Editor's note: This article was edited on April 21 to correct the name and town of the firm Skoufis' office partnered with to secure the items.
NEWBURGH - More than 50 organizations in the state’s 39th district received gloves and masks on Monday to help protect them from COVID-19.
Sen. James Skoufis (D-Cornwall) and his office handed out more than 3,000 face masks and 10,000 gloves to day cares, police and fire departments, hospital personnel and other essential organizations that have remained open and operating during the novel coronavirus pandemic that has spread quickly throughout the state.
Walden Police Chief Jeff Holmes picked up 100 KN95 masks, 10 surgical masks and 100 gloves late Monday morning from the Grand Street office.
He said the department had one officer diagnosed with COVID-19, but that person did not contract the illness while on the job and has completely recovered.
No officers have contracted the novel coronavirus while on duty, which he said is a relief, because the department planned for the worst. He said adding the PPE to the department’s supply will help keep their department safe.
“We’ve been staying above water. We don’t have a big stockpile. We’re just rolling through this as best we can,” Holmes said. “Even though they’re small amounts, it does help.”
Face masks, like other personal protective equipment, have been difficult to come by around the country. The face masks Skoufis’ office distributed were no exception.
It took about three weeks for his office to acquire the masks, which Skoufis said was “quite an ordeal.” They partnered with MediaCom Communications of Blooming Grove to work with a company in California to bring the masks over from China. The roundabout effort paid off, Skoufis said.
“The manufacturer is not keeping up with the demand,” Skoufis said. “We’re using this to amplify the state’s centralized supply here in New York, and fill in some of the gaps that the supply is just simply not reaching."
Skoufis said his office reached out to dozens of local organizations that might be in need of PPE, and they handed out the supplies in time-slot increments from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. to those who responded that they needed the materials.
“For many of the organizations, it fills the need for some time,” Skoufis said.