COVID-19

Coronavirus on North Fork: Live updates from Times Review Media Group

Stony Brook accepting donations

(Updated: Sunday, 6:30 p.m.)

Stony Brook University will be collecting donations of personal protective equipment, 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 be distributed to medical personnel to use while interacting with possible and known COVID-19 patients.

Many neighbors and community groups have inquired about making cards for medical staff. The hospital recommends sharing sentiments through a cell phone video. Those who wish to send a message of support can email a video no longer than 20 seconds to [email protected]. The videos will be shared throughout the hospital areas and visible as the employees move throughout the day.

“It’s amazing how people can come together to support one another in a time of crisis,” Stony Brook University Hospital CEO Carol Gomes said in a statement. “We’ve seen many posts from friends and neighbors offering donations to help the staff at Stony Brook University Hospital. The entire campus community deeply appreciates the outpouring of support. We are grateful for the community’s willingness to help one another. We’re all in this together.”

Residents at the Long Island State Veterans Home are also missing their families because they can’t have visitors since they’re in a high-risk group. To share a message with a veteran, email a video of no more than 20 seconds to Jonathan Spier at [email protected]. The message will be shared on the digital boards in the facility.

Anyone with medical supplies or comfort care items they wish to donate can contact Ms. Dickinson by email or 631.219.0603 so a drop-off time and location can be arranged and donations can be put into the right hands quickly.

Scheduled appointments are the most efficient and safest way for everyone to comply with social distancing requirements.

Three new deaths in Suffolk

(Updated: Sunday, 4:15 p.m.)

Three more people in Suffolk County have died from the coronavirus, Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone said Sunday during a media briefing. That brings the total in the county to 12.

A man in his 80s died March 18. The Suffolk County medical examiner performed a COVID-19 case that day and the positive result came back Saturday.

A man in his 60s died March 14 at Stony Brook University Hospital. The positive COVID-19 confirmation came Saturday. Other medial factors contributed to his death, the county executive said. The man had been in an automobile crash.

A man in his 50s died Friday at South Side Hospital. The positive test came Sunday.

“It is heartbreaking to have to report those results,” he said.

Read more here.

New confirmed case at Peconic Landing

(Updated: Sunday, 3:25 p.m.)

Peconic Landing, the lifecare and retirement community in Greenport, has been told that a resident in a section of the facility that up to now has not been impacted by COVID-19 has tested positive for the virus.

In a press release, the facility said the member, as they are called, had been housed in Harbor North for Assisted Living and was transferred to Stony Brook Eastern Long Island Hospital, where that person tested positive for the disease.

“In accordance with quarantine and response efforts, all members in Harbor North have been isolated to their individual apartment residences since March 12, with all non-medical visitation suspended for the past 10 days,” the release said. “We are closely monitoring all members throughout the health center and continue our employee screenings at the beginning of each and every shift. We also continue to strongly urge our independent members to remain in their homes to prevent exposure from the virus in the greater community.

Read more here.

Bellone’s Sunday update

(Updated: Sunday, 2:15 p.m.)

Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone provided the latest update on the coronavirus Sunday.

Watch Mr. Bellone’s media briefing via News12 here:

Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone gives update on coronavirus outbreak

HAPPENING NOW: Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone is giving an update on the coronavirus outbreak. MORE: https://bit.ly/33F2MRW

Posted by News 12 Long Island on Sunday, March 22, 2020

Tele-Town Hall with Zeldin

(Updated: Sunday, 2:15 p.m.)

Congressman Lee Zeldin (R-Shirley) will host a telephone town hall Sunday night on the ongoing coronavirus outbreak where he’ll discuss government action to contain and combat the outbreak and answer questions from constituents. Dr. Bettina Fries, chief of Stony Brook Medicine’s Division of Infectious Diseases, will be his special guest.

Those who wish to sign up and participate can do so by clicking here. The telephone town hall will be broadcast live at that page at 7 p.m.

It is scheduled to run one hour.

How to help PBMC

(Updated: Sunday, 2 p.m.)

Volunteers are being sought for a meal train to support staff at Peconic Bay Medical Center.

PBMC president and CEO Andy Mitchell and deputy executive director Amy Loeb said in a newsletter that at any time there are often about 100 people in the building directly serving patients.

“We would be happy to accept any number of meals per day,” they said. “Our team also needs bottled water to stay hydrated.”

Volunteers can sign up for specific times via the meal train webpage that was just created and the effort will begin Monday. Donations are sought for bottled water, lunch and dinner.

Read more ways to help here.

Middle school staff member tests positive

(Updated: Sunday, 1:15 p.m.)

A staff member at the Riverhead Middle School has tested positive for COVID-19, superintendent Aurelia Henriquez said Sunday. The staff member did not become symptomatic until several days after school closed, she added.

The district was notified Sunday morning, she said.

“Due to laws related to the privacy of students and staff, I am unable to provide any further details,” she said. “The district has been in contact with the Suffolk County Department of Health.

At least 11 cases have been confirmed so far in Riverhead Town, according to the latest figured released by the Suffolk County Executive’s office.

Staff members at nearby districts in Mattituck and Southold both had tested positive for the coronavirus as well. All schools in Suffolk County were closed last week and will continue to be closed this upcoming week. Further closures beyond that are likely as the number of confirmed cases in the county and state continue to trend upward.

“When the Suffolk County Department of Health Services receives a positive case of COVID-19 an investigation is opened, and close contact tracing is initiated,” Ms. Henriquez said in a letter to the community. “Those who are identified as a close contact are notified directly by the Department of Health, which will also issue quarantine orders and other directives as necessary.

“The Department of Health advises that any individuals who need medical care should call their medical providers to report their illnesses prior to seeking care at a clinic, physician’s office, or hospital. In addition, anyone exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms is asked to call the New York State Coronavirus Hotline at 1-888-364-3065.”

County total surpasses 1,000

(Updated: Sunday, 12:15 p.m.)

The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Suffolk County has surpassed 1,000, according to Gov. Andrew Cuomo. A total of 373 new cases has brought the latest total to 1,034 on Sunday. The death total in New York is 374. He said that total is “sobering, sad and really distressing facts that should give everyone pause.”

Total cases in the state has surpassed 15,000.

Mr. Cuomo elaborated on the plan announced Saturday to request the Army Cops of Engineers to erect a temporary hospital at Stony Brook University, one of several sites for one in the downstate area. He said at the state level, the approvals are in place to begin the process. Staff can live in the dormitories and the beds can be set up in a field house.

“Now we have to get it done and get it done quickly,” he said.

A problem that would still need to be addressed is that added supplies and staff would not come with the temporary hospital.

Mr. Cuomo has made several requests to the federal government, such as ordering private businesses to manufacture critical supplies like masks and gowns so the states can stop competing against each other to purchase the supplies. He said masks that were costing 85 cents are now $7. The state is also competing against other states and countries for ventilators, the most critical piece of equipment.

“This is just an impossible situation to manage if we don’t get the equipment,” he said.

He said the president has requested a voluntary partnership with companies. The federal government should now invoke its legal authority to mandate private companies manufacture essential medical equipment, he said.

He also said the federal government should prioritize areas where the virus has spread most. New York, he said, has 15 times more cases than any other state.

Other notes from Sunday’s briefing:

• Mr. Cuomo said hospitals must submit a plan to expand capacity by 100%. At a minimum, the mandate is a hospital increasing capacity by 50%. He said it’s an “ambitious goal” and not every hospital will be capable of reaching 100%. He said the Department of Health is issuing the emergency order to hospitals. All non-critical surgeries will be canceled as of Wednesday, he said. Northwell Health and Stony Brook Medicine had already announced plans to restrict non-elective surgeries.

• Mr. Cuomo reiterated the point that young people are capable of getting the coronavirus, even if it’s not as lethal for them. He said the 53% of total cases in New York are people between 18 and 49. Those at greatest risk of dying continue to be older people and those with underlying illnesses. “It’s a nasty illness and you can transfer it to someone else,” he said of younger people.

