LI Reports 11 Deaths As Suffolk County Executive Self-Quarantines

WCBS 880 Newsroom
March 20, 2020 - 6:07 pm
Laura Curran, Steve Bellone

@NassauExecutive via Twitter

NEW YORK (WCBS 880) -- Long Island has reported 11 deaths from coronavirus as of Friday afternoon, and Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone has gone into mandatory self-quarantine.

Bellone had been self-isolating for days, but his self-quarantine became mandatory when a senior member of his staff was diagnosed with coronavirus. A police officer in the county, a man in his 50s, also tested positive for the virus.

Nassau County reported its fourth death because of the coronavirus on Friday afternoon, while Suffolk County reported its seventh death.

Three of the deaths in Suffolk County were residents of a retirement community, and all three were in their 90s. 

Suffolk County has also closed all playgrounds in county parks, as well as county dog parks.

"We closed the playgrounds because what we have found is that it's very difficult to keep kids apart on those playgrounds," Bellone said.

Nassau County Executive Laura Curran says they're ramping up services for veterans.

The most recent death was a 44-year old man with underlying medical conditions. 

Curran says that if veterans are in need of food because they cannot leave their homes, the county will help.

"Volunteers are starting a new program to deliver food to your home if you are a veteran," she said. 

She says veterans can also get a ride to a doctors office by volunteers, who are wiping down vehicles after every trip.

"The Veterans Service Agency has a fleet of volunteer drivers," she said. "This fleet has grown into quite an army, and they will continue to take veterans to essential medical appointments."

Two soup kitchens and 13 food banks are closing because senior volunteers are worried about leaving their homes.

The CEO of Long Island Cares says they have one million pounds of food. 

Medical professionals in Long Island are still hard at work. WCBS 880's Sophia Hall talked with Melody Butler, an infection prevention nurse at Good Samaritan Hospital in Long Island, about what the hospital was like before coronavirus.

"The chatter, the laughter – the hospital's always been a very serious place but were always able to kind of make light of it," Butler said. "Now that's not really happening right now. It's a very heavy feeling." 

She says although the hospital always had hand sanitizer throughout the hallways, now people constantly use it. And her mask is always on her face.

Butler said she had cried about the situation at home, where she lives with her husband and four children.

"The stress of what we know what's to come, that we are no where near the middle of this," she said. "That we are in this for a very long run. Yeah, I have cried at home with my husband out of fear and of not having control of the situation anymore."