ROCKVILLE CENTRE, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — Long Island currently has the highest seven-day average of new positive COVID-19 cases in the state.

And as CBS2’s Jennifer McLogan reported Monday, hospitalizations are increasing rapidly.

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After an arduous recovery, John Milano is making pizza again.

“I had COVID. I was in the hospital for 17 days. It was brutal,” the owner of Bonbino’s Pizza in Rockville Centre said.

Milano invited the vaxmobile of Mount Sinai South Nassau to park in his lot and offer free vaccinations or boosters to his staff and customers.

“It’s a great turnout,” Milano said.

“Now is the time to get the booster shot because Omicron is five times more contagious than Delta,” said Dr. Aaron Glatt of Mount Sinai South Nassau.

COVID VACCINE

Hospital officials said they feel the highly contagious Omicron variant could fuel a further rise in patients that may strain systems.

Long Island’s COVID positivity rates are surging, currently at 9.32%, up more than 41% in the last two weeks.

In a dramatic shift from the beginning of the pandemic, officials said the biggest spikes in cases on Long Island have been in majority-white communities.

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“Communities of color on Long Island that a year ago had the highest rates of COVID are now showing the lowest infection rates,” said Martine Hackett of Hofstra University Public Health.

CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC

Hackett, an expert on health disparities, said masking, vaccine push, and small group gatherings are working in minority communities.

“Absolutely, you know, take those steps. You know what? You don’t have to have a big gathering. I recently had one. I had it in my backyard. I had heaters put outside and we had nice distance and still had a great time,” Hempstead Supervisor Donald Clavin said.

“The future will be a better place as long as we are more responsible now,” one Long Islander said.

“I take it serious with social distance and I use my mask,” another said.

“We’re sick of it, but, you know, the virus is the enemy,” another added.

Congresswoman Kathleen Rice sent a letter to Gov. Kathy Hochul.

“My suggestion was that we reopen Jones Beach and Stony Brook University as testing sites,” Rice said.

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The governor responded by saying she will open more testing sites in the area during the week after Christmas.

Jennifer McLogan