MINEOLA, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — New York City has become a global hot spot in the coronavirus pandemic.
Federal health officials fear Long Island could be next if people keep traveling around the area.
“We remain deeply concerned about New York City and the New York-Metro Area,” Dr. Deborah Brix, of the White House Coronavirus Task Force, said Tuesday night. “We are starting to see new cases across Long Island that suggest people have left the city.”
The White House is now urging anyone who leaves the city to self-quarantine for 14 days.
Families, like the Happels of Manhattan, hunkered down in their Bridgehampton summer house, daughters learning online, parents working from home, essentially already quarantined.
“We have taken a couple of family walks on the beach and other people we have seen there are staying six feet apart. There is no socializing out here. This is not playtime,” Jana Happel told CBS2’s Carolyn Gusoff.
“I’m not breaking news by telling you that New York State is rocked to the core by coronavirus,” she said. “Nassau County is particularly affected because we’re so close to New York City, which we know is now a major global hotbed of the disease.”
Curran said it’s an “unprecedented crisis” that’s causing a “financial burden” on residents and the overall economy.
Southampton Town Supervisor Jay Schneiderman said the sudden doubling of his town’s population is unmanageable.
“We are worried about supplies in our grocery stores. We are worried about our limited capacity at the hospital,” he said.
He wants the governor to restrict travel to the East End.
“Putting the brakes on some of that unnecessary travel we think would help protect our population,” Schneiderman said.
Southold Supervisor Scott Russel wants a travel ban. The tiny rural township has been hit hard by the virus.
“The more people that come, the more the spread of the virus,” Russel said. “We simply have no resources to support this growing trend … People are treating Southold like their own personal isolation unit.”
How can these quarantines be enforced? East End officials said they don’t have the resources for enforcement, nor can they even track how many people are testing positive and riding out the quarantine on the East End. They’re asking for voluntary cooperation.
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“Our last major disaster — Superstorm Sandy — as bad as it was, at least we knew exactly what the damage was and could begin rebuilding right after,” Curran said. “This crisis, however, remains unpredictable, ongoing. We really don’t know the end point.”
The county executive said local governments and nonprofits can apply for help from the Federal Emergency Management Agency public assistance program.
“These are reimbursements for any emergency protective measures taken to respond to COVID-19,” said Curran. “Expenses such as emergency operation costs, which can include things like child care, disinfecting public facilities, purchasing medical supplies and the associated costs of treating infected people.”
Organizations like hospitals, rescue services, colleges, universities, nursing homes, laboratories, senior citizen centers, community centers, child care facilities, houses of worships, school and fire districts can apply on the county’s website.
CORONAVIRUS: NY Health Dept. | NY Call 1-(888)-364-3065 | NYC Health Dept. | NYC Call 311, Text COVID to 692692 | NJ COVID-19 Info Hub | NJ Call 1-(800)-222-1222 or 211, Text NJCOVID to 898211 | CT Health Dept. | CT Call 211 | Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Curran also shared the latest coronavirus numbers, saying the county now has at least 3,285 positive cases and 17 deaths.
The positive cases include 33 police officers, four correction officers, and one deputy sheriff. Another 80 police officers are under quarantine.
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“We believe many of the positives in our law enforcement community were exposed by their houses, by their spouses or their partners who work in health care,” said Curran. “So we have to do everything we can to protect health care workers and our first responders to keep them healthy.”
On the first day of the county’s supply drive, organizers collected 74,000 pairs of gloves, 5,500 masks, 335 gowns, 131 face shields and other equipment for health care workers on the front lines.