Testing at mobile site in Riverside to be suspended Monday as storm approaches

The new mobile hot spot testing site at the county center in Riverside will suspend operations Monday due to high winds in the forecast, Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone said Sunday.

Mr. Bellone said the severe weather expected will make it impossible to set up tents to do mobile testing.

The National Weather Service has issued a high wind watch for Monday morning through the evening as winds of 30-40 mph are predicted. Gusts could be as strong as 70 mph.

“Damaging winds could blow down trees and power lines,” the NWS said. “Even sturdy and well secured tent structures could be damaged. Widespread power outages are possible.”

Any appointments scheduled for tomorrow will be postponed.

• An additional 60 fatalities were reported in the last 24 hours in Suffolk County related to the coronavirus, Mr. Bellone said. That brings the total figure to 518.

The first death in the county was reported in mid-March.

Nearly 21,000 people in the county have now tested positive for the coronavirus and Mr. Bellone said there are some good signs emerging in the numbers.

The number of hospitalizations has been steadily climbing this past month. Today was the first day, Mr. Bellone said, that he can report a decrease in that number. Total hospitalizations decreased by 44 compared to one day earlier, bringing the current number of 1,614.

“We don’t know if that will turn out to be an anomaly,” he said, but added it’s a “bit of light in the darkness we have been in.”

He cautioned that while there is still a long way to go and no clear indication yet of when things will begin to return to normal, there is a “real sense of hope of where we are going and what is happening.”

• The number of hospitalized patients in intensive care units climbed by seven to 548. There are 749 total ICU beds in Suffolk.

• An additional 164 people who were being treated at county hospitals for COVID-19 have been discharged.

• Mr. Bellone said he toured the facility being constructed by the Army Corps of Engineers at Stony Brook University Sunday. The temporary hospital is being constructed next to LaValle Stadium.

“It is extraordinary what is happening there,” he said.

He said the hope is that the facility doesn’t see a single patient. The targeted completion date is April 18.

Mr. Bellone said if that’s the case, it means all the efforts and sacrifices to curb the spread of the virus worked.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo said on Sunday he would sign an executive order directing employers to provide cloth or surgical masks to employees who are deemed essential and need to wear them when directly interacting with the public.

It’s a measure similar to one already in effect in New Jersey. Mr. Cuomo said New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy “was right” to put that into effect.

Mr. Cuomo also said he would sign an executive order expanding who can conduct antibody tests to limit the regulations normally in place. He has said antibody tests, which can detect whether a person had the virus who did not have symptoms, are a key part of getting people back to work.

• Mr. Cuomo reiterated his message from Saturday that the “optimum” goal is for schools and businesses to reopen together at the same time, potentially in conjunction with New Jersey and Connecticut.

“How do you get three states to agree one one plan? It’s hard,” he said. “It’s easiest for each state to say I’m going to do my own thing. … Except it’s better to do it together.”

He added: “Whatever plan we come up with will be driven by data and science.”

The governor would not commit to any specific timeline of when schools could reopen.

“If you say schools are closed through June, you’re effectively saying businesses are closed through June,” he said.

• Mr. Cuomo reported an additional 758 fatalities in New York linked to COVID-19. The statewide death total has now climbed to 9,385.

He said the number of fatalities is flattening, “but flattening at a terribly high level.”

More than 700 people have tied each day in the state this past week due to the coronavirus.

“That’s the one number I look forward to seeing drop when I open my my eyes in the morning,” he said.

• He said there is good news in the change of total number of hospitalizations, which is down. The great fear, he said, has always been overwhelming the hospital system.

The change in total hospitalizations has dropped since April 3 and Saturday’s figure was 53, the lowest the number of additional beds in a given day since the state began tracking it. That number had been over 1,000 for several days in late March into early April.

That leads to total hospitalizations in the state starting to level off in the 18,000 range.

“That’s the so-called flattening of the curve,” Mr. Cuomo said. “The apex isn’t just an apex, it’s a plateau.”

• The number of discharged patients was over 1,800 Saturday across the state.

“Discharges are a function of the hospitalization rate,” he said.