Village Beacon Record

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Suffolk County Police said a man was killed in Coram Wednesday, May 13 after he was struck by a car.

Police said a Shoreham man was allegedly driving a 2010 Mercedes northbound on North Ocean Avenue, near Hawkins Road, when the vehicle struck William Moschetto, 33 of Mount Sinai, who walked into the roadway into the path of the vehicle at around 12:15 p.m.

Moschetto was taken via ambulance to Stony Brook University Hospital where he was pronounced dead.

The vehicle was impounded for a safety check. Detectives are asking anyone with information on the crash to call the 6th Squad at 631-854-8652.

From left: Nassau County Executive Laura Curran (D), Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone (D) and former Congressman Steve Israel. Photo from Bellone’s office

For the first time, Suffolk County has fallen below the three-day rolling average for new hospitalizations mandated for economic reopening yesterday, starting a clock that, if the pattern holds, could allow the county reach another metric by May 25.

The three-day average for new hospitalizations for Suffolk County, which is based on the total population, is 30.

“It’s a good thing to say we have met that decline in new hospitalizations for a three-day rolling average,” County Executive Steve Bellone (D) said on his daily call with reporters.

At the same time, the number of people in the Intensive Care Unit dropped by two, to 214, which is “another piece of good news,” Bellone said.

Still, the overall numbers aren’t all positive.

The number of people hospitalized with COVID-19 increased by 10 for the 24-hour period ending yesterday, bringing the total hospitalizations to 585.

Additionally, the number of new positive tests over the last day rose by 243, bringing the total, excluding antibody testing, to 37,305.

Hospital capacity remains close to the 70 percent level mandated for economic reopening. The number of available beds is 894 out of a total of 2,965 beds. The number of ICU beds, meanwhile, was 199 out of a total of 602, which exceeds the 30 percent availability necessary.

Four upstate regions have been cleared to begin the reopening process starting May 15, after Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s New York Pause order is set to end. At the same time, all of Long Island, including both Nassau and Suffolk counties, will be considered one for understanding when it will reopen.

At the same time, the county is aiming to have additional bed capacity, as hospitals hope to start offering elective surgeries again for residents who have put off procedures for weeks or even months.

The number of people who died in the last day was 26, bringing the total to 1,680.

“We are with you as you grieve this terrible loss,” Bellone said.

Amid hotspot testing, 1,595 people have tested positive for COVID-19 out of 4,386 results, bringing the infection rate to 36.4 percent of the total tests.

Bellone’s office distributed another 220,000 pieces of personal protective equipment yesterday, mostly to nursing home and adult care facilities.

Separately, Bellone invited veterans to a town hall scheduled for this evening at 5:30 p.m. Those interested in attending virtually can access the town hall at facebook.com/SteveBellone.

Finally, on Friday, the 106th Rescue Wing of the Air National Guard will salute health care workers with a flyover that starts in Riverhead at 12:15 pm, travels over several hospitals, and ends at 1 p.m. at Jones Beach.

The exterior of Stony Brook Children's Hospital. Photo from Stony Brook Medicine

COVID-19, which was considered especially threatening to the elderly and those with underlying medical conditions, may also have triggered an inflammatory illness that is sickening children in several places throughout the world, including in Suffolk County.

An inflammatory illness in children with symptoms that mimic Kawasaki disease has sickened seven in Suffolk County and officials are expecting more cases of the rare condition here and throughout the country.

Stony Brook Pediatric Hospital has admitted two cases of the multi-inflammatory pediatric condition, for residents who are 10 and 19 years old.

With other hospitals showing rare but similar unusual pediatric cases, including in the United Kingdom and New York City, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is preparing to release an alert about the inflammatory condition, a CDC spokesman told CNN.

Symptoms of the new illness include an extended fever, a rash, red eyes, red lips, a strawberry tongue, lower blood pressure and abdominal symptoms like vomiting and diarrhea.

Stony Brook, Pediatric Hospital has been “treating patients like we would treat and approach Kawasaki Disease,” said Christy Beneri, the Fellowship Program Director in Pediatric Infectious Diseases at Stony Brook Children’s Hospital. The hospital has provided intravenous immunoglobulin, a high dose of aspirin and steroids to decrease inflammation and other medications to help suppress the inflammatory syndrome.

This rare inflammatory process in children has developed weeks after a likely mild or asymptomatic case of COVID-19 in mostly healthy younger patients.

Patients can develop symptoms from “days to weeks” after an infection with the virus that has caused the pandemic, Beneri said. The majority of people with this inflammatory reaction are either testing positive for COVID-19 when they come to the hospital or have a positive antibody test, which indicates their immune systems mounted a defense against the virus, Beneri added.

