Port Times Record

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A sign for Old Town Blooms in front of his planted daffodils. photo from Old Town Blooms Facebook

The Port Jefferson Station/Terryville Chamber of Commerce is working with one of its members, Craig den Hartog of Emerald Magic Landscaping, to beautify the area.

The chamber is offering locals the chance to purchase blooms and plant them anywhere from their homes to public property to help add a splash of color to the local scenery as Long Island steadily heads into fall. 

“It’s a good way to engage and get some fresh air, especially for folks who may be feeling isolated,” said chamber Community Liaison Joan Nickeson. “Plantings can take place anywhere; at private homes, the park, at the schools or businesses etc. We only ask for a photo.”

Den Hartog is the head of Old Town Blooms, and has worked to beautify Old Town Road in Terryville by weeding, picking up litter and by planting flowers for the past several years. He is also now the chamber’s events director.

People can purchase a mailbox package, which includes a mixture of 10 daffodils, namely three crocus, three muscari, three tulips and one alum for $20. People can also support their fellow community members by taking up a “buy one bloom, one for the community package.” These go for $20, $50 and $95 for 20, 50 or 100 daffodil bulbs, respectively.

People can order online or find out more information at pjstchamber.com 

State Sen. Jim Gaughran said he received more calls than any other time in his career from people who could not get to PSEG. Photo from Gaughran's office

Following the power outage caused by Tropical Storm Isaias in early August, State Sen. James Gaughran (D-Northport) conducted a survey of residents.

With 3,243 people responding, the survey indicated that people lost an average of $434.66. That compares with the maximum of $250 that PSEG Long Island said it would reimburse residents if they produced an itemized list and proof of loss.

Click here to see the full survey results

“I don’t keep my receipts,” Gaughran said in an interview after he publicly released the survey. “I throw mine out. I would imagine a lot of Long Islanders are keeping receipts” from their grocery purchases after their experience with the storm, the outage and the food losses, particularly amid the economic decline caused by the pandemic.

More than half the survey respondents, or over 58%, said they were not able to contact PSEG easily about their outage. At the time of the storm, PSEG recognized that its new communication system was ineffective.

Additionally, over two thirds, or 67 percent, of the residents in the survey said PSEG did not restore power before the estimated time.

In the two years he’s been in the senate, Gaughran said he’s never had this many responses to questions from residents about anything.

The Democratic senator highlighted how over 56% of residents were unaware of PSEG’s Critical Care Program, although those residents don’t believe anyone in their households would qualify. An additional 21% of the survey respondents didn’t know about the program and believed someone in their house might qualify.

The fact that more than half of the people who responded didn’t know about the program is “significant,” Gaughran said.

“Unacceptable” Storm Response

In response to a letter Gaughran sent to LIPA, CEO Thomas Falcone said he would “make sure that your survey results are appropriately reflected in the work streams for LIPA’s upcoming 90-day and 180-day investigative reports into PSEG Long Island’s storm response.”

Falcone called PSEG LI’s response to the storm “unacceptable” and said the LIPA Board has “insisted that the failures not be repeated.”

LIPA’s 30-day report said the computer system caused incorrect restoration estimates.

In its report about the storm response, LIPA concluded that “problematic management control issues,” combined with outside vendors who had “poorly defined service quality assurances” delivered an unsatisfactory customer experience.

A tree fell on a mail truck on Old Post Road in Setauket during Tropical Storm Isaias. Photo by John Broven

LIPA’s 2020 Internal Audit plan had previously scheduled a re-audit of the process to maintain customer lists to begin the fourth quarter of 2020. After reports of outdated customer lists during Isaias, LIPA accelerated that process, which started in September. The power authority will address that further in its 90 and 180 day Task Force reports.

The senator, who presented the results of his survey, also reiterated concerns he has about LIPA’s oversight of PSEG LI.

Gaughran said the Public Service Commission, which has considerably more direct oversight with other utilities around the state, doesn’t have the same authority with PSEG LI.

