Eight additional deaths reported in Suffolk County linked to COVID-19, Bellone says

An additional eight Suffolk County residents have died due to complications from the coronavirus, bringing the county total to 30, County Executive Steve Bellone said Friday.

All eight people had underlying medical issues, he said. The youngest person was a man in his late 40s who died Wednesday at Long Island Jewish Medical Center. Six of the patients were in their 80s or older. And a man in his 60s died at Stony Brook University Hospital.

He said based on the current numbers, more fatalities are expected.

“On behalf of all the people of Suffolk County, to all of these families who have been impacted, who have lost loved ones, our hearts break for you,” Mr. Bellone said.

The total number of cases in the county surpassed 3,000 and there are 129 cases in Southold Town and 56 in Riverhead Town.

There are now 331 COVID-19 hospitalizations in the county, a number that has more than doubled in a three-day period, Mr. Bellone said. He added that they are looking closely at the intensive care units hospitalizations, which are now at 119, compared to 50 a few days ago.

“Eight new fatalities drives home the point of why we have to do this,” Mr. Bellone said. “It’s why all of us have an important role to play in helping to reduce that number.”

Mr. Bellone said his personal mandatory quarantine period ends tomorrow, so he’ll be able to leave his home as he helps coordinate the county’s response. Peter Scully, the deputy county executive, has tested positive two weeks ago, leading to the quarantine.

A total of 18 Suffolk County police officers have tested positive for COVID-19 and one has been hospitalized. Mr. Bellone said he did not have additional information to release on the officer, but added that “We certainly wish that officer a speedy recovery.”

Mr. Bellone spoke briefly about the governor’s earlier announcement Friday that schools would remain closed through April 15. He said that’s an appropriate timetable to then reevaluate the situation. He added that it’s likely closures could extend beyond that as well.

“We’re likely to be in the thick of this by April 15,” he said.

Speaking about Peconic Landing in Greenport, Mr. Bellone said testing at the facility has been done based on determinations by the New York State Health Department and is done on a priority basis. He said the facility has “gone above and beyond” to prepare for a possible outbreak and address the current situation that has now left six people, all in their late 80s or older, dead.

Peconic Landing did not have any new information to report as of early Friday afternoon.

Mr. Bellone also announced the launch of the Suffolk Childcare Consortium, a free childcare program for first responders, medical professionals, transit workers and other essential workers, as space permits. The program provides assistance to employees on the front line working to combat COVID-19. Twelve school districts are currently participating. Information can be found by calling 311.

The Mattituck-Cutchogue Union Free School District, together with Champions, the child care provider for the district’s before- and after-care program, launched a similar program Tuesday and Greenport-Southold Superintendent David Gamberg had said they were gauging interest in those districts for a program.

Mr. Bellone also announced a 60-recruit class of the Suffolk County Police Department graduated a week early to begin assisting with the COVID-19 response. The graduation did not include the normal pomp and circumstance and Mr. Bellone credited the officers for getting right to work.

County Numbers:

  • COUNTY TOTAL: 3,385
  • Islip — 662, up from 548 from March 26 
  • Huntington — 594, up from 504 from March 26  
  • Brookhaven — 452, up from 398 from March 26 
  • Babylon — 424, up from 367 from March 26 
  • Smithtown –157, up from 140 from March 26 
  • Southold — 129, up from 123 from March 26 
  • Southampton — 65, up from 59 from March 26 
  • Riverhead — 56, up from 45 from March 26 
  • East Hampton —  20, up from 18 from March 26 
  • Shelter Island — 1, number remains the same from March 26
  • Township not known — 175