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Timothy Bolger

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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.

Long Island Coronavirus Death Toll Tops 100

More than 100 people have succumbed to the coronavirus pandemic on Long Island, including seniors, those with underlying health issues, and several young people, officials said Tuesday.

The LI death toll rose to 116 after 15 new fatalities in Nassau County brought its total to 63 and nine more were reported to have passed in Suffolk County, where the number of deaths rose to 53. Of those who died in Suffolk, at least three were in their 30s.

“It is not just the elderly who are at risk here,” Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone told reporters Tuesday during his daily coronavirus conference call, noting how the high mortality rate for seniors has given some young people a false sense of invincibilty. 

Fatalities rose to 1,550 across New York State, 3,399 nationwide, and 39,545 globally Tuesday. As for diagnosed cases, as of Tuesday morning Nassau had 8,544, Suffolk had 6,713, and there were 75,795 statewide, 165,874 nationwide, and 809,608 worldwide. State officials report 10,929 hospitalized, 2,710 in intensive care units, and 4,975 patients have been discharged.

Compounding the grief for those who have lost loved ones is the fact that current stay-at-home social distancing mandates mean funerals for those lost cannot be held until after the crisis is resolved.

“We will continue to do everything we can to save as many lives as we can,” Nassau County Executive Laura Curran said.

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More Than 11,000 Coronavirus Cases Now Confirmed on Long Island

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

The number of people diagnosed with coronavirus on Long Island rose Sunday to more than 11,000  one fifth of the cases in New York State, officials said. 

LI had 11,468 confirmed COVID-19 patients, including 6,445 in Nassau County and 5,023 in Suffolk County as the statewide total rose to 59,513, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Sunday during his daily coronavirus news briefing.

“We are going to make it through this,” Cuomo said. “We have made it through far greater things. We are going to be OK.”

The Empire State still leads the nation in coronavirus cases. There were 129,767 cases nationwide and 679,977 worldwide. 

In New York, 172,360 people have been tested, 8,503 are hospitalized, 2,037 are in intensive care units, and 3,572 have been discharged. Worldwide, 145,625 have recovered.

The death roll rose to 31,734 globally, 2,316 nationwide, and 965 in New York. As of Saturday, 72 of those deaths were on Long Island: 35 in Nassau and 37 in Suffolk. The mortality rate remains highest with seniors and those with underlying health issues.

The governor said he expected a “rolling apex” where the virus peaks at different regions at different times both nationally and locally. He said it was unclear if LI or Westchester would peak first.

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Long Island Hospitals See Surge in Coronavirus Patients

Coronavirus patients requiring medical care are surging into Long Island hospitals before the disease’s spread is expected to peak in two to three weeks, officials warned.

There were 906 COVID-19 patients requiring hospitalization in Nassau County and 409 in Suffolk County, county officials said Saturday. Patients diagnosed with coronavirus whose more serious conditions required them to be admitted into intensive care units (ICU) rose to 185 in Nassau and 139 in Suffolk, officials added.

“Some of our hospital systems report several symptomatic patients coming in every hour,” Nassau County Executive Laura Curran told reporters Saturday in Mineola. “One hospital network that we spoke to said there’s been a 12-fold increase in the number of patients coming in from just one week ago. And the patients that are coming in are coming in more sick than they were a week ago.”

New York State officials said of 52,318 confirmed cases statewide, 7,328 are hospitalized, 1,755 are in ICU, 2,726 have been discharged, and 728 have died. There are 110,319 cases and 1,839 deaths nationwide while globally there have been 614,884 cases, 135,671 recoveries, and 28,687 deaths. The mortality rate has proven highest among seniors and those with underlying health issues.

Long Island had 9,675 cases as of Saturday: 5,537 in Nassau and 4,138 in Suffolk. New York City had 29,766. LI also reported 72 deaths, including 35 in Nassau and 37 in Suffolk.

