pharmacy chain said Friday they were keeping up with demand for COVID-19 testing, even as lines seem to grow longer at some locations, with waits of six or seven hours.

CVS in a statement said: "We continue to be able to meet the demand for COVID-19 testing in most locations, even with increasing numbers of patients seeking out tests at one of our more than 4,800 CVS Pharmacy locations across the country offering testing with same day and future day appointments in most geographies."

The company said people could schedule an appointment for either a rapid COVID-19 test, with results available within hours, or a regular test at the pharmacy drive-thru windows.

Its COVID-19 home test kits, CVS said, are the top-selling item in its stores.

Northwell Health-GoHealth Urgent Care said they were seeing increased demand for tests amid the surge.

"We provide timely updates related to COVID-19 on our website," said Vivek Taparia, president of the New York market of GoHealth Urgent Care. "Due to higher demand, we encourage patients to visit www.gohealthuc.com/nyc before visiting any of our neighborhood centers. To expedite the in-center experience, patients should take advantage of our virtual visit capabilities."

The New York State Department of Health said people still had many testing options.

"New York State has been a national leader in COVID-19 testing — acting quickly to operationalize one of the most robust testing apparatuses in the country. To date, 63,623,612 COVID-19 tests have been administered statewide, and testing remains widely available at over 1,700 facilities registered throughout New York State," the health department said in a statement.

With Nicole Fuller and Candice Ferrette.

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