County Executive Steve Bellone speaking during a briefing on the coronavirus outbreak in Suffolk March 30.

Confirmed coronavirus cases, COVID hospitalizations and the number of ICU beds occupied by COVID patients rose again in Suffolk County, the county executive reported Monday afternoon.

Confirmed cases grew to 5,791 positives in Suffolk, County Executive Steve Bellone said during a video call with reporters. The county had tested 16,000 people, Bellone said, with more than 5,000 tests being administered at the state’s drive-through test site in Stony Brook.

As of Monday, there were 601 COVID patients hospitalized, up 99 from March 29, Bellone said. Of the those, 181 patients were in intensive care units, 21 more than on March 29.

Overall, 575 of the county’s 2,710 total hospital beds were available as of yesterday and 85 of 322 ICU beds remained available.

LIVE UPDATES: Coronavirus coverage, maps and cases by town.

Hospitals have been directed by the state to expand their capacities by a minimum of 50%, with a goal of doubling their capacities. Bellone said the county is starting to see the total number of hospital beds “tick up.”

A 1,000-bed temporary hospital is slated to be built by the federal government at Stony Brook University.

“We are racing to be prepared to ramp up to meet that wave and on the flip side, do everything we can to reduce the size of that wave,” Bellone said of the anticipated surge of coronavirus cases at the peak of the outbreak in the coming weeks.

The county executive reported four more deaths yesterday, bringing Suffolk’s death toll from the coronavirus disease to 44: a person in their 90s with underlying health conditions who was in mandatory isolation at a local hospital; a person in their 70s with underlying health conditions who was in mandatory isolation at a local hospital; a person in their 40s with underlying medical conditions who was in mandatory isolation at a local hospital; and a person for whom no information was available. No other information, including their gender or town of residence, was available about any of the victims, Bellone said.

“Our own actions — every single one of us will have an impact on how successful we are in reducing those fatalities and ultimately preventing the health care system from being overwhelmed by that surge that continues to approach,” Bellone said, urging residents to stay home.

“If you must go out make sure you practice social distancing,” the county executive said. “Follow those guidelines.”

Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Northwell Health president and CEO Michael Dowling at the governor’s media briefing at the Javits Center yesterday. Courtesy photo.

In Riverhead, the number of confirmed cases grew by one from the day before, to 69, according to data provided by the county after the briefing.

Peconic Bay Medical Center yesterday had 65 patients either confirmed or suspected of having the disease, PBMC president and CEO Andrew Mitchell said. The hospital opened up its new 16-bed intensive care unit and all 16 beds are filled, Mitchell said. It is preparing to use its old ICU for additional COVID patients, as needed, he said.

Statewide, there were 66,497 confirmed cases as of yesterday, Gov. Andrew Cuomo reported. There were 9,517 people hospitalized with the disease in New York, with 2,353 of them in ICU beds.

Coronavirus deaths in New York yesterday totaled 1,218, up from 965 on Sunday.

The governor said 4,204 COVID patients had been discharged from hospitals as of yesterday.

The county police department is enforcing social distancing and the closure of nonessential businesses, Bellone said. The county has to date received 170 complaints about business activity and lack of social distancing, he said. They’ve found 15 to be legitimate and all voluntarily complied, according to the county executive.

Riverhead police have received only a handful of complaints, according to Police Chief David Hegermiller: three were related to businesses and three were related to playgrounds, he said.

While parks remain open, all playgrounds closed have been ordered closed and all “contact sports,” including basketball and any other sport that does not allow compliance with the social distancing requirements set forth by the state.

The town-by-town breakdown of confirmed cases provided by the county yesterday afternoon is as follows:

Islip – 911, up from 792 on March 29
Huntington – 868, up from 761 on March 29
Brookhaven – 671, up from 605 on March 29
Babylon – 609, up from 537 on March 29
Smithtown – 230, up from 196 on March 29
Southold – 135, adjusted from March 29
Southampton – 78, adjusted from March 29
Riverhead – 69, up from 68 on March 29
East Hampton – 19, adjusted from March 29
Shelter Island – 1, no change from March 29
Township not known – 769

The county said this breakdown comprises the information from 4,360 records available to Suffolk County at the time of its report yesterday afternoon. The total case counts for the towns have been adjusted as “more accurate information on the hometown location of each COVID-19 confirmed case becomes available,” the county 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.