“Hospitalizations we’ve seen now continue to rise,” Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone said during his daily media conference call Saturday. “This has been a trend that we’ve watched rise every day … The trajectory is clear and it is pointing us toward what we’ve been discussing and that is the surge that is coming at our health system.”

In an effort to increase the statewide hospital bed capacity from 53,000 to 140,000, Gov. Andrew Cuomo has mandated hospitals increase bed space by at least 50 percent, temporarily cancel elective surgeries to free up space, and has been working with federal agencies to erect field hospitals at Stony Brook University and SUNY College at Old Westbury, among other locations. But those two LI Locations aren’t expected to be online for another two weeks.

The governor has also been pushing to increase the state’s ICU bed capacity from 3,000 to 40,000 and with a concurrent increase in ventilators for each. The federal government has sent 4,000 ventilators so far and erected a 1,000-bed field hospital at the Jacob Javits Center in Manhattan that opens Monday, the same day the USS Comfort, a 1,000-bed Navy hospital ship, arrives. More than 70,000 health care workers have also signed on to temporarily staff the new field hospitals.

Curran said the 11 hospitals in Nassau reported having 52 remaining ICU beds available as of Friday, but that number has likely gone down overnight as more patients came in. The county ordered 100 ventilators to help and is asking the vendor to expedite the order, which usually has a 10-day turnaround time. Bellone did not have the latest ICU bed capacity availability as of Saturday.

In response to Cuomo’s request for federal officials to sent to New York State some of the 20,000 ventilators in the national stockpile, President Donald Trump told Fox News Thursday that he thought the governor was asking for more than he needed.

“The state has no interest in inflating the number of ventilators that we actually need,” Cuomo said Saturday, emphasizing that the need was based on data analysis of the rate that the virus is spreading.

“The urgency right now is for the ventilators,” Curran said. “Our hospitals right now are saying that they’re holding on and they’re working really hard and the state is being helpful, but this is a dire situation.”

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Long Island Coronavirus School Closures Extended 2 Weeks

Public and private schools across Long Island and New York State will be closed an additional two weeks, through April 15, to prevent the spread of coronavirus, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Friday morning.

Nassau and Suffolk county officials said Thursday that they were anticipating the move, since reopening schools on April 1 before the virus is expected to hit its apex in New York State in two to three weeks. Sending students back to school during the peak of the virus would defeat the purpose of temporarily closing schools.

“We’ll close the schools for another two weeks and then we’ll reassess at that point,” Cuomo told reporters Friday morning during his daily coronavirus news briefing.

“School districts have set up and continue to set up distance learning and there’s a reason for that,” Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone said Thursday. “And the reason is we’ve always suspected that this would go on for potentially an extended period.”

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Long Beach Boardwalk Closed Due To Coronavirus

Long Beach Boardwalk. (Credit: City of Long Beach/Facebook)

The City of Long Beach is closing its iconic boardwalk to as of 8 p.m. Thursday until further notice to prevent the spread of coronavirus, the city said.

Many parks have remained open across Long Island, allowing residents an outlet amid work, school, and socialization restrictions designed to keep the virus from spreading to a rate it will overwhelm the hospital system, but Long Beach officials determined the public wasn’t practicing proper social distancing on the boardwalk.

“We cannot allow our boardwalk, the heart of our city, to become a major venue for transmission,” Long Beach City Council President John Bendo said. “Long Beach is a very densely populated community with a disproportionally high number of first responders and health care providers who call the city home. For your own health and theirs, this is a measure we need to take.”

The beach will remain open, although access will be limited by the boardwalk closure.

“Police officers will continue to patrol the boardwalk and monitor the cameras placed throughout,” Bendo added. “In addition to the beach, we recommend you walk or bike your immediate neighborhood to get some fresh air or exercise…while practicing social distancing, of course.”

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Long Island Coronavirus School Closures Likely To Be Extended

The order to close all schools on Long Island for two weeks to prevent the spread of coronavirus is likely to be extended beyond April 1 since the pandemic is expected to peak after that date, officials said Thursday.

