FILE PHOTO: Scientists work in a lab testing COVID-19 samples at New York City's health department, during the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in New York City, New York U.S., April 23, 2020. Picture taken April 23, 2020. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid/

Long Island officials are closely watching a slight increase in patients being treated for coronavirus at hospitals across the region in recent weeks.

As of Monday, 64 people were hospitalized with COVID-19 in Nassau and 35 hospital patients have been diagnosed with the virus in Suffolk, officials said. While nowhere near the April peak of about 2,500 in Nassau and 1,658 in Suffolk, virus hospitalizations are up from a low of 24 for each county in recent months.

“That can largely be attributed to infections in our community primarily originating in high school- and college-aged people,” Nassau County Executive Laura Curran told reporters Monday during a news conference in Mineola. “While the numbers are slightly higher, it’s nowhere near where we were at the worst days of the pandemic.”

As for the most serious COVID-19 hospitalizations, Nassau reported 16 patients in intensive care units and Suffolk had five in ICUs as of Monday. That’s compared to the peak of 592 in Nassau and 562 in Suffolk in April. Overall, there were nearly 1,000 people hospitalized with COVID-19 across New York State, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said on Monday. 

“They don’t do a lot of discharges over the weekend,” Cuomo said. “The good news in the 934 is the admissions were down over the weekend … Fewer people went into the hospitals.”

Officials are watching hospitalizations closely as health experts have warned of the possibility of a second wave this fall. LI’s coronavirus infection rate has hovered around 1 percent since the summer, although parts of the Five Towns area have seen spikes that prompted New York State to include some of Lawrence, Inwood, and Cedarhurst in a recent crackdown aimed at curbing the spread.

Suffolk officials noted that some hospital patients were admitted for other ailments or injuries and tested positive for coronavirus during their treatments.

Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone had cautioned last week that officials were “watching very closely” a trend of increasing hospitalizations in the county. Virus hospitalizations had hovered around 20 over the summer, but had been closer to 40 for a couple weeks. But there was good news this week.

“That trend has not continued,” he said on Monday.

Related Story: NY Limits Activity in Lawrence, Inwood Amid COVID-19 Hot Spot Response

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