Coronavirus LI hotspot residents blame New Yorkers for fleeing

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The small South Island town of Southold, with its serene waterside enclaves on the North Fork, has a new distinction – the highest concentration of confirmed coronavirus cases in the region.

The Suffolk County community, with a population of just over 22,000, had 152 confirmed cases of COVID-19 as of Wednesday, or 6.8 cases per 1,000 population – exceeding the rate of 5.2 per 1,000 in Suffolk and even the rate of 5.4 per 1,000 in the Big Apple, based on census data and the latest statistics on the growing global pandemic.

Five other cities in Suffolk had significantly more confirmed cases than Southold, but all five have much larger populations.

Islip leads the county with 1,496 COVID-19 cases on Wednesday, according to Suffolk County health officials. But with a population of over 330,000, the number averages 4.5 per 1,000 people.

Huntington, with the second highest number of cases with 1,203, has an average of 5.9 cases per 1,000 population.

Some residents attribute the peak case to the influx of seasonal New York residents who fled to their summer homes in Southold to escape the virus.

“This is a small community, so you know everyone by name,” said the deputy director of the local IGA grocery store, who only identified himself as Greg. “We can all tell when it is a new face. People with summer homes, but they don’t come in February or March but are here now. “

“At first, we had more cases here than in Manhattan, so I don’t know why they come here,” he said.

Southold was also the site of the first confirmed case of Suffolk County coronavirus – a brewery chief at Greenport Harbor in the village of Greenport who also worked in a local retirement community, riverheadlocal.com reported this week.

Seven residents of the Peconic Landing retirement community died from coronavirus and 15 staff and residents tested positive, the newspaper said.

“I think there is a certain paradox,” Southold Town supervisor Scott River told riverheadlocal.com. “As a small community, we are more closely united. We all buy in the same stores, we all eat in the same restaurants open all year round. All go to the same firefighters’ dinners. “

“The reality is that we all see each other regularly, so people are going to have contacts.”

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