LI sees NY's biggest rise in COVID-19 hospitalizations; Suffolk positivity rate hits 6%

As new COVID-19 cases continue to rise, hospitalizations on Long Island have gone up at the highest rate in the state.
A bleak winter forecast is slowly becoming a reality, as more than 3,100 Americans lost their lives to COVID-19 over the past day, the highest daily death toll of the pandemic.
More than 100,000 Americans are hospitalized due to the virus, which also equates to the highest numbers since the pandemic began. Experts say it's only going to get worse.
"December and January and February are going to be rough times," says Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Dr. Robert Redfield. "I actually believe they're going to be the most difficult time in the public health history of this nation."
In New York, just over 4,000 people with COVID-19 are in hospitals, including 783 in intensive care units. Long Island topped the list of new COVID-19 hospitalizations over the past three days with 64 admissions.
"It's the small gatherings, it's in household parties, it was at the Thanksgiving table. Government cannot control that," says Gov. Andrew Cuomo.
In Suffolk County, an uptick in new cases of the coronavirus has brought the county to a 6% positivity rate. The county tracked 310 patients with COVID-related ailments in hospitals, an increase of 23 in 24 hours.
"If we continue at this pace, by Christmas we'd have over 1,000 people in the hospital with COVID-19," says Suffolk Executive Steve Bellone.
Local hospital officials echoed the concern and urged people to remain vigilant about masking, social distancing and hand-washing to keep infections and hospitalizations down.
"The only way we're going to get out of this without people dying is careful practices," says Northwell Health Chief Medical Officer Dr. David Battinelli. "If you look at statistics in terms of the total numbers of people who have died across the United States on a daily basis, it accounts for one person dead every 30 seconds."