Coronavirus Updates (May 7): New York Passes 20,000 Deaths, Most New Patients Staying at Home

New York State passed the threshold of 20,000 deaths from Covid-19 on Wednesday, as the stubborn hundreds of new patients arriving at hospitals each day say they are staying at home.

The state reported 20,597 deaths as of Wednesday, a jump of 952 reported deaths on a day when Governor Andrew Cuomo said there’d been just 232 deaths in the previous 24 hours.

The state is updating death figures constantly as more information becomes available, said Mr. Cuomo.

“I think we’re going to find, when all is said and done, that the numbers are much different than we thought they were,” New York Governor Andrew Cuomo cautioned in his May 6 briefing. “The amount of information coming out that changes what we believe, or what we were told, changes on an almost daily basis.”

“I think it’s going to be worse when the final numbers are tallied,” he added. “We’re also not fully documenting all the at-home deaths that may be attributed to Covid. I think the reality is going to actually be worse.”

New York State is reporting 1,522 Suffolk County residents have died from Covid-19 as of Wednesday, May 6. This is a significant jump from Tuesday’s reported death toll of 1,296.

The state has just begun reporting “presumed Covid deaths” at nursing homes and adult care facilities, adding 233 people to the death toll through May 5, in addition to confirmed Covid deaths at these facilities, which stand at 432 in Suffolk.

We’ve been reporting throughout this crisis that a large percentage of Suffolk’s deaths have been in nursing homes and adult care facilities. With these presumed deaths figured in, 43 percent of the county’s deaths are in these facilities, which is in line with the original percentage of 41.5 percent we reported in mid-April, when the state first began making this data available..

Several facilities reporting deaths to the state are on the East End. The Hamptons Center for Rehabilitation and Nursing in Southampton reported 5 confirmed and 14 presumed Covid deaths. Peconic Landing in Greenport, which had previously publicly reported 9 deaths, reported 6 confirmed Covid deaths and 3 presumed Covid deaths to the state.

The Westhampton Care Center reported 11 confirmed Covid deaths, while Peconic Bay Medical Center’s skilled nursing facility reported 14 confirmed Covid deaths. The Acadia Center for Nursing and Rehabilitation in Riverhead also reported 3 confirmed deaths.

The Long Island State Veterans Home in Stony Brook reported the most deaths in Suffolk, with 50 confirmed Covid deaths and 6 presumed Covid deaths.

Where Are New Patients Coming From?

Mr. Cuomo said that the state had recently surveyed 1,269 people entering 113 hospitals over three recent days to try to figure out where new patients were coming from.

“With everything we’ve done — we’ve closed schools, closed businesses, everyone is sheltering at home, but we still have 600 new cases walk in the door each day,” he said. “Where are those new cases coming from? We’ve done everything we can to close down.”

Mr. Cuomo said most of the new cases are downstate, which he didn’t find surprising, with 18 percent of them on Long Island. They were disproportionately African American and Latino patients, 96 percent had other underlying heath issues and 75 percent of them were over the age of 50.

The patients were also overwhelmingly staying home, with 46 percent of them unemployed, 37 percent retired and just 17 percent working. Only four percent were taking public transportation to work.

“Much of this comes down to what you do to protect yourself. Society has done everything it could. Now it’s up to you,” said Mr. Cuomo. “Are you wearing a mask, doing hand sanitizer? If you have younger people who are visiting you and may be out there and less diligent with social distancing, are you staying away from older people? This comes down to personal behavior.”

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Beth Young

Beth Young has been covering the East End since the 1990s. In her spare time, she runs around the block, tinkers with bicycles, tries not to drown in the Peconic Bay and hopes to grow the perfect tomato. You can send her a message at editor@eastendbeacon.com

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