November 27, 2021

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Long Island has lowest level of vaccinated hospital workers, Cuomo says

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61% of LI hospital workers vaccinated

State figures issued by Cuomo showed that among hospital workers, 61% on Long Island and 67% in New York City have gotten a shot for the coronavirus, a lower-than-expected level that he said creates a risk as new strains of the virus gain ground and can lead to new surges in the state.

He likened the staff shortage potential to standing on the beach and seeing a wave build on the horizon.

“We need our hospital staff vaccinated,” and that was why they had been one of the first priorities, Cuomo said.

The statewide average for vaccinations of hospital staff is 67%, he said. Central New York leads with 82%.

In a statement, the Long Island-based Northwell Health system said: “As New York State’s largest health system and private employer, Northwell Health remains focused on vaccinating our front-line workers — and each day we inoculate hundreds more of our team members.

“We do not make the COVID-19 vaccine mandatory and expect the rate of vaccinated staff to vary from facility to facility. But we are hopeful that with the more people we vaccinate, along with continuing to educate our staff about the safety and efficacy of the vaccine, more team members will be encouraged to do so.”

The state is still expected to run out of its weekly allotment of vaccines before the end of the day Friday, Cuomo said, though new supplies have started arriving for next week.

Tied with the Finger Lakes, Long Island now has the highest percentage of COVID-19 patients hospitalized among the regions, the state reported.

The number of new positives reported today: 1,364 in Nassau, 1,439 in Suffolk, 6,307 in New York City and 15,144 statewide.

The chart below shows the daily totals of patients hospitalized for COVID-19 in Nassau and Suffolk in recent weeks.

Search a map of new cases and view more charts showing the latest local trends in testing, hospitalizations, deaths and more.

Eligible for the vaccine? Be ready to prove it.

More than 7 million New Yorkers are now eligible to receive the state’s scarce supply of the COVID-19 vaccine. But how will state officials ensure that the vaccine only goes to those who are currently eligible and that others don’t jump the line?

Officials insist they have strict controls in place to ensure that those receiving doses of the vaccine are eligible under the state’s criteria, including providing proof of age, address and employment. But others suggest the system’s registration system is potentially vulnerable to fraud and abuse.

Here are answers to some key questions.

A year later, Long Island down nearly 105,000 jobs

Long Island ended 2020 with 104,700 fewer jobs in December than it had in December 2019, state Labor Department figures show.

And while the region had begun to gradually replace some of the jobs lost in the spring’s pandemic shutdown, that slow job growth all but stalled last month. The Island saw a net increase of only 1,600 jobs in December compared with November, the department reported Thursday. That comes after a gain of 9,200 jobs in November, and 18,400 jobs in October.

Across-the-board losses in the leisure and hospitality sector were the biggest factor in the region’s slower job growth, said Shital Patel, labor market analyst in the department’s Hicksville office.

“While we haven’t seen an acceleration in the number of mass layoffs on Long Island, the prolonged COVID pandemic has started to put a strain on local businesses,” Patel said. “For example, employment in the leisure and hospitality sector remains 30.7% below year-ago levels.”

The leisure and hospitality sector was down 38,200 jobs from December 2019 to last month, leading the way as the sector with the largest year-over-year declines. The sector lost 3,600 jobs on a month-over-month basis in December.

Restaurant Week comes to you

Here’s a word you don’t expect to see at the end of a sentence announcing Long Island Restaurant Week, the winter edition of which runs from Jan. 24 to 31: takeout. In a move every bit as adapt-or-perish as the industry it serves, the popular promotion’s latest installment is highlighting dozens of eateries offering prix fixe meals to go.

Around 60 eateries are expected to participate, and while some will also have a dine-in option, all will offer takeout. Just as in Restaurant Weeks past, some places will feature a $25 prix fixe menu, others a $35 menu, and new this time around, some a $42 menu. Prix fixe menus will be served all night every night except Saturdays, when establishments are not required to offer them past 7 p.m.

At those establishments offering eat-in dining, reservations are highly recommended.

“It’s a great opportunity for diners to sample upscale menus at bargain prices, this time from the comfort of their living rooms,” said Joe DeNicola of DBC Concepts, whose eateries NOCO, Ruvo and La Tavola are once again participating.

A portion of the week’s proceeds will go toward the Island Harvest food bank and the Independent Restaurant Coalition, which is dedicated to saving local bars and restaurants affected by the pandemic.

More to know

A federal judge in the Manganos’ case has delayed a hearing due to the pandemic into whether the convictions of former Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano and his wife, Linda, should be overturned because of a defense claim that a key government witness in the case committed perjury.

A group of 16 pool halls that sued the state for being forced to close in March can reopen immediately, according to a preliminary injunction State Supreme Court Justice Gerald Neri granted Friday.

Nassau property owners will have until April 30 to file grievances with the county’s Assessment Review Commission under a 60-day deadline extension announced Thursday to help homeowners struggling with the economic effects of the pandemic.

Suffolk County received $7.58 million in federal rental assistance funding and is exploring how to maximize payouts by partnering with the state government, Deputy Commissioner of Economic Development and Planning Rebecca Sinclair said.

Dave Chappelle tested positive for the coronavirus just before his comedy show scheduled for Thursday, forcing his upcoming appearances to be canceled, a spokeswoman said.

News for you

So you say you’re a Long Islander. But our latest trivia game “How well do you know Long Island?” will test your knowledge of this fish-shaped place we call home, including its iconic spots and celebs. You can play solo or break it out during your next Zoom meetup for some friendly competition.

Let’s meet in the virtual garden. If gardening helped you get through quarantine but ever since that first winter frost you’ve been going stir crazy, you might find comfort among others who share your passion, and you can learn from experts through these virtual programs.

Bond, James Bond, delayed again. Daniel Craig’s latest outing as James Bond, “No Time to Die,” has bowed to the COVID-19 virus once again, with the film’s release date postponed to October. See what movies are expected to be released in the coming weeks and months.

Plus: Small Business Association representatives answered your questions about the revamped Paycheck Protection Program during today’s Newsday Live webinar. Watch the replay if you missed it.

Sign up for text messages to get the most important coronavirus news and information.

Commentary

Regeneron scholars are essential scientists. A recent Newsday Editorial writes: What a fitting year for Long Island to boast so many award-winning young scientists.

More than 40 Long Island high schoolers were announced as Regeneron Science Talent Search scholars earlier this month, a bumper crop even in a region whose school districts often reach similar heights.

These talented students were among the top 300 scholars identified by the prestigious science and math competition. Their projects dove into all corners of human knowledge, experience and curiosity, from Parkinson’s disease to the connection between diet and cancer, disparities in student discipline, and even the coronavirus pandemic.

The pandemic provided unique challenges for the high school seniors. They had to meet their advisers over Zoom and work out complex challenges by phone. It was no longer possible to share space in fully outfitted laboratories or do the kind of in-person mentoring that makes even difficult concepts understandable with time.

“I had to build a lab in my basement,” Julia Levine, 17, told Newsday. The John F. Kennedy High School student needed a type of insect for her research that had to be special-ordered Levine’s way.

Semir Beyaz, a principal investigator at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory and mentor of Jericho High School’s Vyom Shah, 17, said one complication was getting his mentee access to computer servers. But Beyaz says the scholar was able to nimbly troubleshoot, “also an essential part of becoming a scientist.”

That’s a good lesson for science and for living this year. Continue reading

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