Coronavirus clusters tracked in North Shore villages as Nassau cases surpass 8,500

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Nassau County updates a map with the confirmed cases and where they reside daily. (Map courtesy of the Nassau County Department of Health)

Clusters of the spreading coronavirus have inhabited North Shore areas, according to data provided by the Nassau County Department of Health.

As of Tuesday night, Nassau County had 8,554 confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus, Nassau County Executive Laura Curran said. 

To keep residents continuously informed, the Department of Health updates a map of Nassau daily with the number of positive cases and the confirmed locations.

Of the 8,554 confirmed cases in the county, more than 500 are located on the North Shore stretching just from Great Neck to Glen Cove and as far south as Mineola, according to the data.

When asked what she believes is the reason for these clustered cases throughout the North Shore, Curran said it is difficult to make conclusions and that next week will surely look different than this week.

“Other than density, this map proves every community in our county is vulnerable to contracting this virus,” she said.

Nassau County’s rate of testing is 35 percent higher than that of New York City, while its hospitalization and death rates are lower than the city’s, according to health officials.

Long Island’s communities have an average of 21 confirmed cases, the data showed.

The population of the Great Neck peninsula is roughly 40,000, according to multiple published sources.

With more than 160 confirmed cases inhabiting the peninsula, Village of Great Neck Mayor Pedram Bral attributed the cluster of cases to the area’s proximity to Manhattan.

“We have so many people traveling to and from New York City every day that I was not shocked to see how quickly the virus spread throughout the villages,” Bral said. “I am urging everyone to stay home, and if you go out for necessities, please wear gloves and cover your face with something. It will go such a long way.”

Bral, the director of Minimally Invasive Robotic Gynecologic Surgery at Maimonides Medical Center in Brooklyn, declared a state of emergency in the village March 13. 

The Village of Great Neck currently has the highest number of confirmed cases on the peninsula, with 47, according to the data.

The mayors of Kings Point and Great Neck Estates, where confirmed cases are among the highest in the peninsula, also declared a local state of emergency.

Estates Mayor William Warner said last week he and the village continue to comply with the state government’s direction, but did not comment on a potential cause of the clusters.

Efforts to reach Kings Point Mayor Michael Kalnick for comment were unavailing. Kings Point has the second-highest number of cases on the peninsula with 41, according to the data.

Village of Kensington Mayor Susan Lopatkin urged residents to remain indoors even with the impending holidays such as Passover and Easter around the corner.

“It is imperative that people everywhere in this community cannot congregate with people for holidays,” Lopatkin said. “Gatherings will create problems, so we must keep to only our nuclear families this year.”

On the topic of families, Roslyn Estates Mayor Paul Leone Peters said he has heard reports of “random groups of young people gathering in the streets.” Peters said reports have occasionally mentioned parents joining the groups as well.

“This seems like it is out of defiance and foolishness,” Peters said. “This is not a matter of choice or personal preference. The only way to stop this is if the entire country was completely isolated for two weeks.”

Only three cases of the virus were confirmed in Roslyn Estates, according to the data.

The data shows 21 confirmed cases exist in Flower Hill, an area that incorporates Roslyn, Manhasset, and Port Washington. 

Flower Hill Deputy Mayor Brian Harrington said the village also intends to follow the orders of Gov. Andrew Cuomo and remain vigilant regarding the growing numbers. 

“In response to this public health crisis Flower Hill modified Village operations, including being the first community to shut down our basketball courts and park equipment to limit potential exposure,” Harrington said in a statement. “We will continue to take all necessary steps to support the protection of public health.”

Manhasset has 34 confirmed cases of the virus, but officials from both the villages of Plandome and Plandome Heights declined to comment on the matter.

Areas throughout New Hyde Park, North New Hyde Park, and Floral Park had a combined 173 confirmed cases as of Tuesday night.

New Hyde Park’s direct proximity to Manhattan and the other boroughs is closer than Great Neck’s by more than five miles.

Despite a lesser population than the combined Great Neck peninsula – more than 33,000 compared to more than 40,000 in 2019, according to the U.S. Census – the greater New Hyde Park/ Floral Park area has an increasing number of confirmed cases.

Officials from the respective villages could not be reached for comment.

The Port Washington Peninsula has 63 confirmed cases of the virus, according to the data. Efforts to reach officials from villages that inhabit the peninsula for comment were unsuccessful.

According to the data, 73 residents who live in Mineola and Williston Park have also tested positive for the virus.

Mineola, which accounts for 52 of the 73 confirmed cases, has the highest estimated population – 19,234 in 2019, according to the census – of the analyzed areas.  Village officials could not be reached for comment.

Williston Park Mayor Paul Ehrbar said now, more than ever, it is imperative to follow the guidance of the state government and to contact friends, family, and loved ones.

“Reach out most importantly to who may be living alone. Loneliness can set in very quickly,”  Ehrbar wrote in a letter to The Island Now. “We will all get through this. Together we will make a difference!”

TOWN, COUNTY, STATE

Due to concerns over the coronavirus, the Town of North Hempstead has closed its facilities until Monday, April 20, according to an email from Supervisor Judi Bosworth.

This includes most offices and all parks, playgrounds, sports fields and bathrooms, as well as town-run beaches and the town dock, Bosworth said.

“While all Town buildings and parks are currently closed to the public, essential services are continuing to operate as the Town maintains the continuity of government with many of its employees working remotely,” Bosworth wrote.

According to Curran, the number of confirmed coronavirus county in Nassau increased by 5,259 over the past week (3,285 to 8,544).

The number of deaths also rose from 17 to 63, according to Curran.

As of Tuesday night, a total of 80 members in the county, city, and village police departments had tested positive, Curran said. Some 147 members are quarantined, she said.

Curran said the results from the county’s economic advisory council survey will be presented Thursday.

The council, organized by Curran, aims to provide statistics to show how small and large businesses have been affected by the coronavirus pandemic.

With the Wednesday budget deadline looming, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced last week that he will slash funding to schools in an attempt to close the budget gap.

Cuomo said in a radio interview on WAMC last Thursday that efforts to combat the coronavirus have left New York “basically bankrupt.”

He pointed out that the $2 trillion stimulus bill approved by the Senate  March 25, disregarded New York’s dire financial situation. He publicly criticized U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) for not ensuring more funding for the state.

When asked how school districts, which typically pass their budgets in May, are supposed to adjust, Cuomo responded, “State governments are losing money. Local governments are losing money. It is a reality for everyone and everyone has to adjust.”

He added that education accounts for one of the largest portions of the state budget.

“The federal government knows that,” said Cuomo. “So when they didn’t give the state funding, all they did was cut the education budget to the state of New York, which is a tragedy.”

NATIONAL

President Trump announced the extension of nationwide social distancing guidelines for an additional 30 days Sunday.

The guidelines, initially implemented by the president March 15, lasted 15 days and were set to expire Monday.

“We will be extending our guidelines to April 30 to slow the spread,” Trump said Sunday. “On Tuesday, we will be finalizing these plans and providing a summary of our findings, supporting data and strategy to the American people.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there have been a total of 163,539 confirmed cases of the coronavirus in the United States, 2,860 of which have resulted in death.

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