With the well running dry for personal protective equipment from local resources as the viral pandemic spreads, Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone (D) is receiving help from Congressman Lee Zeldin (R-Shirley).
After the two politicians discussed the need for more personal protective equipment such as masks, Zeldin connected Bellone to a vendor who is providing 150,000 N95 masks today to first responders and health care workers, among others, on the front lines in the battle against the coronavirus.
Zeldin has “worked with the White House and secured the commitment that the Suffolk County will have what we need in the next 30 days as we go through the crisis for our front line workers,” Bellone said.
Suffolk County has the support of officials at every level of government, Bellone said, with ongoing help from Governor Andrew Cuomo (D) and the commitment Zeldin received from Jared Kushner, a senior adviser in the White House and President Donald Trump’s (R) son-in-law.
“It is a significant thing to know we have that commitment from the White House,” Bellone said.
“I want to thank [Congressman] Zeldin,” Bellone said. “We will continue to work together.”
The Suffolk County Fire Chief’s Association, meanwhile, will express its ongoing appreciation for the effort and sacrifice of health care workers throughout the county this evening at 7 pm. Throughout the county, Suffolk County fire trucks will sound their sirens in unison to “express their gratitude and support,” Bellone said.
The County Executive urged residents to step out on their porches, while maintaining social distancing from each other or anyone else who might be on nearby porches, at 7 p.m. this evening to listen to the sirens and know that “it’s another expression of support for the men and women” who are working tirelessly to save the lives of friends, neighbors and relatives in Suffolk , which has seen the number of coronavirus cases continue to rise.
Indeed, the number of positive diagnoses has increased to 12,405 in Suffolk County, which is an increase of 1,035 over the previous 24 hours,.
At the same time, the number of patients hospitalized with coronavirus increased to 1,435, which is a rise of 19 over the previous day. The increase is the second consecutive day when the number of hospitalizations has risen by a smaller amount.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) announced today there is hope that the number of new deaths is “nearly near the apex and we could be beyond the plateau right now,” he said during his daily press conference. Though he also cautioned it could be too soon to start shouting in triumph.
“We’re hopeful that is a trend that will continue,” Bellone said. “We hopeful,” but it’s too early to say that is the case. At this point, it’s too early to predict when the surge will reach its peak.
The number of patients in the Intensive Care Unit climbed by 113, which is a “huge jump,” Bellone said, bringing the total in the ICU to 540 people.
Additionally, the number of people who have died with the virus has now climbed to 175
On a positive note, the number of patients with Covid-19 who were released from the hospital increased to 107 over the last day.
In addressing the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s recommendation that people wear face coverings when they go out in public, Bellone urged people not to use the N95 surgical masks that the county is reserving for health care workers and others exposed to infected residents regularly as a part of their jobs. Instead, he suggested that people use cloth coverings.
On his Facebook page and social media sites, Bellone is sharing ways residents can make their own masks, which can include wrapping a tee shirt around their heads. The Facebook group Suffolk County Creators of COVID 19 Medical Supplies also has many tutorials on how people can make masks from fabric and elastic.
Bellone said he would be “wearing one when I am out in public. If I’m out anymore and I haven’t been going to the store much, I will wear a face covering in alignment with guidance from the CDC. We are modeling what we are asking county residents to do.”
Separately, the county is revising the limitations for cultural and artistic grants. Those organizations that have received those grants can use them to fund payroll and offer virtual programming. Bellone said the county “understands that may be a necessity for a while.”