Confirmed coronavirus cases have jumped nearly five-fold over the past week in Suffolk County, where deaths associated with the disease have more than tripled in the same period.

County Executive Steve Bellone reported three more fatalities, including the death of a Babylon man in his 30s, who died yesterday at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Bethpage — the youngest Suffolk victim to succumb to the disease since the county reported its first COVID-19 death two weeks ago. He had an “underlying medical condition,” according to the county executive, who did not specify what the condition was.

The county’s death toll stands today at 40, according to information provided by the county executive at a press briefing this afternoon.

All 40 reported fatalities so far also had underlying medical conditions, county health officials have said.

Underlying conditions can include immune deficiencies, asthma, diabetes, heart disease and obesity. The elderly — already an at-risk group — are particularly vulnerable if they have underlying medical conditions, according to health officials.

Twenty-nine of the 40 people with COVID-19 who have died in Suffolk were aged 80 and above.

Statewide, 965 people have died from the coronavirus disease as of today, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said during a press briefing this afternoon.

Confirmed COVID cases in Suffolk topped 5,000 today — 5,023, as of the county executive’s daily press briefing, which began at about 2:15 p.m today. Those include (as of 11:30 p.m. yesterday) 68 in Riverhead and 138 in Southold.

Riverhead Volunteer Ambulance Corps Chief Bill Wilkinson said today more than two-thirds of ambulance calls are now either COVID cases or COVID rule-outs — people with fever and cough or flu-like symptoms. That’s up from about 50% a week ago.

The county executive said today there are more than 500 COVID patients hospitalized in Suffolk County — 160 of them in intensive care beds.

Peconic Bay Medical Center president and CEO Andrew Mitchell said today there are 48 COVID or COVID rule-out patients in the hospital. He said the hospital has opened up its second intensive care unit — the new 16-bed unit built as part of the recently opened critical care pavilion. It had been using only its existing 12-beds intensive care unit.

A spokesperson for Stony Brook Eastern Long Island Hospital in Greenport said yesterday the hospital has increased its bed capacity from a licensed 15 to 46 medical/surgical beds, and from two to five ICU beds. ELIH transfers all all ventilator patients to Stony Brook Southampton Hospital or Stony Brook University Hospital, the spokesperson said.

Suffolk County Commissioner of Health Dr. Gregson Pigott said today the county is not yet able to provide data on the number of patients considered recovered after infection with the novel coronavirus.

The governor said today of the 59,513 confirmed COVID-19 cases in New York, 8,503 are currently hospitalized, with an additional 3,572 patients discharged from hospitals. Cuomo reiterated that 80% of those infected with the virus do not require hospitalization.

Projections continue to forecast that the highest volume of cases, or the apex of the “curve,” will hit New York in two to three weeks, Cuomo said.

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Denise Civiletti
Denise is a veteran local reporter, editor, attorney and former Riverhead Town councilwoman. Her work has been recognized with numerous awards, including investigative reporting and writer of the year awards from the N.Y. Press Association. She is a founder, owner and co-publisher of this website.Email Denise.