New Positive COVID-19 Tests Stay Low, Executive Hopes for Phase Three

New Positive COVID-19 Tests Stay Low, Executive Hopes for Phase Three

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In the past 24 hours, the number of Suffolk County residents who have tested positive for COVID-19 was 33, which is well below the county’s goal of remaining below 100.

At the same time, the percentage of positive tests was below 1 percent, which is also an encouraging sign, particularly for a county that has had close to 100 protests in response to the killing of Minneapolis resident George Floyd.

The total number of positive tests in the county since the beginning of the pandemic is now 40,692.

Meanwhile, the number of people hospitalized with COVID-19 remained fairly stable. The number in the hospital increased by two to 127, while the number in Intensive Care Unit beds declined by two to 38 in the 24 hour period ending on June 13th.

Bed capacity also remained below the 70 percent metric, with overall hospital bed use at 64 percent and ICU bed occupancy at 56 percent.

An additional 12 people left the hospital in the last day.

The number of people who have died from complications related to COVID-19 climbed to seven, with the total number who have died now at 1,955.

The number who have died from the virus represents a “spike” compared to the last few days, said County Executive Steve Bellone (D) on his daily conference call with reporters. Indeed, on Friday, the county reported its first day without a death from COVID-19 since mid-March.

“We’ll see moving forward” whether the numbers of people felled by the virus stay low or climb from days when Bellone has reported deaths of 0, one and two people over the last week.

Gregson Pigottt, the Suffolk County Health Commissioner, said people who have been in the ICU on a ventilator sometimes struggle to pull through after a few weeks.

“It’s hard to predict when you’re in the hospital,” Pigott said on the call.

Separately, the county hopes to enter Phase Three of the reopening by next Wednesday, June 24, at the latest.

At that point, restaurants could reopen at 50 percent capacity. Such a reopening would help boost an economy residents hopes gets back on track after the shutdown caused by the virus.

“Many people are unemployed,” Bellone said. “Getting this industry back is an important thing. We need to do it safely.”

Amid concerns Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) expressed yesterday about violations of social distancing and face coverings in Manhattan and the Hamptons, Bellone said the Suffolk County Police Department has remained in touch with law enforcement in the East End.

At the same time, the Health Department is sending a reminder about the guidelines with respect to the state order to restaurants so they are fully aware of the health restrictions in place.

The governor “spoke about the potential that violations could result in suspension or revocation of a business’s liquor license,” Bellone said. “Nobody wants to see that happen. We want to see all these businesses open up again and get them back on their feet.”