It is unclear to doctors what is causing the progression from a manageable response to the virus to an inflammation that may require a trip to the hospital and to the Intensive Care Unit.

“We are trying to understand how the coronavirus is causing vasculitis,” Beneri said. “It has something to do with how the virus is affecting blood vessels and organs.”

To be sure, Beneri reassured children and their parents that most of the children who are infected with Covid-19 will not develop these inflammatory symptoms later.

“The majority will do well,” Beneri said.

Nonetheless, Beneri anticipated that more pediatric residents in Suffolk County would likely show signs of this inflammatory response.

“If their child is having fever for a number of days, significant vomiting or diarrhea, belly pain, red eyes or a rash, it is important that they speak with their doctor,” Beneri said.

One of the reasons Suffolk County is seeing some cases of this Kawasaki-like response in children now, weeks after the pandemic infected thousands in the area, likely relates to the timing of the peak infections, which occurred in the middle of April.

Based on conversations Beneri has had with other pediatricians who are treating patients with similar symptoms, she said the patients tend to be “healthy kids” who have often had a contact with someone in their house who was recently diagnosed with COVID-19.

The child may have brought the virus into the home and passed it along to a parent, who became sick. The child, however, later develops these multiple-symptom inflammatory issues.

While some children have died from this condition, Beneri said the majority of them are recovering.

The duration of hospital stays has varied, with some patients requiring 10 days in the hospital, while others have recovered within a few days. Beneri said Stony Brook has already sent one patient home.

Beneri added Nassau County has also had several teenage patients come in with the same symptoms. She expects more Suffolk pediatric patients with similar symptoms to come to county hospitals.

Parents should be on the lookout, primarily, for persistent fevers over the course of several days with significant abdominal pain, Beneri said. “If they start developing other symptoms, such as red eyes and a rash and they are not getting better” then parents should contact their doctor or a hospital, Beneri advised.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) addressed those gathered about his goals for the 2019 Legislative session. Photo by Sara-Megan Walsh

While public health officials initially expressed concerns for the elderly and those with underlying medical conditions amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Suffolk County has started to see an increasing number of cases of what’s known as Kawasaki disease.

In the county, seven children are currently hospitalized with a disease that doctors believe is linked to COVID-19. One child has died from this disease, which causes inflammation that can require medical attention. Children in Europe and the U.S. including in San Francisco, have exhibited symptoms of this disease.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) said today the condition has impacted 100 people and has killed three. Kawasaki disease, also known as pediatric multi-system inflammatory syndrome, affects children mostly between ages 5 to 14, though it has affected some children younger than that.

The pandemic “does impact kids directly,” Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone (D) said on his daily conference call with reporters. Although the county, like New York City which has several cases and deaths as well, “doesn’t completely understand it at this point.” Bellone urged children to wear face masks and practice social distancing in the same way as their parents and grandparents.

“We’ve known from the beginning that kids transmit the virus,” Bellone said. “This is all about protecting everyone as we try to restart our economy.”

In the last day, the number of new positive tests for COVID-19 increased by 150 to 37,062. Those numbers are about 10 percent of the new daily total just a few weeks ago.

Through yesterday, the number of residents hospitalized decreased by 15 to 575, which is “another real indication of the progress we are making.”

The number of people in Intensive Care Units fell by six to 216.

Of the 2,973 hospital beds in the county, 918 are available, while 209 ICU beds are available among the 619 in the county.

Amid a death toll that has risen by another 15 in the last day, bringing the total on Long Island to 1,654, the Association of Mental Health and Wellness is offering bereavement support groups online, starting next Tuesday.

“For those who have lost loved ones, friends, family members, this is there for you,” Bellone said. There are different categories of support groups for grieving adults, peer bereavement, veterans groups and a creative arts bereavement group.

Those interested in these support groups can sign up or register through bereavement.mhaw.org.

At locations in Shirley and Selden, Rite Aid will provide free COVID-19 testing to anyone who is over 18. Interested residents need to pre-register and have identification through the web site riteaid.com.

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A month ago yesterday, the number of people hospitalized in Suffolk County with COVID-19 was at a staggering 1,658, prompting the rapid-fire build up of a hospital extension at Stony Brook.

Yesterday, after further declines in hospitalizations throughout the county, the number of people hospitalized with a virus that has disrupted life across the county and the planet, was 590, which represents a 64 percent decline from the peak a month earlier.

