Even as Suffolk County prepares for the second phase of the economic reopening to begin next Wednesday, which could include outdoor dining, officials are discussing the possibility of bringing graduations and minor league baseball back.
The Long Island Ducks, a minor league team, have come up with a safety plan with protocols in place that the county plans to submit to New York State.
“The plan is incredibly thorough and has all sorts of different protocols in place to keep people safe,” County Executive Steve Bellone (D) said on his daily conference call with reporters.
If the county is able to reach the fourth phase of reopening in the middle of July, the Ducks could conceivably return to the diamond in front of a crowd of 25 percent of the normal capacity, which would enable attendees to be socially distanced in the park.
At safe distances, people could remove face coverings, the way they do when they go to beaches or are in the water. When walking around or going to the restroom, guests would need to wear face masks or coverings to protect themselves and their fellow baseball fans.
“We’re looking forward to getting this to the state,” Bellone said. “This is something that can happen.”
Additionally, while the Empire State has only permitted virtual and drive-through graduations, officials have left open the possibility of that they would review the possibility of a limited-seating graduation in July.
“I do believe we will be in a position to do this safely,” Bellone said.
The county has also worked with the Suffolk County Superintendents Association to develop a plan to create a safe, life graduation.
“I’m hopeful that will be able to happen later this summer,” Bellone said.
The viral figures continue to move in a favorable direction. Over the last day, an additional two people died from complications related to COVID-19, bringing the total to 1,918. This follows a day when one person died, so the pace of deaths, which have cast a pall over a county that was at the epicenter of the pandemic, has dramatically slowed.
Each death extinguishes a life and creates an irretrievable loss for each family, which is why the county and executive like Bellone are hoping that number soon falls to zero.
The number of people infected with the virus was 86. The total number of people who have contracted the virus is now 40,239, which is more than Singapore and Colombia, but is 2,700 less than Sweden, according to figures from Johns Hopkins University.
The infections don’t include antibody testing. A total of 15,080 people have tested positive for antibodies.
Bellone urged residents to provide information if contact tracers reach out to them. When people limit the possible transmission of the deadly virus, as they did during the economically painful and costly New York Pause, they will save lives.
“We are still in this,” Bellone reminded residents. “We need everybody to continue to follow the health guidance and do the right thing here, so we can recovery as a community and get our small businesses back open.”
Hospitalizations, meanwhile, continue to drop. Through the 24 hour period ending on Wednesday, the number of people with COVID-19 in hospitals declined another 12, to 213.
The number of residents in the Intensive Care Unit fell by two to 54.
An additional 24 people left the hospital over the last day.