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6 Long Island Coronavirus Hot Spot Hospitals Ease Toward New Normal After Drop in Patients

NYU Winthrop University Hospital in Mineola during the peak of the pandemic. (Photo by Adam Brownstin)

Six Long Island hospitals deemed coronavirus hot spots in April have all experienced a decline in their number of COVID-19 patients, but as the medical centers adjust to the new normal, they worry about a possible second spike in hospitalizations. 

The six hospitals that Gov. Andrew Cuomo termed coronavirus hot spots were NYU Winthrop Hospital in Mineola, North Shore University Hospital (NSUH) in Manhasset, Long Island Jewish Medical Center (LIJ) in New Hyde Park, Good Samaritan Hospital Medical Center in West Islip, Stony Brook University Hospital, and St. Francis Hospital in Roslyn. 

“When a patient gets better and can leave the hospital, it’s a victory,” said Dr. Marc Adler, chief medical officer at NYU Winthrop. “It’s a personal victory for the patient, their family as well as the staff taking care of them. And it’s really just a wonderful thing to see.” 

A 14-day decline in COVID-19 hospitalizations was among the metrics required for Long Island to begin phase one of reopening from the coronavirus shutdown last week. Hospitalizations are also down statewide. LI had comprised a fifth of pandemic hospitalizations at the peak.

As of May 16, the number of coronavirus patients at NYU Winthrop was down 70 percent from its peak in early April. In one week, their number of in-patient cases decreased by 16 percent, the number of ICU patients dropped 30 percent, and the number the overall COVID positive patient admissions was down by 65 percent. In total, NYU Winthrop has discharged more than 1,500 recovered coronavirus patients and counting. 

At the peak of the coronavirus cases, Long Island hospitals compensated for the unprecedented influx of patients by bringing in outside staff. Hundreds of nurses, respiratory therapists, pharmacists, and pharmacy technicians, travelled to the region to assist the 22 hospitals fight the virus.

Stony Brook University Hospital, which reached its coronavirus peak on April 10 with 437 patients and had 101 as of May 21, has bid farewell to its outside help and does not plan to seek any more at this time, according to Dr. Kenneth Kaushansky, senior vice president for health sciences and dean of Renaissance School of Medicine at the hospital. 

“We are so thankful for their assistance,” said Carolyn Santora, chief of regulatory affairs and interim chief nursing officer for Stony Brook University Hospital. 

Northwell Health, which runs North Shore University Hospital, Long Island Jewish Medical Center, and 21 other hospitals, has also stopped the need for additional help in the hospital’s COVID-19 patient areas. 

“We’re back into our usual footprint so that’s good news,” said Dr. David Battinelli, chief medical officer of Northwell Health.

NYU Winthrop still has a number of travelling nurses on staff who have been slowly leaving and are expected to continue into June. 

A spokesman for Catholic Health Services, which runs St. Francis Hospital and Good Samaritan Hospital, said that they still have approximately 150 out-of-state health care workers assisting their hospitals. 

“Having this additional workforce is allowing us to provide our front-line staff much needed time off,” said the spokesman. 

On May 19, Cuomo announced that elective surgery could resume in Nassau County, joining Suffolk which had been given the OK three days earlier. As the hospitals catch up on previously planned procedures, new safety measures have been put in place.

According to Carol A. Gomes, chief executive officer at Stony Brook University Hospital, all staff and patients must wear masks, all patients are tested for coronavirus prior to surgery, and patients are required to self-isolate prior to surgery. All patients and staff are also screened for symptoms, all staff practice universal precautions based on guidelines issued by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, and all patients testing positive for COVID-19 are treated in a designated area to minimize risk from other patients. 

Doctors are hoping that their increased safety measures and constant monitoring of coronavirus patient numbers will ease the minds of people afraid to go to the hospital for necessary care. 

“We need patients to recognize that we’re doing the best we can to keep them safe and that they can’t continue to avoid the hospital when they should be going,” said Northwell’s Dr. Battinelli. 

