Governor says New York may be near or at apex; no plan to limit travel to East End

Gov. Andrew Cuomo said New York could be near an apex or on a plateau of the apex in terms of total number of COVID-19 cases.

“We won’t know until we see the next few days,” he said Sunday.

He said the different models the state looks at all show numbers going up until an eventual apex, at which point cases will start to decline. But what’s unclear is whether there is a plateau at the top of the apex, where the numbers remain steady for a certain time period before the drop-off starts, he said.

“We’re all feeling our way through this and we have the best minds in the country advising us because New York is the first,” he said.

He said the statisticians analyzing data on the coronavirus haven’t offered any specific predictions. He said they need more data in the next few days to determine whether there is a plateau right now.

“I hope we’re somewhere near the apex or we’re somewhere near the plateau,” he said when referring to the highest projections for number of hospital beds the state may need. He added that the number of beds are less relevant now compared to the need for ventilators and staff.

The number of positive cases surpassed 120,000 in New York on Sunday with 12,405 cases in Suffolk County. The first reported case in Suffolk was four weeks ago.

The number of new cases in Suffolk decreased for the second straight day after a single-day high of 1,408 on Friday. The latest number was 1,035 new cases. There have now been four consecutive days of new cases above 1,000 in Suffolk.

More than 300,000 people have been tested for COVID-19 in New York, including just under 29,000 in Suffolk.

The number of deaths linked to COVID-19 in New York climbed to 4,159.

“The number of deaths over the past few days has been dropping for the first time,” Mr. Cuomo said. “What is the significance of that? It’s too early to tell.”

• Mr. Cuomo was asked at the briefing about New Jersey’s stay-at-home order and Gov. Phil Murphy saying residents should not retreat to second homes, specifically at the Jersey Shore.

He was asked if he would issue a similar directive for people to refrain from traveling to second homes such as on the East End of Long Island.

“I have not,” Mr. Cuomo said of whether he has considered similar measures. “I’ll take a look at the New Jersey order. But I haven’t heard any local officials raise concerns about that here.”

However, three town supervisors, several mayors and the Shinnecock Nation have called on the governor to institute a temporary travel ban, Southold Town Supervisor Scott Russell said last week.

And in a press release March 25, Mr. Russell wrote: “A new trend is taking place that puts our residents at further risk — people seeking refuge from the metropolitan areas. It is simple math: the more people that come, the greater the spread and the greater the confirmed cases.”

• Mr. Cuomo said the number of people being discharged from hospitals is now reaching its highest levels.

He said 74% of those hospitalized have been discharged.