The need for hospital beds to manage the ongoing coronavirus crisis continues to build each day. Earlier today, County Executive Steve Bellone (D) reported 103 people were in the Intensive Care Unit with the Covid-19 virus, which is more than double the number in the ICU in the last two days.
“We know hospitals are working on innovative solutions,” Bellone said on a daily conference call with reporters. “Those will continue to happen as we seek to get equipment and supplies to fight the virus.”
At the same time, more people are seeking food assistance, as the number of people applying to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program reached 222 yesterday, which is up from an average of about 75 before the pandemic reached the county.
Bellone said he has heard mixed information from financial institutions as they have responded to businesses that are in various levels of distress amid New York Pause, which closed non essential businesses and slowed the economy.
The county exec said his office will be speaking with representatives from the financial services industry, adding, “we will be working to align what is being done with respect to business loans and mortgages, fines and penalties.”
Across the county, the number of positive tests for the virus is up to 2,735, as over 9,600 people have received tests. Stony Brook Hospital’s mobile site has conducted about 4,000 of those tests.
Including the ICU patients, the number of people hospitalized with the respiratory virus stands at 287.
For the 8th straight day, the number of deaths also climbed. Two people passed away with complications related to the virus. A man in his late 80’s died at Southampton Hospital yesterday and a man in his late 80’s died at Eastern Long Island Hospital on Monday. The total number of deaths connected to the virus in Suffolk County stands at 22.
With an expected surge in the numbers of people infected and the demands on the health care system expected to increase dramatically in the next two to three weeks, Bellone urged the public to follow social distancing and isolate themselves as much as they can.
Bellone himself has been in quarantine for almost two weeks, as he was in contact with Pete Scully, a Deputy Suffolk County executive who tested positive for the virus. Bellone’s quarantine ends Sunday.
For parents and their school-age children, Bellone believed that the date when schools would reopen would likely be after April 1.
“The expectation people should have is that that is going to be extended,” Bellone said. The increase in positive tests, hospital and ICU bed use, and the ongoing rise in virus-related mortalities are all “indications that we are in the thick of this. This wouldn’t be a time when you would be reopening schools.”