“We’re all in this together,” Nassau County Executive Laura Curran said at a news conference on the county and state’s efforts to stop the spread of a new strain of the coronavirus on March 12.
As of Thursday, 40 Nassau County residents had tested positive for the COVID-19 virus, including 31 cases in the Town of Hempstead, Curran said. Six more tested positive in the Town of North Hempstead and three in the Town of Oyster Bay. One of the 40 is an 81-year-old resident at The Bristal Assisted Living facility at North Hills, where staff have launched a thorough disinfecting and are investigating whether anyone who has come in contact with the resident has been infected.
Of the 40 patients, 10 are being hospitalized, and one is in critical condition.
Additionally, Curran said, 192 Nassau residents are in mandatory quarantine, and 82 are in precautionary quarantine as more and more people are being tested for the virus.
“I want to assure the public that in Nassau County, we are doing everything we can, working with our state partners, to contain this as best as we can,” Curran said. “And we want everyone to remember: We will get through this, but we need your help.
“Containing community spread is the best thing that we can do to protect ourselves and protect our communities,” she added, recommending that the elderly and those who are not feeling well stay away from large gatherings.
Anyone who is sick will also not be allowed into senior facilities, under state guidance, and each senior facility must screen visitors for symptoms or potential exposure to COVID-19.
The state also recommends that schools be closed for 24 hours after any positive tests for the virus, Curran said, while state and county officials remain in constant communication with school superintendents.
“If there is no case in the building, it will stay open,” Curran said.
Meanwhile, health care clinics in the area are also preparing for the virus, according to David Nemiroff, president and CEO of the Long Island Federally Qualified Health Centers (FHQC). FHQC addresses the health care needs of vulnerable and under-served populations, according to the organization’s website.
Nemiroff said that the staff at the Elmont center held drills last month, in which an actor portraying a patient displaying symptoms of the coronavirus would enter the facility, and the staff would don protective gear before escorting the patient into a negative pressure room. The room acts as a vacuum to contain any germs.
So far, Nemiroff said, staff at the Elmont facility has tested two people for the coronavirus; neither case was positive.
“We are OK,” Nemiroff said, “and we are prepared to support our community.”
The same could be said about the local faith leaders. Pastor Danilo Archibald, of the New Jerusalem Pentecostal Church of Elmont, said he has been disseminating information from the state and county about the virus to his congregants, and has urged them to keep a safe distance from one another — six feet, according to Nassau County Health Commissioner Dr. Lawrence Eisenstein.
“It is a difficult time,” Assemblywoman Michaelle Solages, a Democrat from Elmont, said. “But we’re New Yorkers, and we’ll get through it.”