Yesterday President Trump declared a national state of emergency to mobilize federal resources to meet the challenges we face with the recent coronavirus outbreak. This important step is the latest in a series or actions we are taking to make sure we protect the health and safety of Americans.

At the beginning of the month, I joined my colleagues in the state legislature to pass an emergency package helping municipalities and hospitals with the cost of healthcare personnel, protective equipment for first responders, testing for the virus, sanitization of transit systems and airports, and other critical public safety steps.

Since then, I wrote to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services joining Governor Cuomo and others in urging FDA approval of New York’s request to contract with private labs to increase testing capacity and decrease turn around time. The new labs will be on line this upcoming week.

Yesterday, all Staten Island elected officials met at Borough Hall and subsequently called on Mayor de Blasio to close public schools and senior centers.

In the meantime, I’ve been in contact with the senior centers serving my district and delivered hand sanitizers to those which were lacking.

If you or someone you know is a senior citizen who lives alone and cannot cook or shop, Meals on Wheels is still accepting new intakes for home meal delivery. On Staten Island, please call 718-727-4435 and in South Brooklyn, please call 718-680-3530.

I’ve also been in contact with the NYPD and City Hall to ensure our police officers on the street have proper protective equipment. The Mayor announced 250,000 additional face masks will be allocated and increased based on need.

All area hospitals ask that you call your primary physician first if you have the symptoms associated with coronavirus (fever, cough, difficulty breathing) to get proper instructions on next steps.

During this challenging time, I want to express my deepest gratitude to our medical personnel, first responders, and all those working to keep our city and state running.