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Steve Mnuchin

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In his ongoing effort to provide temporary property tax relief, Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone (D) spoke with Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin last night.

Bellone said the conversation was “positive” and he hopes to hear back soon about whether Suffolk County, which is short of the required population size, can access the municipal liquidity fund.

Bellone thanked Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-NY-1) for facilitating the call and supporting the county’s bid to tap into short term borrowing created by the federal CARES Act.

Bellone also announced that former County Attorney Dennis Cohen would return to his former role.

“This is even more critical to us now because of he crisis and because of the long road ahead on recovery we know we will have,” Bellone said on his daily conference call with reporters.

As testing continues throughout Long Island, including at hotspots including Coram which began today, the number of people who have a positive diagnosis for COVID-19 has continued to climb. For the first time in several days, that number rose by over 1,000, bringing the total to 31,294.

“That is higher than what we’ve been seeing over the last week,” Bellone said.

Bellone also announced that the county was piloting a food assistance program at the Brentwood testing site.

On the state side, Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) said he would soon be making a decision whether schools will be closed for the rest of the school year. The question will depend on where they see the resiliency of the virus, and also ongoing fears for another peak somewhere later in the year. Doctors are concerned that peak could come at a time when the nation would be going through its regular flu season as well.

On the positive side, total hospitalizations continue to decline, driven down by another triple digit number of discharges.

The total hospitalizations fell by 22 to 1,318. The number of people in Intensive Care Unit beds also declined by 16 to 478.

The ICU decline “is very good news,” Bellone said.

The number of people who have left the hospital over the last day was 132.

The number of people who died rose by 34 to 993. That includes the first Long Island Railroad Employee who passed away from complications related to coronavirus.

“I want to acknowledge and thank the employees of the Long Island Railroad today,” Bellone said. They have “stood up and met the challenge” created by COVID-19 and have “done an amazing job.”