• The current hospitalization rate is at 13%, which is lower than where it had been in recent days.

• Mr. Cuomo said 70% of the fatalities have been people 70 or older and the majority had underlying health conditions. Approximately 80% of deaths for people under 70 had an underlying health condition.

• The state will be implementing trial drugs starting Tuesday. The drugs are for anti-malaria and the theory, he said, is those drugs may be helping to reduce the number of cases seen in Africa. President Trump earlier this week said the FDA approved chloroquine to be used for coronavirus treatment.

Albany Press Briefing with Gov. Cuomo

Holding a briefing with updates on #Coronavirus. WATCH LIVE:Closed captioning is available at https://www.ny.gov

Posted by Governor Andrew Cuomo on Sunday, March 22, 2020

Long Island Aquarium seeks help

(Updated: Sunday, 10:20 a.m.)

The coronavirus pandemic has forced the Long Island Aquarium to close its doors, as have many other “non-essential” businesses throughout the tri-state area.

The aquarium started a GoFundMe to help offset the lack of revenue that’s used to keep the operations going and to care for more than 5,000 animals.

“We have a large team of caretakers that still must go to work each day to feed, care and clean for all of our animals,” the GoFundMe said. “As an aquarium, we have tanks that must run on electricity all day, every day.”

“As a privately run facility, the aquarium does not receive any government funding. We don’t qualify for discounts with our power company and we don’t have large sponsors. Our resources are extremely limited and we must continue on. Any donation you could provide would help us continue to feed our animals and lessen our worry.”

CLICK HERE TO DONATE

Correction officer tests positive

(Updated: Sunday, 6:45 a.m.)

A Suffolk County correction officer who last worked at the Riverhead jail on March 14 has tested positive for the coronavirus, the Suffolk County Sheriff’s Office announced Saturday night.

“Upon receiving the information this evening, Sheriff Errol Toulon took immediate steps to notify any potentially affected staff and jail medical personnel,” a press release noted.

Staff who worked with the officer have been told to stay home and quarantine for an appropriate length of time. The officer had limited contact with the jail’s inmate population.

“Regardless, all inmates are and will continue to be closely monitored for signs and symptoms of illness,” the statement said.

“We know this is a challenging time for all — for our staff and families, but we are here to fully support them through this crisis, and, in the end, we will be a much stronger and resilient organization,” Sheriff Toulon said.

Water service not affected

(Updated: Sunday, 6:30 a.m.)

As the coronavirus continues to spread across Suffolk County, many residents are stocking up, wiping shelves at grocery stores clean of essential home commodities including toilet paper and bottled water.

But officials at both Suffolk County Water Authority and Riverhead Water District say that’s not necessary. Seeing an influx of customers panic-buying plastic water bottles, both utilities are reminding residents that their water service and quality will not be affected by the COVID-19 outbreak.

“It’s important for residents to know that water provided by the Suffolk County Water Authority is and will remain perfectly safe to drink during the COVID-19 pandemic. Pathogens such as COVID-19 would not survive the chlorine disinfection process that occurs at our pumping stations prior to drinking water,” SCWA Chief Executive Officer Jeff Szabo said in a statement Friday.

Read more here.

Free, discounted rounds of golf

(Updated: Sunday, 6:30 a.m.)

A golf course is a place where someone can go outside for a breath of fresh air and find peace … while adhering to social distancing, of course.

During these stressful coronavirus times, that may be as important as ever.

Tim McManus, co-owner of Cedars Golf Club in Cutchogue, recognized that one day last week while golfing with his son at the course. “I thought with everything going on, it would be great if more and more people could get outside and have some fun,” he said.

An idea was born.

Now Cedars is offering free golf Monday through Friday through April 15.

“We don’t want to undermine what our officials are doing,” the other co-owner, Paul Pawlowski, said. “We want to keep people safe and at proper distances. We all need a break.”

Read more here.

‘Discreet’ COVID-19 unit opens at Stony Brook ELIH

(Updated: Saturday, 4:00 p.m.)

Stony Brook Eastern Long Island Hospital has opened a discreet COVID-19 unit to treat patients who have tested positive, Chief Administrative Officer Paul Connor announced in a memo Saturday afternoon.

The unit, which has dedicated staff working in it, will also accommodate patients who are “under investigation,” for COVID-19 and require hospitalization, Mr. Connor said.

A crew is also at work to create three additional negative air pressure rooms for treatment, which will bring the total number of such facilities to six, Mr. Connor said. Two of those rooms will be located within the hospital’s emergency department.

Additional staff members have been recruited to handle the additional patient volume, Mr. Connor said, though he did not provide specific numbers. The hospital is also seeking Food and Drug Administration approval to test for COVID-19 locally, and ramp up testing in the first two weeks of April.

Elective surgeries have been canceled and all individuals, including staff members, are screened prior to entering the hospital.

Mr. Connor also said that he is working with Stony Brook University Hospital and Stony Brook Southampton Hospital officials on a plan that would expand beds to handle a surge in COVID-19 patients, though no specifics details were unveiled.

His memo also reiterated key points on social distancing, urging the public to stay home and limit contact with others, especially when feeling ill.

“We understand these recommendations may render a hardship for residents, families and businesses, but it is critical to take the necessary actions to limit the spread of this virus. I make these comments not to create fear in our community, but to bring forth awareness of the severity of the situation,” Mr. Connor said.

County Executive: Fourth death reported at Peconic Landing, countywide death toll now at 9

(Updated: Saturday, 3:30 p.m.)

County Executive Steve Bellone confirmed Saturday that two more Suffolk residents have died from the coronavirus, including a fourth member of Peconic Landing in Greenport.

The county’s death toll is now at nine from the global pandemic, with at least 662 residents positively diagnosed with the virus.

“This is unlike any crisis I’ve seen in my time in government … in my lifetime,” the county executive said during his daily online media briefing.

Peconic Landing said in a statement Saturday that the 89-year-old woman had been in hospice care in The Shores for Skilled Nursing for several months and died Friday evening.

Read the full story here

Bellone gives daily COVID-19 update

(Updated: Saturday, 2:30 p.m.)

Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone gives update on coronavirus outbreak

HAPPENING NOW: Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone is giving an update on the coronavirus outbreak. MORE: https://bit.ly/2U9L59Z

Posted by News 12 Long Island on Saturday, March 21, 2020

Cuomo: Army Corps looking to build field hospital at SUNY Stony Brook; masks headed to LI

(Updated: Saturday, 12:30 p.m.)

Governor Andrew Cuomo said Saturday that SUNY Stony Brook is one of four locations across the state where the Army Corps of Engineers is looking to build a temporary hospital in an effort to increase the number of hospital beds during the coronavirus pandemic.

Gov. Cuomo Coronavirus Press Conference in Albany

Holding a briefing with updates on #Coronavirus. WATCH LIVE:Closed captioning is available at https://www.ny.gov/

Posted by Governor Andrew Cuomo on Saturday, March 21, 2020

The other locations are at SUNY Westbury, the Javits Convention Center and the Westchester Convention Center.

“The field hospitals are done by FEMA,” Gov. Cuomo said. “They are equipped hospitals that [treat] 250 people each. They are basically tent configurations.”

Read the full story

Help Is Available: Here’s How To Get It

(Updated: Saturday, 7:30 a.m.)

Unprecedented times, many people in need — and help is available.

Our friends at The Southampton Press put together a brief rundown of some of the ways federal, state and local governments, and others, are stepping up to provide assistance during the COVID-19 crisis.

They’re sharing it with our readers, too.

Read the full story

Local businesses stepping up to help others during tough times

(Updated: Saturday, 6 a.m.)

win Stills Moonshine Distillery will start producing something a little different this weekend than its typical bottles of alcohol.

As a way to give back to the community, owner Joe Cunha and his family have decided to use the resources at their business to make and bottle hand sanitizer, which they will give out to the public for free.

“We got the word from the federal government that we are able to produce hand sanitizer at our distillery,” Cunha said.

Read more here

As restaurants prepare for what looks to be a long haul of takeout and deliveries, some places are reaching out to provide healthcare workers and those in need with free or discounted meals.

