As numbers crept up in Suffolk, local officials appeal to public to do their part

East Hampton Town Launches ‘For the Health of Our Community’ Campaign

Phil Merritt, left, and Rosalio Sigua, two East Hampton Town employees, installed the new signs with the town’s #ForTheHealthOf our community campaign message. Courtesy East Hampton Town

Even though the summer season is winding down, more people than ever are expected to stick around on the South Fork this fall, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues.  The Town of East Hampton launched a new public information campaign as an appeal to everyone, from residents to visitors, to do their part in limiting the virus spread.

At the start of Labor Day weekend, new signs went up announcing the “For the Health of Our Community” campaign, in the hopes of reminding those who see them to wear a face mask in public, practice social distancing and keep up good hygiene. While infection rates in East Hampton Town and the state have remained consistently low, COVID-19 numbers in Suffolk County crept up over the last few days.

“It is imperative that we come together and do our parts to keep this community safe,” East Hampton Town Supervisor Peter Van Scoyoc said in a statement. “As the threat of a COVID-19 resurgence persists, the ‘For the Health of Our Community’ campaign asks that each of us make a simple commitment for the betterment of our community. Observe all of the COVID-19 health and safety practices, at home, at work, and when out and about in the community to protect not only yourself and your family but all of our community members.”

New York State’s infection rate has remained below 1% for one month — 31 days to be exact — Governor Andrew Cuomo said on Monday morning. On Sunday 0.88% of the tests were positive.

As the holiday weekend kicked off, Suffolk County’s numbers rose. In fact, the county had the worst infection rate in the state on Friday with 1.6% of the tests being positive and on Saturday with 1.5%.

On Saturday, Suffolk reached 45,200 positive coronavirus cases. The number of new daily cases in the county had ranged from 34 to 65 over the last few weeks, reaching as low as 21 on August 24. But, the new cases spiked to 96 and 98 on Friday and Saturday.

There were 51 new cases in Southampton Town from August 29 to September 5, the last day the hamlet-by-hamlet figures were updated online. In that same period, Riverhead Town saw an increase of 24 cases, East Hampton Town’s increased by 12, and Southold Town’s went up by 8.

Shelter Island has had only nine cases for months.

An image from the “For the Health of Our Community” campaign. Courtesy East Hampton Town

By Sunday, however, the infection rate dropped to 1.1% in Suffolk and on Long Island. The number of new cases reported in the county was 58.

The town’s bright signs, posters and ads will be posted around town and on the East Hampton Town website and social media channels encouraging everyone to work together to continue to fight the virus, just as schools on the East End begin to reopen and many brace for a second wave.

Community members and business owners can help spread the word too, by printing and posting the “For the Health of Our Community” message. Images can be requested by emailing Councilwoman Kathy Burke-Gonzalez at kburke-gonzalez@ehamptonny.gov

taylor@indyeastend.com