At NYU Winthrop, there are several medical and surgical units deemed non-COVID areas so that patients may feel comfortable coming in with a non-COVID related issue. There are also non-COVID recovery areas where patients will also be treated by staff who do not interact with COVID-19 patients.

“We have regular meetings, in fact, on a daily basis that we know the census, we know every unit that’s currently being used for COVID patients, which units have non-COVID patients on them, and we follow the statistics throughout each day, seven days a week,” said Winthrop’s Dr. Adler. “So, if we see that there’s an uptick in one area or another, we’re able to reconfigure very quickly and move our staff around to accommodate it.”

Northwel’s Dr. Battinelli noted that anyone with serious symptoms should not hesitate to seek medical attention.

“We’re trying to make sure that we can help the communities of patients understand that for these types of things, for serious ailments and symptoms, your risk of staying home and addressing it on the fly is worse, way worse, than coming to the hospital,” Dr. Battinelli added.

For more coronavirus coverage, visit longislandpress.com/coronavirus

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Long Island Drive-In Movie Guide 2020

Trolls
NYCB Live, Home of The Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum, East Meadow. 7 p.m. May 29-31, 4 p.m. May 30-31.

Sonic The Hedgehog
Smith Haven Mall, Lake Grove. $40, 8:45 p.m. Friday, May 29.

The Bad News Bears
Smith Haven Mall, Lake Grove. $40, 8:45 p.m. Saturday, May 30.

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker
Smith Haven Mall, Lake Grove. $40, 11:45 p.m. Saturday, May 30. 

Frozen
Clinton G. Martin Park, New Hyde Park. Limited to Town of North Hempstead residents. 8 p.m. Saturday May 30.

Night at the Museum
Bayville Adventure Park, Bayville. $20 per car plus $30 food and beverage minimum. 10 p.m. Saturday, May 30. 

The Mighty Ducks
Adventureland, Farmingdale. $30 per person or $100 per car. Dinner included. 8 p.m. Saturday, May 30.

Frozen
Clinton G. Martin Park, New Hyde Park. Limited to Town of North Hempstead residents. 8 p.m. Sunday, May 31.

Ferris Bueller’s Day Off
Mema’s Pizzeria, 1147 Jericho Turnpike, Commack. 8 p.m. Sunday, May 31. 

Analyze This
Pietro Cucina Italiana, 404 N Country Road, Smithtown. $100, 7:30 p.m. Sunday, May 31.

Ferris Bueller’s Day Off
Mema’s Pizzeria, 1147 Jericho Turnpike, Commack. 8 p.m. Monday, June 1. 

Playing with Fire
Broadway Commons, Hicksville. Limited to Town of Oyster Bay residents. Tuesday, June 2.

Solo: A Star Wars Story
TOBAY Beach, Massapequa. Limited to Town of Oyster Bay residents. Thursday, June 4.

(TO BE ANNOUNCED)
Bayville Adventure Park, Bayville. $20 per car plus $50 food and beverage minimum. Thursday, June 4. 

Cheaper by the Dozen
Adventureland, Farmingdale. $30 per person or $100 per car. Dinner included. 8 p.m. Friday, June 5.

It’s My Birthday
Cloud 9 Exoticsm 855 Conklin St. Farmingdale. $10, 5:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Friday, June 5.

Onward
Ellsworth Allen Park, Farmingdale. Limited to Town of Oyster Bay residents. Tuesday, June 9.

Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory
Fireman’s Field, Oyster Bay. Limited to Town of Oyster Bay residents. Thursday, June 11.

(TO BE ANNOUNCED)
20 Queens St. Syosset. Benefiting The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. $30, 7:30 p.m. Thursday, June 11. 

(TO BE ANNOUNCED)
Adventureland, Farmingdale. $30 per person or $100 per car. Dinner included. 8 p.m. Friday, June 12.

(TO BE ANNOUNCED)
Jamesport Farm Brewery, 5873 Sound Avenue, Riverhead. $30, 8:30 p.m. Sunday, June 14. 

Thor: The Dark World
Westfield Sunrise Mall, Massapequa.Limited to Town of Oyster Bay residents.  Tuesday, June 16.

