Covid-19: Numbers Are 'Shocking,' Bellone Says, As Suffolk Infection Rate Tops 12 Percent

The “holiday surge” in COVID-19 infections has hit “shocking” levels that have Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone worried about what could happen in the wake of New Year’s celebrations.

Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone
Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone Photo Credit: Twitter/@SteveBellone

In the latest numbers released by the county, Bellone said that the infection rate has jumped to 12.8 percent on Wednesday, Dec. 30 after Long Island saw numbers hovering at or close to 1 percent throughout the summer when the state “flattened the cure.”

Bellone noted that approximately one month ago, on Tuesday, Dec. 1, the county had an overall positivity rate at around 4 percent, which was still considered high at the time after seeing that number bottom out when the weather was warmer.

“To put it simply, today’s COVID-19 numbers are shocking,” he said. “Not only is this the highest number of new cases reported since the onset of the pandemic, but the double-digit positivity rate puts us right back to where we were in early May.

“In less than one month, the rate has tripled," he noted. "We are the only ones who can change these numbers. We have seen this virus spread during the holiday season through small gatherings.”

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said that the virus has largely been spreading so rapidly over the fall and winter through small, private gatherings as people head indoors and grow fatigued of isolation, not mass events attended by crowds of people.

It is estimated that approximately 70 percent of all the recent COVID-19 spread can be attributed to private gatherings.

“As we approach New Year’s Eve, I urge Suffolk County residents to limit gatherings and to do what we know works, wear face coverings, and socially distance,” Bellone said. “We are urging our residents to be cautious and to avoid small indoor gatherings, the largest spreader of COVID-19.”

The latest breakdown of COVID-19 cases in Suffolk County, by down, according to the Department of Health:

  • Brookhaven: 24,684 (597 new);
  • Islip: 24,423 (390);
  • Babylon: 13,357 (217);
  • Huntington: 10,684 (206);
  • Smithtown: 6,476 (141);
  • Southampton: 2,681 (49);
  • Riverhead: 1,708 (31);
  • Southold: 833 (17);
  • East Hampton: 776 (18);
  • Shelter Island: 25.

The state Department of Health was reporting 13,422 positive COVID-19 cases on Tuesday, Dec. 29 out of 154,949 tested, an 8.66 percent positive infection rate. In the past seven days, the infection rate has risen to 8.9 percent in New York due to the "holiday spike."

New York hospitals were reporting 7,892 COVID-19 patients being treated in their facilities, with 1,250 in ICU and 702 intubated.

Statewide, since the pandemic began, 957,412 COVID-19 cases have been confirmed out of more than 25 million tests administered. A total of 29,905 virus-related deaths have been reported in New York.

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