UPDATE: Long Island Coronavirus School Closures Extended 2 Weeks

Nassau and Suffolk county officials both said they expect the closures to continue beyond next week since COVID-19’s peak in New York State is anticipated in two to three weeks and sending children back to school during that time would be ill advised. But the decision to extend the closures would come from New York State, which superseded county officials’ school closure orders last week with one of its own.

“I believe it is unlikely schools will reopen on April first,” Nassau County Executive Laura Curran told reporters Thursday, noting that she is awaiting guidance from New York State.

Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone echoed the sentiments in his daily conference call with reporters from his home, where he remains quarantined through the weekend after two of his aides were diagnosed with coronavirus.

“The expectation that people should have is that is going to be extended,” Bellone said. “School districts have set up and continue to set up distance learning and there’s a reason for that. And the reason is we’ve always suspected that this would go on for potentially an extended period.”

He said he expects a determination from the state in the near future. During Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s daily coronavirus press briefing, state officials said the school closures are currently under review.

“We’re looking at that on an ongoing basis,” Cuomo said.

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As NYC Residents Flee To Long Island To Avoid COVID-19, White House Suggests They Self-Isolate

A Car Appearance Maintainer with the Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) demonstrates the disinfecting methods of a train car from the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) at the Hicksville Station on Long Island in New York, U.S., March 19, 2020. REUTERS/Andrew Kelly

The White House Coronavirus Task Force advised Tuesday that anyone who has recently traveled to or from New York City should isolate themselves for two weeks to prevent spreading the disease — just as city residents have been fleeing to Long Island to avoid infection.

Residents are reportedly flocking to their second homes in the Hamptons and officials on Fire Island have urged seasonal homeowners not to try to self-quarantine on the car-free barrier island accessible only by boat, where basic services are scarce in the off-season — but year-round FI residents report the ferries are packed with riders, which is unusual this time of year.

“Everybody who was in New York should be self-quarantining for the next 14 days to ensure that the virus doesn’t spread to others, no matter where they have gone, whether it’s Florida, North Carolina or out to far reaches of Long Island,” Deborah Birx, who is helping lead the White House coronavirus tax force, told reporters Tuesday.

Of the more than 30,000 cases in New York State — which has the most cases in the nation — more than half were reported in New York City and more than 5,000 were diagnosed on Long Island. Officials in other states have mandated anyone arriving on flights from New York be quarantined for 14 days.

Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone said his administration has been in touch with East End food retailers and suppliers to ensure shelves are stocked for the additional crowds following an initial shortage due to the part-time homeowners arriving earlier than usual.

“There have been a lot of empty shelves out there,” he said.

The county executive also echoed Fire Island officials’ concerns about seasonal homeowners from New York City seeking isolation on the barrier island during a time of year when healthcare, government, and emergency services aren’t fully staffed.

“This isn’t a great time to be going to Fire Island,” he said, urging ferry riders to practice social distancing.

Nassau County Executive Laura Curran also expressed concerned when asked about the White House advisory.

“We live right next to New York City, we’re right on the border, and we have family members who live in the city, who’ve been working in the city,” Curran said. “We are constantly commingling with people in New York City. That being said, if you have relatives coming to stay with you, perhaps they need to take a little extra care and stay away from people for a while.

“I don’t want this to turn into a suburbs versus the city thing,” she added. “We are all in this together. But if we all practice social distancing, isolating ourselves at home, we will get through this.”

-With Reuters

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Long Island Has More Coronavirus Cases Than The Second-Most Impacted State in U.S.

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

The number of people diagnosed with coronavirus on Long Island has increased to more than 5,000, which is higher than the second-most impacted state nationwide as of Wednesday morning, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said.

LI’s 5,545 cases include 3,285 in Nassau County and 2,260 in Suffolk County, putting the regional total as higher than New Jersey and California, which had 3,675 and 2,644 cases, respectively, behind New York State’s 30,811 cases, including 285 deaths. Including Brooklyn’s 4,656 cases and the 5,066 in Queens in LI’s total put it at 15,267. There were 58,998 cases nationwide Wednesday, including 798 fatalities. 

