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Shelter Island has its first case of COVID-19 coronavirus

UPDATE: The Reporter has received a press release from Detective Sergeant Jack Thilberg:

“Today, 03/19/2020 at approximately 4:00PM, the Town of Shelter Island was notified by the Suffolk County Executive’s Office of a confirmation that a person connected to Shelter Island has tested positive for the COVID-19, this being Shelter Island’s first case. No additional information was provided during this preliminary advisement, and as we are made aware of further information, we will update this release.

“The Suffolk County Health Department will follow-up with contacts, locations as well as other procedures being followed and determine what steps, if any, are necessary regarding this confirmation. The town expects to be informed as to the gender, age, and if the person is home isolated or under medical care at a hospital. “

Below is the original report.

Shelter Island has become the latest East End town to report an individual who has tested positive for the COVID-19 coronavirus.

The news came Thursday afternoon at a press conference by Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone, who listed the Island’s case while giving a breakdown of cases in other municipalities in Suffolk.

The Reporter will report on the Island case when more information becomes available.

Mr. Bellone reported Thursday the biggest jump yet in the number of positively diagnosed COVID-19 coronavirus cases in Suffolk as testing efforts have increased.

The county executive said there have now been 239 positively confirmed cases in the county — up from 160 a day earlier – including 45 in Southold, four in Riverhead and the first on Shelter Island.

Mr. Bellone said more than 250 residents have received mobile testing at Stony Brook University Hospital and more than 1,500 tests have been taken countywide to date,

“We’ve come a long way now, the testing is happening,” he said.

Here are some of the key takeaways from the county executive’s Thursday briefing:

• The county’s business recovery unit is up and running now and businesses how want to report being impacted by the coronavirus pandemic can call the county’s 311 hotline or email Suffolkny.gov/bru.

The county executive also said the state’s disaster declaration had been approved by the federal government, making small businesses eligible for disaster relief loans.

More information about the county’s business recovery unit can be found at suffolkny.gov/bru, the county executive said. For more info on small business loans visit SBA.gov/disaster

• Mr. Bellone said there were 479 hospital beds available in Suffolk County, including 74 intensive care units as Wednesday night. He said it’s more important to focus on how many more beds can be made available in the coming 4 to 5 weeks as demand increases. Currently 27 patients are being treated in Suffolk hospitals, including seven in ICUs, county health commissioner Dr. Gregson Pigott said.

• To expand hospital capacity, the Suffolk County Sheriff’s Department is looking at making pods on the Yaphank jail campus available for treatment. The county is also looking at using space at Suffolk County Community College, Mr. Bellone said.

• Mr. Bellone also reiterated the importance of social distancing, saying the county has received reports of large groups of children gathering to play. He said it’s unfair to health officials on the front lines if others in the county don’t exercise precaution. “[Gov. Andrew Cuomo] has described this as war and I think that’s an apt description,” he said, adding that like at wartime some people are on the front lines but everyone is affected.