Northforker has the details

Riverhead cases at 9

(Updated: Friday, 9 p.m.)

At least 2,380 jobs have been disrupted as the spread of COVID-19 has reached 459 confirmed cases, county officials said in a conference call Friday. Seven county residents have died from the virus, including four in the past 24 hours, County Executive Steve Bellone said.

Three of the new cases were from Peconic Landing in Greenport, Mr. Bellone said, and the fourth has not been identified pending notification of next of kin.

The number of tests in the county has eclipsed 2,000, according to county health commissioner Gregson Pigott, M.D.

Updated county totals stand at:

Babylon: 68

Brookhaven: 54

East Hampton: 4

Huntington: 97

Islip: 85

Riverhead: 9

Shelter Island: 1

Smithtown: 29

Southampton: 11

Southold: 64

Unavailable: 37

Read more here

Peconic Landing CEO: ‘We did not expect it would hit us like it did’

(Updated: Friday, 5:10 p.m.)

One of the places that is directly on the front lines of the COVID-19 epidemic is Peconic Landing, the lifecare and retirement community in Greenport. On Friday, Bob Syron, the facility’s president and CEO, reported three members of Peconic Landing’s Health Center have died from the virus. All were in their nineties, the age group most vulnerable to COVID-19.

“Once it hit Long Island, we knew it would be here,” Mr. Syron said. “So we prepared well in advance. But we did not expect it would hit us like it did.”

The Times Review Media Group interviewed Mr. Syron and Gregory Garret, Peconic Landing’s chief operating officer.

Read more here.

Update from Stony Brook ELIH

(Updated: Friday, 5 p.m.)

Stony Brook Eastern Long Island Hospital currently has enough personal protective equipment to meet the needs of every staff members who comes into contact with a suspected or confirmed COVID-19 patient, a hospital spokesperson said in a media release Friday. However, supplies of individual items can be expected to be come strained as the pandemic continues to evolve.

“Our supply chain professionals are working diligently to secure additional supplies and substitutable items,” a statement said.

All patients with known respiratory issues are immediately provided a surgical face mask when they first arrive and are escorted into a room. The mask provides cover over the mouth and nose to contain infectious droplets and the patient is physically separated from others.

“Our infection prevention specialists and nursing leaders are providing necessary training and updates,” the statement said.

A Stony Brook spokesperson said they cannot release the number of confirmed COVID-19 patients at the Greenport hospital, saying that information will only be released by government officials.

Bellone’s Friday briefing

(Updated: Friday, 2:31 p.m.)

Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone is providing a briefing on the latest coronavirus news.

Watch below via News 12 Long Island:

Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone is giving an update on the coronavirus

HAPPENING NOW: Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone is giving an update on the coronavirus.MORE: https://bit.ly/3adYJ1q

Posted by News 12 Long Island on Friday, March 20, 2020

Gov: 100% workforce reduction

(Updated: Friday, 11:44 a.m.)

Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Friday morning a 100% reduction in the workforce across the state, meaning only people in essential services should be commuting to work.

The reduction for businesses had originally been 50% and then to 75%. People can still work from home if that is an option.

“This is the most drastic action we can take,” the governor said at media briefing Friday.

Essential services will continue, such as grocery stores, pharmacies and utilities. The governor said restaurants delivering food is considered an essential service. A full list of what businesses are essential is still being sorted out, he said.

Mr. Cuomo said he signed an executive order called NY PAUSE, which translates to “Policies Assure Uniform Safety for Everyone.”

“We need everyone to be safe, otherwise no one can be safe,” he said.

He also said people should remain indoors to the greatest extent possible. The strictest rules under “Matilda’s Law” are for the most vulnerable groups: seniors over 70, immune-compromised people and those with underlying illnesses.

The outlines presented said:

  • Remain indoors
  • Go outside for solitary exercise
  • Do not visit households with multiple people
  • Do not take public transportation unless urgent and absolutely necessary
  • To greatest extent possible, everyone in the presence of vulnerable people should wear a mask.

“These are not helpful hints,” he said. “This is not if you really want to be a great citizen.”

He said these are legal provisions and there would be civil fines and mandatory closure for any business failing to comply. There are no civil fines at this point for individuals.

The latest numbers released Friday by the governor’s office were:

  • 32,427: Statewide tests
  • 1,770: Suffolk County tests
  • 766: New tests in Suffolk
  • 10,072: New tests in the state
  • 7,101: Positive cases in state
  • 371: Positive cases in Suffolk
  • 193: New positive cases in Suffolk

In other notes:

  • Mr. Cuomo said the state is waiving regulations for hospitals to maximize the number of beds they can accommodate.
  • The state is asking retired doctors and nurses to come back into service.
  • The state will also pay companies who can manufacture products like gloves, gowns and masks. The governor said the state will pay a premium. Businesses that don’t typically manufacture those products but have the equipment and personnel to do so are encouraged to help. “If you can make them, we will give you funding to do it,” he said.
  • The biggest challenge is ventilators, he said. Any health department regulated facility with unused ventilators must make them available to the state. “Ventilators are to this war what missiles were to World War II,” he said.

Watch below:

Governor Cuomo Press Conference in Albany

Making an announcement on the State's response to the #Coronavirus pandemic. WATCH:

Posted by Governor Andrew Cuomo on Friday, March 20, 2020

Barber shops, salons to close

(Updated: Friday, 10:30 a.m.)

Bowling alleys and movie theaters have closed. Restaurants can no longer sit customers. Tanger Outlets in Riverhead has closed.

The next round of closures announced Friday morning by Gov. Andrew Cuomo are now barber shops, nail and hair salons, tattoo shops and similar services. The closures go into effect at 8 p.m. Saturday.

Similar to other measures the state has enacted, the closures are a multi-state agreement with New Jersey, Connecticut and Pennsylvania.

“These temporary closures are not going to be easy, but they are necessary to protect the public health,” the governor tweeted Friday morning.

The closures are all part of the effort to curb the spread of the coronavirus, which now has been confirmed in more than 4,100 people in New York. Testing has been increasing and the first mobile testing center in Suffolk County opened Wednesday at Stony Brook University.

Churches transition to online-only services

(Updated: Thursday, 10:50 p.m.)

Churches of all denominations across the North Fork have transitioned to online-only service as the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Suffolk County continues to climb.

The Catholic Diocese of Rockville Centre — the sixth-largest Catholic diocese in the country, which serves 134 parishes on Long Island — announced Monday in a press release that all weekday and weekend Masses and non-essential activities in parishes are suspended or postponed through April 14. 

Read the full story

Meal programs to begin at local school districts as extended closure sets in

(Updated: Thursday, 10:30 p.m.)

Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone said in a press conference last week that he is working with Suffolk County School Superintendents Association and state officials to create meal programs for students during the closures and expanding childcare options for students with parents who need to work. 

We published a breakdown of when and where North Fork school districts will offer free meals to students in their communities.

Read it here

PBMC to lease former Mercy property

(Updated: Thursday, 5:30 p.m.)

Peconic Bay Medical Center has executed an interim lease agreement with the Diocese of Rockville Centre for the former Bishop McGann-Mercy High School property, PBMC President and CEO Andy Mitchell said Thursday.

“Immediately we intend to use this space for parking to eliminate our shuttle service for employees and should the need arise, we have the former school building for other needs that may arise from the COVID-19 pandemic,” he said.

Mr. Mitchell said last week that PBMC had ordered tents that could be set up outside the main buildings if the need arises as well.

“We wish to express our appreciation to the Diocese of Rockville Centre for working with us so quickly to help us meet the community’s health care needs,” Mr. Mitchell said.

Read more here.

County executive reports sharp rise in coronavirus cases as testing increases

(Updated: Thursday, 4:30 p.m.)

County Executive Steve Bellone reported Thursday the biggest jump yet in the number of positively diagnosed COVID-19 coronavirus cases in Suffolk as testing efforts have increased.

