COVID Live Updates: NY hospitalizations hit new low as crowds pack beaches

COVID-19 Live Updates, News and Information
NEW YORK (WABC) -- New York state reported a new low in hospitalizations -- 743. That's the lowest number since March 18, just days before the state was placed on lockdown.

Meanwhile, 11 new COVID-19 deaths were reported, and of the 69,817 tests conducted in New York State, 754, or 1.08 percent, were positive.

"As New York continues to show progress combatting COVID-19 with low hospitalizations and a low rate of positive cases, we remain alarmed by spikes in much of the country and the risk of a lack of compliance at home as the state pursues a phased, data-driven reopening," Governor Cuomo said.

With the hot and humid weather on tap for the weekend, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy says he'll be keeping an eye on crowds at the Jersey Shore and making sure they're complying with social distancing and wearing masks.

Last weekend, Long Branch was overwhelmed with beachgoers.

Local officials say people should try to get to the beach before 10 a.m. to beat the crowds.

Message signs on the roads heading toward Long Branch will let beachgoers know when the parking lots are full.

Here are more of today's headlines:

HUNDREDS GATHER IN QUEENS STREETS
Clusters of people were caught on video refusing to practice social distancing during the overnight hours in Queens Friday.

PARTYING IN FLORIDA
Deputies in Osceola Count, Florida have been busy breaking up so-called COVID-19 parties, and hundreds were captured on video.

NY AQUARIUM REOPENING POSTPONED
The Wildlife Conservation Society is still moving forward with plans to reopen its four zoos based on new Phase 4 guidelines from New York State on Friday, but will postpone the reopening of the NY Aquarium until further guidance from the state.

NEW JERSEY, LONG ISLAND STATE PARKS REACH CAPACITY
As the heat wave begins Saturday, state parks in the tri-state area are filling to capacity and closing.

COVID-19 BABY DELIVERY
A New Hampshire woman and her newborn baby are alive thanks to doctors efforts that included putting her in a coma.

Rocio Casalduc, 20, went to the hospital to get checked for a cough. That's when she found out she had COVID-19. Three weeks later, she woke up to another shock when she was introduced to her daughter Victoria.

NYC SET TO ENTER PHASE 4
New York City will enter Phase 4 reopening on Monday, Governor Andrew Cuomo said. The decision means every region of the state will have entered the final phase of reopening.

CHANGE OF PLANS FOR LIBERTY, ELLIS ISLAND
The National Park Service says Liberty Island will now only partially reopen Monday. Ellis Island will remain closed as will the museums on both islands. The National Park Service modified its original plans based on the modifications to New York City's Phase 4 reopening plan.

CALIFORNIA ORDERS ONLINE-ONLY SCHOOL IN HARD-HIT COUNTIES
California Gov. Gavin Newsom ordered public schools in the state's hardest hit counties to move to online-only classes. In order to resume in-person class instruction, a county must have been off the state's COVID-19 watch list for 14 consecutive days. Districts in counties on the watch list will only be able to do distance learning.

CDC DELAYS NEW GUIDANCE ON SCHOOLS REOPENING
Additional guidelines from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on schools reopening won't be released until the end of July, a spokesman confirmed to ABC News.

"CDC's Reopening Schools Safely documents will not be released this week; instead the full set will be published before the end of the month," the spokesman said. "These science- and evidence-based resources and tools will provide additional information for administrators, teachers and staff, parents, caregivers and guardians, as together we work towards the public health-oriented goal of safely opening schools this fall."

President Trump said the existing guidance for schools, which mandated things like masks and 6 feet of distance among students, is too tough and expensive to implement.

NJ TRAVEL SURVEY
New Jersey will now ask travelers from other states flying into the state to fill out an electronic survey. After filling out a survey, a representative from the health department will call them and remind them of the 14-day voluntary quarantine. Compliance is expected. Signs will be placed at airports to provide info to travelers starting on Monday.
The survey will be accessible by:
- Texting NJTRAVEL to 898211
- Visiting: http://covid19.nj.gov/njtravel
- Scanning a QR code on airport posters

NJ RELIEF FUNDS
NJ Governor Phil Murphy signed legislation providing his administration with the full authority to borrow essential funds to secure the core services the state will rely upon as the pandemic ends.

