Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone looked noticeably happier at his daily press conference Wednesday, and for good reason: the county was back on the road to recovery, albeit it a long and winding one.
A key metric towards what he refers to as “reopening,” allowing life as it was before the coronavirus, had stalled for two straight days, and Bellone acknowledged it was a grim setback. But the number of new hospitalizations, which inched up by four and then 18, declined in the 24-hour period ending today at Wednesday.
“Today there is a substantial drop,” he said with a slight smile on his face. I fact it was 62 fewer, allowing the county to meet at least one of the criteria set by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and New York Governor Andrew Cuomo for reopening the economy. In all, there were 723 new cases, “One of the few times” the number has been lower than 800.
Fifteen people left the intensive care units, leaving 295 empty beds, more than, hopefully, the county will need for the foreseeable future. Incubations also declined, Bellone, said, as did hospital discharges, two more positive indicators that moves the county closer to business-as-usual.
Bellone cautioned of scammers who “prey upon our more vulnerable” and announced a new hotline for those who suspect they are being played: 632-852-SCAM. One 79-year-old senior chalked over $92,000 to scammers but Suffolk detectives were able to get it back. “Do not give up your money,” Bellone warned.
With schools closed, another problem is on the upswing: child abuse, Bellone said. Without school counselors and teachers trained to look for the telltale signs a rise in child abuse, “Is an unintended consequence,” he said. The county increased staffing at the Department of Social Services to deal with it.