The county executive said there have now been 239 positively confirmed cases in the county — up from 160 a day earlier – including 45 in Southold, four in Riverhead and the first on Shelter Island.

Mr. Bellone said more than 250 residents have received mobile testing at Stony Brook University Hospital and more than 1,500 tests have been taken countywide to date,

“We’ve come a long way now, the testing is happening,” he said.

Read the full story

Tanger Outlets to close

(Updated: Thursday, 3:30 p.m.)

Tanger Outlets in Riverhead will close following Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s directive yesterday to temporarily close all indoor portions of retail shopping malls.

“Tanger Outlets Deer Park & Riverhead has asked their tenants to comply at 5:00 pm on March 19,” a statement from Tanger said.

“We will continue to monitor developments and communicate changes as they occur. We will also maintain a center team and security presence at each site. Retailers may still schedule deliveries and access the stores as needed. Changes to center hours will be posted on tangeroutlets.com.”

Riverhead PD announces operational changes

(Updated: Thursday, 2 p.m.)

The Riverhead Police Department is limiting access to its lobby in an effort to prevent the spread of COVID-19 coronavirus.

The police department stressed that it is still open 24 hours, seven days a week but is urging visitors to report incidents by phone whenever possible at 631-727-4500. It is also stopping fingerprinting services.

“Only visit if critically necessary,” the department said.

The Suffolk County Police Department announced similar measures earlier this week.

Shortage of face masks

(Updated: Thursday, 2 p.m.)

RISE Life Services on East Main Street in Riverhead is facing a shortage of face masks used when dealing with developmentally disabled individuals living at one of its 32 group homes in Suffolk County.

The shortage is due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which has led to a shortage of many items, including face masks.

The masks have been limited or non-existent for restocking, according to RISE, which was known as Aid to the Developmentally Disabled until 2018.

“We are reaching out through all of our channels in case someone has, or knows someone who may have a supply of these masks,” said RISE executive director Charles Evdos.

Read more here

Residents test positive at Peconic Landing

(Updated: Thursday, Noon)

Peconic Landing has reported that members of their retirement community have tested positive for the novel coronavirus.

In an update posted to their website Tuesday, officials there said that the New York State Department of Health notified then that several residents tested positive for COVID-19, and are in stable condition.

Southold currently has 33 confirmed cases of the coronavirus, which includes at least three employees of Peconic Landing. During a conference call with reporters Wednesday, County Executive Steve Bellone declined to say how many additional cases were related to Peconic Landing. The county executive reported that the state Department of Health has taken the lead on that investigation.

A spokesperson for Peconic Landing also declined to provide specifics, including the number of residents who have tested positive.

“All our time and attention is being focused on our members, employees and communicating with our families,” sales and marketing director Laurelle Scarpelli wrote in an email Wednesday.

According to the Peconic Landing website, state health officials are providing the community with access to testing for members who are suspected to have been in close contact with confirmed residents. Precautionary quarantine measures are in place across their campus to help contain the spread.

Visitation to Peconic Landing remains suspended until further notice, according to officials.

To help their retired residents communicate with their families, staff is helping to facilitate Skype calls. For more information or to schedule a Skype call, call 631-593-8288 for health center residents and 631-593-8210 for independent living members.

Cuomo’s Thursday briefing

(Updated: Thursday, 10:30 a.m.)

At his briefing Thursday, Gov. Andrew Cuomo discussed a new plan for mortgage relief and financial assistance, while also giving updates on the spread of the virus and hospitalization.

Here are a few key takeaways from the briefing:

• The state is granting 90-day mortgage relief for people with financial hardships. Negative credit reporting will also be suspended and overdraft fees will be waived at ATMs.

• The mandated workforce reduction is being increased from 50% to 75%, meaning businesses cannot have more than 25% of their workforce report to the office.

• New York remains the most impacted state in terms of the number of positive cases with 4,152 cases confirmed, including 178 in Suffolk County.

• Testing has ramped up locally with 361 tests performed in Suffolk County in past 24 hours to a toal of 1,0004.

• The hospitalization rate is 19% in New York State, with 777 patients currently hospitalized for the virus.

Watch below:

Press Conference in Albany

Updating New Yorkers on our #Coronavirus response.Closed Captioning is available at governor.ny.gov

Posted by Governor Andrew Cuomo on Thursday, March 19, 2020

Today’s front page

(Updated: Thursday, 9:15 a.m.)

Today’s cover story of The Suffolk Times features a look back at an intense week of ever-changing news as the coronavirus pandemic brought our way of life to a halt.

This week’s paper was put together almost entirely via staff working remotely.

Newsstands may be hard to come by as people shelter inside, so here’s a look at the March 19, 2020 front page. Click here to access the digital edition.

Giglio: Let’s let restaurants advertise with signs

(Updated: Thursday, 9:15 a.m.)

Riverhead Councilwoman Jodi Giglio is seeking executive order from Supervisor Yvette Aguiar to allow the town to temporarily waive sign and banner permits and fees for local restaurants advertising takeout availability and hours.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo this week issued statewide orders to force gyms and movie theaters to close and for restaurants to only serve takeout or delivery orders. The state’s order comes in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

Ms. Giglio said her proposal aims to help local restaurants, which could be hurt by the state’s action.

Read more here.

Finding ways to de-stress

(Updated: Thursday, 6:30 a.m.)

New York State has taken steps to increase access to mental health care, even as officials continue to urge the public to practice social distancing.

Officials from the state Office of Mental Health announced Friday that they will streamline the approval process governing telehealth services, which will allow more providers to use that method throughout the coronavirus crisis.

“Individuals who are self-quarantined or concerned about the spread of COVID-19 may understandably choose not to keep appointments with their therapists and healthcare providers,” OMH Commissioner Dr. Ann Sullivan said in a statement.

Read more here.

Malls, bowling alleys to close

(Updated: Wednesday, 5 p.m.)

Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Wednesday that the latest effort to curb the spread of the coronavirus is a multi-state agreement to close all indoor portions of retail shopping malls, amusement parks and bowling alleys.

The temporary closure is for New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and Pennsylvania.

It goes into effect at 8 p.m. Thursday.

‘Largest jump’

(Updated: Wednesday, 4:30 p.m.)

Huntington town has surpassed Southold’s number of confirmed coronavirus cases, according to data released by the county executive’s office Wednesday afternoon, though officials warned that the latest numbers are not indicative of any hotspot.

“We’ve seen the largest jump in the number of coronavirus cases in Suffolk County,” County Executive Steve Bellone said in a conference call with reporters around 2:30 p.m.

“The virus has spread throughout the county,” he said. “There’s really not anywhere it’s not located, whether the numbers are lower or higher.”

Health Commissioner Gregson Pigott, M.D. said the spike in confirmed cases was to be expected as testing ramps up.

“I don’t really see a particular hotspot,” he said.

Read more here

Southold cases at 33

(Updated: Wednesday, 1:10 p.m.)

The numbers of confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Southold Town now stands at 33, town officials said Wednesday afternoon.

Across the county, the number has climbed to 116. Health officials say the number will likely continue increasing as more testing is done. The capacity to test in Suffolk County will be boosted shortly when a drive-thru facility at Stony Brook University opens.

Hospital ship coming to NYC

(Updated: Wednesday, 12:30 p.m.)

A U.S. Navy hospital ship with about 1,000-bed capacity will be coming to NYC harbor, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Wednesday.

“This is an extraordinary step,” he said.

He announced President Trump will be making arraignments to send USNS Comfort to New York City. The floating hospital will add capacity and will be immediately dispatched, Mr. Cuomo said. 

He also announced a new mandate that no more than 50% of a businesses’ workforce can leave their homes. Essential services such as pharmacies, health care, food and supplies are exempt.

The statewide mandate currently just applies to New York. Agreements with Connecticut, New Jersey or Pennsylvania have not been reached.

The total number of cases in New York has reached 2,382 and there are now 20 deaths connected to COVID-19 in New York, the governor said. The hospitalization rate is currently at 23%, up from 20% yesterday.

A total of 643 people have been tested in Suffolk County and there are 116 confirmed cases. There are 299 confirmed cases on Long Island.

