April 21st E-newsletter from Legislator Kara Hahn
The fight to control the spread of COVID-19 in communities across Suffolk County continues. And while the reduction of related hospitalizations and deaths from this virus is encouraging news, the improvements made thus-far have been a direct result of socially distancing. Therefore, it is essential that we remain vigilant about following these guidelines that are beginning to show success in slowing the spread and the suffering.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially before you eat.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick. Keep a distance of at least 6 feet to help slow the spread of COVID-19.
- Cover your cough and sneezes with a tissue and discard it in a closed container.
- Clean frequently touched surfaces and objects.
For people who are sick:
- Stay home.
- If you have a fever, stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone without the use of fever-reducing medicines, such as acetaminophen.
- Keep sick household members away from others. If you have a separate room that is best.
- Use soap and water, a bleach and water solution, or EPA-approved household products. You can make your own cleanser with a mixture of 1 cup of liquid unscented chlorine bleach in 5 gallons of water.
- Avoid sharing personal items.
- Anyone at high risk for complications should talk to their healthcare provider for more information.
New York State PAUSE Extended:
- All schools and nonessential businesses will remain closed until at least May 15th;
- Fines for violations of social distancing guidelines have been increased from $500 to $1,000 to help address the lack of adherence by some New Yorkers.
Violations of NY PAUSE and the social distancing guidelines may be reported by calling (631) 852-COPS or 3-1-1.
Facial Covering Now Required in Public When Social Distancing Not Possible
The CDC has recently updated its guidance on the use of masks by the general public. The CDC now recommends wearing cloth face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain (e.g., grocery stores and pharmacies), especially in areas of significant community-based transmission.CDC also advises the use of simple cloth face coverings to slow the spread of the virus and help people who may have the virus and do not know it from transmitting it to others. Cloth face coverings fashioned from household items or made at home from common materials at low cost can be used as an additional, voluntary public health measure.
To read the full guidance, visit: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/diy-cloth-face-coverings.html
Not Sure How to Make Your own Face Covering?
In the following short video, Surgeon General, Dr. Jerome Adams, shares ways to create your own face covering in a few easy steps.
Want Something More Fashionable?
Crafty Daily has posted a video for those with a little more ambition on how to make a face mask at home from cloth or similar materials.
Testing is vital to controlling the spread of COVID-19, but testing is not essential for everyone, not even all who exhibit respiratory illnesses. That is why the New York State Health Department is requesting that anyone who is sick and wishes to be test first contact his/her primary care physician or local urgent health care facility to assess those conditions/symptoms. By making these first contact, medical professions will be able to evaluate symptoms and eliminate other possibilities, such as influenza, allergies or the common cold before being tested for COVID 19.
Additionally, Stony Brook Medicine created a coronavirus triage phone line for the community. Registered nurses are available to answer calls from 8 am to midnight, Monday through Friday. Callers will be evaluated and directed to the appropriate healthcare setting for assistance, as needed. That number is (631) 638-1320.
Residents uncertain about reaching out to their doctors or other health care professions can instead use an online screen tool for COVID 19 created by the New York State Department of Health. If you meet the criteria, you will receive a callback from NYS to schedule a test. The website is: https://covid19screening.health.ny.gov/covid-19-screening/.
Finally, Suffolk County residents who want to make an appointment for the COVID-19 test can call the NYS Coronavirus Hotline 1-888-364-3065 and will be screened by a nurse or a healthcare professional.
Working to Fight Food Insecurity
Across our nation, we are seeing more and more people struggling to put food on their tables. This has been the consequence of a number of factors including loss of income, difficulties in accessing stores and item shortages. While these difficult days are made even more challenging by food insecurity, there are a number of organizations and programs that are working to prevent our neighbors from going hungry.
Long Island Cares
Long Island Cares provides a number of “Grab and Go” locations throughout Suffolk County for children and adults in need. Residents can contact (631) 582-FOOD to find out more about who Long Island Cares can help.
Local food pantries continue to operate with many even adopting a drive through system to protect the health of their volunteers and the community. If you need to find a food pantry near you, visit the Long Island 211 Directory of Services website – which is a great resource on services available for many things.
United Way of Long Island
United Way of Long Island’s UNITED TOGETHER: A Response Fund For COVID-19 is used to help Long Island families as the current health and economic crisis progresses. If you are a low-wage worker and have had a recent sudden loss of employment or furlough due to the effects of COVID-19, assistance will be available for eligible applicants. Assistance will be available until funding is exhausted.
Who Can Receive Assistance?
- Low-income, wage earners who reside in Suffolk or Nassau County and are recently unemployed or have been furloughed due to the effects of COVID-19 may apply for assistance. Applicants must meet the monthly eligibility guidelines.
What Assistance Kind of Assistance?
- Program will help eligible applicants meet their critical basic needs of food and household supplies via retail gift cards.
How To Apply
Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)
Residents who are struggling to buy food due to economic considerations may be eligible for assistance through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). This program is based up certain requirements, including resource and income limits. For more information visit: https://www.fns.usda.gov/snap/recipient/eligibility or apply by visiting: https://www.suffolkcountyny.gov/Departments/Social-Services/Client-Benefits-Administration
Help Fight Hunger
Ward Melville High School Senior Jake Shangold has organized a Virtual Food Drive to help Island Harvest continue to serve Long Islanders in need. Please visit https://www.islandharvest.org/ for more information.
Let Your Voice Be Heard
Although the Suffolk County Legislature building remains closed to the public due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there are still several ways for you to participate in upcoming meetings remotely, including a new option to video conference into public hearings.
To weigh in on resolutions and issues being considered by legislators during committee meetings April 20-23 and the general meeting on April 28, testimony may be submitted by:
Recording Testimony Over the Phone
A new initiative, parties can now call (631) 853-3685 and leave a three-minute message about topics of concern and specific resolutions being considered by lawmakers. Residents should include their names as well as whether they are speaking about a specific resolution or addressing a specific committee.
Sending Testimony By Email
Comments may be submitted in writing by emailing Clerk.Legislature@suffolkcountyny.gov.
Sending Testimony by Regular Mail
Comments may be mailed to the attention of the Clerk’s Office at the Suffolk County Legislature, William H. Rogers Building, 725 Veterans Memorial Highway, Smithtown, NY 11787.
Testifying at a Public Hearing via Zoom
You can testify at a public hearing scheduled for the April 28th General Meeting through Zoom. Sign up to receive the meeting invitation by filling out the online form at www.scnylegislature.us/publichearing.
You can also watch while safe at home as all meetings will be livestreamed at www.scnylegislature.us. Questions about how to participate or submit testimony may be directed to the Suffolk County Legislature Clerk’s office at 631-853-6351.
Residents who have questions related to the COVID-19 should continue to visit the county website, www.SuffolkCountyNY.gov or call Suffolk 3-1-1, or 631-853-6311 if outside the county, where you will be directly connected to a live operator who can direct your call to the appropriate place.