By Joe McQueen and Mike Gaisser
Nassau County Executive Laura Curran held a press conference on Monday, along with religious leaders to discuss the precautionary steps being taken to stop the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19), a deadly virus which has killed 300 people in the U.S. alone.
In response to the outbreak, now with 25 confirmed cases in Nassau County and six in Suffolk, Curran postponed her State of the County address scheduled for Wednesday at Elmont Memorial High School.
“I feel that it’s very important that we marshal all of our resources to deal with coronavirus, to make sure that we remain on the front-lines, that we get the information out,” Curran said. “Our number one priority is the health of our residents, the safety of our residents and now is not the time for the State of the County [address].”
Members of the Muslim community have taken it upon themselves to make changes to their activities.
“This is a time of concern and carefulness but not chaos,” Dr. Isma Chaudry, chairperson of the Islamic Center of Long Island, said. “We are shortening [our Friday congregation] prayer at the end.”
When one is on the go, hand sanitizer can be easy way to keep your hands clean when soap and water isn’t necessarily available. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), they recommend using hand sanitizer with at least 60 percent alcohol because ones with lower alcohol concentrations are not as effective.
Masks aren’t guaranteed to prevent sickness since diseases can spread through people’s eyes, however they can be effective at capturing a person’s droplets, which are one of the main causes of the coronavirus.
“We made sure that [our ushers and greeters] put on white gloves so we don’t have as many contacts with the doors,” Lionel Harvey, pastor of the First Baptist Cathedral of Westbury, said. “We strategically put hand sanitizers in different areas. And we’re not doing the corona bump, but we’re doing the holy bump!”
During the public hearing, legislatures heard from Nassau County Health Commissioner Larry Eisenstein and Steven Morelli, from the Office of Emergency Management.
“Our staff has been working around the clock to make sure that everybody who needed to be put in an isolation, away from other members of society have understood that [and] has received the resources needed,” Eisenstein said. “We’re asking everybody to do their part [including] hand hygiene, washing hands, [and] using sanitizer.”
“The last thing we want is for anybody to get nervous, to panic and we want everyone to understand that we’re on top of this,” Morelli said. “Our objective is to be able to field information from all the agencies that are out there requesting assistance, to be able to keep an eye on our hospitals and healthcare facilities to see if we see a spike in admissions.”
Adding that while people can go about their daily, normal lives, Eisenstein stresses that it’s important to use common sense to keep coronavirus from spreading and making other people sick.
UPDATE: The World Heath Organization has declared the coronavirus outbreak to be a global pandemic