E.T.
Broadway Commons, Hicksville. Limited to Town of Oyster Bay residents. Thursday, June 18.

Jumanji: The Next Level
Ellsworth Allen Park, Farmingdale: Limited to Town of Oyster Bay residents. Tuesday, June 23.

Grease
TOBAY Beach, Massapequa. Limited to Town of Oyster Bay residents. Thursday, June 25.

Dirty Dancing
Echo Park, West Hempstead, 8 p.m. July 7.

Big Night
Gateway Drive-In Movies, Bellport, 9 p.m. July 7.

Pee Wee’s Big Adventure
Suffolk County Community College Grant Campus, Brentwood, 7 p.m. July 8.

Karate Kid
Suffolk County Community College Grant Campus, Brentwood, 7 p.m. July 9

Moana
Camp Anchor, Lido Beach 8 p.m. July 9 

E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial
Gateway Drive-In Movies, Bellport, 9 p.m. July 9

Jurassic Park
Movie-Lot Drive-In, Smithhaven Mall, Lake Grove, July 9

Matilda
Suffolk County Community College Grant Campus, Brentwood, 7 p.m. July 10

Footloose and Batman (1966)
Movie-Lot Drive-In, Smithhaven Mall, Lake Grove, July 10

Sonic the Hedgehog
Stotzky Park, Riverhead, July 10

Back to the Future
Suffolk County Community College Grant Campus, Brentwood, 7 p.m. July 11

Madagascar
Movie-Lot Drive-In, Smithhaven Mall, Lake Grove, July 11

Hard Day’s Night
Gateway Drive-In Movies, Bellport, 9 p.m. July 12

Moonrise Kingdom
Sag Harbor Cinema, Sag Harbor, 9:30 p.m. July 12

Daddy’s Home
Rath Park, Franklin Square, 8 p.m. July 14 

Mamma Mia
Hewlett Point Park, Bay Park, 8 p.m. July 16

Selena
Sag Harbor Cinema, Sag Harbor, 9:30 p.m. July 19

Grease
Crab Meadow Beach Drive-In Movies, Northport, 8:15 p.m. July 20

The Lion King (2019)
Veterans Memorial Park, East Meadow, 8 p.m. July 21

Sonic the Hedgehog
Western Beef Town Parking Lot R-1, Roosevelt, 8 p.m. July 23

Frozen II
Stotzky Park, Riverhead July 24 

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker
Crab Meadow Beach Drive-In Movies, Northport, 8:15 p.m. July 27

Footloose
Oceanside Park, Oceanside, 8 p.m. July 28

Grease
Niest Field, Levittown, 8 p.m. July 30

Toy Story 4
Crab Meadow Beach Drive-In Movies, Northport, 8:15 p.m. August 3

A Dog’s Journey
Newbridge Road Park, Bellmore, 8 p.m. August 4 

E.T.
Echo Park, West Hempstead, 8 p.m. August 6

Trolls
Seamans Neck Park, Seaford, 8 p.m. August 11

Frozen 2
Camp ANCHOR, Lido Beach, 8 p.m. August 13

Jumanji: The Next Level
Crab Meadow Beach Drive-In Movies, Northport, 8:15 p.m. August 17

Aladdin (2019)
Western Beef Town Parking Lot R-1, Roosevelt, 8 p.m. August 18

The Secret Life of Pets 2
Echo Park, West Hempstead, 8 p.m. August 20 

Onward
Baldwin Park, Baldwin, 8 p.m. August 25 

How to Train Your Dragon 3
Rath Park, Franklin Square, 8 p.m. August 27

Related Story: 7 Fun Socially Distant Things To Do On Long Island

Related Story: 9 More Fun Things To Do While In Quarantine

-With Fanni Frankl

For more entertainment coverage, visit longislandpress.com/category/entertainment

Sign up for Long Island Press’ email newsletters hereSign up for home delivery of Long Island Press here. Sign up for discounts by becoming a Long Island Press community partner here.