“As of yesterday, about 28 percent of all testing nationwide has been performed by New York State,” Cuomo told reporters during a news conference in Albany Wednesday.

He has said the infection rate is spiking despite efforts to restrict work, school, and socialization, prompting officials to increase estimates of how many hospital beds to 140,000 — nearly triple the state’s current 53,000 beds — will be required when the virus peaks in two or three weeks. 

The current hospitalization rate is about 15 percent, with 80 percent of cases self resolving, but seniors and those with underlying health issues remain most at risk of succumbing to the virus. Nassau County Executive Laura Curran reported 17 people have died of COVID-19 in the county as of Wednesday and Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone reported the 20 fatalities in his county.

The latest breakdown for communities don’t include the latest state figures, but those impacted in Nassau can be found here. The latest Suffolk breakdown was as follows: 461 in the Town of Islip, 423 in the Town of Huntington, 330 in the Town of Brookhaven, 306 in the Town of Babylon, 130 in the Town of Smithtown, 111 in the Town of Southold, 47 in the Town of Riverhead, 40 in the Town of Southampton, 13 in the Town of East Hampton, two in the Town of Shelter Island, and 182 to be determined. 

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Long Island Agencies, Hospitals Seek Donations Amid COVID-19 Crisis

Extra personal protective equipment (PPE) was donated to the Suffolk County Sheriff’s Office Emergency Management Section recently by M&C Venture Group of Bellport.

LONG ISLAND AQUARIUM
The aquarium is soliciting donations via GoFundMe with the goal of raising $25,000 to help with the approximately $18,000 per week expenses for animal care. The aquarium is currently closed to the public per the New York state mandate and the attempt to slow the spread of the illness, eliminating approximately 60,000 visitors and incoming revenue that normally funds caring for the animals. gf.me/u/xrxtsd

NASSAU COUNTY
The county encourages donations of the following medical supplies in unopened boxes/packages: N95 Surgical Masks in unopened container/boxes, eye protection such as goggles and face shields, Nitrile Gloves in unopened boxes that have not expired, disposable medical gowns (paper which are fluid resistant or plastic), shoe cover/booties, No-Touch thermometers, thermometer probe covers, HEPA filters for Ventilators / Anesthesia Machines, antibacterial and disinfecting wipes – typically alcohol or bleach based, disinfecting wipes (Clorox/Lysol), and hand sanitizer. Nassau County Public Safety Parking Lot, Field 3, Park Blvd, Eisenhower Park. 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Monday-Friday through April 3.

STONY BROOK UNIVERSITY
Stony Brook University will be collecting donations of personal protective equipment (PPE) which will be given to Stony Brook University Hospital. The university is currently accepting PPE donations that include face shields, N95 3M 1860 masks, protective eyewear, goggles, disinfectant wipes, hand sanitizer and other supplies required for staff safety. The PPE will then be distributed to medical personnel to use while interacting with possible (PUI) and known COVID-19 patients. To donate, contact Joan Dickinson at Joan.Dickinson@stonybrook.edu or 631-219-0603 so a drop off time and location can be arranged.

SUFFOLK COUNTY
The County is looking to solicit donations of N95 masks, ear loop face masks, gowns and gloves from the construction industry, building trades, and others in organized labor. These are typical supplies that would ordinarily be used on work sites. Additionally, the County is looking to solicit donations of ear loop masks and gloves from the personal service industry. Suffolk County Fire Academy, 102 East Ave, Yaphank. Email FRESfinance@suffolkcountyny.gov regarding large donations 10 a.m.-2 p.m. weekdays.

LIFE’S WORC
This nonprofit is in desperate need of personal protective equipment and other supplies for its residential homes that support people with intellectual disabilities and autism. Requested items included N95 masks, surgical masks, surgical gowns, surgical/Nitrile gloves, toilet paper, hand sanitizer, disinfecting spray, disinfecting wipes, and paper towels
Email PurchaseRequisition@lifesworc.org

Editor’s note: Life’sWORC was founded by Victoria Schneps-Yunis, founder of Schneps Media, the parent company of the Long Island Press.

