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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 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

NY Coronavirus Peak Coming Sooner Than First Thought

Coronavirus is spreading faster than expected in New York State, where officials are now bracing for it to peak in two or three weeks instead of 45 days as previously projected, Gov. Andrew Cuomo warned Tuesday.

The governor said that because the infection rate is now doubling about every three days, he increased from 110,000 to 140,000 the projected number of hospital beds that the Empire State will need — and increased from 30,000 to 40,000 the number of intensive care unit beds that are expected to be needed. 

“We are not slowing it and it is accelerating on its own,” Cuomo told reporters Tuesday in Manhattan. “We haven’t flattened the curve and the curve is actually increasing.”

As of Tuesday morning, New York State had 25,665 people infected with COVID-19, 10 times the number of cases confirmed in California, Washington, and Florida. That includes 210 deaths in New York. On Long Island, Nassau County had 2,869 cases and Suffolk had 1,880.

In addition to mandating hospitals increase their bed capacity by at least 50 percent — the state currently has 53,000 — and calling in federal agencies to set up temporary hospitals to deal with the excess patients, Cuomo also chided federal officials to help secure ventilators for New York.

The state has about 3,000 already, anticipates needing 30,000, and has acquired 7,000. Cuomo said the Federal Emergency Management Agency sent 400 but urged the U.S. Department Health and Human Services to release its stockpile of 20,000 ventilators. The governor said the other states will peak after New York and Cuomo vowed to personally ensure federal ventilators are sent to other states where they’re needed once New York’s peak ends.

“What happens to New York is gonna wind up happening…elsewhere,” he said. “We’re just getting there first. Deploy the resources here in New York and once we’re past that critical point, deploy the ventilators to other parts of the country where they are needed.”

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U.S. Army To Build Temporary Hospitals For Coronavirus Patients In Stony Brook, Old Westbury

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo tours construction of temporary FEMA hospital at Jacob K. Javits Convention Center.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is going to set up two temporary hospitals on Long Island to treat a surge in coronavirus patients before the pandemic’s projected peak next month.

Update: Long Island Coronavirus Cases Top 5,000

One of the field hospitals will be at Stony Brook University and the other is coming to SUNY College at Old Westbury. The efforts come as Gov. Andrew Cuomo has mandated all hospitals statewide to increase their bed capacity by at least 50 percent. The U.S. Navy is also sending the USS Comfort, its 1,000-bed hospital ship, to New York in the coming weeks.

“We now have 53,000 beds,” Cuomo said of hospital capacity statewide. “We need 110,000 beds.”

The LI hospitals will be set up in field houses and outdoors, with staff to reside in campus dorms. While helpful, the hospitals don’t come with staff, as is the case with temporary hospitals set up by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), which building four 250-bed federal hospitals inside the Jacob Javits Center in Manhattan.

“We are going to the entire retired community, health care professionals who are licensed, registered and we’re saying we want you to enlist to help,” Cuomo said. “It’s not a mandatory directive … This is just a request. We put it out. We’ve gotten very good response.”

State officials are also working to increase their intensive care unit (ICU) bed capacity from the current 3,000 statewide to between 18,000 and 37,000 to meet anticipated demand for treating patients seriously ill with coronavirus in the coming weeks. The state is also seeking out additional ventilators to meet increased demand.

The efforts come as New York State reported having 20,575 patients test positive for COVID-19 as of Monday morning, including 2,442 in Nassau, 1,458 in Suffolk, and 12,305 in New York City. Thirteen percent of those patients required hospitalization and 621 required ICU beds. There were 157 deaths in New York.

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Long Island Coronavirus Cases Hit 3,000

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

The number of people who have tested positive for coronavirus on Long Island has reached about 3,000 as of Sunday morning, jumping from 1,000 on Friday as testing capacity increases, New York State officials said.

Update: NY Coronavirus Peak Coming Sooner Than First Thought

Update: Long Island Coronavirus Cases Top 5,000

There were 2,934 cases, including 1,900 in Nassau County and 1,034 in Suffolk County, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said during his Sunday morning news briefing. There were 15,168 cases statewide, including 114 fatalities, and more than 300,000 cases nationally, with more than 300 deaths.

“As we test more people, we’re gonna see more positives,” said Dr. Lawrence Eisenstein, the Nassau health department commissioner. “Don’t panic. The strategy is to find people who are positive … to make sure we get them safely isolated so they don’t spread disease.”

Nassau County Executive noted that the statics include patients who have recovered, as a majority of those who contract COVID-19 are expected to do. 

Melissa DeRosa, the governor’s secretary, said of the 114 people in the state who died of coronavirus as of Sunday, 15 were older than 90, 36 were in their 80s, 29 were in their 70s, 18 were in their 60s, 11 were in their 50s, and five were in their 40s. More than a dozen of the fatailities were on LI.

Cuomo noted that the hospitalization rate as of Sunday was 13 percent. Government efforts to limit public gatherings were aimed at containing the spread of the disease so the rate of infection doesn’t overwhelm the healthcare system.

Hospitals are also being mandated to increase their number of beds. In addtion, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is erecting field hospitals at SUNY College at Old Westbury and Stony Brook University so there is enough space to handle to additional patients anticipated when the virus peaks by the end of April.

Among those diagnosed were New York State Assemblywoman Kimberly Jean-Pierre (D-Wheatley Heights), Suffolk County Deputy County Executive Peter Scully, and Suffolk County Deputy County Executive Dennis Cohen. As a result, Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone is under mandatory quarantine and is running the county’s response from his home. And U.S. Rep. Kathleen Rice (D-Garden City) quarantining herself until after coming in contact with a congressmen who has been diagnosed with coronavirus.

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