Over the weekend, the total number of residents hospitalized fell by 113, while the number of people in the Intensive Care Units declined by 36, bringing the total number in the ICU to 222.

The number of people discharged from the hospital continued to fall, with 70 leaving discharged on Saturday and 83 leaving the hospitals on Sunday.

Capacity for hospital beds and ICU beds both were around the targeted 70 percent, which means that Suffolk County has met four out of the seven criteria for a phased economic reopening. This is better than a week ago, when the county only met two.

The three criteria the county still hasn’t met include hiring an additional 400 to 450 contact tracers, a reduction in hospital deaths and a reduction to 30 or below in the number of new hospitalizations.

County Executive Steve Bellone (D) said on his daily conference call with reporters that the last of those, the number of new hospitalizations, is the one he’s most concerned about meeting to reopen the economy.

Over the last 24 hours, the number of people who have tested positive for the virus, excluding the antibody testing, was 209, bringing the number who have tested positive through non-antibody screening to 36,911.

Excluding the antibody test, which screens for the presence of immune cells residents presumably formed to fight off a virus they may not know they had, positive tests in the last day represent just over 10 percent of the total testing.

“That is significantly lower than we’ve seen in the past,” Bellone said.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo said today several upstate regions will be able to begin opening their economies after May 15, when the New York Pause executive order is set to end. Each county is in charge of establishing its own phases for reopening when the time comes.

The virus continues to take the lives of Suffolk County residents, with an additional 22 people losing their battle over the last day, bringing the total to 1,639.

A new dashboard is available to check what criteria Suffolk has made toward its reopening initiatives.

On Wednesday, Bellone will conduct a second Facebook live town hall for veterans. This time, he join Suffolk County Legislator Susan Berland (D-Dix Hills) and former National Football League player and current Jets analyst Marty Lyons.

Through the Marty Lyons Foundation, the group has delivered over 7,900 wishes to sick children since its founding.

Jennifer Hoang and James Labriola at the Acupuncture Tradition in Port Jeff. Photo by Kyle Barr

In the lot of a small medical park in Port Jefferson, people relax in the drivers’ seats of their cars, the subtle smell of lavender wafting from barely cracked windows. In amidst the panic, both of the overriding senselessness of the world being turned upside down, and the smaller, creeping tide of waiting for things to get better, it was as close to an oasis as the current times could see.

Mather OR nurse Olga Turner receives acupuncture by Jennifer Hoang. Photo by Kyle Barr

Done up in mask, gloves, hair cap, goggles and lab coat, acupuncturist Jennifer Hoang, the owner of Acupuncture Tradition in Port Jeff, has been providing small free-of-charge acupuncture sessions to people in the community. It does not matter if they were previous clients of her’s. All are welcome as long as she has supplies.

To her, it’s her way of giving back. As so many people are stuck at home, and many with chronic conditions unwilling to visit the hospitals and possibly contract the virus, the acupuncturist is offering whatever she can to aid people, especially those with anxiety, depression, and may help those in pain who may not have access to prescribed painkillers during the crisis.

“So many doctors are overloaded in their work and have not been able to take care of the patients who are not COVID,” she said. “There’s this whole population who are not being taken care of.”

The nature of the current pandemic makes it especially hard for practices like Hoang’s. Normally a procedure on different parts of the body could take upwards of an hour, but close proximity is not in the cards with the current crisis. Still, doing what she can, she is offering procedures on people’s ears while they remain in the car, and she remains outside.

Olga Turner, an operating room nurse at Mather Hospital, has been a patient of Hoang for a little over a year. She suffers from vertigo, anxiety, depression and upset stomach, but the acupuncture treatments, she said, has helped her immensely. She said being able to return to get any sort of treatment for her ailments, while she returns to work in the hospital, means so much to her.

“We are so used to caring for everybody else, and that’s one of my biggest issues because I have asthma so I couldn’t go into the city,” Turner said. “It just gets me that I can’t help more than I want to.”

Hoang knows of the crisis situations, and the impact such small services can have on the people experiencing it. She knows it from her childhood and from her father, Ngoc Hoang. When she was around 7 years old, her father and their whole family were caught up in the wave of “boat people” fleeing Vietnam after the Vietnam War in the late 1970s. Her father, was a Chinese medicine practitioner provided acupuncture treatments to the refugees right on the ground in the harsh jungle of South Vietnam and Malaysia. She and her brothers and sisters watched their father help others when so few people could.

