SUFFOLK COUNTY

Suffolk beaches to open as virus numbers improve

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Earlier this week, Suffolk County executive Steve Bellone announced a plan to reopen beaches for Memorial Day weekend due to improved numbers. Gov. Cuomo’s New York Forward plan began last Friday, enabling economies to reopen in Phase 1.

Suffolk County has currently met six out of the seven metrics needed to move into Phase 1, including hiring contact tracers. Thus far, a total of 230 internal contact tracers have been hired and tracers from the Bloomberg team are currently being trained to begin the process.

However, Long Island has not met the 14-day decline in hospital deaths necessary (fewer than five deaths).

Also, Bellone said, all signs of progress are being made pointing to being able to reopen beaches for Memorial Day weekend. As of now, both Smith Point and Cupsogue beaches will be able to open to residents only.

“We know that with kids home and summer season approaching, the reality is that there are limited things for them to do, and people will flock the beaches when there is good weather,” he added, assuring that the county will release specific protocol for opening beaches safely, including reduced capacity. “We want to make sure when that happens in a controlled environment.”

Lowered numbers include a total of 107 testing positive in the last 24 hours as of Monday, May 18, the lowest number in weeks, totaling over 38,000 people in the county who test- ed positive, not including the 9,925 who tested for antibodies. Hospi- talizations saw a decrease with 505 COVID patients as of Monday and 169 in ICU, leaving 70 to 60 available hospital beds.

Also, there were a total of 47 people discharged from the hospital who recovered from COVID-19 and a total of six deaths in a 24-hour period, the lowest it has been in the county.

THE SEVEN METRICS

1: Region must show a sustained decline in the three-day rolling average of total net hospitalizations (the total number of people in the hos- pital each day) over the course of a 14-day period.

2: Region must show a sustained decline in the three-day rolling average of daily hospital deaths over the course of a 14-day period.

3: Region must experience fewer than two new hospitalizations per 100,000 residents, measured on a three-day rolling average.

4: Regions must have at least 30 percent of their hospital beds available.

5: Regions must have at least 30 percent of their ICU beds available.

6: Average daily diagnostic testing over the past seven days must be sufficient to conduct 30 tests per 1,000 residents per month.

7: Contact Tracing Capacity. Number of contact tracers in each region must meet thresholds set by the Department of Health, in collaboration with the Johns Hopkins University School of Public Health and Vital Strategies.

SOURCE: New York Office of the Governor

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