Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone (D) has received so many offers for potential sites of hospital beds to combat the ongoing surge of residents who require hospitalization that he has developed a submission form on his website.
A real estate team from economic development will do the initial vetting. Fire, Rescue and Emergency Services will consider those submissions that pass through the initial screening.
“We have had tremendous outreach,” Bellone said on his daily COVID-19 briefing with reporters.
At the same time, Bellone’s office has opened up two additional sites to collect donations of personal protective equipment, which is in high demand for first responders, emergency services and health care workers.
In addition to delivering donations to the site in Yaphank, donors can bring masks, lab coats, and gloves to 150 Old Riverhead Road in Westhampton, as well as to 97 Crooked Hill Road in Commack. Thus far, the county executive has collected 282,000 pieces of personal protective equipment, although most of that was collected on the first day.
Bellone urged people who have “a stock of PPE to donate it” to help all those on the front lines fighting the virus.
Amid the pause mandated by Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) for the state of New York, Bellone urged people to designate a specific shopper, so that the trip to the supermarket doesn’t become an outing.
Bellone also thanked the superintendents of schools, who are working to provide grab and go meals for children.
As the days continue to drag on when people remain in their homes and limit their activities, Bellone said he understood the ongoing mental health impact that triggers. He urged people to contact 311 in Suffolk County if they need assistance.
Meanwhile, the number of people who have tested positive for coronavirus continues to climb to 2,260. The number of residents in hospitals with coronavirus has also risen, with 206 people in the hospital and 67 in the intensive care unit.
Of the 67 people in the ICU, 55 currently need ventilators, highlighting the urgency of bringing additional ventilators to the county.
The county currently has 286 ventilators, a number that is “going to need to dramatically increase as the beds increase,” Bellone said.
The coronavirus also continues to affect the Suffolk County Police Department. Twelve sworn officers have tested positive and one civilian who is part of the department, according to Suffolk County Police Commissioner Geraldine Hart.
The police department continues to try to ensure that the public complies with social distancing regulations and with New York Pause, Hart said.
“Where we’re receiving information where there’s noncompliance, we go out to those locations and take an educational approach,” Hart said.
Meanwhile, the Suffolk County Water Authority reassured residents that water service would not be interrupted because of the virus. Officials at the water authority said stocking up on bottled water is unnecessary.
“Water provided by the Suffolk County Water Authority is and will remain perfectly safe to drink during the COVID-19 pandemic,” SCWA Chief Executive Officer Jeff Szabo, said in a statement. “Pathogens such as COVID-19 would not survive the chlorine disinfection process that occurs at our pumping stations prior to drinking water being delivered to our 1.2 million customers.”
Separately, St. Charles Hospital’s dental clinic has suspended all non-emergency care for three weeks. Patients with standard care appointments will receive calls to reschedule. Patients with emergencies will be contacted a day before their procedures for health screening.