The PSC provides “recommendations” to LIPA and can “force them to pay money to their customers for lost food, lost business. [It] can do this with every utility except PSEG LI because the relationship is different.”

In responding to this concern, LIPA, in a statement, said the LIPA Reform Act provides the Department of Public Service with oversight responsibilities of LIPA and PSEG.

“LIPA’s storm oversight activities are in addition to DPS’s statutory role and DPS’s statutory role is the same for PSEG Long Island as it is for the state’s other utilities,” LIPA said in a statement.

The DPS provides independent recommendations to the LIPA Board of Trustees. The board has accepted every recommendation from the DPS, according to the statement.

LIPA said the only difference between the oversight of PSEG LI and other utilities in New York is that the DPS recommendations are to LIPA’s nine-member board, instead of the Public Service Commission.

The 30-day report includes 37 specific recommendations for PSEG Long Island to put in place by Oct. 15, LIPA said.

As for losses from the storm, LIPA said it secured direct reimbursement for customers through the customer spoilage reimbursement program. That could be as high as $500 per residential customer for food and medicine. PSEG LI is forgoing up to $10 million in compensation to fund this program.

LIPA “may look to pursue additional actions after [its] review and the Department of Public Service’s Investigation” is complete, LIPA said in a statement.

In his letter to Gaughran, Falcone said the 90-day and 180-day reports would have additional “actionable recommendations,” which the LIPA board would ask for independent verification and validation to make sure these recommendations have been implemented.

 

County Executive Steve Bellone said there could be massive cuts to Suffolk bus routes if they receive no financial aid soon. Photo by Kyle Barr

County Executive Steve Bellone (D) has continued his calls for additional federal funds, now saying bus routes and bus drivers’ positions could be eliminated in the planned county budget to be released within the next week, officials said. 

Click the image to see which routes could be cut in your area.

Bellone held a press conference Friday, Sept. 25, saying that cutting 19 bus routes and 25% of paratransit bus availability would result in about $18 million in savings for the county’s 2021 budget. The non paratransit routes, officials said, are equivalent to 2,500 riders a day, according to the pre-pandemic ridership levels. Cuts would impact about 200 daily riders who use the Suffolk County Accessible Transit service, and could also potentially eliminate hundreds of workers’ positions.

The routes themselves are spread out throughout the county, and though officials said those chosen would be busses with overall less ridership, they represent some of the only public transportation for certain areas. The S62, which runs across the North Shore from Riverhead to Hauppauge and is the only bus for places like Shoreham, Rocky Point and Miller Place, would be axed under current plans. The S54, which connects the Patchogue railroad to the Walt Whitman Mall is also in the crosshairs. Together, those routes contain the highest ridership and represent 887 daily riders, according to the county. 

All Planned Route Cuts

  • S54 – 548 riders per day
  • 10B – 45 riders per day
  • S59 – 90 riders per day
  • S57 – 139 riders per day
  • S31 – 12 riders per day
  • S76 – 36 riders per day
  • S56 – 89 riders per day
  • 2A – 106 riders per day
  • 7A – 60 riders per day
  • 10C – 85 riders per day
  • 6B – 108 riders per day
  • S47 – 73 riders per day
  • 8A – 131 riders per day
  • S62 – 339 riders per day
  • 1A – 63 riders per day
  • 6A – 78 riders per day
  • S69 – 3 riders per day
  • 2B – 161 riders per day
  • S23 – 149 riders per day

Other nixed routes include the S76, which connects Stony Brook and Port Jefferson Village and has an estimated 36 daily riders, may also get cut. The S56, which runs in Smithtown from Commack to Lake Grove with around 89 daily riders, could be eliminated as well.

This is all part of an anticipated 2021 county budget that Bellone said will include cuts across the board.

“Washington has failed to act,” Bellone said. “We need Washington to do its job, to do what it’s always done in times of crisis when local communities are hit by unprecedented natural disasters that are beyond the scope and capability of local government can handle.”

