MANHASSET, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — Positive coronavirus cases have reached 3.5% in Nassau County. Many cases are linked to indoor gatherings.

County leaders are urging residents to refrain from group parties, CBS2’s Jennifer McLogan reported Monday.

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As new drive-thru COVID-19 testing sites open on Long Island Island, the numbers of those testing positive for coronavirus have surged above 3%, the highest numbers since last May.

The surge has been blamed on social gatherings.

“We are seeing an uptick. We broke 3% positivity for the first time for several days. Our businesses are doing a great job. We’re not seeing an outbreak within school buildings,” Nassau County Executive Laura Curran said.

CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC

Jericho Schools Superintendent Henry Grishman pointed out that infection rates in schools are low.

“One of safest places to be is in the schools,” Grishman said.

Long Island districts spent more than any other region of the state on COVID safety, including on personal protective equipment (PPE) and hiring more teachers.

“Our total tab is probably well over $3 million at this point,” Grishman said.

“They do the social distancing, have the kids wear the masks. They seem to have it under control. They seem to have a plan,” Bellmore resident Patrick Engle said.

Superintendents say they had millions of dollars in unexpected expenditures on laptops, classroom cameras, touch-free toilets, and fog sanitizing machines.

“The virus actually never went away. It was always here,” said Dr. David Battinelli of Northwell Health.

Battinelli said hospitals are prepared for the surge. They are battle tested and trained.

“Previously, we didn’t have the mental model. Now, we see the natural history of the disease, unfortunately, so we know what to expect every step along the way,” Battinelli said.

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Parents are appreciative of the school districts’ efforts.

“It was expected. It’s best for everyone to stay home and take safety measures,” Plainview resident Ayesha Aslam said.

“Slightly terrifying, but as long you maintain clean and focus and make sure you stay six feet away from people,” Freeport’s Rene Lopez added.

Health departments on Long Island say the jump in cases is traced to social gatherings, as in weddings and birthday and holiday parties.

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