About 40 Plainedge students are facing mandatory quarantine after one student who participated in a Saturday football game at the high school field tested positive for COVID-19, according to a letter sent to parents on Sunday by district officials.
At least some of the middle and high school students playing in the game were sharing food and water bottles on the field, according to an earlier letter by schools Superintendent Edward Salina Jr.
Salina said about 40 students were identified after he asked parents and the community for help pinpointing those who might have been exposed on Sunday.
"Those students have been directed to quarantine and not attend school effective immediately," Salina said in a Sunday email to parents. "Prior to returning to school, they will be required to produce a negative COVID-19 test result from a medical professional."
The news came Sunday as Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo said that for 37 days in a row, the New York State COVID-19 positive test rate has remained at less than 1%.
Of the 72,688 people tested statewide for the virus Saturday, 725, or 0.99%, were positive, according to the latest state data.
But the percentage of positive tests on Long Island continued to top 1%, according to the latest figures.
It was at 1.2% on Saturday, slightly above New York City's average of 0.8%, with 78 new cases in Nassau County and 68 in Suffolk, according to figures released by the state. Long Island's percentage of positive COVID-19 tests was 1.3% on Thursday and 1.4% on Friday.
A spokesman for the governor’s office said "many factors play a role in these numbers" when asked by Newsday why Long Island’s percentage was higher than in the five boroughs of New York City.
Some officials have previously surmised that younger and college-age people could represent part of the increase — even if they live outside of Nassau and Suffolk counties but use their Long Island home addresses on testing forms.
A COVID-19 outbreak at SUNY Oneonta has resulted in 723 positive cases to date and the school shutting down in-person instruction. The SUNY COVID-19 online dashboard shows the Oswego campus has the second-highest number of confirmed cases, with 148.
The percentage of confirmed cases in Nassau County on Saturday was 1.3%, according to County Executive Laura Curran, who pointed out on Sunday it's "where we’ve been hovering since schools and colleges started up."
The Central and Western New York regions reported the highest rate, at 2%.
Cuomo said the low infection rate was "incredible" when you compare it to the height of the pandemic in the spring. For example, New York State had more than 8,500 new COVID-19 cases announced on one day in mid-April, according to the governor's website.
"Our numbers continue to reflect the work of New Yorkers, who ultimately flattened the curve," the governor said in a statement.
Six people died from the virus Saturday, one of whom was in Suffolk, bringing the statewide death toll to 25,390.
Curran said the number of hospitalized COVID-19 patients in Nassau’s 11 hospitals has remained under 50 for more than two months and the number of ventilated patients in Nassau has remained under 10 for approximately three months.
"While we must remain cautious with schools back in session, these consistent numbers prove that you can safely and smartly reopen while keeping the virus at bay," she said in a statement.
A state liquor authority and police task force inspected 1,543 establishments on Long Island and in New York City on Saturday and found 10 "were not in compliance with state requirements," according to the governor’s office. Four of those were in Suffolk. An additional four were in the Bronx while Brooklyn and Queens each had one.
Cuomo urged New Yorkers to continue taking precautions to prevent contracting the virus as autumn approaches.
"As we head into the fall and flu season ahead, we need everyone to continue to wear masks, socially distance and wash their hands, and above all, stay New York tough," he said.
With Scott Eidler and Jesse Coburn