MINEOLA, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) – Nassau County officials said Friday the worst of the coronavirus pandemic is yet to come, and while drive-thru testing facilities are processing thousands of cases, results are taking much longer than patients were first told.
Some are waiting 10 days for results, calling into question the accuracy of the numbers of positive cases, CBS2’s Carolyn Gusoff reports.
There are now 4,657 cases in Nassau County, up more than 700 from the day before, and 27 total deaths including eight new ones. There are 49 confirmed cases among Nassau County police officers, and 120 in self-isolation awaiting test results.
“We have eight new deaths from COVID-19 from yesterday,” said Nassau County Executive Laura Curran on Friday.
The most recent deaths are people ranging in age from 51 to 83.
At Nassau’s A Holly Patterson Extended Care Facility, there has been one death and another 21 infected.
In Suffolk County, there have been 30 deaths, six of them elderly residents at the Peconic Landing retirement community.
“We can assume that we are approaching now the steepest part of the curve that we’ve been talking about,” said Curran. “So we have to be very frank with the public. This is going to get difficult. This is going to become even more of a challenge as we start to see the numbers increase.”
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The numbers accuracy is being called into question by residents like Harvey Bass from Sea Cliff who was suffering symptoms and got tested at the Jones Beach drive-thru site. Nine days later, he still has no results.
“What are those numbers reflecting? How much of a backlog is there?” he said. “How many other hundreds of people or even thousands of people are pending, and what impact does that have on the numbers we are seeing?”
Nassau Health Commissioner Dr. Lawrence Eisenstein says the backlog is due to the priority being given to those on the front lines and most at risk of spreading the virus.
“The concept here is to identify the people most likely to spread disease and isolate them, so there is a method to the madness,” he said.
Curran said hospitals in Nassau County remain concerned about personnel, safety equipment and ventilators. She said Friday at the moment hospitals in Nassau County still have enough ventilators, but more are going to be needed.
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Curran applauded Long Beach for its decision closing the boardwalk.
Frustrations may ease now with a new lab test portal patients can log into for the results online. Northwell Health Labs says it is also now fully automated, turning tests around the same day.