According to a press release shared by NY-1 Congressman Lee Zeldin (R) on Sunday, 200,000 N95 respirator masks were to be delivered to Suffolk County today, April 6, at no cost to the county. The Congressman’s announcement notes that President Trump’s White House sent the masks in response to a request from Zeldin, a Republican and longtime Trump supporter, who is also a member of the bipartisan Congressional Coronavirus Task Force.
On Saturday night, county officials told Zeldin that Suffolk County’s stockpile of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) was out of surgical masks, regular sized N95 masks, gowns, face shields and body bags. The Congressman says he then pleaded, all across America, for urgent help to secure the “desperately needed PPE” for Suffolk County. In a tweet requesting assistance from fellow Americans on Saturday, Zeldin pointed out that Long Island’s Nassau and Suffolk counties now have a combined 25,000 coronavirus cases and no surgical masks, regular sizes N95 masks, gowns, face shields or body bags.
We have ~25k coronavirus cases in Suffolk/Nassau. Suffolk’s stockpile has NO surgical masks, reg sized n95 masks, gowns, face shields or body bags. Other items are low. We need fellow Americans who can help to PLEASE send us PPE ASAP! Email me at CongressmanZeldin1@mail.house.gov
— Lee Zeldin (@RepLeeZeldin) April 5, 2020
Late on Saturday night, Zeldin says he was able to secure a commitment for 150,000 surgical masks, which were delivered on Sunday. Thanks to his tweet, the Congressman says he quickly received multiple direct offers to help, including one within minutes of his plea from Trump’s Senior Advisor and son in-law Jared Kushner, who told Zeldin he wanted to help Suffolk County secure all PPE needs for the next 30 days. Working with Suffolk County Executive and Democrat Steve Bellone and his office, Zeldin sent Kushner a detailed list of PPE needs on Saturday night, while also communicating the details of Suffolk County’s situation directly to White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows.
Trump’s administration responded quickly. In a televised briefing on Sunday, the President explained that the masks would be sent to Suffolk County, “where they need it very badly, so we’re getting that out on an emergency basis.” Int he same briefing, Trump said Long Island is now a coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic hot spot, and the White House is sending “a lot of supplies” to help fight the surging numbers of infected citizens.
As of Monday afternoon, April 6, Suffolk County had 13,487 confirmed cases of coronavirus (COVID-19), while Nassau County had slightly more at 15,616 (as listed on Google’s coronavirus world map). To illustrate this troubling surge in numbers, just four days ago, on April 2, Suffolk County had 8,746 cases, while Nassau County had 10,578. These numbers, of course, don’t represent those who have not been tested. Suffolk County reports 199 deaths from coronavirus, while Nassau reports 396 deaths.
NY Governor Andrew Cuomo says the percentage of cases within New York City is dropping, but Long Island’s numbers continue to surge, from “16% to 17%, to 19% to 22%.”
“We must do everything in our power to ensure our medical professionals, first responders, law enforcement and other essential workers are able to do their jobs while being able to protect their own health, and the health of others, including their precious family members, and I thank President Trump and Jared Kushner for stepping up to the plate for Suffolk County,” Zeldin says in his press release. “We are all in this fight together, and I am encouraged by the Administration’s swift, effective and immediate response to Suffolk County’s urgent need of PPE. I look forward to continuing to work with every level of government from Suffolk County Executive Bellone to the President to continue to deliver for Suffolk County.”