“There were people who were really sick, and there was no medicine — there were doctors there but without medicine, there was little they could do,” Hoang said. “[My father] was able to help so many people … I would see grown men crying in pain or suffering from something else, and after an hour they walked out, better. That was something so powerful to me. I knew from then I was going to be an acupuncturist.”

The small Port Jeff team seems to have the process down. After filling out paperwork, Hoang performs the procedure, putting the needles in five points in the ear. The person then relaxes for a time after, normally around 30 minutes. On their cars is placed a small sign calling the car a “waiting” or “treatment room,” depending on what step a person is at. Each person is given a cotton ball scented with lavender, plus a small bag containing tea supplies.

Mount Sinai resident James Labriola has started to volunteer and help Hoang during these sessions. First reading about it, he simply called up Hoang and said, “You helped me, can I help you?”

Labriola said his dad had been to several sessions with Hoang before the start of the pandemic. His father, suffering from Parkinson’s disease, would limp into the acupuncture’s office, but the man would leave with a steady gait after treatment. After a few days, the pain would come back, but Labriola said seeing him move freely, even for such a short time, was worth it.

“It would usually last only two days, but it gave him two days of freedom, and that was amazing,” he said.

The acupuncturist has seen an average of 10 cars each day they’ve done the free procedures. Saturday, May 9, she treated a total of 17. Each is done for free, though she has accepted donations to help her afford the materials, especially needles. As long as she has the time and resources, she said she will continue to offer the service as long as the crisis mandates it.

“People are losing their income or falling back into their addictions,” Hoang said. “It’s wonderful to stay connected to the community, to my current patients, and offer some kind of relief.

Acupuncture Tradition, located at 640 Belle Terre Rd. Building D, is hosting other sessions Tuesday, May 12 from 3 to 6 p.m. and Saturday, May 16 from 1 to 4 p.m.

This article was amended May 14 to correct the experience of Hoang’s father, as well as small details of the services provided.

People in Port Jefferson line up to eat at Prohibition Kitchen, doing their best to stay six feet apart. Photo by Kyle Barr

An additional 669 people tested positive for COVID-19 through 10 p.m. last night, bringing the total to 42,022.

Of the positive tests, 446 came from antibody tests, which typically test for the presence of antibodies that indicate that a person had the infection and has developed an immune response to it.

Among the examinations at hotspot testing sites, 1,473 positive tests have come back from a total of 3,952 results. Positive tests at the hotspots represent 37 percent of the total, compared with 32 percent for the county as a whole.

Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone (D) didn’t have an update on the number of hospitalizations, which are a closely watched metric that can help determine when the county can begin to reopen the economy.

Meanwhile, an additional 20 people died over the last day, bringing the total of fatalities that include a COVID-19 positive diagnosis to 1,617.

Meeting the U.S. Centers for Disease Control’s and New York States criteria to begin the reopening process is still a certain way’s off. Suffolk has to maintain current declines in hospitalizations, as well as double the number of contract tracers it had as of May 8, 230 to around 400 to 450.

With Northwell Health, New York State has been testing Suffolk County police officers for the presence of antibodies. Of the 1,115 results, 65 tested positive, which means that 6 percent of the officers have had the virus.

“That’s an extraordinary number,” Bellone said on his daily conference call with reporters, noting that it was below the 11.4 percent for Long Island overall and 12.3 percent for the state as a whole.

The low rate of infection reflects measures the department has taken “right from the start” to contain the infection among law enforcement, Bellone said.

Over the last 10 days, the number of sworn officers from the Suffolk County Police Department who have tested positive for the virus hasn’t increased at all, with 87 officers testing positive.

Memorial Day Celebrated in Northport in 2018. County Executive Bellone said he is requesting flags be able to be placed on graves to celebrate fallen servicemembers. File photo by Karen Forman

In a year when a world by a pandemic still attempts to acknowledge historical landmarks like the 75th anniversary of the Allied victory over Europe in World War II, County Executive Steve Bellone (D) said he strongly believes that Suffolk County’s volunteers can and should be able to place flags on the graves of those who served the country in the military.

“We are asking that there not be a blanket policy, that [the Under Secretary for Veterans Affairs] allow the national cemeteries to make the determination at the local level,” Bellone said on his daily conference call with reporters.

Bellone said he firmly believes the county can figure out how to place those flags safely. Further, he suggested that “we will put in the effort to make this work. This matters to us here.”

As for the update figures on the virus, the county executive reported that an additional 870 people tested positive for COVID-19, which brings the total to 41,353.

As of yesterday, the number of hospitalizations decreased by 16 to 703, which is “good news,” Bellone said, with the number of people in Intensive Care Unit beds declining by 43 to 258.

