Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone has announced the expansion of the County-wide first responder COVID-19 testing program to include local veterans. The County first launched the program last month, which provided hundreds of rapid COVID-19 tests to active local fire service, emergency medical service providers, and local law enforcement. Eligible veterans will be able to sign up for an appointment through a reservation-based online system. A registration link will be provided directly to local veterans organizations.
“While we await the mass distribution of the vaccine, we know that testing is one of our most valuable tools in combating this virus,” said Suffolk County Executive Bellone. “After a successful launch last month, we have not only extended the duration of the program, but have expanded the testing to include local veterans.”
The Suffolk County Departments of Fire Rescue and Emergency Services (FRES), Department of Health Services and Division of Emergency Medical Services will continue to conduct rapid testing at various locations throughout the County on the following dates. Testing site locations and times will be provided to first responders and veterans upon the confirmation of their appointments:
- Saturday, January 16
- Sunday, January 17
- Saturday, January 23
- Sunday, January 24
- Saturday, January 30
- Sunday, January 31
The first responder testing initiative is available free of charge for active fire and EMS providers, local law enforcement agencies and veterans. Those who suspect that they have recently been exposed to, or are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms will receive priority.
Suffolk County will provide registration links to local veterans organizations, which will then be distributed amongst their membership. The Suffolk County Veterans Services Agency will work with local organizations to spread awareness and encourage participation. Appointments are required and must be made through the reservation-based system, no walk-ins will be permitted.
Additionally, as part of the program, Long Island Cares will provide 12 to 15 pounds bags of assorted nutritious nonperishables to veterans in need, along with distributing information on their Veterans Project.
Michael W. Haynes, Chief Government Affairs Officer, Long Island Cares, Inc said: “In our role as the regional food bank for Long Island, Long Island Cares is committed to supporting our local veterans. In this spirit, we are grateful to Suffolk County Executive Bellone for the opportunity to provide nutritious food to the veterans capitalizing on this opportunity to be tested alongside the County’s first responders. We will also be providing each veteran we speak with information on our acclaimed Veterans Project which provides food, supplies, employment assistance, and care coordination services to veterans. “
Suffolk County veterans who have any questions regarding the program are encouraged to contact Suffolk 311.