Suffolk Worst In Continued Rise In COVID-19 Infections, Hospitalizations

The COVID-19 testing pod in the parking lot behind East Hampton Town Hall, photographed on Wednesday, January 6th, 2021

One year after the first cases of COVID-19 were identified in the United States, Long Island continued to be the worst hot spot in New York State for the spread of the coronavirus this week — posting the highest infection rates, the highest hospitalization rate and the most new cases outside of New York City.

Suffolk County reported 1,135 new cases of coronavirus infections on Tuesday, a positivity rate of 8.5 percent, raising the county’s 7-day average rate to 7.2 percent.

The number of people with severe enough cases to be require hospitalization continued to climb as well. There are more than 800 people in hospitals with COVID-19 infections countywide currently, with 67 new patients admitted for treatment on Tuesday and only 49 discharged.

There were 15 deaths from the disease reported.

Southampton Town this week eclipsed 4,000 total cases since the pandemic began, nearly three quarters of those coming as part of the “holiday surge” since Halloween. East Hampton Town has now recorded 1,247 cases of COVID-19 — also more than tripling its total from the first seven months of the pandemic.

Governor Andrew Cuomo warned that while the state was scrambling to distribute vaccines as fast as it gets them from the federal government — the distribution network now outpacing deliveries by enough that the state has come close to exhausting its supply — residents need to remain vigilant as new, more-contagious, and potentially more deadly, strains of the virus spread around the country. In too many instances, in regions with high infection rates like Long Island, people are not heeding the pleadings of health officials, he said.

“It is a function of community behavior,” he said. “Life is going to knock you on your rear end. Two pieces of advice: Get up. Second, learn the lesson. This country has not done that.”