Nearly 14,600 tests have been done across the state.

Watch the media briefing here:

Gov. Cuomo Provides Update on Coronavirus in NY

Providing an update on New York's #Coronavirus response

Posted by Governor Andrew Cuomo on Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Mobile testing site features six lanes

(Updated: Wednesday, 10:19 a.m.)

The mobile testing site at Stony Brook University will feature six lanes to accommodate people seeking to be tested for COVID-19. The facility was still in the preparation stage Wednesday morning. An exact time or date for when it will open has not yet been announced.

Here are some photos from the site Wednesday morning.

(Credit: Kate Nalepinski)
(Credit: Kate Nalepinski)
(Credit: Kate Nalepinski)

Local courts and cases are impacted

(Updated: Wednesday, 6:30 a.m.)

The spread of the novel coronavirus in New York will put justice on hold in several local court cases, at least for now.

Starting Tuesday, all “non-essential” functions of the courts will be postponed until further notice, according to a memorandum issued Sunday by Chief Administrative Judge Lawrence Marks. Pending trials will continue to their conclusions and no new civil or criminal trials will begin until further notice.

The announcement means that sentencing in the cases of Thomas Murphy — the 61-year-old Holbrook man responsible for a drunk driving crash that claimed the life of 12-year-old Andrew McMorris in 2018 — and Glenn Zaleski of Greenport, who pleaded guilty to aggravated vehicular homicide for his role in a drunk driving crash that claimed the life of a Queens man in July 2018, will be delayed.

Read more here.

Parents find creative ways to continue education

(Updated: Wednesday, 6:30 a.m.)

Lauren Gilbert, who created a Facebook page for Mattituck-Cutchogue parents in the district, has been posting free online educational resources for parents to use at home — like virtual field trips and livestream yoga tutorials.

As she works from home and does activities with her two boys, who are 8 and 11, she said she has been reminding concerned parents that information and resources will come to them when they are available. 

“Having confirmed cases in most of the school districts out here, everyone is kind of panicking,” Ms. Gilbert said. “We’re going to get information as we can, but I know that’s difficult as well.”

Read more here.

Q&A with supervisor

(Update: Wednesday, 6:30 a.m.)

Riverhead Supervisor Yvette Aguiar on Tuesday discussed the town’s response to the coronavirus outbreak in an interview Tuesday night.

Ms. Aguiar is a newcomer to politics, but she was a detective in the New York Police Department’s anti-terrorism unit.

Read the Q&A here.

Mobile testing planned for Stony Brook University

(Updated: Tuesday, 9:45 p.m.)

The first drive-thru coronavirus testing facility on Long Island opened Tuesday at Jones Beach and soon, a similar site will open in Suffolk County at Stony Brook University.

Crews on Tuesday began preparing for the eventual testing facility to open at the university’s south commuter parking lot, Gov. Andrew Cuomo confirmed Tuesday, according to a report in Newsday.

Those with symptoms who wish to be tested must make an appointment in advance by calling 1-888-364-3065, where patients will first be triaged by a nurse.

It remains unclear when the mobile testing facility at Stony Brook will open— university officials on Tuesday night directed an inquiry to the governor’s office.

The university also announced Tuesday that all on-campus housing will be vacated by Friday to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission.

Richard Gatteau, the vice president for student affairs and dean of students, and assistant vice president for campus residences, Dallas Bauman, released a notice to the campus community Tuesday regarding the plan to “enhance social distancing measures.”

All residents who “live within a driving distance of campus” must vacate residence halls and campus apartments immediately, but no later than 5 p.m. March 19. All other residents must vacate no later than 5 p.m. March 20, the notice stated.

Room and meal plan costs, where applicable, will be prorated for the remainder of the semester for all students leaving campus housing. It will be applied as a refund and/or credit to student accounts based on the date of check out.

Research project assistants, teaching assistants and graduate assistants and individuals with extenuating circumstances, and international students who fit those categories, are permitted to remain on campus after filing paperwork by 3 p.m. March 18. 

The announcement noted that student affairs, campus residences, counseling and psychological services, and the student support team are available for support.

“We know that this is a stressful time for you and your families,” the message stated. “We are currently living in the midst of a very challenging situation and the circumstances are changing rapidly, so please check your e-mail and our SBU Coronavirus website frequently for updates.”

People with additional questions are encouraged to contact representatives at [email protected].

Message from Riverhead BID

(Updated: Tuesday, 5:35 p.m.)

As we are well aware, the effects of COVID-19 are unsettling, and our thoughts are with those who are affected by the virus and the uncertainty surrounding it. As this continues to affect our downtown, the Riverhead Business Improvement District is committed to keeping our local community running and safe.

Every day, small business owners and organizations are being asked to make public safety judgment calls, putting themselves, their staff, and their future at risk.

Their fears are real; afraid that they may not survive at this rate. Many are waiting for more direction from local and state governments as to whether they can stay afloat, or close their doors for good.

The Riverhead BID is committed to caring for the health and well-being of our visitors, community, volunteers, and staff. We want you to know that YOU are a priority to us.

While the immediate impact is not yet understood, we know downtown Riverhead is more than capable of staging a comeback when it is safe to do so. We must all do our best to plan and advocate now so it is possible. More than ever, it’s important that we stick together — united and proactive.

As our downtown restaurants adjust to the COVID-19 regulations, a few have halted service while most have transitioned to delivery and takeout only. All have taken a major financial hit during this crisis. Fortunately, there are ways our community can offer support while practicing social distancing.

Rather than stockpiling from big box stores that are thriving during this time, be a good neighbor and order prepared food from local restaurants who continue to serve our community. Visit our website to view our downtown restaurants currently offering takeout, curbside pick up, and delivery.

Consider purchasing gift cards for future use, as well.

Buying local supports more than you think. Every small effort helps to build bigger things.

Lastly, we thank every business owner, their staff and their families for their unwavering love and investment in downtown Riverhead.

Be well.

Kristy Verity,

executive director, Riverhead BID

Bellone: Southold Town reaches 28 confirmed cases of COVID-19

(Updated: Tuesday, 3:24 p.m.)

A total of 97 residents, including three who have lost their lives, have tested positive for COVID-19 coronavirus, Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone said in a conference call with the media Tuesday afternoon.

The third patient to die was a woman in her 90s, who was being treated at Huntington Hospital.

Southold Town has more than any other town with 28, with Huntington next at 24. Riverhead Town now has two confirmed cases, the County Executive said. Shelter Island is the only Suffolk town with no confirmed cases.

“In less than a week, our whole world has changed in the way that we live our daily lives,” the county executive said.

Read the full story

Governor Cuomo: Now 84 positively diagnosed residents in Suffolk County

(Updated: Tuesday, 10:30 a.m.)

Gov. Cuomo Press Conference in Albany

In Albany with an update on #Coronavirus.

Posted by Governor Andrew Cuomo on Tuesday, March 17, 2020

Governor Andrew Cuomo gave his daily update late Tuesday morning. Here’s some of the key takeaways:

Governor Andrew Cuomo gave his daily update late Tuesday morning. Here’s some of the key takeaways:

• Hospital capacity must be increased and one way to start is to suspend regulations to expand the number of beds in hospital buildings, he said.

• Gov. Cuomo said experts are predicting a peak in 45 days of between 55,000 and 110,000 patients needing normal hospital beds and 18,600 to 37,200 in intensive care. There are currently 53,000 hospital beds in New York and just 3,000 ICU beds. The governor said the peak estimate – 45 days – is based on the growth curve. Right now, the curve is at a point where it’s “unsustainable for our health care system,” he said.

• There are currently 1,384 positively diagnosed COVID-19 cases in New York, he said, with 264 patients hospitalized. That’s a rate of 19%.

• There have now been 12 reported deaths across the state.

• In response to a question about regulating state-to-state travel: Gov. Cuomo said New York has the highest number of cases in the country, so he doesn’t think many people will be entering the state.

“This is a difficult situation, but we’re going to get through it,” he said.

