Blood sample tube positive with COVID-19 or novel coronavirus 2019 found in Wuhan, China

The number of coronavirus patients released from Long Island hospitals is outpacing how many people are being admitted for treatment of COVID-19 in recent days, suggesting the region may have hit the plateau, officials said.

Nassau County officials noted that hospitalizations are down for the third straight day and Suffolk County officials also reported more coronavirus patients released from hospitals than admitted — but all maintained that continuing to maintain social distancing is key to keeping the good news coming.

“Three days in a row indicates that we are approaching, or are in, a plateau,” Nassau County Executive Laura Curran told reporters Wednesday, noting that local hospital leaders expressed to her similar sentiment. “That is a very good sign.”

New coronavirus hospitalizations are also decreasing across New York State, from a high of 1,427 last week to 586 on Tuesday. Nassau COVID-19 hospitalizations increased by 88 to 2,369 but there were 144 patients discharged, the third day in a row there were more people released than admitted. Coronavirus hospitalizations in Suffolk increased by 68 to 1,585 and the county saw 138 discharged, the most patients released in one day to date.

“We know we are right there,” Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone said of the plateau.

Nassau reported the number of patients in intensive care units — those often requiring much-needed ventilators — dropped for the first time to 449. But Suffolk’s ICU patients increased by 11 to 517 after its first drop a few days ago.

Overall, as of Wednesday, LI had 34,392 cases, including 18,548 in Nassau and 15,844 in Suffolk. Coronavirus cases were at 149,316 statewide, 424,945 nationwide, and 1.5 million worldwide. 

But it’s not all good news. The state saw its second straight day of its highest one-day death toll  779  bringing it’s total to 6,268. LI is up to 889 fatalities with 566 in Nassau and 323 in Suffolk. There were 14,529 coronavirus deaths nationwide and 87,984 worldwide.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo noted that the longer patients are on ventilators, the more likely they are to not survive, and many coronavirus patients are on ventilators longer than the usual three days for a non-coronavirus patient. That trend is part of the reason hospitalizations are down and fatalities are up. But he reiterated that the public needs to continue social distancing if the virus is to be beaten.

“If we continue doing what we’re doing … then we believe the curve will continue to flatten,” the governor told reporters Wednesday. “We have to remain diligent, we have to remained disciplined going forward.”

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Timothy Bolger is the Editor in Chief of the Long Island Press who’s been working to uncover unreported stories since shortly after it launched in 2003. When he’s not editing, getting hassled by The Man or fielding cold calls to the newsroom, he covers crime, general interest and political news in addition to reporting longer, sometimes investigative features. He won’t be happy until everyone is as pissed off as he is about how screwed up Lawn Guyland is.