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Coronavirus updates: Two deaths in Suffolk; restaurants, bars are take-out only on Shelter Island

Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone announced Monday that two people have died in the county due to the coronavirus.

A man in his 80s who was one of the first people in the county to be diagnosed and was in isolation at St. Catherine of Siena Medical Center in Smithtown died. The second death was a man in his 90s who had been in isolation at Huntington Hospital.

“Our sympathies to the families who lost loved ones,” he said in media conference call.

The number of confirmed cases in the county is 74, including a senior member of the county executive’s office, Mr. Bellone said.

Peter Scully, the deputy county executive, has tested positive, Mr. Bellone confirmed.

“Peter is doing well,” Mr. Bellone said. “He has not had the classic symptoms of coronavirus.”

Mr. Bellone said he had limited close contact with Mr. Scully and is not under mandatary quarantine. He’s been operating and directing the county’s response from his home office since Saturday night under self quarantine. Mr. Bellone said he does not have any symptoms at this point and has not been tested.

The county health commissioner, Gregson Pigott, MD, is under mandatory quarantine.

“I am fine and have no symptoms,” Dr. Pigott said on a conference call. “I feel fine.”

In local news: Even before Gov. Andrew Cuomo ordered all restaurants to close and offer takeout food only, some Island restaurateurs began making the same decision for themselves. And Supervisor Gerry Siller confirmed that Island eatery’s and bars are to be take-out only.

The Islander opened as usual Monday morning, but Chris Chobor said he was posting signs that orders could be called in and picked up at the roadside. He said numbers to date of people visiting the restaurant have been in line with previous winters.

 “I’d be lying if I didn’t say I’m concerned, Mr. Chobor said, who is also in the construction business.

Maria’s Kitchen will also be open for take-out business.

Pepe Martinez, owner of  STARS Café, said they were opened all weekend, but business was slow. He is now offering takeout orders. Customers can call in orders and pay by phone —631-749-5345 or by Venma — @pepe-martinez-13.

Mr. Martinez said all employees are practicing safe cleaning procedures and doing their best to handle orders.

• As reported here earlier, at 1 p.m. Tuesday, an informational forum will be held at Town Hall, hosted by Chief Read, Supervisor Gerry Siller and School Superintendent Brian Doelger, Ed.D. Mr. Siller said information on Island businesses will be aired.

The public will be excluded from the meeting for health concerns, but can watch the session live online at townhallstreams.com and call with questions at 631-749-0391, or email [email protected].

At its conclusion the session will be broadcast on Channel 22.

• Shelter Island’s first responders — police, firefighters and Emergency Medical Services (EMS) volunteers — are following the same basic protocols they have in the past to protect themselves while still assisting the public, Police Chief Jim Read said.

In answering calls, police won’t enter homes unless absolutely necessary. EMS volunteers will properly protect themselves when entering houses to attend to sick people and, where necessary, provide transport to an area hospital.

• Pointing out that everyone can use the respite and refuge right now, Sylvester Manor Director of Operations Tracy McCarthy said trails are open to hikers.

The trails are open dawn to dusk, she said, adding that leashed dogs can join their owners for a walk and have an opportunity to “breathe in the fresh air.”

• Offices at Sylvester Manor are closed with staff working from home.

•The Shelter Island Historical Society remains closed for the foreseeable future.

The decision was made in line with recommended preventative guidelines.

Staff members are reachable by email with all contact information available at shelterislandhistorical.org.