After police announced Monday, April 27 several incidents of tense armed standoffs between police and residents, County Executive Steve Bellone (D) cited increased levels of domestic violence and the need to combat it while people remain stuck at home.
Police said Mark Reyes, 51, allegedly entered the home of a female acquaintance Saturday, April 25, in Kings Park. Police said she received knife wounds during the incident where she was assaulted. After the woman escaped the next day, the man would eventually be arrested after a prolonged standoff between him and police.
Bellone said the ongoing crisis has created a “climate” for people in situations with domestic violence, “increasing the risks they are facing.”
The county executive said police has seen an uptick in domestic violence incidents of 3.5 percent from April 3 through 16.
The current crisis, where more people are at home without any means of visiting other places or seeking help, has intensified the issue.
“Domestic violence is horrific and intolerable,” Bellone said, also citing numerous services people can use if they are in such a domestic situation. Because many in such situations cannot pick up the phone to call for help, they can reach New York State’s Office for the Prevention of Domestic Violence by texting 844-997-2121 or visiting opdv.ny.gov. Bellone said people can also reach out to Suffolk through 311 to get a list of resources, or visit suffolkcountyny.gov/crime-hotline. Suffolk also has the Hauppauge-based DASH Center that offers crisis care for children and adults. They can be reached at 631-952-3333.
“We know this climate is absolutely conducive to exacerbating mental health challenges that were there prior to the crisis unfolding – we want people to know those resources are available,” he said.
While the county executive said the vast majority of people have adhered to social distancing, there have been cases where people haven’t abided. Police said officers have done 870 checks of non-social distancing since New York Pause began, and they have found 76 violations. In addition, 86 officers have tested positive for COVID-19 and 70 are back at work. That’s up from 81 who tested positive April 17, according to police data.
Meanwhile, with questions about how New York State will be able to reopen, more testing and research has resulted in showing more people have been infected with COVID-19 than originally thought. Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) announced today close to 15 percent of New Yorkers actually have the virus. Long Island specifically shows 14.4 percent of people have the virus, according to results from the state survey.
This has only placed new importance on county and state-level testing initiatives. Bellone said there are plans to expand the number of hot spot testing sites within the county, but did not go over details of where those could be located. He also said there are plans to expand the operations of testing sites in spots Brentwood and Huntington Station, which have already seen a higher percentage of people testing positive for COVID-19 compared to sites like Stony Brook University.
He said he supported such “diagnostic testing” initiatives such as Cuomo’s announced plans for testing kits being available at pharmacies. As both counties and states in the region work out the details for eventually gradually reopening the state, such tests and the data they receive from them will be invaluable.
The county executive added after speaking with the Army Corps. of Engineers, the Gov. plans to keep the field hospital located at Stony Brook University in place for the time being. Worries that the virus could come back in a resurgence later in the year, the so-called “second wave,” is weighing heavy on officials’ minds.
The move from Sunday to Monday saw a general increase in the number of COVID-positive cases rise 464 to 33,286 in Suffolk. While Saturday saw a bump in the number of hospitalizations, this day’s numbers saw the overall declining trend continue with a decrease of 37 bringing the total down to 1,097. ICU beds have also opened up thanks to the discharges by 35, bringing the total number of people in ICU beds to 408.
Hospital capacity is sitting at 3,369, while ICU beds are at 775. 953 hospital beds and 228 ICU beds are available. There have been 69 people who have left hospitals, recuperating enough to continue recovering at home.
With that, the number of deaths continues to rise, with 32 people dying in Suffolk from COVID-19, bringing the total deaths to 1,102.
With additional reporting by Daniel Dunaief