Send additional requests for coronavirus-related donations to tbolger@longislandpress.com

Long Island Fine Dining Restaurants Convert To Takeout Joints During Coronavirus Shutdown

As restaurants adjust to their dining rooms being closed to prevent the spread of the coronavirus pandemic, a number of eateries that don’t normally offer takeout or delivery are doing just that.

While places such as pizzerias that deliver, drive-through fast food restaurants, and various other takeout eateries have systems in place to handle the temporary dine-in ban, Long Island establishments where patrons don’t normally expect to get their food to go or delivered are stepping up to continue serving their guests.

“We have made some major changes in how we do business,” said Sheila Haile director of marketing for Islip-based Bohlsen Restaurant Group. “Managers are on deck to handle call orders and we have moved staff around to manage delivery. We have extended every restaurants hours from 4-9 p.m. to allow for more take-out and delivery availability and created new take-out menus for all restaurants.”

Here is how some of LI’s high-end eateries are handling a temporarily takeout-only world.

ALMOND
Almond is now offering delivery to Sag Harbor, Bridgehampton, Sagaponack, and Wainscott. 
One Ocean Rd., Bridgehampton, almondrestaurant.com

THE BELL & ANCHOR
The Bell & Anchor is offering a special take out menu, available Tuesday through Sunday. Orders can be placed from 3:30 to 7 p.m. Pick up is available from 5 to 7:30 p.m. 3253 Noyac Rd., Sag Harbor, bellandanchor.com/takeout-menu

BLACKSTONE STEAKHOUSE
This top-notch chop house is dishing out their goods with curbside pickup to go. They’re also available on UberEats. 10 Pinelawn Rd., Melville, blackstonesteakhouse.com

THE CAPITAL GRILLE
This swanky steak house created a takeout menu of popular items and family-style dinners ready to serve at home. They also are offering a selection of uncooked steaks, hand-carved by their in-house butcher and packaged with house-made seasoning and steak butter for patrons to prepare as they like. 630 Old Country Rd., Garden City, thecapitalgrille.com

THE FIFTH SEASON
This eatery isn’t only offering the menu for curb-side pickup, they’re also running specials and serving brunch to go. 34 East Broadway, Port Jefferon, thefifth-season.com

THE LAKEHOUSE
This waterfront locale is offering curbside pickup of some of their most delicious dishes all weekend long. Pick up anytime 3 p.m.–6 p.m. on Friday, Saturday, or Sunday. 135 Maple Ave., Bay Shore, thelakehouserest.com

LIMANI
This upscale Greek restaurant is taking takeout orders for curbside pickup between 4 p.m. and 8 p.m. daily. 1043 Northern Blvd., Rosyln, limani.com

MATTEO’S TRATTOIRIA
Curb-side pickup and free delivery now available. 300 West Jericho Tpke., Huntington Station, huntington.matteosristorante.com

NICK & TONI’S
Wednesday through Sunday a special take out menu will be available from 4 – 9 p.m. with curbside pick up. Call in order and pay by gift card or credit card only. 
136 North Main St., East Hampton, nickandtonis.com

ONE 10
Takeout service is being offered between 12 p.m. and 7 p.m. daily. 569 Broadhollow Rd., Melville, one10restaurant.com

PRIME
In addition to takeout and delivery, to-go cocktails, beer, and wine are 20 percent off and VIP pricing is available for bottles of wine. 117 North New York Ave., Huntington, huntington.restaurantprime.com

TELLER’S 
This steak house is offering 20 percent off all takeout and delivery orders until further notice. Bottles of wine are also being sold at wholesale prices. 605 Main St., Islip, tellerschophouse.com

VERACE RESTAURANT
This trendy upscale Italian restaurant is offering 20 percent off all takeout and delivery orders, which are being accepted 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. 599 Main St., Islip, veracerestaurant.com