The Town of Hempstead and Northwell Health announced on Monday two new mobile testing sites in the community that are free to residents due to the federal CARES Act. Credit: Pablo Garcia Corradi

The number of deaths linked to the coronavirus in New York was down to one person across the state on Sunday from a daily toll of hundreds in the spring, with Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo crediting New Yorkers for complying with policies to contain the spread.

“There was a time when … we literally had hundreds of people dying every day," Cuomo said during a telephone conference with reporters. "I beseeched New Yorkers to understand the facts and to act responsibly and I said that what the future holds is determined by what New Yorkers do … Flattening the curve actually saved lives."

Since the pandemic started, 434,756 New Yorkers have tested positive for COVID-19 since the pandemic's start and 25,328 cases have been fatal.

About 66,000 tests were performed statewide on Sunday, returning 0.99% of new positives, Cuomo said. Of 418 coronavirus patients hospitalized in the state, 109 were in intensive care units. 

But these positive indicators are not enough to convince Cuomo that indoor dining in New York City should be allowed to resume immediately. New Jersey is set to allow limited indoor dining, at 25% capacity, later this week.

He said the density of New York City poses special issues with indoor dining and questioned whether regulations to observe social distancing and wear masks will be enforced. He said there is no definitive metric to guide when restaurants can resume indoor dining but that the state is putting together guidelines.

Cuomo: School spread 'inevitable'

A Stony Brook University student has contracted COVID-19, its first such case, officials said.

At the start of another workweek, people wearing protective masks Monday in Wall...

At the start of another workweek, people wearing protective masks Monday in Wall Street had places to go around Manhattan's Financial District. Credit: AP/Mark Lennihan

The university announced Friday that a residential student who was taking online classes and was asymptomatic had contracted the disease. The university released a statement on its news website to partly to demonstrate that its surveillance testing program is working, officials said.

There's reason to be concerned the state's low number of COVID-19 cases could grow, the governor said.

Dozens of new cases at SUNY Oneonta are a harbinger of the risk tied to reopening elementary and secondary schools next week, as the state continues to work to contain a recent spike in cases tied to "congregate settings, socialization" among students.

On Sunday, SUNY Chancellor Jim Malatras announced the upstate school would switch to online instruction only for two weeks after 105 students tested positive for COVID-19. Several were suspended for holding large parties against rules to reduce risk of spread.

That follows similar actions taken at SUNY Plattsburgh and SUNY Albany after violations of COVID-19 guidelines.

"Let them explain that when they get home," Cuomo said of the suspensions.

Cuomo posited that students thought, "'Look, we want to party in college,'" and the result was suspension and potential exposure to the virus. "Well, OK. Now you can go home and party with your parents."

Brooke Decker, a 20-year-old senior from Melville, said she was disappointed in the actions of some fellow students "for not keeping the best interest of the community as a whole in mind."

She and her roommates, who live off campus, are only leaving the house for necessities.

Women wearing face masks sit on a bench at the...

Women wearing face masks sit on a bench at the Port of Piraeus, near Athens, on Sunday. Greek health officials said Friday they were extending for two weeks a series of health measures, including the obligatory use of masks in most indoors public areas, distancing on beaches and a ban on large gatherings for religious festivals. Credit: AP/Michael Varaklas

"It's still pretty scary to venture out and not only potentially get sick, but to also bring it back to four other people I live with," Decker told Newsday in an email. "I think the college is partly to blame for this, since they shouldn’t have been surprised" that parties would take place "and could have done more to prevent it from happening."

Three new temporary rapid-testing sites will open in the city of Oneonta on Wednesday, Cuomo said, to help find new positive COVID-19 cases and track the outbreak. 

While he said some spread of the coronavirus "is inevitable," the response needs to be closely watched as K-12 schools reopen this week and next.

"The school district will say here are our compliance measures," Cuomo said. "If they are not followed, you will see students come back, you will see students get infected, you will see transmission rates go up, and then you will see schools close."

Local governments and state officials can decide to close schools to contain outbreaks.

Village of Hempstead Mayor Don Ryan, with Town of Hempstead...

Village of Hempstead Mayor Don Ryan, with Town of Hempstead board members and representatives from Northwell Health, as they announced Monday the locations of two testing sites. Credit: Pablo Garcia Corradi

Monitoring test data

The state logged 656 new COVID-19 cases Sunday, including 67 in Nassau County, for an overall number of 44,677, and 57 in Suffolk County for a total of 44,820. New York City logged 268 new cases.

Officials said 1.2% of the people tested on Long Island were positive for the virus, slightly higher than the state average.

Nassau County Executive Laura Curran said hospitals in Nassau have 29 COVID-19 patients and 10 in ICUs.

"We were able to successfully contain the virus this summer, but as schools begin to reopen, it’s important that we concentrate on the ways we’ve been able to curb the spread of COVID-19," Curran said in a statement.

Suffolk County officials said 34 COVID-19 patients were hospitalized in the county and six were in ICUs. 

Also Monday, Cuomo and labor leaders sent a joint letter to Congress demanding billions of dollars to help plug budget shortfalls caused by the COVID-19 pandemic as well as repealing the tax change that eliminated the State and Local Tax Deduction (SALT).

Specifically, Cuomo said New York City needs $9 billion, local governments outside of the city $4.5 billion, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority needs $12 billion and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey $3 billion.

"There is no combination of savings, efficiencies, tax increases that could ever come near covering the deficit," he said. "We need the federal government to assist in doing that."

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