Yesterday marked the 29th straight day that New York State’s COVID-19 positive test rate was under 1% statewide — but about a dozen counties, including Suffolk and Nassau have positive rates over that benchmark.

Suffolk County’s positive rate was 1.5% yesterday and 1.6% Thursday, according to State Health Department data posted online today. Nassau’s positive rate was 1.2% yesterday and 1.6% yesterday. Positive rates in both counties were 1.1% on a seven-day rolling average, according to the state’s numbers. Other downstate counties outside of New York City — Rockland, Putnam, Orange and Sullivan —reported similar positive rates.

Upstate Otsego County, where SUNY Oneonta is located, had a 4% positive rate — 5.1% on a seven-day rolling average, the state reported today. A COVID-19 outbreak at SUNY Oneonta forced the university to send its students home for the semester during the second week of classes. The school announced the decision Thursday, when it said confirmed cases had risen to 389 since the start of the semester on Aug. 24. Oneonta had already begun a two-week “pause” on Aug. 30 in an attempt to limit the spread of the virus. As of today there were 559 confirmed cases among students there.

Oneonta is the most extreme example of community spread of COVID-19 on college campuses in New York, but it is by no means alone. SUNY Buffalo reported 91 confirmed cases as of late yesterday, just a handful of cases shy of the 100-case threshold requiring a two-week shutdown under rules announced by Gov. Andrew Cuomo last week.

Stony Brook University, which reported its first positive case on Aug. 28, on Wednesday announced 17 new cases. The university said it was retesting the 18 students whose tests came back positive and would have new test results within 24 hours. It has not updated the data on its COVID-19 dashboard since then. Stony Brook also reported two positive tests among employees. A university spokesperson could not be reached for comment.

Hofstra University said yesterday it had a total of 27 confirmed positive cases for students, including confirmed positive cases from on-campus testing and confirmed positive cases from off-campus testing confirmed through the Department of Health. Hofstra has had no positive tests among employees, according to its website.

SUNY Old Westbury has not had any confirmed cases, according to its website. Farmingdale State College is not posting the information on its website. St. Joseph’s College will begin on-campus classes after Labor Day.

Local COVID-19 data

Statewide, 801 additional coronavirus cases were confirmed yesterday — a .8% positive rate — bringing the state’s total to 438,772.

Suffolk County had 98 new confirmed cases yesterday, according to state data, bringing the overall county total to 45,200.

Riverhead Town has had 801 confirmed cases to date, or 23.78 positives per 1,000 people.

The hamlet of Riverhead has the highest total in the township, with 514 cases, or 36.6 cases per 1,000 people.

Case totals for other hamlets in Riverhead Town are as follows:
Aquebogue 30
Baiting Hollow 15
Calverton 120
Jamesport 17
Northville 14
Wading River 108

Across the river, the hamlet of Flanders, with 211 cases total to date, has a per-thousand rate of 44.1. Riverside has had 95 cases (30.2 per thousand) and Northampton has had just 20 cases, but a per-thousand rate of 33.2.

A state of emergency due to the coronavirus pandemic remains in effect in New York, Suffolk County and in Riverhead and Southampton towns, with restrictions on business, civic and social activities extended to at least the end of the month.

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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.