The first two people to die of coronavirus on Long Island were reported in Suffolk County on Monday as the pandemic continued to spread, officials said.
The development came as Nassau County had 109 people who tested positive for coronavirus, Suffolk had 74, there were 950 cases across New York State, and more than 3,700 cases nationwide as of Monday, officials said. There were 69 coronavirus deaths nationwide and seven in the Empire State.
“Today I’m unfortunately in the position to have to announce that we have now confirmed deaths form the COVID-19 virus in Suffolk County,” Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone told reporters in a conference call Monday afternoon.
The first was man in his 80s who was one of the first cases in the county and had been hospitalized in isolation at St. Catherine’s Hospital in Smithtown. The second was a man in 90s who was in isolation at Huntington Hospital.
Bellone noted that one of the people who have been diagnosed is a member of his own administration, Deputy County Executive Peter Scully, who is working from home while in quarantine. Bellone said the county exec himself was not symptomatic but Bellone is limiting his contact with other individuals out of an abundance of caution.
Nassau County Police Commissioner Patrick Ryder said his department is coordinating with the state, which is in the process of setting up a second drive-through coronavirus testing site at Jones Beach State Park. The site would be the second in New York State and the first on LI. Bellone said Suffolk is also exploring a mobile testing site and considering local county buildings that could possibly be converted into makeshift hospitals, if need be.
“We want to reduce the impact and reduce the deaths to the greatest extent as possible,” he said.
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