Nearly 500 North Shore residents test positive for COVID-19 over one week

Nearly 500 North Shore residents test positive for COVID-19 over one week
More than 6,700 North Shore residents had tested positive for the coronavirus since mid-March as of Wednesday, according to county figures. (Chart by Robert Pelaez)

More than 6,700 people across the North Shore of Nassau County had tested positive for the coronavirus as of Wednesday, an increase of nearly 500 from last week, according to the county Department of Health.

A total of 54,715 Nassau County residents had tested positive for the virus as of Wednesday, and 2,234 had died. More than 130 Nassau residents remained hospitalized due to the virus, with 26 in intensive care units and 13 on ventilators, according to county figures.

The infection figures represent totals since the pandemic began in mid-March, including those who have recovered from the virus.

The Great Neck peninsula once again had the highest number of confirmed virus cases, with more than 1,500 throughout nine villages and several hamlets testing positive since mid-March.  The villages of Great Neck, Great Neck Plaza and Kings Point accounted for 1,041 of the peninsula’s 1,537 total cases, according to county figures.  

The Village of Great Neck had 451 cases, Kings Point had 371, Great Neck Plaza had 273, and the Village of Great Neck Estates also reached 100 cases, making it the fourth village in the peninsula to reach triple digits since the pandemic began.

Village of Great Neck Mayor Pedram Bral encouraged residents to remain safe and recognize that the virus has not gone away.

“COVID is still here,” Bral said during a Tuesday night board meeting. “I know many of us have pandemic fatigue and are tired of wearing masks and social distancing, but I’m really urging everyone to continue your vigilance in this matter.”

Last Thursday Bral sent a letter to Gov. Andrew Cuomo imploring him and other state officials to not shut down schools or restaurants, and attributed recent increases in infections to large gatherings in catering halls and other event venues.

“Our schools have taken the utmost strict measures to ensure the safety of their students,” Bral wrote. “Schools in attendance are critical to mitigating mental health crises, including domestic violence incidents. I cannot underscore how vital this is.”

The New Hyde Park area accounted for 1,429 of the North Shore’s cases, with North New Hyde Park having the second-most confirmed positives, 541, out of any analyzed area.  The villages of Floral Park, with 396 cases, and New Hyde Park, with 377 cases, were also among the top six villages in terms of positive tests, according to Health Department statistics.

Municipalities and unincorporated areas that stretch into more than one North Shore area such as Flower Hill, Herricks, Albertson, Garden City Park, Searingtown and North Hills were counted separately and accounted for 912 cases, according to county statistics.

The villages of Mineola, with 543 cases, and Garden City, with 460 cases, accounted for 1,003 of the 1,244 cases in the area that also takes in the Willistons.

Nassau County Executive Laura Curran, in a news conference earlier in November, said she was worried about the recent increase of coronavirus cases in the Port Washington area. The area’s 634 cases are almost 10 percent of the North Shore’s positive tests.  The town-governed areas of Port Washington, with 364 cases, had a rate of positive tests averaging 2.93 percent over a seven-day period, according to county figures.

Manhasset, which has remained comparatively low since the beginning of the pandemic, had 381 cases, with a majority coming from town-governed areas.

The Village of Roslyn’s 171 cases may not seem high compared with other North Shore areas, but the cases per 1,000 residents, 59.96, is one of the highest rates in Nassau County, according to Health Department figures.

According to figures provided by the U.S. Census Bureau, the estimated population of the Village of Roslyn was 2,882 in 2018.  According to Roslyn Mayor John Durkin, the rate of infection reported by Newsday and the population provided by the census are inaccurate.

Durkin attributed some of the cases to people with underlying health conditions at the village’s two senior homes, the Atria and Assisted Living Roslyn.

On Monday, Curran said Nassau County’s rate of infection was 3.4 percent, the highest number since reopening began in late May. She said keeping schools and businesses open will be a top priority, and the county has everything needed to prevent a winter shutdown.

“As county executive, I will continue to do everything I can to keep schools and businesses open,” Curran said. “I believe we have the tools and know-how to get through this winter without a shutdown, so let’s all do our part. Let’s continue to wear our masks, wash hands, practice social distancing, and avoid large gatherings to save lives, keep kids in school and ensure businesses can stay open.”

Last week Curran joined with other local officials in announcing a free drive-thru testing facility at the North Shore Hebrew Academy in Kings Point. Since then, the testing site’s location was changed to 600 Community Drive in Manhasset, the site of North Shore’s LIJ Health System building.

A spokesperson for the county executive said the decision was made to relocate the site to handle more tests. 

“We came to a collective decision that it would be best to move the testing site to a location that is better able to handle a larger volume of testing and to avoid disruption to the school,” the spokesperson said in a statement.

The testing facility is free to residents who schedule an appointment Monday to Friday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. According to officials, testing will be available to anyone 8 years or older. The consent of a parent or guardian is required for anyone 18 or younger.

Community members will remain in their cars and receive nasal swabs for two diagnostic tests. After the swabs, residents will remain in their vehicles to await the test results and educational materials.

Throughout New York, more than 568,000 people had tested positive for the coronavirus as of Wednesday, according to state figures. Of that total, 34,516 people had died. In New York City, 290,018 people had contracted the virus, and 24,146 had died. 

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