Update from Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone

For Immediate Release

March 17, 2020

Contact: Press.Office@Suffolkcountyny.gov

SUFFOLK COUNTY EXECUTIVE BELLONE URGES RESIDENTS TO SIGN UP FOR SMART911 TO ASSIST CORONAVIRUS AWARENESS FOR FIRST RESPONDERS

New Capability Will Empower Individuals to Share Critical Medical Information for More Informed Emergency Response 

County Executive Announces Suffolk Residents Can Now Text COVIDSUFFOLK to 67283 to Receive Latest Developments and Health Guidance

County Executive Announces County Labor Department will Establish Business Recovery Unit

County Executive Announces Formation of Working Group of Business Leaders and Outside Stakeholders to Advise Response to Local Economic Impact

County Executive Announces $500,000 will be Transferred to Suffolk County FRES to Support County Emergency Operations 

Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone today announced new tools available to assist coronavirus awareness among first responders. As Suffolk County prepares for and responds to the spread of the coronavirus, the County Executive is strongly encouraging the community to sign up for the Smart911 national safety profile registry, a free service that allows individuals and families to provide critical medical information to 9-1-1 and first responders. The County Executive also encouraged Suffolk County residents to sign up for SMS text messages through their mobile devices to receive updates on the latest information, health guidance and other developments relating to the coronavirus. Residents should text COVIDSUFFOLK to 67283. 

“As the coronavirus continues to be a major public health concern, we are doing everything we can to prepare, respond, and mitigate risk to those in our community who need assistance,” said County Executive Bellone. “The information provided in a Smart911 Safety Profile enables us to know who is at the greatest risk in our community. We can provide individuals with critical updates based on their location and health history. Ultimately, Smart911 gives our community the chance to be proactive, and lets us know who requires our services. We urge the residents of Suffolk County to take action, sign up for Smart911, and help us address the coronavirus outbreak.”

These latest efforts are designed to empower the community to take action, and provide valuable and accurate health data that increases the awareness of 9-1-1, first responders, and Emergency Management to an individual’s risk level for coronavirus. Members of our community are looking for ways to improve the safety of their families, friends and neighbors as the coronavirus spreads. By signing up for Smart911, individuals can help first responders get the key information they need about every person who may need assistance, not only during this outbreak, but during any emergency.

Individuals can create a Smart911 Safety Profile for their household at www.smart911.com or on the Smart911 App that provides critical medical information for those who may be at higher risk of developing a serious COVID-19 illness. As identified by the CDC, the vulnerable population includes older adults, and those with a history of chronic medical conditions like heart disease, diabetes, lung disease, respiratory conditions, and compromised immune systems. When an individual calls 9-1-1, their Smart911 Safety Profile is automatically displayed, allowing our public safety agencies to send emergency response teams to the right location with enhanced medical data. 

Individuals can additionally self-identify if they are under quarantine, and whether it is self-imposed or directed by a health professional. The Smart911 App allows quarantined individuals to receive check-in messages on their health status. Smart911 also allows individuals to sign up for alerts from Suffolk County officials to receive reliable information about the changing coronavirus situation. Individuals who sign up will also receive tailored alerts based on their specific needs and geographic location. With enhanced coronavirus awareness, individuals and first responders have vital information to take proper precautions. To sign up, visit www.smart911.com or download the Smart911 app in the Apple Store or Google Play.

Additionally, County Executive Bellone provided an update on the County’s comprehensive response to the Coronavirus.

Testing and Monitoring

As of Tuesday, March 17, 2020 there have been 97 individuals in total who have tested positive for Coronavirus in Suffolk County:

Babylon – 12

Brookhaven – 13

East Hampton – 2

Huntington – 24

Islip – 11

Riverhead – 2

Smithtown – 3

Southampton – 2

Southold – 28

Additionally, on Monday, March 16, 2020, three individuals who had tested positive for COVID-19 in the County passed away. The first individual, a male in his 80’s had been in hospital isolation at St. Catherine’s. The second individual, a male in his 90’s had been in hospital isolation at Huntington Hospital. And the third individual was a female in her 90’s with underlying medical conditions that had been in isolation at Huntington Hospital.

Additional Closures

In addition to the Suffolk County Traffic and Parking Violations Agency and the Suffolk County Department of Labor, Licensing and Consumer Affairs, the Suffolk County Civil Service office is now temporarily closed to the public. At this time, test applications can be completed online. Additionally, all facilities of Cornell Cooperative Extension of Suffolk County are closed to the public until further notice. The Suffolk County Farm will be closed until March 30 at which time they will reassess.

Currently, all Suffolk County Parks remain open and operating on normal business hours for this time of year. In the interest of public health, organized events and youth group camping have been suspended. Where possible, park staff will practice social distancing, using drive-thru check-ins and limiting the number of visitors in park offices. Each park is unique, so practices at each location will vary. Most events at our parks are canceled until further notice. Contact the park office (631-854-4949) directly to confirm if an event has been canceled. 

New York State has also directed that all bars and restaurants will be take out and delivery only, and all gyms, movie theaters, and casinos will be temporarily closed.


Additional Funding

The County Executive also announced that Suffolk County will accept more than $700,000 in funding from the New York State Department of Health to be utilized by the County Department of Health. Additionally, $500,000 from the Suffolk County Department of Public Works will be transferred to Suffolk County Fire, Rescue, and Emergency Operations to help support the County’s emergency operations.

Suffolk County Business Response Effort 

Earlier today, the County Executive held a conference call with local business leaders and stakeholders to identify employer concerns and needs. The Suffolk County Department of Economic Development and Planning is working with the Suffolk County Department of Labor, Licensing and Consumer Affairs to develop a business response plan. The goal of the plan is to address current and evolving needs, which vary depending on the size and scope of the business — while simultaneously building a response and post-event recovery plan. The plan will provide information that would assist employers in responding to this event and who have incurred economic hardship as a result of the Coronavirus.

The County Executive announced that as part of this effort, the County will be putting together a Working Group of stakeholders with representation from numerous industry sectors and business groups.
 
While the County is currently in the discovery phase of this plan, the Suffolk County Department of Labor, Licensing, and Consumer Affairs is in the process of collecting data from businesses to determine what is happening with the private sector workforce. As part of this data collection, the Department will create a real time dash board to provide information to the County Department of Economic Development and Planning so that it can determine the needs of local businesses and what specific types of resources to advocate at the federal and state levels. Later this week, the County Department of Labor, Licensing, and Consumer Affairs will also be standing up a Business Recovery Unit to address the concerns and questions that businesses have.

Important Resources for Residents

The New York State Department of Health is allowing people to make appointments at their Suffolk mobile testing site now. The testing site is still being determined but is expected to come online later this week. Suffolk County residents who want to make an appointment for the test can call1-888-364-3065and they will be triaged by a nurse or a healthcare professional. In order to report Coronavirus related price gouging, residents can call the New York State Attorney General’s hotline at 1-800-697-1220.