The cuts to personnel could be especially devastating, he said, considering many were “essential workers” who did their jobs even during the worst of the pandemic on Long Island. Many hospital and other frontline workers take the bus to work as well.

These planned cuts are despite receiving close to $26.6 million earlier this year in federal aid specifically for public transportation services. Bellone said the money has already been spent or allocated for the current year.

The total operating cost of Suffolk Transit is over $85 million, with more than $43 million being funded by the county, around $29 million from New York State, more than $4.4 million from the federal government, and $8.2 million in fares. Suffolk County estimates it will lose $6.1 million in farebox revenue in 2020, alongside a 20% or $6 million cut in state funding. Bellone’s office reported that the $26 million in federal funds allowed the county to operate the buses as normal during the height of the pandemic. 

John Corrado, the president of Suffolk Transportation Services, a private company which operates all the buses used by Suffolk County, said they lost about 40% of ridership during the pandemic, and though numbers are coming back there is no way it can stave off the massive loss in farebox revenue.

In a repeat of last week’s press conference where Bellone announced major cuts to Suffolk County Police, Republicans in the county legislature held a retaliatory press conference of their own that same day. Legislator Rob Trotta (R-Fort Salonga), a member of the legislature’s Public Works, Transportation and Energy Committee, claimed the county is only down $4 million in bus fees. The GOP members of the legislature have constantly attacked Bellone on its financial situation, with officials often citing a 2019 report from the state comptroller calling Suffolk the most fiscally stressed municipality in the state.

Legislator Rob Trotta joined fellow Republicans in denouncing Bellone’s planned bus cuts. Photo by Kyle Barr

“To blame the federal government is a cop out,” Trotta said. 

Though that aid that Suffolk received this year must be put towards current budget impacts due to the pandemic, Trotta said the numbers Bellone cited were off, and that the $26 million federal funds could be used now and all the savings could be rolled over into next year.

Though one will have to wait until the final 2021 budget is released before making any claims of what should or should not be cut, Republicans have claimed both this and other cuts to major services are unnecessary considering the CARES Act funding the county has already received to the tune of $257 million, not counting the additional public transit funds. This, they argued, should be enough to cover COVID-related expenses. Republicans said that new money is being used to pay for past financial mismanagement by the county executive. 

Though when asked what else could be cut instead of these services, Republican legislators said they would need to see the full budget before making that determination. 

Though some of the officials admitted there is need for further federal aid, Legislator Anthony Piccorillo (R-Holtsville) suggested the federal government put a watchdog on the county executive to make sure the funds are spent correctly.

In response to the accusation the cuts are not needed, Bellone said since the county pays more than $40 million for the bus system, and though the federal funds have helped, they does not cover what will be a massive $800 million deficit for this year going into next year.

The planned cuts to public transportation would also impact the Suffolk County Accessible Transit buses, otherwise known as SCAT, which hundreds of residents with disabilities rely upon for service in doing things as simple as going to physical therapy or shopping for food. The service allows residents to schedule being picked up and dropped off, and represents one of the few tangible means for those lacking mobility and without personal transport for getting around.

Frank Krotschinsky, the director of the Office for People with Disabilities under the county executive, said “the county has gone above and beyond” in the offerings it has for disabled transport. He added the questions his office most commonly receives are from people asking about transportation.

“The day these cuts are made, people with disabilities will be disproportionately affected,” he said. “We need the federal government to step up to its role.”

The same day as the press conference, Bellone hosted a call with the county executives of Onondaga and Orange upstate counties, both of whom are Republican, in emphasizing the bipartisan need for additional relief from the federal government. 

“As we put forward this budget, there is not going to be a part of this budget that involves discretionary spending that will not be impacted by Washington’s failure to act here,” Bellone said.

 

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The planned site for a new office building in Port Jefferson station includes a single building and an empty lot. Photo from Google Maps

Port Jefferson Station, even despite the pandemic, is building up.