These Long Island wineries are staying open for bottle sales

(Updated: Tuesday, 9 a.m.)

The Long Island Wine Council published a list Monday detailing what 18 of its member wineries are doing while tasting rooms remain closed to the public.

For some that means being closed and selling online only, with some even waiving shipping fees. For others, it means selling bottles to go, with curbside pickup an option for some.

Open for bottle sales

Jason’s Vineyard

Lenz Winery

Lieb Cellars

Pindar Vineyards

RGNY

Check out liwines.com to see when other wineries are opening back up and for select discounts on shipping.

Forced to change business models or close, restaurants are taking it one day at a time

(Updated: Tuesday, 6 a.m.)

For more than a week now, North Fork restaurant owners have been forced to make difficult decisions on how to navigate COVID-19 coronavirus.

For a few, that meant closing up shop and heading home for the time being. For others the plan was to stay open and take proactive health and safety measures.

But come Monday, owners of local bars, restaurants and tasting rooms were left with very little choice. They learned through a tweet from Governor Andrew Cuomo that they had to close up or switch to a takeout and delivery model.

The order, which also forces the full closure of gyms and movie theaters, went into effect at 8 p.m. Monday.

“We are taking it day by day, and now it’s hour by hour,” said Love Lane Kitchen owner Carolyn Iannone, who was transitioning from breakfast to lunch when the governor announced his plan. “I want to find a balance between making sure my staff and our customers are safe and also try to be here for the community in some aspect.”

Read full story

CAST launches Emergency Feed-A-Kid program

(Updated: Tuesday, 6 a.m.)

Community Action Southold Town announced on Monday its food pantry will remain open and an Emergency Feed-A-Kid program has been launched during the COVID-19 outbreak.

Families in need can get a Feed-A-Kid bag once each week during food pantry hours, which are 9 a.m.-noon on Monday, 3 p.m.-6 p.m. Tuesday and 9 a.m.-noon Friday. To sign up, people can call 631-477-1717 during food panty hours or email [email protected].

Read the full story

Shock, relief mix for college athletes after abrupt end to NCAA season

(Updated: Tuesday, 6 a.m.)

It’s hard to imagine any athlete never having heard, “Play every game like it’s your last.”

That phrase took on added meaning last week when the coronavirus pandemic shut down college sports. In light of the public health threat posed by COVID-19, the NCAA last Thursday canceled its Division I men’s and women’s basketball tournaments as well as all remaining winter and spring NCAA championships.

College seniors throughout the country took part in their final athletic event of the spring season, and perhaps their collegiate careers, and didn’t even know it.

Read the full story

Local boat captain writes about self quarantine after trip from Italy

(Updated: Tuesday, 6 a.m.)

Local seaman Pat Mundus was in Milan, Italy when the coronavirus broke out there.

“We responded by modifying our itinerary to drive due south out of the area, thinking we’d be safe traveling in a rental car, isolated from crowds,” she wrote in a guest spot we published today. “In just a few days, the affected numbers in the north intensified from three reported cases to 30. We kept pressing south.”

She went on to write about her experience staying inside the past two weeks and the importance of others following suit as the virus hits closer to home.

Read the guest spot

Eight days after the first confirmed positive diagnosis of COVID-19 coronavirus on the North Fork, things feel a little different.

Our schools have closed for the time being and many businesses are following suit as the phrase “social distancing” has entered the vernacular.

In its first week, 21 Southold Town residents were diagnosed with COVID-19. There are more cases on the North Fork than anywhere else in Suffolk County, where a total of 74 cases have been reported, according to County Executive Steve Bellone.

Mr. Bellone on Monday reported the first two deaths in the county. He also said the deputy county executive, Peter Scully, tested positive.


Zeldin: Extend tax deadline to July 15

(Updated: Monday, 8:55 p.m.)

Congressman Lee Zeldin issued a statement Monday night urging the Internal Revenue Service to change this year’s tax filing deadline from April 15 to July 15 in light of the ongoing coronavirus outbreak.

He also urged the IRS to waive interest and fees for those paying late.

Mr. Zeldin (R-Shirley) is a member of the House Financial Services Committee.

Southold Town total increases to 22

(Updated: Monday, 6:37 p.m.)

The total number of confirmed cases in Southold Town reached 22, town officials were notified late Monday by the county health department.

On Sunday night, Riverhead Town officials received confirmation of the first positive test in Riverhead.

President: Avoid groups of more than 10

(Updated: Monday, 4:45 p.m.)

Facing pressure from a growing number of states’ governors, President Donald Trump on Monday afternoon announced a new set of federal guidelines for the public to heed over the next 15 days.

The guidelines, meant to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus, include avoiding gathering in groups of more than 10 people, avoiding travel, bars and restaurants and conducting school learning from home wherever possibly.

“If everyone makes these critical changes and sacrifices now, we will rally together as one nation and we will defeat the virus and we’re going to have a big celebration all together,” President Trump said during a briefing at the White House.

He and members of the federal coronavirus task force extended the guidelines to all Americans, including the young and healthy. Dr. Deborah Birx, U.S. Special Representative for Global Health Diplomacy, appealed directly to the largest generation: millennials. “They are the core group that will stop this virus…We really want people to be separated at this time to be able to address this virus comprehensively,” she said.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said that while following the guidelines may be “inconvenient,” they would help stop the spread of the virus.

“When you’re dealing with an emerging infectious diseases outbreak, you are always behind where you think you are,” he said.

President Trump was quick to deny any measures such as a national lockdown or quarantine. “Hopefully we won’t have to,” he said. “It’s a very big step.”

While he said that a national lockdown isn’t something he’s considering, officials are looking more closely at “hotspots” that have emerged during the outbreak.

The trajectory of the outbreak, the president said, could last until midsummer.

“We look forward to the day where we can get back to normal,” he said.

Dr. Birx, who is the U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator, likened the outbreak to another “silent” epidemic: HIV, which she said was solved in part through community advocacy. “We’re asking for that same sense of community to stand up against this virus,” she said.

Mr. Trump also directed state governors to obtain supplies such as ventilators, respirators and masks on their own, since they are in short supply. He clarified these remarks during a press briefing, noting that the federal government is stockpiling these items. “If [states] can get them faster by getting them on their own…it’s always going to be faster if they get it directly,” he said. 

In a tweet sent earlier Friday, Mr. Trump said Cuomo should “do more” to combat the crisis. During the press briefing, he said he and the governor were “getting along very well,” but described New York as “an area of the country that is very hot right now, an area that has to be tamped down even more.”

Mr. Cuomo shot back in a tweet of his own saying, “Happy to do your job, too.”

Town employees under quarantine

(Updated: Monday, 4:14 p.m.)

Two Riverhead Town employees are under mandatory quarantine for possible exposure to the coronavirus from outside the town, according to a press release Monday afternoon.

The first case of coronavirus in Riverhead Town was confirmed Sunday night. Additional information on that case was not available.

Riverhead Town offices, including Town Hall and the yard waste facility will be closed to the public to “further protect our employees, residents and visitors.”

The closure takes effect at 4:30 p.m. The only department that will remain open to the public is the police department.

“This action is in step with our Townships in East End Suffolk County,” a press release said.

Town employees will report to work for essential business. Town services will continue via telephone, email and regular mail. Drop boxes will be located in the front of the building department and Town Hall by Wednesday. Anyone needing guidance can call 631-727-3200.

Earlier Monday Southampton Town declared a state of emergency, following the steps other towns on the East End have already taken.

Suffolk County has reported 74 confirmed cases as of Monday, including the deputy county executive, Peter Scully. County Executive Steve Bellone is working from home, although he is not under a mandatory quarantine.

Two Suffolk County deaths; deputy county executive tests positive

(Updated: Monday, 2:25 p.m.)

Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone announced Monday that two people have died in the county due to the coronavirus.

A man in his 80s who was one of the first people in the county to be diagnosed and was in isolation at St. Catherine of Siena Medical Center in Smithtown died. The second death was a man in his 90s who had been in isolation at Huntington Hospital.

