Town of Hempstead officials found another area to direct CARES Act funds when they announced Tuesday that $2 million of their $131 million federal grant will be directed to Northwell Health to boost testing and virus awareness in Nassau County.
Supervisor Don Clavin said Northwell will be creating an additional 13-15 testing sites within the Town of Hempstead with a focus on the hardest-hit areas. Clavin said some of those hard-hit communities were areas with a high minority population.
Another focus for the partnership with Northwell will be to spread information and awareness on the virus and in turn limit its future spread.
“With this collaboration we’re going to be able to prevent a second wave,” Clavin said.
One of the challenges in spreading awareness, Clavin said, is that not everyone in Hempstead speaks English or has access to a computer or an internet connection. Because of that, Northwell’s informational distribution will be both online, in multiple languages and through paper communications distributed within the town. Clavin believes getting the message out about safety protocols, physical distancing, wearing personal protective equipment, is vital to preventing a second wave.
The town is working with clergy and community centers to figure out where the new testing sites will be. Some could be in churches; some will be mobile testing sites.
Clavin said earlier in the pandemic era, when downstate New York had become the epicenter of it in the United States, Northwell’s two hardest-hit medical centers were one of their facilities in Brooklyn and then Long Island Jewish in Valley Stream. He believes Northwell has done an “excellent job” in their work during the pandemic. Clavin said there will be more announcements in the coming weeks of efforts to ramp up virus control.
Other organizations that have received funding from the CARES Act grant from the Town of Hempstead include Island Harvest and Long Island Cares, two food banks that have expanded their operations as more and more families are thrust into situations of food insecurity. Island Harvest was granted $2.1 million to hire extra staff earlier this month. The town has also partnered with Nassau County Industrial Development Agency to provide personal protective equipment for small businesses.
Going forward, Clavin hopes to expand community aid, in an effort to prevent a second wave of the virus. He hopes through providing masks and other equipment to small businesses that employees and customers will be kept safe, and some consumer confidence can be restored.