Design plans for the new 31,000 square foot medical office building in Port Jefferson Station. Photo from TOB meeting

Brookhaven approved two applications Sept. 17, one for a new 31,000 square feet office building where an existing retail shop stands, and another to add an additional  structure to an existing medical park, both in Port Jefferson Station.

Applicants from S.W.M LLC, whose principal officer is named as Wayne Rampone Jr., the vice president and co-owner of the Ramp Motors dealership in Port Jefferson Station, were granted a change of zoning on the currently empty 2.3 acre parcel located at 43 Jayne Boulevard. The previous zoning was J-2 Business and B-1 Residential, and is now J-4 Business, allowing for the construction of a $4 million two story, 31,342 square foot medical office building at the site.

Site plans show a frontage of evergreens facing the road, and 165 parking stalls to complement the new structure. The planned building is across the street from Neptune Pools and borders Smith Point Fence to the north and the Fairfield apartment complex to the west. 

The other project, one from the M&R Stony Brook medical park located at the corner of Route 112 and Birchwood Drive, was granted a request to revise covenants to extend the second floor space of one existing medical building and create a whole new 20,485 square foot building on the southwest corner of the property. That new building is planned for vacant land that was at one point planned for a bank of a much smaller footprint. Estimated cost for construction is $15 million.

The property is bordered by the Sagamore Hills condominium complex directly to the south.

Developers for both projects went in front of the Port Jefferson Station/Terryville Civic Association July 29 during the group’s first in-person meeting in months, held outside the PJS/T chamber train car at the corner of Routes 112 and 347. The civic released letters of no objection for both projects to the town board.

During the meeting, Councilwoman Valerie Cartright (D-Port Jefferson Station) asked the applicant to be reminded of the 30-foot buffer along the western end of the property, where they will eventually plant evergreens as a screen between the new building and Fairfield residents. Attorney for both proposed developments Timothy Shea Jr., of the Hauppauge-based CertilmanBalin law firm, said he had no objection to the requirement.

Stock photo

Theatre Three, 412 Main St., Port Jefferson hosts a food and person care items drive to benefit the pantry at Infant Jesus Church on Saturday, Sept. 26 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Food items needed include mac & cheese, canned pasta (Chef Boyardee, etc.), coffee, sugar, flour, pancake mix, oatmeal, cereal, mustard, mayonnaise, ketchup, cooking oil, boxed milk, juice, canned fruit, healthy snacks, fresh chicken, fresh ground beef and hot dogs.

Personal care items needed include shampoo, baby shampoo, conditioner, soap, deodorant, toothbrushes, toothpaste, baby wipes, and diapers (size 6 and newborn).

Grocery gift cards and cash will also be accepted. Donations will be collected in the back of the theater on the south side of the building. Rain date is Sept. 27. For more information, visit www.theatrethree.com.

Stock photo

Get a flu shot now. 

While timing a flu shot can seem like timing the stock market — buying or selling a stock now might mean missing out on gains later — it’s not. A flu shot generally provides immunological coverage against the flu from about four weeks after the shot until six months later.

With a flu season that doesn’t follow a yearly calendar, residents sometimes try to balance between minimizing the possible effect of exposure to the flu in the next few weeks with exposure to the flu in the middle of the spring.

“It makes most health professionals very uncomfortable when people [suggest holding off on protection through the spring] as a reason to delay immunization, as it takes four weeks for protective antibodies to mature,” said Michael Grosso, Chief Medical Officer at Huntington Hospital. Influenza season can begin as early as November and sometimes earlier, so “any time now would be the right time.”

Medical professionals urged people to be even more proactive about getting a flu shot this year, as the pandemic continues to lurk in the shadows, on door knobs, and within six feet of an infected individual.

When people contract the flu along with other respiratory illnesses, the combination, as people might expect, can cause significant sickness.

“The novel coronavirus is just that, it’s novel,” Grosso said. “We don’t know exactly how it will interact with influenza. We do have significant prior experience with concurrent infections with other respiratory viruses. Individuals coinfected with one or more serious respiratory viruses frequently get sicker.”