Murphy also created the Governor's Disaster Recovery Office. This office will serve as the center point of contact and coordination for COVID-19 recovery programs funded through the CARES Act and other sources of federal funds.

A COVID-19 Compliance Task Force will be headed by the NJ Comptroller Kevin Walsh to:
- Review all COVID-related procurements above a certain dollar threshold
- Ensure internal controls
- Provide compliance training to all agencies receiving COVID-19 funds

ALTERNATE SIDE PARKING NYC
Alternate Side Parking will resume on July 20, for the week. People will not need to move their vehicle multiple times, just on the last day listed on their side of the street on posted signs.
TRAVELING NURSES REFLECT
More than 4,000 travel nurses came to New York City to work in public hospitals at the height of the pandemic. Now that they're back home, some of them are reflecting on what they experienced and speaking out about what more could be done to help protect patients and front line workers in case a second outbreak happens.

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Dan Krauth reports on the nurses who came to NYC during the height of the pandemic



FRONTLINE HEROES SLAMMED WITH PARKING TICKETS
Dozens of New York City nurses, touted as heroes during the pandemic, are now facing a battle with the cityover parking tickets. nurses say the problem is they didn't have time to come out mid-shift to move their cars because they were busy in the hospital saving lives. Eyewitness News spoke exclusively with several registered nurses who say the tickets were not left on their windshield.

GEORGIA GOV. SUES OVER ATLANTA MASK MANDATE
Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp is suing Atlanta's mayor and city council to block the city from enforcing its mandate to wear a mask in public and other rules related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Kemp said all state residents should wear masks when in public to curb the spread of the virus, but he will not enforce it through an executive order.



FLORIDA REPORTS 11,548 NEW CASES
Cases in Florida continued to rise, with 11,548 new cases reported in the state in the last 24 hours, according to the state's Department of Health.

There were also an additional 128 deaths, bringing the total to 4,910, according to the department. More than 20,000 are hospitalized.

CASES SURGING ACROSS THE U.S.
There were more than 436,000 new coronavirus cases in the United States from last Thursday to Wednesday, marking an 18.4% increase from the previous week, according to an internal FEMA memo obtained by ABC News.

The national test positivity rate also increased from 9.4% to 9.9% in the last seven days and the case fatality rate reached 3.9%, according to the memo.

NEW YORK DELAYS START OF HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS
The New York State Public High School Athletic Association (NYSPHSAA) voted to delay the official start date of the fall 2020 sports season, cancel the fall 2020 Regional and State Championships and prepare to implement a condensed season schedule in January 2021 if high
school sports remain prohibited throughout 2020 due to COVID-19. The decision came at the recommendation of the NYSPHSAA COVID-19 Task Force.

NY CRACKDOWN ON BARS, RESTAURANTS
Governor Cuomo announced Thursday a new "three strikes" policy that will require bars and restaurants to close after they receive three citations for failing to follow rules, including mask-wearing and keeping people 6 feet (2 meters) apart. Cuomo said the state's fielding thousands of complaints on top of "significant evidence of failure to comply" among restaurants and businesses, particularly downstate. He said "egregious violations" can still result in the immediate loss of a liquor license, and warned that the state would post names of restaurants and bars in violation.

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Dr. Jennifer Ashton has the latest updates on the coronavirus pandemic including mask policy and the race to develop a vaccine.


WATCH THE SERIES: EYEWITNESS TO A PANDEMIC (Episode 6 below)
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Suddenly, the brutal death of George Floyd while in the custody of police officers in Minneapolis filled the streets of a nation with rage and sorrow. New York was no different. Protesters put the fear of the virus aside and took to the streets by the thousands. Abandoning the safety and comfort of social distance, to demand social change.


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