This story was reported by Matthew Chayes, Lisa L. Colangelo, Bart Jones and Maura McDermott. It was written by Jones.
Two hospitals on Long Island said Monday they are halting some elective surgeries because of a surge of COVID-19 patients, while the state surpassed 100 daily deaths from the virus for the first time in nearly a year.
Among the 103 deaths on Sunday were 13 on Long Island, including eight in Suffolk County and five in Nassau. Gov. Kathy Hochul noted that a 17-year-old from Rochester was among those who died from the virus over the New Year’s weekend.
Statewide, nearly 800 more people were hospitalized with COVID-19 over the last 24 hours, while the seven-day positivity level hit almost 25% on Long Island, according to state data.
Hochul said new state-run testing sites will open at 10 SUNY campuses throughout the state, including at Stony Brook University, in the coming week to help deal with the crush of people often waiting in long lines for hours in the cold.
Mount Sinai South Nassau hospital in Oceanside and North Shore University Hospital in Manhasset both said Monday they are putting off some elective surgeries.
The number of COVID-19 patients at Mount Sinai has surged in recent days to 92, spokesman Joe Calderon said. Those patients account for roughly one-third of available beds at the hospital. He said nearly 200 employees are out sick, either in quarantine or for surveillance due to COVID-19.
Outpatient ambulatory surgeries and procedures that do not require an overnight stay will go ahead, along with chemotherapy infusions for cancer patients, Calderone said.
North Shore University Hospital is rescheduling "purely elective" orthopedic surgeries and other procedures that can be delayed for a few weeks, said Dr. David Hirschwerk, the hospital's medical director.
North Shore is "cutting back slightly in our elective surgeries and procedures, at least temporarily, to accommodate the current surge that we're experiencing," Hirschwerk said. "The hope is that we will be doing this for a relatively brief time."
Patients who need prompt care are still receiving it, either at North Shore or other hospitals within the New Hyde Park-based Northwell Health system, he said.
"My hope is that sometime over the next week to week and a half, we will hit our peak in our area," with COVID-19 rates declining after the peak, Hirschwerk said.
Hochul announced the death toll as the number of cases and positivity levels on Long Island and throughout the state continue to soar to record levels.
"Unfortunately, this is the sad part of what we say, is that 103 people are no longer with us," Hochul said at a press briefing in Rochester. "People that started out the holiday weekend with their families, that passed over the weekend, and it’s just so sad to think about the pain and anguish that they are going through because of this."
She noted that a local student, Derrick Watson, was among the fatalities over the weekend.
"I can’t imagine what his family is going through right now," Hochul said. "You think your 17-year-old is going to live forever, and certainly outlive the parents."
Hospitalizations up 790 statewide
Statewide, the number of people hospitalized with COVID-19 rose by 790, to 9,563, over the last 24 hours, according to state data.
Long Island hospitals have seen a 71% increase in the number of COVID-19 patients within the last week, jumping from 899 to 1,538 between Dec. 26 and Jan. 1, the hospitals said Monday. But they said they are generally managing the increase without changes to service.
"People are testing positive at a much higher rate, but the severity of the illness is far less than what we’ve seen before," Hochul said. "So, shocking in the scale in the numbers of people who are testing positive, but also grateful, so grateful … we can say with certainty that the cases are not presenting themselves as severely as they could have or we had feared. So, that is a silver lining."
The number of new COVID-19 cases in test results from Sunday was 5,195 in Nassau and 4,193 in Suffolk. Statewide, there were 51,698 new cases.
The seven-day average for positivity in testing hit 24.94% on Long Island. That was up from 22.69% just two days earlier.
Northwell Health said there were 1,506 COVID-19 patients in its 19 hospitals, which include 11 on Long Island. About 70% of virus patients are not vaccinated, they said. Northwell said between 1% and 2% of its workforce is on sick leave.
Officials at NYU Langone–Long Island in Mineola said about 132 people — or about 1% — of its workforce are out because of COVID-19. The hospital has 150 patients with COVID-19, but about 60% were admitted for other reasons.
Officials at Stony Brook University Hospital said they had 194 COVID-19 positive patients on Monday. They did not have a figure on the number of employees who are out sick.
Meanwhile, New York City’s public schools will not close due to COVID-19 infections, newly installed Mayor Eric Adams said Monday, in a continuation of the policy of his predecessor, Bill de Blasio.
"Our schools will open — the safest place for our children," Adams told MSNBC’s "Morning Joe." "We all know, a child must be in school, for so many reasons."
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What to know
New York State surpassed 100 daily deaths from COVID-19 for the first time in nearly a year, including 13 deaths on Long Island.
The number of COVID-19 hospitalized patients on Long Island jumped by 71% within the last week.
New state-run testing sites are opening on 10 SUNY campuses, including at Stony Brook University.