Peconic Landing employee tests positive for coronavirus

A per-diem employee at Peconic Landing, a lifecare and retirement community that’s home to more than 450 residents aged 62 and older in Greenport, has tested positive for COVID-19, coronavirus, a community spokesperson has confirmed.

The announcement came Tuesday evening as County Executive Steve Bellone announced that three more people in Suffolk County have tested positive for the virus. Mr. Bellone said all four coronavirus cases in Suffolk are believed to have been contracted through community transmission.

One of the patients is a woman in her early 20s who lives in Southold Town and is currently under home isolation, according to a county press release. The others are a Town of Brookhaven man in his early 20s who is currently in isolation at Stony Brook University Medical Center and a male in his 80s in isolation at St. Catherine’s Hospital, the release states.

The county said 11 more test results are currently pending and eight county residents are under mandatory quarantine.

The Peconic Landing employee worked for about four hours after being exposed to the virus, according to a statement from Peconic Landing. In an interview, Robert Syron, president and CEO of Peconic Landing, said that shift was on Friday, March 6. While he declined to identify the individual further, Mr. Syron said the employee is being treated at home.

“Pending further guidance from the Suffolk County Department of Health, Peconic Landing has taken the precautionary step of placing employees that have been identified to have worked in close proximity with this employee on leave,” they announced. “We offer every assurance to our members, members’ families and employees that Peconic Landing will be following all recommendations and will act in the best interests of our entire community. 

“Peconic Landing notified members of the situation this evening. Due to the timing of the notification by the Suffolk County Department of Health, family members will be notified [Wednesday].”

About 300 members live independently at Peconic Landing with more than 100 additional residents receiving assisted living and skilled nursing care. It has about 280 employees, 80% of whom live in Southold Town, according to its media kit.

Older adults — and people with heart disease, diabetes and lung disease — are at higher risk of getting “very sick” from the virus, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“Our goal is our residents and employees and we want to maintain a sense of calm here,” Mr. Syron said Tuesday evening. “We don’t want to panic. We are being more proactive than we need to be. We have been monitoring here long before we knew we had this individual exposed. We are extra vigilant. We have been screening individuals entering our buildings since Monday.

“We are a fully transparent organization. Tomorrow we will call our members and ask which family members they want us to call to answer questions. We want to reassure everyone that their loved ones are safe here.”

On Monday, prior to the positive test, Mr. Syron said that Peconic Landing has always had infection control protocols in place for the flu and other illnesses. Those protocols, guided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the New York State Department of Health, have been upgraded over the past several weeks since the COVID-19 outbreak.

The home has been evaluating people, from visitors to employees and members — especially those who have recently traveled.

Last week, the staff put up informative signage and started looking more closely into members’ health. And on Monday, it made an announcement suspending large-group events.

Greenport Harbor Brewing Co. in Peconic is closed this week after it learned Suffolk County’s first positively diagnosed coronavirus patient is a staff member there, the brewery said in a statement Monday morning.

The brewery said the employee had not been to work since Feb. 24. He personally notified them of his diagnoses Sunday afternoon, the statement said.