Comedian Modi Takes New Approach To Comedy Amid Pandemic

Modi performing at The Comic Strip in Manhattan.

The doors to comedy clubs are temporarily shut due to the COVID-19 outbreak, but laughs are still coming. Comedian Mordechi Rosenfeld, originally from Woodmere and better known as Modi, doesn’t treat his time quarantined at home as a limitation. For him, it’s an inspiration.

Since 1999 when he left his position as an investment banker at Merrill Lynch to pursue comedy full time, Modi has been constantly booked for shows across the country. Like many performers right now, the stay-at-home order has forced Modi to remain home in New York City for longer than he has in the last 20 years. Without a face-to-face audience, Modi has turned to social media to fuel his creativity and engage with his followers.

“[Quarantine] definitely inspired me to use my comedic muscle in a different way,” he said. “I travel a lot and do shows and before I go on stage, I figure out what’s the joke here, about the city, about the people, about the organization or theater that hired me to do a show. Now, I’m sitting here and I’m coming up with content on my own so it’s a different comedic muscle.” 

Modi’s breakout quarantine success came from a new character he created called “Yoely.” In this character, Modi appealed to his niche Jewish following with a comedic take on a Hasidic man reacting to mainstream trends while in quarantine. 

“You have to open the synagogues,” said “Yoely” in a video directed at Gov. Andrew Cuomo. “If I have to spend one more day with my wife, I’m gonna rip out my payos.”

On Instagram, the videos include “Yoely” reacting to popular reality shows such as Love is Blind and Too Hot to Handle. One of the character’s most popular videos to date is a review of the quarantine phenomenon Tiger King. The “Yoely” videos have amassed more than 100,000 views combined. 

Scattered throughout the “Yoely” videos are what Modi called “A Joke of the Day.” By putting out at least one short new video everyday, he brings some needed relief to his audience. 

“I had one doctor tell me he looks forward to the Joke of the Day,” Modi said. “He sits down for a moment, checks, and gets back to it…it’s just a little bit of relief for people who are super in it.” 

After interacting with Instagram followers who are on the frontlines of this pandemic, Modi decided to increase his engagement with fans by joining the personalized greeting application Cameo. Before the coronavirus outbreak, Cameo was used occasionally by celebrities to wish fans a happy birthday or happy anniversary for a fee. Now, unforeseen and inconclusive hiatuses have driven performers from all walks of entertainment to the platform.

Fans can request a video from Modi with a personalized message. The app, created in 2016, connects celebrities and fans in an unprecedented way during this unprecedented time.

“I did those cameos for people asking for them for people who truly became fans. For people who, I was a part of their day,” said Modi. “They were in the hospital and part of their day was ‘When’s Modi’s joke coming out?’”

In all of Modi’s online content, he puts emphasis on the comedy not on the news. In his daily life, he tries to listen to the news sparingly so that it doesn’t slip into his work. This, in turn, makes Modi an outlet for the escape that so many need right now. 

“I believe comedians’ jobs at this time is not to sit there and pontificate what they think is happening with the virus,” said Modi. “It’s to relieve people from their thoughts.”

No action better captured this sentiment than when Modi hosted the first ever Hatzalah-Thon event to raise money for Hatzalah, an emergency ambulance corps that was hit hard by the pandemic. Hatzalah is made up of volunteers that serve mostly Jewish communities around the world.

Before the outbreak, they typically received a few calls a week whenever someone in the neighborhood got sick. When the phones started ringing off the hook because of the coronavirus, Hatzalah was not prepared. 

On May 12, Modi was virtually joined by top Jewish singers and performers to put on an exciting show for audiences and encourage them to donate. The Hatzalah-Thon raised over $15,000,000. 

“This was the first time ever that they all joined to do a telethon because they were hit so hard,” said Modi. “It was a worldwide event in the Jewish community and it was absolutely unbelievable.”

Whether it be through livestreamed events or two-minute Instagram videos, Modi is maintaining a sense of community among his followers during a time when it is most needed.

MODI can be found on Instagram @modi_live.