MINEOLA, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — Nassau County Executive Laura Curran covered a myriad of topics during her daily coronavirus briefing with the media on Thursday.
The big takeaway was on the healthcare front. She said supplies remain severely limited, but she is encouraged by the outpouring of donations from the public.
“Right now, our hospitals are reporting that they have enough to handle what they have today, what they have right now,” Curran said.
The county has purchased 100 ventilators on emergency basis, and is coordinating with state for the set-up of a temporary medical facility at SUNY Old Westbury.
Curran said the county has thus far received 118,254 pairs of gloves, up 700 from Wednesday, thousands of surgical gowns and masks and hundreds of face shields, but added the need for supplies will continue.
She reiterated that donations can be made Monday to Friday from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m. at Eisenhower Park’s Field 3. It’s drive-thru drop-off. Workers will take the supplies from individual vehicles.
Curran said testing is becoming more and more widely available, such as at urgent cares, doctor’s offices and medical centers.
However, the criteria for getting a test has not changed. People still need to show that they are experiencing symptoms such as fever, shortness of breath, cough, aches and pains, or if they have come into contact with a potential exposure, Curran said.
“We are especially concerned for people of all ages who have underlying conditions — lung disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), diabetes. We have seen in younger patients with diabetes complications and, unfortunately, deaths from COVID-19,” Curran said.
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As of Thursday morning, the county now has 3,914 positive cases, an increase of 629 from Wednesday. Curran also reported two new deaths — a 59-year-old woman and a 66-year-old woman. She said there are currently 90 Nassau police officers in quarantine, including 39 who have tested positive.
The House of Representative is expected to pass the $2 trillion package on Friday.
Curran said it includes a loan program for small business, money for hospitals, and grants to Metropolitan Transportation Authority and Port Authority.
“Our team is hard at work analyzing exactly what the stimulus package means for us here in Nassau County, and what steps businesses and residents can take to get the benefits,” she said.
She is asking owners or leaders of businesses of any size, including nonprofits, to go to hofstra.edu/economicimpact to fill out a survey.
“It will help us assess the impact on local economy, and help us advocate and secure our piece of the pie,” Curran said.
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WHEN WILL SCHOOLS REOPEN?
Many residents are assuming schools will remain closed beyond the April 1 mandate issued by the state. Curran said she simply does not have the power to issue that directive at this time, adding she’s waiting for guidance from state.
However, she said it seems fairly obvious that remote learning will continue for some time.
“I believe, this is my personal opinion, I believe it is unlikely schools will reopen on April 1. The governor has predicted we will reach the apex of this crisis in two to three weeks and April 1 is just one week away,” Curran said.
GOLF AND RECREATION
As CBS2’s Jennifer McLogan reported, social distancing modifications are in place for playing golf at public courses.
Curran said lessons must be signed up for online, tee times are now 16 minutes apart, every other stall at the driving ranges will be empty, and only one person is permitted per cart, with each being sanitized after every round.
The executive reiterated that mass gatherings will not be tolerated. If you see one, please report it to the county.
In addition, parents are asked to their children off playgrounds for the time being, even ones without fencing, McLogan reported.
SUFFOLK COUNTY UPDATE
Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone echoed many of the same concerns as Curran, stressing the need for the public to continue to get the word out on “New York pause” guidelines all citizens should be following.
“Express it to friends, loved ones, push it out on social media. That’s the best way to support healthcare workers and first responders,” Bellone sad.
He said the county is stepping up enforcement, adding if anyone sees mass gatherings, non-essential businesses in operation, or essential businesses acting irresponsibly they should please call 311.
Bellone said there are currently 2,735 positive cases overall (out of 9,600 people tested) in Suffolk, and there were two additional deaths reported Thursday — two men, both in their 80s, with underlying conditions. He added there are 287 people currently hospitalized, compared to 163 on Tuesday.
On the economic front, he said there have been 6,000 unemployment claims, but he assured the public the county is analyzing how it will benefit from the federal stimulus package, once it is passed by the House.