Suffolk County amid ‘severe’ COVID outbreak and risk of infection ‘extreme’, researchers say


The number of daily new COVID cases in Suffolk County is at a level that makes the outbreak here “serious”, according to a risk assessment group affiliated with Georgetown University, Stanford Medicine and Harvard Global Health Institute.

Suffolk currently has 121 cases per 100,000 population. Since the New Year, the risk of contracting the virus in Suffolk has been “extreme” – because daily new cases have exceeded 75 per 100,000 population – according to metrics released by the Harvard Global Health Institute.

New York state as a whole fell into the extreme risk category on Thursday, when new daily cases first exceeded 75 per 100,000. Yesterday that number had risen to 79 per 100,000.

Harvard Institute ‘strongly urges’ adoption of a suppression strategy – that is, strive to suppress the viral spread to 1 new case per 100,000 people, a level at which true containment is possible . According to the institute, a suppression strategy where daily new cases exceed 25 per 100,000 people requires home prescriptions – “the most effective path to a restored economy without future lockdowns.”

With the economy still reeling from last spring’s shutdown, Gov. Andrew Cuomo has shown no interest in issuing a stay-at-home order for any part of the state.

A month ago, the state shifted its focus from removing infection rates to monitoring hospital admissions, adopting a surge and flex strategy to adjust hospital capacity to prevent hospitals from being shut down. overwhelmed, according to the governor.

Suffolk’s 121 cases per 100,000 population ranks fourth in the county in New York state, behind the upstate counties of Herkimer, Cayuga and Lewis, according to data collected and released by the group of Risk Assessment Nonprofit, the COVID Act Now nonprofit group.

In fact, every county in the state is above the 25 per 100,000 case level, which the Harvard Global Health Institute ranks as the highest (extreme) risk level for infection.

In the past seven days in Suffolk, there have been 12,494 new confirmed cases out of the 117,363 COVID-19 tests administered – a positive (or positivity) test rate of 10.6%. There were 623 new hospital admissions in Suffolk and 563 discharges.

In Riverhead, there have been 257 new confirmed cases in the past seven days, an average of 36.7 new cases per day – and a rate of 105 new cases per day per 100,000.

The positivity rate for the Riverhead micro-cluster focal zone test has increased from 11.1% to 12.4% in the past seven days.

This week in Suffolk, hospitalizations related to COVID-19, which have steadily increased since Thanksgiving, topped the average of 800 people per day for the first time since early May.

But hospitalizations are increasing at a much slower rate so far this fall and winter than last spring, when they more than doubled in seven days from March 31 and averaged 1,384 patients per day for the month of April.

In the past seven days 104 Suffolk residents have died from illness caused by the new coronavirus. Deaths currently average 16 per day on a seven-day moving average – down from 2 per day at Thanksgiving and 11 per day at Christmas. Deaths from COVID increased much faster last spring, when they went from a handful per day in March to an average of 39 per day in April.

In New York State, there have been 86,489 new confirmed cases out of 1,367,407 tests in the past seven days. The average positivity rate was 7.8%. There were 6,991 new hospital admissions and 1,164 deaths.

Four cases of the apparently more contagious British strain of the coronavirus were detected in New York state last week, including one in Long Island, a resident of Massapequa in Nassau County.

The governor on Friday announced the expansion of the state’s vaccine distribution network to help speed up administration of the COVID-19 vaccine to New Yorkers currently eligible for vaccination.

“As part of this effort, thousands of new suppliers and distribution sites are being identified across the state,” the governor said.

Vaccination has so far been available mainly for health workers in hospitals (group 1A). Starting tomorrow, people in Group 1B – essential workers and New Yorkers aged 75 and over – can make reservations for the vaccination, although the appointments they receive don’t fall for several weeks to a few. months into the future, the governor said on Friday, according to vaccine supplies.

Public health researchers and health officials are urging people in Suffolk to take all possible precautions to avoid exposure.

According to the CDC, this includes:

  • Wear well-fitting, multi-layered masks, covering both your nose and mouth, even six feet apart.
  • Avoid crowds and poorly ventilated indoor spaces.
  • Avoid indoor gatherings with people outside your household.
  • Wash your hands often with warm water and soap for at least 20 seconds.

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