Long Island coronavirus cases dip after Tuesday spike drew widespread concerns
With an increase in coronavirus cases Tuesday in Suffolk County, local doctors and officials are warning that it is still important to follow social distancing guidelines.
Backyard barbecues, pool parties and family gatherings are allowed under phase four guidelines as long as no more than 50 people are in attendance. But doctors say it's important to remember there is still the potential for exposure to COVID-19, especially if people are not following guidelines.
"Those things shouldn't be a surprise. We should expect that as people gather without masks and without social distancing, that the virus is going to easily transfer from person to person," says Dr. David Hirschwerk, of Northwell Health. "This is still a virus for which we have no immunity, and it's very contagious and the spread is going to continue unless we adhere to what we need to adhere to."
Among the events that have drawn concern was a Fourth of July party in Holtsville. County officials say four of the 18 in attendance tested positive. The partygoers followed proper guidance at the event, according to officials, so no citations were issued. There were less than 25 people at the gathering, but they removed their facial coverings at critical moments, according to the Suffolk health commissioner.
Suffolk's infection rate is now at 2% - up from 1% and lower in previous weeks. The number of new cases reached 102 Tuesday. And since June 24, 42% of positive cases are in people under the age of 30.
"I think it's awful, they are not taking it seriously enough like they should. There are too many gatherings, too many people partying, it's not a free-for-all," says Natale Manzo, of Hampton Bays. "We have to change our lifestyle and we have to really instill it in our young."
On Tuesday, Suffolk Executive Steve Bellone issued a stern warning about mask wearing and following CDC guidelines.
"If we see these numbers continue to climb we won't be able to open our schools -- we'll see more economic devastation and we'll see more lives lost and that is unacceptable," says Bellone.
Officials said 10 Suffolk lifeguards who work at Smith Point and Cupsogue county beaches tested positive. It's believed they contracted the virus at a party while off duty.
Bellone's office confirmed infection rates for Wednesday dropped back down to 1%, with 53 new cases. In Nassau, there were 39 new cases with an infection rate below 1%.