“Our sympathies to the families who lost loved ones,” he said in media conference call.

The number of confirmed cases in the county is 74, including a senior member of the county executive’s office, Mr. Bellone said.

Peter Scully, the deputy county executive, has tested positive, Mr. Bellone confirmed.

“Peter is doing well,” Mr. Bellone said. “He has not had the classic symptoms of coronavirus.”

Mr. Bellone said he had limited close contact with Mr. Scully and is not under mandatary quarantine. He’s been operating and directing the county’s response from his home office since Saturday night under self quarantine. Mr. Bellone said he does not have any symptoms at this point and has not been tested.

Mr. Scully said he is felling well and has no fever, cough or shortness of breath. He did have headaches, body ache and a sore throat, which have all subsided by now. He went to a doctor Friday and a flu swab was negative.

A test result confirmed he was positive for COVID-19, he said. He said he’s been working from home since Friday and his condition has improved each day.

The county health commissioner, Gregson Pigott, MD, is under mandatory quarantine.

“I am fine and have no symptoms,” Dr. Pigott said on a conference call. “I feel fine.”

Mr. Bellone did not have an update on a mobile testing site, which is expected to be set up in Suffolk County. A location has not been finalized and the state is taking the lead on that. He said he understands the concerns of East End residents, but the virus is spread throughout communities in the county.

Dr. Pigott said it was premature to call the cases in Southold Town a cluster, compared to other areas, until more testing is done.

“Because we just focused on that particular area, testing contacts who are positive, there are more tests being done on the North Fork,” he said. “It’s premature to say if we have a cluster, per se, until we do more testing and see if there are any hot spots [in the county],” he said.

Mr. Bellone said he did not have a further breakdown on hand of confirmed cases by town.

Southampton Town declares state of emergency

(Updated: Monday, 1:50 p.m.)

Southampton Town has declared a state of emergency to help prevent the spread of the coronvavirus. Similar measures have already been in place in Southold and Riverhead towns.

Southampton Supervisor Jay Schneiderman signed an emergency order to close most town buildings, administrative offices and community centers to the public beginning Tuesday and extended through March 31.

Town employees will continue to work within the buildings on a limited basis to perform governmental services. Some employees will work from home, the town announced Monday.

A drop box will be set up at the main entrance of Town Hall on Hampton Road for receipt of documents, including tax payments.

The emergency order also cancels all board meetings, except for the Town Board, which will meet to conduct town business. All public hearings will be postponed for the emergency period and new dates will be announced when available, the statement said.

Those meetings will be aired live on Channel 22 and comments can be submitted through the Town Clerk’s office at [email protected]. Channel 22 will also be used for updates and current information during the state of emergency.

An emergency department head meeting was held Monday morning.

“We are taking this public health crisis seriously and doing our part to reduce social interactions while maintaining important governmental services,” Mr. Schneiderman said. “We want to protect vulnerable individuals and allow our healthcare system time to catch up with the growing need for testing and treatment.”

First Riverhead case confirmed

{Updated: Monday, 12:40 p.m.)

The first confirmed case of COVID-19 in Riverhead Town was reported Sunday night, according to Riverhead Town police Chief David Hegermiller.

He said he couldn’t disclose any additional details about the patient. The confirmation comes one week after the first patient in Southold Town was positively diagnosed. Since then, at least 21 other positive cases have been reported in Southold Town.

The number of confirmed cases in Suffolk County and New York continue to climb each day as more testing is done. Cases is the state is at 950.

The chief said officers are using personal protective equipment that includes a suit, face shield, face mask and gloves when responding to call where a person has been previously identified as suspected of having the coronavirus, he said.

“Any time that there is a person that has been identified as a positive case or a suspected case, we would have that information kept in our computer aided dispatch,” Chief Hegermiller said.

If someone has not tested positive but is showing symptoms of possibly having coronavirus, dispatchers would gather than information from the caller and alert responding police and ambulance workers, he added.  

The ambulance and police are coordinating and are limiting the number of people that may be exposed to patients, the chief said. This way, a decision is made who will go in first and take care of a sick person. Whether it’s a police officer or ambulance worker would depend on the situation, he said.

Cuomo: Restaurants must be takeout only; movie theaters closing

(Updated: Monday, 10:45 a.m.)

Gov. Cuomo Press Conference in Albany

Updating New Yorkers with the latest on the State's #Coronavirus response.

Posted by Governor Andrew Cuomo on Monday, March 16, 2020

In a stunning move sure to have ripple effects on the local economy, Gov. Andrew Cuomo has ordered restaurants to move to takeout and delivery only in response to the continued spread of COVID-19 coronavirus.

The governor announced the decision in a tweet and said similar action is being taken in Connecticut and New Jersey.

Gyms, movie theaters and casinos will also be shut down under the plan, which is effective at 8 p.m. Monday. Crowd capacity will be capped at 50 people

At an 11 a.m. press conference, Mr. Cuomo said rules will be waived to allow all bars, restaurants and wineries to sell their products to go.

“Whatever you can order in a bar, a restaurant, a distillery or winery you will be allowed to purchase through takeout,” he said. “We hope that goes a long way toward staving off economic hardship.”

That means the New York State Liquor Authority will allow bars and wineries to sell drinks to go.

The governor is also advising all non-essential businesses to close by 8 p.m. though it is not a mandate.

More from the press conference:

• The governor said the state death toll has risen to seven, including one in Suffolk County.

• There are 950 total cases in New York, with 17% currently hospitalized.

• Mr. Cuomo said parks fees will be waived at the state, county and local level to encourage New Yorkers to visit parks, where density concerns are less of an issue.

• The governor urged President Donald Trump to create a set of federal guidelines so states can more easily manage the crisis together.

• “It’s chaos,” Mr. Cuomo said. “It feeds the feeling that the country is out of control. There is no clear path.”

• The governor said Long Island will have one mobile testing site up and running soon. He did not specify where. Nassau officials have reported a plan to host it at Jones Beach. Suffolk County lawmakers have said two would be coming here, including one on the East End.

• The governor’s office said all schools in New York State will be ordered closed by Wednesday.

Bellone: Bar and restaurant closures being considered, ‘very possible’ school closures are extended

(Updated: Monday, 8:30 a.m.)

Following a weekend of crowded bars and restaurants in Suffolk County as the COVID-19 coronavirus spreads, Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone said Monday that closures could be on the horizon.

In a series of radio and television interviews Monday morning, the county executive repeated that his office received lots of reports of bars and restaurants “packed with people,” which has caused him concern. He said a shutdown is a possibility

“There’s no doubt the virus is being transmitted when you have situations like that,” Mr. Bellone told Roger & J.P. in the Morning on WBAB radio.

Asked in a later interview on WBLI if a shutdown might happen, Mr. Bellone said “those conversations are happening now.”

“More specific plans” to shut public spaces could be announced later this week, he said.

The county executive said that as of Sunday night, there were a total of 60 confirmed COVID-19 cases in Suffolk County. Southold Town Supervisor Scott Russell said there are 21 confirmed cases on the North Fork.

Several North Fork restaurants that remained open this weekend said they will close indefinitely or offer only takeout beginning today.

During each of the interviews, Mr. Bellone was asked about the same three subjects: bar and restaurant closures, school closures and mobile coronavirus testing, which he said will be coming soon to Suffolk County.

He was repeatedly asked if the mandated school closure in the county will extend beyond March 30.

“That’s a strong possibility,” the county executive told WBAB.

Mr. Bellone has not hosted a briefing for the entire media since noon Saturday. A public schedule released by his press office late Sunday night included only the four interviews, which also included WPIX-11 and a scheduled interview at 8:40 a.m. on Long Island News Radio.


Here’s how things unfolded in the first week of coronavirus on the North Fork. Also be sure to check out our FAQ about the virus as well as our resource guide.


Sunday, March 8

County Executive Steve Bellone at his press conference to discuss the arrival of COVID-19 in Suffolk County. (Credit: Kate Nalepinski)

Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone announces in an email that the county’s Department of Health has received its first positive test for COVID-19.

