COVID-19 cases hold steady in Suffolk County

New confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Suffolk County have averaged just over 50 per day for the last week, after a brief surge of more than 100 reported July 14 led to concerns that cases could be trending upward.

The encouraging numbers, both locally in Suffolk County and across New York, come at a time when COVID-19 continues to spread at a high rate in many other parts of the country. At least 40 states are currently seeing increases in COVID infection rates, with the Northeast the only region that’s holding steady.

“We did the impossible as New Yorkers,” Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Monday. “They really stepped up and conquered the COVID virus. Now we just have to stay there. We have to protect the progress we’ve made. Our goal is to stay there.”

Mr. Cuomo announced Tuesday that 10 additional states would be added to a travel advisory, requiring anyone traveling into New York from those states to quarantine for 14 days. A total of 31 states are now on the travel advisory list. Nationwide, new cases reported per day have been readily increasing since the middle of June, when the seven-day average was around 21,000 cases, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The most recent figure for a seven-day average is more than 66,000 cases. 

A total of 79 new cases were reported in Suffolk County Tuesday, the highest single-day total since the 102 reported July 14, which led Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone to issue a stern warning that the virus remained a threat and people must continue to follow the proper guidelines.

The most recent infection rate for Long Island, as reported on Tuesday for the prior 24 hours, was 1.4%. The infection rate has remained around 1% over the last week, which is the benchmark at which officials hope to remain.

“You look across the regions of the state, you see good news all across the regions,” Mr. Cuomo said Monday. “No warning signs or trouble spots.”

Total hospitalizations in New York have dipped below 800 now for the last week and were most recently reported as 724 on Tuesday. On Monday, Mr. Cuomo said the previous 24-hour total of 716 was the lowest since March 18. At the peak of the outbreak, more than 18,000 people were hospitalized across the state. Only two fatalities were reported in the state Tuesday — the fewest number for a 24-hour period since March 13, which was two weeks after New York’s first reported positive case. The death toll across the country has now surpassed 140,000.

Mr. Cuomo said the federal government is “still in denial about this virus. It still refuses to follow the science. It still thinks it’s going to beat this virus by playing politics.”

He said the country is still “totally unprepared to deal with this” five months after coronavirus cases began to be confirmed.

“This is so unnecessary that we are here and seeing these Americans lose their lives,” the governor said before traveling to Savannah, Ga., to offer assistance there. “It did not have to be this way.”