Update: This story includes details about 200,000 n95 masks President Trump is delivering tomorrow to Suffolk County. The story also adds a quote from Representative Lee Zeldin.
With the well running dry for personal protective equipment from local resources as the viral pandemic spreads, Suffolk County is receiving much-needed help from President Donald Trump, White House Senior Advisor Jared Kushner and U.S. Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-NY1).
After Suffolk County received 150,000 n95 masks Sunday, President Donald Trump (R) said the White House is sending an additional 200,000 masks to the county tomorrow at no cost.
Zeldin, who is a member of the bipartisan Congressman Coronavirus Task Force, had been asking for help to find masks for a county where the number of people infected and dying from the virus continued to climb.
Soon after Zeldin’s request for assistance, Kushner told Zeldin he would like to ensure that Suffolk County receives all the personal protective equipment it will need over the next 30 days.
“We are all in this fight together, and I am encouraged by the Administration’s swift, effective and immediate response to Suffolk 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 advisor in the White House and President Donald Trump’s son-in-law.
“It is a significant thing to know we have that commitment from the White House,” said County Executive Steve Bellone (D) on his daily conference call with reporters.
“I want to thank [Congressman] Zeldin,” Bellone said. “We will continue to work together.”
The Suffolk County Fire Chief’s Association, meanwhile, expressed 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 sounded their sirens in unison to “express their gratitude and support,” Bellone said.
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.
“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 county executive 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.”