TODAY'S PAPER
Good Morning
Good Morning
NewsHealthCoronavirus

Delta variant seen in almost all new COVID-19 cases, LI hospitals say

Dr. Aaron Glatt of Mount Sinai South Nassau

Dr. Aaron Glatt of Mount Sinai South Nassau said "the vast majority of new cases in the ICU, intubated and deaths are in unvaccinated people."  Credit: Chris Ware

Virtually all new COVID-19 cases at two of Long Island's largest hospitals are linked to the highly contagious delta variant, officials said Monday.

Dr. Aaron Glatt, chairman of medicine and chief of infectious diseases at Mount Sinai South Nassau, said 100% of cases treated at the Oceanside facility — roughly 20 daily — are delta.

"And the vast majority of new cases in the ICU, intubated and deaths are in unvaccinated people," Glatt said. "Hospitalizations are mostly unvaccinated people. The vaccines … remain the best way to prevent delta from causing more disease and the spread of more variants."

COVID-19 cases have surged nationwide as delta — which causes more infections and spreads faster than earlier forms of the virus — became the predominant variant of the virus, according to the Centers from Disease Control and Prevention.

At Stony Brook University Hospital, 94% of positive samples taken from July 19-30 and sent to the state Department of Health's Wadsworth Laboratory were the delta variant, according to hospital officials.

Northwell Health, the region's largest hospital system, did not have data on new cases linked to delta.

The health department, meanwhile, said it was not releasing data on cases linked to delta or what percentage of those testing positive were unvaccinated.

"Under the new administration, the department is evaluating how best to gather and publicly disseminate additional information related to COVID-19, including data on cases and outcomes of fully vaccinated New Yorkers," department spokeswoman Jill Montag said.

Gov. Kathy Hochul took office last week after former Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo resigned amid allegations he sexually harassed 11 women.

Long Island's positivity rate Sunday was 4.35% with Nassau reporting 384 new cases and 440 in Suffolk, according to state data.

Across the state, 3.86% of tests were positive for COVID-19 and 3.31% on a 7-day average. There were 18 COVID-19 deaths, including one in Nassau.

One potential indicator of delta's toll: one year ago — months before a single American had been vaccinated — the state's positivity rate was 0.69% and New York had experienced 23 consecutive days with an infection rate below 1%.

"While we have come so far in containing COVID, the virus is still a threat to our communities," Hochul said.

Long Island's two counties hit vaccination milestones Monday.

In Suffolk, more than 80% of residents 18 and older have received their first vaccine dose, while 72.8% completed their inoculation series, according to county officials.

"The science is clear," County Executive Steve Bellone said. "The COVID-19 vaccine saves lives and is the best tool we have to end this pandemic once and for all."

Nassau became the fourth county in the state — behind Brooklyn, Queens and Manhattan — to have 1 million residents receive at least one dose. County officials said 87.5% of adults have received at least one dose and roughly 80% had both shots.

"Nassau County has the highest adult vaccination rate in New York State and the third highest in the United States," County Executive Laura Curran said.

In New York City, for a second consecutive year, the West Indian Day Parade and J'ouvert festival, celebrations that kick off for Labor Day in Brooklyn, are being canceled due to COVID-19 fears, Mayor Bill de Blasio said Monday.

"An amazing, powerful celebration of heritage, one that is so important to so many New Yorkers, but that this year cannot happen the way it did pre-pandemic, has been postponed again until 2022," de Blasio said at his daily news conference. "But the J'ouvert celebration will be back in 2022, full strength, like so many other things in this city."

During the J’ouvert festival, which takes place overnight, there is typically dancing, drinking, body painting and close contact among celebrants attending what is a Caribbean nocturnal street party.

With Matthew Chayes

Health