LONG BEACH, NY -- April 3, 2020 -- The Long Beach Public Schools Board of Education and Long Beach City Council are urging Governor Cuomo and the New York State Health Department to conduct an immediate site assessment for a temporary medical facility to be set up on the Barrier Island to address its escalating COVID-19 crisis. They are requesting a facility that can be utilized to treat those suffering serious complications from COVID-19 or to address surge and overflow capacities that will restrict the City's 35,000+ residents from getting adequate medical care.
Last week, the Board of Education issued a letter to Governor Cuomo and County and State elected officials calling for expanded medical care. Senator Todd Kaminsky (D.- 9th District) and Assembly member Missy Miller (R, C, I-Atlantic Beach) reiterated the urgency by issuing a joint letter calling for the NYS Health Department to reopen the Long Beach Medical Center, which has been shuttered since Hurricane Sandy, as a solution.
Following is a joint statement from the Board of Education and City Council:
“Long Beach has one of the highest population densities in the state and contains many tall residential buildings and assisted living facilities, all of which house residents who are most vulnerable to the serious complications of COVID-19. As of yesterday, there were more than 175 documented COVID-19 cases on the Barrier Island, and those are only the people who have been able to be tested. We know there are many more in our community exhibiting symptoms who have not been able to receive tests. We are situated in a precarious position here on the Barrier Island. Our closest hospital is Mount Sinai South Nassau, located two towns over in Oceanside, which is already at capacity treating COVID-19 patients. To reach Mount Sinai, our residents also need to cross the Michael Valente Memorial Bridge to Island Park, which is a drawbridge with a long history of malfunctioning, making the situation potentially more perilous.
As those tasked with the responsibility of protecting the health and safety of our residents and as the stewards of the well-being of the children in our community, we are seeking to get ahead of a potentially devastating health crisis in the same vein as the forward-thinking leadership the Governor has been employing.
The Army Corps of Engineers is setting up hospitals in the areas north of us, but we need something local to address an escalating situation. If the former Long Beach Medical Center facility is not a viable option, we stand ready to discuss several other options we believe would suffice. We urge the leadership of our state to provide the barrier island with what we need to adequately address our distinctive circumstances in dealing with the challenges of this pandemic.”