Coronavirus Update: Suffolk County concerned about hospital beds amid COVID-19 outbreak

SUFFOLK COUNTY, Long Island (WABC) -- Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone is concerned about the county's ability to deal with a surge in coronavirus patients amid the COVID-19 outbreak, with numbers spiking daily.

Bellone said Thursday out of the 2,600 hospital beds in the county, just 479 are available right now -- and only 74 ICU beds are available.

"The question is not what beds are available right now, really, it's a question of what's going to be needed three, four, five weeks from now when this virus reaches its peak," he said.

Bellone said hospitals have been working to increase bed numbers and were able to offer an additional 200 beds since Wednesday.

"The hospitals are really doing everything they can to try to expand that capacity," he said. "But it's really going to be, you know, what we need when our peak comes."
Bellone spoke via conference call Thursday because he is in voluntary quarantine at his home after Deputy County Executive Peter Scully tested positive for the coronavirus.

Bellone has not been tested himself because is not having symptoms, but he has not held an in-person press conference since last week.

Bellone said, despite being in home quarantine, he has been hearing about kids coming together in groups and hanging out and is encouraging parents to keep their children away from other children.

"I know that's a challenge, but that has to be done," he said. "It is an injustice for all of us, all of us who aren't on the front lines, aren't treating patients on a regular basis, to be doing things that are at odds with the health department."

Bellone said more than 250 people were tested Wednesday at the new drive-thru testing site at Stony Brook University.

The total number of positive coronavirus cases in Suffolk County as of 5 p.m. Thursday stood at 239.

Huntington had the most cases at 64, and 19 people are being treated at Huntington Hospital.

Shelter Island is now reporting its first positive case.

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