October 27, 2020

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Another school closed, but NY infection level low

6 min read
The latest school to close due to a COVID-19 case Albany Avenue Elementary School in...

The latest school to close due to a COVID-19 case

Albany Avenue Elementary School in North Massapequa closed for in-person instruction on Friday after a staff member tested positive for COVID-19, Farmingdale Schools Superintendent Paul Defendini wrote in a letter to parents.

It’s the latest development as of Friday afternoon in a series of school shutdowns on Long Island as districts attempt to reopen. Most schools have managed to remain open, though some closed temporarily or sent students from one “cohort” or group home while buildings are cleaned.

The district was in touch with the county health department and a contact tracing protocol was completed, he said. Those who were exposed have been notified and are required to quarantine, Defendini added. It’s getting prepared to reopen by Tuesday with custodial staff “disinfecting all affected areas on top of its regular regimen,” Defendini said.

Public and many private schools are closed Monday for Yom Kippur.

Meanwhile, New York State’s infection level remained low. Statewide, 0.96% of people tested Thursday were confirmed positive for the virus.

Seven establishments in Suffolk County, however, were issued summonses for violating state laws aimed at stopping the spread of coronavirus, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo said.

The map below shows the concentration of new cases in each Long Island community. You can search the map, and view charts showing the latest local trends in testing, hospitalizations, deaths and more.

The number of new positives reported today: 71 in Nassau, 52 in Suffolk, 371 in New York City and 908 statewide.

LI company to begin testing COVID-19 vaccine — for cats

A Long Island company plans to begin a clinical trial upstate on a COVID-19 vaccine for cats. They have been found to be susceptible to the virus.

A vaccine potentially could safeguard pet owners by reducing the chance that their cats harbor the virus, said James A. Hayward, president and chief executive of Stony Brook-based Applied DNA Sciences Inc.

“By vaccinating a cat, you not only improve the health of the cat, you lower the proximal reservoir of virus available to humans,” he said, noting the relationship between cats and their humans is “up close and personal.”

To date, however, there have been no documented cases of cat-to-human transmission, experts said.

Bellone warns of possible cuts for Suffolk bus services

Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone on Friday called on the federal government to provide “the necessary and justified level of disaster assistance” to offset budget deficits from the pandemic, warning that without the aid, it could take a decade or more to recover.

Lawmakers in Washington, D.C., are at a standstill on a possible new coronavirus stimulus package. Suffolk County already has received $283 million in federal CARES Act funding, but still faces an $800 million deficit in 2020 and 2021, according to a fiscal impact panel assembled by Bellone.

“Do what our national government has always done when local communities are hit with unprecedented disasters,” Bellone said in an online news conference Friday. “If they do that, it allows us to deal with the structural budget gaps that something like this — unprecedented since the Great Depression, the economic declines that we’ve seen — that we are then able to close those budget gaps in a responsible way.”

Funding for Suffolk police, public health and contract agencies and transportation would sustain significant cuts in the county’s upcoming budget, potentially undermining the region’s recovery from the statewide in-person business shutdown, Bellone warned.

Pandemic, holiday season throw this LI nonprofit into ‘overdrive’

When Samantha Morales started her nonprofit organization, her Coram home became headquarters. Nearly a year later, it’s now run out of an office in Middle Island, and she’s helping more Long Islanders than ever before.

Branches Long Island provides food, toiletries, pet food and baby supplies to families that reach out for help, Morales said. They call these bundles of essential items “blessing boxes.” Anyone in need can fill out a form on the organization’s website, and pick it up at the Middle Island headquarters or have it delivered by a volunteer.

Morales said the pandemic threw their efforts into “overdrive.” And now they’re facing another busy time of year: the holiday season.

Branches Long Island is collecting donations for its Thanksgiving drive.

More to know

Long Island jobless claims rose for the first time in more than a month last week, hitting 5,923 claims, the state Labor Department said.

The coronavirus is now striking cities with much smaller populations in the U.S. heartland, often in conservative corners of America where anti-mask sentiment runs high.

The Pac-12 conference set a Nov. 6 start date for a seven-game football season, following the Big Ten in overturning an August decision to postpone until spring.

News for you

Don’t want to head out east? Some of it might look different this year, but you can still find fall fun while staying central on Long Island. Here’s a list of farm stands, wineries, breweries and more, all west of Riverhead.

This LI playwright writes comedy made for Zoom. Melville-raised Marc Palmieri’s comedy “Waiting for the Host,” a full-length play he wrote for Zoom, will be streamed on Oct. 18 at 8 p.m. from Singapore’s Pangdemonium Theatre. Find out more.

Food trucks come to Walt Whitman mall. A six-week “Food Truck Market” series is happening in the parking lot of the mall in Huntington Station from noon-7 p.m., every Thursday to Sunday, from Sept. 24 to Nov. 1. It’s weather-permitting and does not offer seating.

Italian restaurant opens in East Norwich. After opening briefly at the beginning of April, Leone used its coronavirus closure time to further test recipes before reopening in June. Read more.

Plus: Is a messy house stressing you out? Consider these these organization tips for common sources of clutter in every room.

Sign up for text messages to get the most important coronavirus news and information.

Commentary

Here’s how hard it will be to distribute a COVID-19 vaccine. Kenneth Gorelick, a board-certified internal medicine and pulmonary disease specialist, writes for The Washington Post: Americans have placed great trust that the arrival of a vaccine against COVID-19 will finally end our long national pandemic nightmare.

The Trump administration has claimed that 100 million doses of a vaccine could be available by the end of the year and that they will begin to ship within 24 hours of getting the regulatory go-ahead. But there are good reasons to be skeptical of those claims, most of all that developing and manufacturing the vaccine is just the beginning. We also need to distribute and administer it, and that’s where the administration’s optimistic timeline starts to fall apart.

As a physician who’s helped make biopharma products for more than 35 years, I can attest to the extensive planning, patience, and precision that these stages require. Rapidly distributing a safe and effective vaccine across the nation is likely to be one of the most significant logistical challenges ever undertaken by the government within our borders. Keep reading.

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