Long Island’s First Suspected Coronavirus Case Reported A Month Before Confirmed Patient

Stony Brook University Hospital. Long Island Press photo.

Stony Brook University Hospital saw its first suspected coronavirus case in a patient who was admitted to its emergency room on Feb. 7, a month before the first confirmed COVID-19 case on Long Island.

Dr. Adam Singer, vice chair for research in the Department of Emergency Medicine at the hospital, first reported the suspected case last week in the New England Journal of Medicine 

“The definition at that time was that the patient had a fever and respiratory symptoms and came from an area like Wuhan,” Singer told CBS NewYork. “We did not have testing back on Feb. 7. Only the [U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention] was testing.”

LI’s first confirmed coronavirus came on March 5, in Nassau Couny, with Suffolk County’s first confirmed case coming three days later. Since then, the number of confirmed cases rose to 63,371 as of Friday, with 32,765 in Nassau and 30,606 in Suffolk. There were 271,590 cases across New York State, 890,524 nationwide, and 2.7 million worldwide.

More than 10,000 New Yorkers may have contracted the virus before the Empire State’s first case was confirmed on March 1, studies show. Sixteen percent of Long Islanders, nearly a half million people, have COVID-19 antibodies, suggesting they contracted and recovered from mild cases before they could be tested, according to preliminary estimates of a statewide study.

As of Friday, COVID-19 fatalities rose to 2,511 on LI — 1,518 in Nassau, 993 in Suffolk — 16,162 statewide, 51,017 nationwide, and 195,920 worldwide.

“For clinicians in areas that have not yet been hard hit, the pandemic wave will surely come,” Dr. Singer wrote. “Persons under investigation for COVID-19 should be treated as if they are infected. These patients often have a progression of disease severity, with approximately 15 percent of admitted patients requiring upgrades in care. We hope that lessons from our center will help prepare other physicians and hospitals for what is likely to come so they can stay ahead of the wave.”

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