There were no deaths from COVID-19 in Suffolk County for a second straight day, officials said Sunday, a marked turnaround from April when the virus claimed more than 140 lives on Long Island in one day.
Nassau reported one death of a county resident outside of Nassau on July 3. A spokesman for Nassau County Executive Laura Curran said there were no county deaths recorded on July 4.
Fatalities from the virus in Nassau totalled 2,697 and 2,029 in Suffolk, according to statistics posted by the state Health Department on Sunday.
“For the second day in a row, I am able to report there have been zero deaths related to COVID-19 in our county in the last 24-hour period,” Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone said Sunday at his daily news briefing. He said there have been no deaths from COVID-19 in Suffolk for five of the last seven days.
“This past week now five out of seven days being able to report zero deaths is an incredible turnaround from where we have been,” he said.
Curran said a record number of Nassau County residents, 6,290, were tested for COVID-19 on Independence Day, with 43 testing positive for the virus.
She said that represented "the single greatest day for testing since the pandemic began and the fourth straight day of positive tests below 1 percent."
Bellone said the Suffolk County infection rate is also less than 1%.
The decline in deaths took place even as officials and health experts continue to urge people to wear masks and follow social distancing to prevent the kind of virus spike now being seen in other states that have reopened.
On Sunday, statewide, there were 832 patients hospitalized for the coronavirus, 54 newly admitted, 178 in intensive care, and eight new deaths, for a total of 24,904, according to Governor Andrew M. Cuomo's office. There were 533 new known cases, with a total of 397,131 cases in New York State. Of the new cases, 239 were in New York City, 57 were in Suffolk and 43 were in Nassau.
Long Island is expecting to enter Phase 4 of reopening this Wednesday, which includes museums, bowling alleys, catering halls and other places where large groups gather.
Numerous social media posts showed people partying on Fire Island and out in the Hamptons this weekend in large groups — appearing to flout the guidelines — sparking angry online debates.
Bellone said he believes most people are following the recommendations.
"Our ability to continue making progress on the economic front is completely dependent on our ability to control this virus and that can only happen through people using common sense and being smart," Bellone said.
Meanwhile, New York City nail salons, massage parlors and other personal care businesses will reopen Monday after months of a state-ordered closure to minimize the coronavirus pandemic — but indoor dining will remain halted indefinitely, Cuomo’s office said Sunday.
The city, which has suffered New York State’s highest infection rate and death count, will be the last region in the state to enter Phase 3 of the state’s four-phased reopening plan.
Word that the resumption of indoor dining in New York City would be halted indefinitely first came Wednesday from Mayor Bill de Blasio. He cited the experience of other jurisdictions where bars and restaurants reopened prematurely and saw spikes in infections. Cuomo later in the day confirmed the indoor-dining delays.
In a statement Sunday, Cuomo said: “New York City is a crowded, dense urban area and — until recently — was the global epicenter of the COVID-19 crisis. Out of an abundance of caution and after seeing other states' experiences with indoor dining, we will wait to reopen it as the city moves to Phase 3.”
With Matt Clark