LAKE RONKONKOMA, NY (OnSachem.com / OnTownMedia.com) — As families prepare to celebrate Thanksgiving, the COVID-19 virus continues to infect more people, creating concern that indoor holiday gatherings could accelerate virus spread. Meanwhile, the Sachem Central School District announced two school buildings experienced “multiple cases” since Monday.
“At the current rate of increase in COVID cases, we're very likely to see a major COVID spike after the holiday,” New York Governor Andrew Cuomo wrote in a message on Tuesday evening.
Cuomo added, “In three weeks, hospitalizations have gone up 128 percent—we went from 1,200 total hospitalizations in the state to about 2,800 total hospitalizations now. We anticipated this fall surge but doesn't make the numbers any easier to see. Now the holiday season is upon us, a 38-day period of increased social activity. And the more social activity there is, the more the virus is going to spread. So, once again, I urge New Yorkers to take caution over the Thanksgiving holiday and the days ahead. Get tested if you have symptoms or have reason to believe you were exposed to the virus. Wear a mask, particularly indoors. Let's keep one another safe.”
Across New York State on Monday, the positive testing rate is 4.13% in all Focus Zone Areas, 2.62% outside All Focus Zone Areas, and 2.96% as the statewide average.
COVID-19 in Suffolk County
Another 501 people tested positive for COVID-19 in Suffolk County on Monday, bringing the total number of COVID-19 cases in the county to 57,366 since the pandemic began.
Of the 12,670 COVID-19 tests administered in Suffolk County on Monday, 4.0% tested positive, higher than the 3.4% average positive rate on a 7-day average. The rate in Suffolk County is also higher than the rate for the Long Island region overall, which is inclusive of the rates for Nassau and Suffolk counties. Across Long Island, 3.4% tested positive on Monday, higher than the 3.2% positive rate on a 7-day average.
Suffolk’s Cluster Focus Zones
On Monday, Cuomo announced the first micro-cluster focus zones in Suffolk County, targeting Hampton Bays and Riverhead. Each community is now designated as a Precautionary Yellow Zone after meeting the positivity, new cases, and new hospitalization metrics for yellow zone designation.
The current 7-day rolling average positive test rate as of Monday is 5.11% for Hampton Bays and 4.63% for Riverhead.
COVID-19 in and Near Sachem Neighborhoods
Of the over 57,000 COVID-19 cases in Suffolk County since the pandemic began, there have been 4,218* cases in and near Sachem communities, according to a database provided by the county’s Department of Information Technology.
Here is the neighborhood-by-neighborhood breakdown:
• Farmingville: 491
• Holbrook: 756
• Holtsville: 634
• Lake Ronkonkoma: 616
• Centereach: 982*
• Lake Grove: 302*
• Nesconset: 437*
(*These counts include all of Centereach, Lake Grove and Nesconset, portions of which are in Sachem.)
COVID-19 Cases in Sachem Schools
There were new COVID-19 cases reported within the buildings of the Sachem Central School District this week. In a memo to the Sachem community early Tuesday evening, District Superintendent Christopher J. Pellettieri wrote, “Unfortunately, we continue to have positive COVID-19 cases throughout our buildings. As you might imagine this is almost inevitable.”
According to Pellettieri, there was one case at each of the following schools: Cayuga Elementary School in Lake Grove, Nokomis Elementary School in Holbrook, Sachem High School East in Farmingville, Sagamore Middle School in Holtsville, and Seneca Middle School in Holbrook. Close contacts in these cases have been notified and are beginning to quarantine, Pellettieri noted.
Beyond the single cases at several buildings, Pellettieri wrote that two schools buildings experienced “multiple cases” this week, but a specific number was not provided.
“We have had multiple cases however at Samoset Middle School and North High School which we are currently investigating and discussing with the Suffolk County Department of Health. If there are additional developments, we will of course reach out to you over the break,” Pellettieri wrote.
A Sweet 16 party described as a “super-spreader” by Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone led to a COVID-19 outbreak, forcing Sachem High School North to close and move to remote-only learning for two weeks in early October.
According to data reported by New York State as of Nov. 23, there have been 67 COVID-19 cases among students, teachers, and staff on the Sachem Central School District since September. The state’s data may change slightly to reflect the latest confirmed cases in Sachem. Of the 67 cases on the database, 58 are on-site students and nine on-site teachers and staff. There have been no reported COVID-19 positives for off-site students, teachers, and staff.
Sachem Elementary Schools
• Cayuga Elementary School in Lake Grove – 1 case (1 student, 0 teacher/staff)
• Chippewa Elementary School in Holtsville – 3 cases (2 students, 1 teacher/staff)
• Grundy Avenue Elementary School ion Holbrook – 1 case (1 student, 0 teacher/staff)
• Hiawatha Elementary School in Lake Ronkonkoma – 1 case (1 student, 0 teacher/staff)
• Lynwood Avenue Elementary School in Farmingville – 0 cases (0 student, 0 teacher/staff)
• Merrimac Elementary School in Holbrook – 0 cases (0 student, 0 teacher/staff)
• Nokomis Elementary School in Holbrook – 4 cases (2 students, 2 teachers/staff)
• Tamarac Elementary School in Holtsville – 0 cases (0 student, 0 teacher/staff)
• Waverly Elementary School in Holtsville – 2 cases (1 student, 1 teacher/staff)
• Wenonah Elementary School in Lake Grove – 1 case (1 student, 0 teacher/staff)
Sachem Middle Schools
• Sagamore Middle School in Holtsville – 4 cases (3 students, 1 teacher/staff)
• Samoset Middle School in Lake Ronkonkoma – 5 cases (4 students, 1 teacher/staff)
• Seneca Middle School in Holbrook – 7 cases (6 students, 1 teacher/staff)
Sachem High Schools
• Sachem High School East in Farmingville – 17 cases (16 students, 1 teacher/staff)
• Sachem High School North in Lake Ronkonkoma – 21 cases (20 students, 1 teacher/staff)
The state’s COVID-19 Report Card is available at https://schoolcovidreportcard.health.ny.gov.