“That is a great number,” Bellone added. “That’s a number we’re happy to see go down significantly.”

At the same time, however, the virus continues to claim the lives of more residents of Suffolk County. In the last day, an additional 29 people died from complications related to coronavirus, which brings the total to 1,597.

“To all of those who have lost loved ones to this virus, we are thinking of you and we are with you in Suffolk County,” Bellone said.

Bellone’s office distributed 51,000 pieces of personal protective equipment yesterday.

Stony Brook University's COVID-19 testing site will be closing its ER portion due to declining numbers of people coming through. Photo by Matthew Niegocki

With 694 more people testing positive for the coronavirus, the number of confirmed cases in Suffolk County is now 40,483.

In the Suffolk County hotspot testing sites, the number of positive tests was 1,320 out of 3,412 total tests.

The percentage of positive tests at these hotspots is 38.7, compared with 33 percent for the county as a whole.

Antibody testing for law enforcement continues, with 1,581 law enforcement officers tested by Northwell Health and New York State so far.

The number of people who have died from complications related to coronavirus increased by 21 in the last day, bringing the total to 1,568 for Suffolk County. As of yesterday, the deaths from the virus exceed the number of people killed over 100 years ago aboard the Titanic. The staggering number represents what will likely be a turning point for the county, let alone the entire country which topped 77,000 deaths.

County Executive Steve Bellone’s (D) office distributed another 163,000 pieces of personal protective equipment yesterday, bringing the total number of such life-saving items to over four million since the crisis began in March.

Bellone didn’t have the closely watched hospitalization information today because the reporting system was down.

Separately, Bellone said the county was able to honor the 75th anniversary of the end of World War II in Europe.

“Today, we would normally be bringing together our veterans and particularly our World War II veterans to honor them and thank them for what they did for our nation,” said Bellone during his daily call with reporters.

A group including Suffolk County Chief of Police Stuart Cameron and Suffolk County Veterans Services Agency Director Thomas Ronayne raised an American flag above Armed Forces Plaza today. The group saluted the flag and then brought it to the state veteran’s home.

That home has been hit especially hard by the pandemic. As of May 5, the home reported 65 residents have passed away due to the coronavirus. Additionally, 68 residents have tested positive, where out of those four are receiving treatment at neighboring Stony Brook University Hospital. 30 of those veterans are in the post-COVID recovery phase.

Bellone said the county also celebrated the graduation of 70 members of the police academy. While the ceremony was different than it otherwise would have been prior to the pandemic, the event, which was broadcast on Facebook, was watched by more than 25,000 people.

“Their willingness to step forward at any given moment to risk their lives for strangers is an extraordinary thing,” Bellone said. “We thanked them and their family members.”

Separately, as for the national and local elections coming this November, Bellone said he hopes the bipartisan cooperation that has characterized the response in Suffolk County and New York will continue.

“I don’t know if we’re going to see that on a national level [but] at the local level, we are working together in ways we haven’t in many years, maybe not since 9/11,” Bellone said. “That’s what we should do.”

Bellone suggested the county didn’t have “time to spare to worry about partisan nonsense.”

He pointed out how he and Comptroller John M. Kennedy Jr. (R), who ran against Bellone to become county executive, have been “working closely together to address issues here. I’m hopeful that will continue.”

Stony Brook Closes Satellite ER

Stony Brook University is closing the emergency room field satellite in the South P Lot amid a decline in the number of patients.

The hospital will keep equipment inside the tents in case of future need. The health care workers who had been staffing the field site will return to the hospital.

Stony Brook had seen approximately 2,600 patients at the coronavirus triage sites.

The drive-through testing site in the South P Lot will remain open. That site has tested 27,515 patients.

Residents who would like a test need to make appointments in advance, by calling 888-364-3065. The site is open seven days a week, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Stony Brook University Hospital’s Team Lavender, and a Staff Support Team, delivered care packages to the employees at the Long Island State Veterans Home. The team put together 170 containers filled with donated items from the community including gum, chapsticks, drinks and snacks. They also included trays of home-baked goods, crocheted ear savers, and masks made by a veteran.

Team Lavender volunteers include doctors, nurses, social workers, patient advocates, chaplains, a faculty and staff care team, employee assistance program and employee health program. The team provides emotional, spiritual and psychological support for faculty and staff after an adverse or unexpected event.

Team Lavender completed a successful pilot during the last year in the NICU and maternity units. Team Lavender has worked together with the Staff Support Team to provide hospital wide support. Their efforts, previously performed in-person, are now available virtually for faculty and staff.