Suffolk’s COVID-19 death toll jumped 251 since they were last officially reported on Tuesday. County Executive Steve Bellone said there was a lag in figures, compiled by the state, as the state began to include more accurate numbers from nursing homes and assisted living facilities.
The Suffolk County total for May 5 jumped by 226 — but not because there was a sudden jump in people dying, but because the figures were adjusted. The death total includes those who died from the novel coronavirus, as well as those whose death is presumed to be from COVID-19, Bellone said during his daily press briefing on Thursday.
Another 25 individual’s deaths were reported in the last 24 hours, bringing the total number of those dead to 1547.
“We’ve been talking about this for weeks, that it is likely that the official numbers being reported are under what the full amount will be,” Bellone said. “If I had to say, we won’t know the full number really until after this is over and we are looking back.”
In total, 53 people’s deaths have been linked to COVID-19 in nursing facilities on the East End, according to a breakdown from the State Department of Health, released on May 6.
At the Hamptons Center for Rehabilitations and Nursing in Southampton, five people have been confirmed to have died from COVID-19, while 14 people’s death is presumed to be from COVID-19. There have been 11 confirmed COVID-related deaths at the Westhampton Care Center.
Over in Greenport, Peconic Landing — one of the first places on the East End to experience an outbreak — has reported six confirmed deaths and three presumed to be from COVID in its nursing facility.
The Peconic Bay Skilled Nursing Facility in Riverhead has had 14 residents confirmed to have died from COVID.
Meanwhile, antibody testing continues to ramp up. The county has tested 737 police officers, including those from the county police department, Sheriff’s office, and East End agencies, Bellone said, adding that it has been a tremendous effort. “I cannot thank Northwell enough,” he said.
Another 804 Suffolk residents have tested COVID-positive, as well as hundreds more who have tested positive for the antibodies, in the last 24 hours. The total is now 39,789.
Hospitalizations declined for a second straight day, this time by 54, for a total of 719. The number of patients in the intensive care unit, however, increased, by six, bringing the total to 301.
“Hopefully we will see that number going down again tomorrow,” Bellone said.
Officials are carefully watching the hospital capacity figures as they can only look to reopen the economy with both hospital and ICU bed capacity at or below 70 percent. As of Thursday, hospital capacity is at 73 percent, and ICU-bed capacity is at 70 percent.
Bellone also announced on Thursday that the county is releasing a resource guide for businesses on its website later this afternoon. The guide will go sector-by-sector in offering guidance on how to safely reopen. It can be found later today at www.suffolkcountyny.gov/bru.
Rental Relief Extended
On Thursday, Governor Andrew Cuomo extended the moratorium on residential and commercial COVID-19-related evictions another 60 days from June 20 to August 20. His executive order banning evictions had been set to expire in June, but took action ahead of time to put people’s minds at ease. He also banned late payment fees and made it so that tenants may use their security deposits toward rent.
While he acknowledged during his daily press briefing that landlords with mortgages and utilities to pay will suffer the brunt of the rental relief, he said the state is working with banks for relief for landlords, and in turn relief for banks. “There is no doubt a tradeoff between the tenant and the landlord,” he said. “I don’t want to see people and children being evicted at this time through no fault of their own.”