That’s the case for both children and adults, Grosso added.

Getting an influenza vaccine could also reduce the confusion that will occur if people experience flu-like symptoms, which are also a hallmark of COVID-19 cases.

“Getting as much of the population immunized as possible is even more important than at other times,” Grosso said.

Each year, somewhere between 150,000 to 180,000 people are hospitalized from the flu and the death toll can range between 12,000 to 61,000 people per year in the U.S.

Doctors recommended that people who are 65 and older get a quadrivalent flu shot, which includes an additional influenza B strain.

In a trial of 30,000 people over 65, people who received the quadrivalent shot had 24% fewer illnesses compared to those who got the standard shot, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Susan Donelan, Medical Director of Healthcare Epidemiology at Stony Brook Medicine, said the side effects of the flu shot include an uncomfortable arm for a few days, a low grade fever and fatigue.

“The vast majority of people can easily manage the minor side effects for a day or two with Tylenol or Ibuprofen or a cold pack on their arm,” Dr. Donelan said.

Doctors said practices such as wearing a mask, social distancing and frequent hand washing, which are designed to reduce the spread of COVID-19, are also helpful in cutting down on the transmission of the flu.

Those measures will only help if residents exercise them correctly. Masks that fall below the nose of the wearer, which may make it easier to breathe, are not as effective at reducing the spread of these viruses, Dr. Donelan said.

 

While there have been no reported cases on Long Island, five people in Connecticut recently were infected with flesh-eating bacteria. File photo

With reports of five people who have been infected with flesh-eating bacteria across the Long Island Sound in Connecticut, area doctors answered questions about the dangerous pathogen.

For starters, the bacteria in Connecticut is called Vibrio vulnificus, and even though it’s extremely rare, it is especially problematic for people who have open wounds and have gone swimming in warm, salty or brackish — a combination of fresh and salty — waters.

Smaller cuts aren’t as much of a likely entry point for these bacteria, but open wounds such as skinned knees or elbows are, said Dr. Sharon Nachman, chief of Division of Pediatric Infectious Diseases at Stony Brook Children’s Hospital.

Those residents with open wounds who have swum in salty or brackish water can lower the risk of infection by washing their wounds with soap and freshwater soon after coming out of the water.

“Soap and water work,” Nachman said. “If you have no access to soap, regular water would be great.”

Vibrio is a rapidly spreading bacteria and is often visible soon after swimming.

“If you swim and you have an open wound and it looks different an hour or two after you get home than it did that morning, seek medical attention quickly,” Nachman advised.

The wound tends to get hot, is tender and red, and makes people who contract the bacteria feel sick. Getting ahead of the spread is particularly important.

Residents who are concerned that their wound might be changing can take a picture of the area and then, an hour later, compare that picture to how the injury looked.

While everyone doesn’t need to race to an emergency room for a possible wound that may look different after a swim, Nachman suggested people approach possible exposure with “thoughtful concern.”

An untreated infection can become much more serious, sometimes leading to amputations and even death. The five Connecticut cases haven’t involved any such dire developments.

Residents whose wounds appear to have a Vibrio infection typically receive at least two antibiotics either orally or intravenously. Some other pathogens in the water also can look as bad as Vibrio, but they need different antibiotics, which include Aeromonas. These other bacteria also find their way into bodies through open wounds and can cause rapidly progressing infections.

“When you go to the hospital, [medical personnel] may say that it looks like one of these [bacteria], and we are going to give you two to three antibiotics and see what happens,” Nachman said.

Once the medical staff determines the cause of the infection, they will likely cut the antibiotics back to the one that’s more effective for that specific bacteria.

With fewer people on the beach as school has restarted and people are engaged in more fall activities, potential infections from Vibrio have decreased.

While antibiotics are effective, they take time to beat back the bacteria.

With over 25 years in practice, Nachman has seen several cases of children who have contracted Vibrio. The children have been very sick, but have recovered.

