COVID19/Coronavirus Preparedness 3/28/20 1:30PM

I wanted to make everyone aware of the things we have been doing to make sure we are prepared as best we can be.

At this point we have a couple of hundred of N95 masks for use by the NSVAC and also CFFD personnel (if they need them). We also have gowns and other items to protect our people. It sounds like a large number but understand when they go into a home where someone has symptoms of the COVID19 virus (it could be the Flu) they will wear the appropriate masks that get thrown out afterwards. Most of these masks were donated by a resident and we continue to make sure we have sufficient quantities. We do rely on the Westchester County Emergency Office but as you can imagine other parts of the County are in much worse shape than we are.

This personal protective equipment (called PPE) is critical because it doesn't take much to have your emergency services personnel taken out of action. One of our neighboring VAC's had to go into quarantine because they attended to a patient in North Salem on a mutual aid call who turned out to be positive for COVID19, Over the last week their calls are being handled by WEMS and other town VAC's via mutual aid. Not only is PPE critical for the personnel but, as NYS requires, an ambulance who has carried a COVID positive patient must sit idle for 24 hours before it can be used again, even after it is sanitized. All of this can sideline EMTs and equipment. As part of the Westchester and Putnam Emergency Services system all departments support mutual aide calls into other municipalities when their ambulances of fire apparatus are busy. This is standard practice. I want to take this moment to thank all of emergency service people who volunteer their time and talents.

The CDC came out and said that three ply surgical masks are sufficient for COVID19 unless you are using aerosol equipment. We have nursing homes, ambulances and other people in the area that are in need of surgical masks. A resident called me up and said she had contact in China. We ordered 6,000 surgical masks and will have them Monday. North Salem Ambulance/Police are taking 1000, Somers is taking 2000, Nursing homes in North Salem are taking 2000, Westchester EMS is taking 1000. As I mentioned we have hundreds of N95 masks, the preferred mask for COVID19 donated by a resident. We also have a business owner in Town whose company was shut down will start making N95 masks at the factory.

Back in February, the Town purchased five Surface Pros. We were planning on using these for our board meetings later in the year so that we could eliminated paper, copies of minutes, agenda and resolutions. We also purchased regular size keyboards and monitors to attach to them. The monitors will be used for replacement machines later in the year so the purchases aren't wasted. These machines were setup weeks ago to allow them to operate inside of our Town's Firewall so that if needed people could work at home and access out internal servers. Since then the Governor has required that all non essential departments work from home and this has enabled many of our people to work from home as required and be productive.

We also purchased a number of things such as nitril gloves (black) for our police and additional Purell and dispensers for our office staff and visitors, sanitizer sprayers and the like. About 6 weeks ago we also purchased a UVC light that has been used to clean rooms where people visited who have been positive for COVID19 and it will also be used to clean our ambulances after use. 15 minutes of the UVC light and a 15 by 15 foot sized room is clean. We have also distributed hand sanitizer provided by the State to our nursing homes and just this weekend to the North Salem and Croton Falls post offices. We will deliver the sanitizer to Purdy's PO on Monday.

I want to thank the NSVAC and our NS Emergency Coordinator Kurt Guldan and all of his volunteers for getting a food bank going earlier this week and last. They delivered food to over 40 homes where people did not feel comfortable leaving to go shopping. I mentioned the individual volunteers in a previous post.

Upcoming issues
A big issue in front of us is the volume of ICU patients in NYC as the virus spikes over the next couple of weeks. Today the Governor announced that he talked to the President this AM, Governor Cuomo was very pleased that President Trump approved four new sites in NYC for temporary hospitals. The sites are;

  • The Brooklyn Port Authority
  • Aqueduct racetrack in Queens
  • One in Staten Island
  • Bronx at the NY Expo Center.

These will add another 4,000 hospital beds, one in every borough. On top of these 4,000 beds the following are in place:

  • 1,000 bed Navy ship Comfort and 1,200 personnel will be arriving in NYC Harbor on Monday
  • The Javits Center has been rebuilt by the Guard with 1000 beds and an additional 1,200 medical personnel. will be onsite.
  • The Governor asked for medical retirees to help. 72,000 of them have volunteered

We will get through this with your support. Please remember to maintain social distancing and wash your hands for a least 30 seconds to remove any virus. And don't rub your face unless your hands are clean!

Be careful when bringing groceries into the house. I am leaving mine outside on the back porch and cleaning things off with a paper towel with a small amount of diluted bleach (1 tablespoon of bleach per quart of water) before putting them away.

Be Safe
Warren Lucas