“The patient is a male, in his early 40’s, and is currently hospitalized and in isolation,” Mr. Bellone said. “Suffolk County communicable disease professionals have begun a thorough investigation into the patient’s contacts as it is believed that this case was contracted via community transmission.”

He urges anyone who is sick to stay home and contact their physician.

Monday, March 9

Shoreham-Wading River becomes the first area school district to close due to concerns over the spread of coronavirus. (Credit: Joe Werkmeister)

• The Shoreham-Wading River School District abruptly closes school just after the first students began to arrive for the day amid fears of a possible coronavirus case related to a staff member’s spouse.

SWR Superintendent Gerard Poole sent a message to parents at 7:21 a.m. alerting them that the district would be closed for the day.

Many students were already at the high school preparing for the start of the week when word came that the students would be heading home.

•  Greenport Harbor Brewing Co. in Peconic announces it will close for one week after learning Suffolk’s first positively diagnosed coronavirus patient is a staff member there.

The brewery said the employee had not been to work since Feb. 24. He personally notified them of his positive test a day earlier.

• The county executive says 35 people are under cautionary quarantine and there remains just one confirmed case of the coronavirus in the county.

Tuesday, March 10

Peconic Landing in Greenport, where an employee tested positive for coronavirus Tuesday. (Credit: Grant Parpan)

• Gov. Andrew Cuomo says the total number of confirmed cases of the coronavirus had increased by 31, bringing the statewide total to 173 by Tuesday afternoon. Two new cases were reported in Nassau County, bringing the total there to 19.

• A per-diem employee at Peconic Landing, a lifecare and retirement community that’s home to more than 450 residents aged 62 and older, tests positive for COVID-19, coronavirus, a community spokesperson confirms.

The announcement comes as Mr. Bellone announces three more people in Suffolk County have tested positive for the virus. Mr. Bellone says each of the first four coronavirus cases in Suffolk are believed to have been contracted through community transmission.

• Stony Brook Southampton Hospital says Suffolk’s first COVID-19 patient is “is improving with good prospects for further recovery. At this time, the patient is requesting privacy.”

Wednesday, March 11

Miller Environmental began cleanup efforts at Greenport Harbor Brewing Co. in Peconic Wednesday. (Credit: Kate Nalepinski)

• Suffolk County now has six confirmed coronavirus cases, including two connected cases in Southold Town, county officials announce at a morning press briefing.

In addition to the confirmed cases, there are eight Suffolk County residents who are under mandatory quarantine. Health officials are also monitoring 72 individuals under precautionary quarantine. Each of those people recently returned from trips abroad, officials said, and are currently asymptomatic.

• A 22-year-old Greenport woman who drove Suffolk’s first person diagnosed with coronavirus in a cab to Stony Brook Eastern Long Island Hospital tests positive for the illness, a family member says in an interview.

Despite the positive diagnosis, the woman is not yet feeling any symptoms, said the family member, who lives with her.

• Clean-up efforts get underway at Greenport Harbor Brewing Co., where Miller Environmental could be seen working.

• The Greenport School District announces it will be closed Thursday and Friday.

• Southold Fish Market announces an employee has been diagnosed with COVID-19. The third confirmed case in Southold Town and at least the seventh in Suffolk County leads to the temporary closure of the business.

Thursday, March 12

The annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade in Cutchogue was canceled this year. (Credit: Katharine Schroeder)

• A fourth confirmed diagnosis of a coronavirus in Southold Town is reported as a part-time staff member at Times Review Media Group in Mattituck.

“The employee does not interact with the public in their role on our staff, but we have proactively put procedures in place,” we announce.

• The Cutchogue St. Patrick’s Day Parade originally scheduled for Saturday is canceled, organizers announce. Local SAT exams are also stopped.

• Southold Superintendent David Gamberg says the school district will be closed Friday and Monday. Mattituck-Cutchogue and Oysterponds soon follow suit.

• During a press briefing , Gov. Andrew Cuomo announces that New York State will contract with 28 private laboratories to increase testing capacity. To date, Gov. Cuomo said, there had been just 5,000 tests performed nationwide.

• Northwell Health Labs in Lake Success begins semi-automated testing for COVID-19. They are the first facility on Long Island to implement this system.

• The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Suffolk County doubles as more test results come in. Eight of the 20 cases are in Southold Town, where Supervisor Scott Russell declares a state of emergency. Gov. Cuomo says we’re in a public health emergency as 328 residents are now infected across the state, including 112 new cases.

• Two additional employees at Peconic Landing are diagnosed with COVID-19, bringing the total to three.

Friday, March 13

An empty Mattituck High School track. (Credit: Garret Meade)

• Section XI announces that all local scholastic games and scrimmages have been suspended until April 3. Individual districts can still decide whether to conduct practices.

• Southold Town reports the number of confirmed cases in the town at 11 Friday. A total of 28 cases are now confirmed in Suffolk County, Mr. Bellone says. There are 76 confirmed cases across Long Island in Nassau and Suffolk. New York State has 421 confirmed cases as of Friday afternoon.

• The Shoreham-Wading River School District announces it will again be closed Monday and Tuesday. School districts in Southold Town say they will be closed all next week.

Saturday, March 14

Peconic Bay Medical Center in Riverhead says it is preparing for its first case. (File photo)

• Peconic Bay Medical Center in Riverhead says it is preparing for a worst-case scenario if the number of confirmed COVID-19 patients overwhelms the 182-bed facility. 

“We have ordered tents if the need comes to that,” president and CEO Andy Mitchell says.

• Gov. Cuomo announces the first COVID-19 related death in New York, an 82-year-old woman in New York City who had emphysema, a lung condition that causes shortness of breath. It’s the 48th death in the U.S.

• The Village of Greenport announces it will close its offices Monday for a deep-cleaning as a “proactive measure” in an effort to limit the spread of COVID-19. The carousel in Mitchell Park, which remains closed, will also receive a deep cleaning. When Village Hall re-opens Tuesday, public access will be restricted, the village says.

• The number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Southold Town increases to 14, the most of any Suffolk County town. There are now 37 positive cases in the county, Mr. Bellone says. The New York State Department of Health shows 521 confirmed COVID-19 cases across the state.

• A second confirmed death in New York is linked to COVID-19 as a Rockland County man who lived in Suffern died Thursday and a test result Saturday revealed he was positive for the coronavirus. The 65-year-old man had “significant health problems,” according to The New York Times.

• County Executive Steve Bellone announces that he issued an executive order to direct Jake’s 58 Casino in Islandia to close.

• The first confirmed COVID-19 case is confirmed in local schools as Southold superintendent David Gamberg says a staff member tested positive. He does not provide additional details on the staff member, their role in the district or any recent interactions with students.

Sunday, March 15

Local lawmakers and government officials at a press briefing Sunday. (Credit: Joe Werkmeister)

• Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone announces a local emergency order closing all schools in Suffolk County for two weeks to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

• As part of its efforts to reduce the spread of coronavirus, Northwell Health says it will begin canceling elective surgeries and procedures performed in its hospitals. Emergency surgeries will not be impacted.

• Mobile COVID-19 coronavirus testing could soon be coming to the East End, Suffolk County Legislator Bridget Fleming says at a press briefing at Mitchell Park in Greenport.

• The Mattituck-Cutchogue School District informs parents and students of a “confirmed case of COVID-19” among its staff. The employee does not live in the district, the message states.

• There are now 21 residents who have tested positive of at least 50 countywide, according to numbers provided by Southold Town and Governor Andrew Cuomo.

More coverage

Diagnosed with coronavirus, Southold woman improving after frightening ordeal

Amid coronavirus fears, robotics team sent home from Rochester

Unsure of what your symptoms mean? Soon, there will be an app for that

Mini St. Patrick’s Day parade spreads joy in Cutchogue

Greenport businesses brace for fewer customers, economic hardship as COVID-19 cases rise

Q&A: Supervisor says county, town, schools, health care officials in constant communication

EMTs taking extra precautions when responding to calls, transporting sick patients