People who have certain conditions can be more vulnerable to Vibrio, including people who have diabetes, are obese, or have heart or kidney problems.

Vibrio typically appears through wastewater. Shellfish, which are filter feeders, effectively clean the water. Warmer temperatures, however, or a big storm can cause shellfish beds to get upended, where pathogens might be dumped back into the water.

For more information, visit www.cdc.gov/vibrio/wounds.

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Conifer’s revised design plans for the Port Jefferson Crossing apartment complex were approved Sept. 17 after multiple design changes over the past several months. Photo from planning board meeting

Port Jeff’s latest apartment complex has the green light to proceed.

The Port Jefferson planning board unanimously agreed to conditionally approve site plans for Port Jefferson Crossing, a new apartment complex developed by regional affordable housing developer Conifer Realty just north of the Port Jeff railroad station along Main Street.

Jen Sigler, PJ village site plan reviewer, showed off the new renderings in the planning board’s Sept. 17 meeting, where designs have changed somewhat from their original June, July and August presentations. Gone are the red facades on the easternmost portion of the planned building, and overall the color is more continuous. The structure will have one type of external brick and windowed element on the first floor facing Main Street, and a second structure that is connected internally strikes out into the sidewalk slightly with so-called “bump outs.” The bottom brick portion on the eastern-most structure has changed to a grey color as well.

Some planning board members still felt lukewarm about some facade changes. Planning board member Laura Zimmerman was especially miffed, saying that the developer’s incremental changes have not done enough to change the overall cold and barren look of the building toward the southeast corner.

“This is a building that’s going to be there for 50 years, or however long it’s going to last,” Zimmerman said.

Kenneth Garvin, an architect for the developer, suggested they could add more character to the southeast tower on the wraparound. 

Current plans cite the three-story complex will have 45 units in total, 37 one-bedroom apartments and eight two-bedroom apartments. The complex will also offer over 3,100 square feet of retail space. There are plans for a covered parking garage of 48 stalls for residents, a community room, laundry facilities and a gym. 

The board has also asked that the developer give the planning board greater detail and a better price-by-price point for specific costs on the project, though they did approve the developer’s bond amount at the estimated $1,177,947. The board will need to amend the application approval at a later date figure if additional budgetary details are later considered.

The developer had originally asked for a waiver on a payment in lieu of parking and a parkland fee, but the planning board has kicked the decision over to the board of trustees who will make that determination.

Alison LaPointe, the special village attorney for the Building and Planning Department, said the normal PILOP fee is set at $4,000 per space in the C-2 district thanks to a village resolution in 2018, though the parkland fee is set on a case-by-case basis. 

“It is common procedure for the planning board to request a proposed fee amount from the applicant and then upon review the planning board either asks for adjustments to the amount or approves,” she clarified in an email.

Once the number is approved the owner then has to secure bond documents, which are then reviewed by the village attorney, where upon approval the bond documents are executed.

Mayor Margot Garant confirmed in the village board’s Sept. 21 meeting that the board and developer would need to discuss a recreation fee in short order, which depends on the number of apartments and scope of the overall project.

The village still has to work with PSEG on the location of a utility box and utility lines. Port Jefferson has worked with the developer in establishing the creation of Station Street, which is planned to be a one-way road that provides entry to the adjacent parking lots just north of the train station parking lot and just before the initial footprint for the proposed development. 

LaPointe said the costs for Station Street are being shared between the village and developer. The Villages portion of Station street is funded with Restore NY grant funds at a 50-50 match. Certain contributions such as curbing from the applicant are to be partially financed by a state grant received in 2016.

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The statue of St. Charles outside the hospital. Photo by Marilyn Fabbricante

So much attention has been paid to the people who come down with COVID-19, the inability to breath, being put on a ventilator and the struggle to deal with the massive influx of patients seen just a few short months ago. 

Laura Beck, the VP of rehab at St. Charles, says they have taken what they learned from other rehab programs and used them for COVID patients. Photo from St. Charles

However, not nearly as much focus has been paid to those who struggled and survived the ordeal, particularly those with lasting health impacts.

