Supply drive collects 10,000 masks for Nassau hospitals, first responders

John Asbury for Newsday

April 06, 2020

Originally published in Newsday on April 04, 2020.

Nassau County officials received a donation of 10,000 masks Saturday as hospitals work to address a critical shortage of personal protective equipment.

The county started its second supply drive Saturday at Wantagh Park, where officials will collect donations every Saturday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. in April.

The first donation was made by Robert Griffiths Vintage Auto Body Shop in Westbury, Mad Men Barbershop in Wantagh and Advantage Auto Body in Westbury.

Officials are collecting any bulk, unopened packages of masks, gloves, gowns, shoe covers and other PPE that will be distributed through Nassau's Office of Emergency Management to hospitals and first responders.

Saturday’s drive was led by Legis. Steve Rhoads (R-Bellmore), Hempstead Councilman Chris Carini and Nassau County Police Commissioner Patrick Ryder.

“As a volunteer firefighter myself, I see how critically important this personal protective equipment is,” Rhoads said. “Helping make sure that our first responders, doctors, nurses, and other health care workers are able to make it home safely at the end of their shift.”

Edward and Jessica Dennehy, who own Mad Men Barbershop, said they planned to donate 10,000 masks each week for the next eight weeks.

“Our first responders and health care workers are working around the clock on the front lines of this outbreak,” Carini said. “The least we can do is help collect the supplies they need to stay safe.”

The county is extending its supply drive at the Nassau County Police Department on Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Nassau County police have a drive-up collection at the rear entrance on 14th Street in Mineola.

The county is seeking supplies of unopened N95 surgical masks, goggles and face shields, unopened nitrile gloves that have not expired, disposable paper or plastic medical gowns, shoe covers, no-touch thermometers, thermometer probe covers, HEPA filters for ventilators and anesthesia machines, antibacterial wipes and hand sanitizer.

Sen. Todd Kaminsky (D-Long Beach) said he was receiving calls from local businesses that wanted to produce supplies for the state government. He said the state had to vet companies that may be charging up to $6 or $7 for an 80-cent mask.

“When I talk to hospital administrators, beds are not as a critical issue as staff, PPE and ventilators,” Kaminsky said. “I’m being asked about PPE more than anything. The state is taking action on getting as much PPEs to the front lines as possible and making sure our men and women are protected.”