File photo: Denise Civiletti

COVID-19 inpatient admissions at Peconic Bay Medical Center have more than doubled in the past week.

There are currently 24 inpatient COVID admissions at PBMC, hospital president and CEO Andrew Mitchell said today.

A week ago, there were 10.

“The way it’s going right now, it’s looking like March all over again,” Mitchell said.

When the coronavirus outbreak first struck New York in March, hospitalizations at PBMC shot up from zero on March 13 to 20 on March 25. By April 10, there were 87 COVID patients in PBMC, with 20 of them in ICU. At that point, there had already been over 100 COVID patient discharges from PBMC.

The hospital is preparing for the current surge to continue. It has temporarily suspended all visitation, effective immediately, citing increased community spread of COVID-19 infections and the designation by the governor of a precautionary yellow zone focus area in the Riverhead hamlet and adjacent areas of Southampton Town.

“These steps are being taken to maintain the safety of our patients and care teams,” the hospital said in a statement on its website. “Limited exceptions are made when clinically indicated for the care of the patient.”

Health officials have been warning that a combination of colder fall temperatures, which keeps people indoors, and the fall holiday season will produce a surge in the spread of the virus, which has been raging out of control across most of the country.

New York State was the early epicenter of the pandemic, reaching its peak in COVID-19 hospitalizations and deaths in mid-April. The state’s infection rate slowly came down and remained under 2% of people tested from early June to early November, when it began to steadily increase again.

This week the state designated part of the Riverhead hamlet and adjacent hamlets in Southampton Town a yellow-zone focus area. The Riverhead yellow zone today had a 4.34% test positivity rate on a seven-day rolling average, according to the governor’s office. The state also designated Hampton Bays a yellow zone this week. Today the testing positivity rate on a seven-day rolling average was 5.24% in the Hampton Bays yellow zone.

Suffolk County’s testing percent-positive yesterday was 4.2%, and was 3.4% on a seven-day rolling average. Just three weeks ago, the percent-positive rate was just over 1% in Suffolk, County Executive Steve Bellone said during a media briefing today. Suffolk’s percent-positive rate last topped 4% in mid-May.

“We have some tough months ahead to get through,” Bellone said.

New York State stats: Nov. 24
Total COVID cases – 613,266
Current Hospitalizations – 2,982 (+126)
Patients Newly Admitted – 461
Patients in ICU – 596 (+37)
Patients in ICU on ventilators – 277 (+14)
Deaths – 41
Total Deaths – 26,482

Suffolk County stats: Nov. 24
Total COVID cases – 57,695
Current Hospitalizations – 161
Patients in ICU – 30 (Nov. 23)
Patients in ICU on ventilators – 11 (Nov. 23)
Deaths – 3
Total Deaths – 2,036 (Suffolk residents)

Riverhead Town stats: Nov. 24
Total COVID cases – 1,097
Riverhead hamlet – 676
Aquebogue – 48
Baiting Hollow – 17
Calverton – 185
Jamesport – 26
Northville – 17
Wading River – 167

United States: Nov. 24 (COVID Tracking Project data)
Total COVID cases – 12,397,484
Current Hospitalizations – 88,080
Patients in ICU – 17,127
Patients in ICU on ventilators – 5,630
Deaths – 250,926

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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.