That’s something St. Charles Hospital is trying to rectify with a new Post COVID Rehabilitation Program, which offers physical therapy for those who are still feeling the health impacts of living with the virus.

The rehab program officially started Sept. 7, and currently has two people starting their recovery. Hospital rehab officials said they are hosting evaluations with more people to initiate them into the group setting.

Laura Beck, St. Charles’ vice president of rehabilitation, said there is very little available data that discusses exactly what are the health impacts of people after they’ve already suffered through the virus, but anecdotally, people have described profound muscle weakness, joint pain and many issues with patients’ ability to breath, even long after they have come off a ventilator. One study, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association back in July, showed that close to 87% of hospitalized COVID patients reported lingering symptoms for two months or more after the fact.

Building off the rehabilitation program the hospital has for pulmonary patients, St. Charles has designed the new COVID rehab with the same mindset.

“The most frequently reported symptom that does exist is shortness of breath and fatigue, followed by joint pain,” she said. “All three of those things are frequently addressed by physical therapy, and were commonly addressed in our pulmonary rehab program. We had the staff and experience to address these things.”

Post-COVID patients are given an initial evaluation and then are put into a group setting to be treated by a physical therapist, similar to what St. Charles does in other rehab settings. Toward the end of each patients’ time they are given another quality of life assessment as well as an endurance test to see how much they improve physically. 

A few outpatient care facilities have launched post-COVID rehabilitation, but St. Charles is one of the first major hospitals on Long Island to offer an in-house clinic in a traditional group setting. 

How many physical therapists eventually get involved depends on how large the program becomes. Currently the class size is kept small to try and space people out and adhere to social distancing. For patients that cannot tolerate a group program, Beck said they do plan to offer a more one-on-one situation until they can be put into the full exercise class.

Director of St. Charles’s Rehabilitation Services Pattianne Ruppel said most likely people who are feeling lasting effects of COVID are older, though that’s not always the case. Those who were young and/or asymptomatic likely wouldn’t feel any lasting symptoms. 

Because so little is known about what are the true lasting health effects from being crippled by the coronavirus, the St. Charles officials in charge of rehabilitation said this is also a chance to start gathering data on what is common amongst post-COVID patients. If they get enough people in the program, the St. Charles officials said they could even look to put out their own information.

“We would all love to say that some time in the future we won’t need this program,” Ruppel said. “We still see people with these lasting respiratory symptoms, so I definitely see a need for sure.”

Photo from Town of Brookhaven

Brookhaven Town Highway Superintendent Daniel P. Losquadro has announced that the Holtsville Ecology Site and Animal Preserve will reopen to the public on Monday, Sept. 28.

Brookhaven residents are required to make free, online reservations at www.BrookhavenNY.gov/Ecology to book a visit to the Animal Preserve. Only Town of Brookhaven residents with reservations and proof of residency will be permitted to enter for now; masks are required, as well. COVID-19 safety precautions, limited admissions and social distancing measures will be in place to ensure the safety of all visitors and staff.

The Animal Preserve will be open Monday through Friday with eight sessions available for reservations each day: 9 a.m., 9:30 a.m., 10 a.m., 10:30 a.m., 12:45 p.m., 1:15 p.m., 1:45 p.m., and 2:15 p.m. The Animal Preserve will be closed for cleaning and sanitizing in between the morning and afternoon sessions.

The Information Center and greenhouses will not be open; access to bathrooms will be available. The Animal Preserve will be open from the main entrance through the Eagle exhibit. Animals available for viewing at this time include alpaca, Arctic fox, Bald eagle, bobcat, Boer goats, buffalo, coatimundi, hybrid fox, hybrid wolves, llama, mini pigs, Nubian goats, other goats, pine marten, prairie dogs, rabbits, red fox, red tail hawk, and skunk.

The Ecology Site is located at 249 Buckley Road, Holtsville. For more information, call 631-758-9664.