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U.S. COVID-19 funding buoys Long Island companies

Brookhaven National Lab won a contract, split between

Brookhaven National Lab won a contract, split between the laboratory's computational science unit and the NSLS, seen here, that focuses on proteins that play roles in causing infection and finding drugs or vaccines that can stop the virus.  Credit: Randee Daddona

Long Island is reaping tens of millions of dollars in federal COVID-19-related contracts for goods and services ranging from vaccine syringes to meal boxes to a study of the virus itself.

Two contracts worth a total of $9.7 million from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act were funneled through the Department of Agriculture to Woodbury-based ES Foods Inc.

They required that ES Foods deliver meal boxes with chicken or pork to schools and food banks in low-income areas in the West and Southwest.

"This program was a real boon," Jeff Rowe, president and chief operating officer of ES Foods, said of two meal-box contracts that helped food service businesses remain open and provided food to economically distressed regions.

"We service food banks and school districts across the country. We've been in full operations mode since the pandemic."

Rowe said the economic dislocation caused by the pandemic "is staggering."

On Long Island, ES Foods, with 28 employees, provides food services to the Bethpage-based food bank Island Harvest and school districts including those in Brentwood and Central Islip. 

Another Long Island company, Syosset-based Tasty Brands LLC, was designated for a $11.1 million on a meal box contract, according to federal data compiled by nonprofit news organization ProPublica.

Contracts aimed directly at defeating the virus went to Brookhaven National Laboratory and Duopross Meditech Corp. based in Farmingdale.

Medical product distributor Duopross Meditech received $48 million of a $104 million Defense Department contract to procure 500 million safety syringes from six companies. The Defense Department is working with the Department of Health and Human Services to stockpile the syringes in the expectation that the Food and Drug Administration will approve a vaccine to prevent COVID-19.

Funding to Upton-based Brookhaven National Laboratory, worth $3.85 million, covers COVID-19 related research beyond the facility's annual budget for the National Synchrotron Light Source II. That device emits ultrabright X-rays, letting researchers study the atomic structure of the virus and how it connects with receptors on human cells.

A separate contract for $480,000, split between the laboratory's computational science unit and the NSLS, focuses on proteins that play roles in causing infection and finding drugs or vaccines that can stop the virus. 

Yet another laboratory contract for $150,000 goes toward studying materials in N95 masks used by front-line workers to see how they respond to various disinfectants and how the masks can be reused while maintaining protection.

Jamie L. Moore, president of Industry Grants, a business services organization for manufacturers on Long Island and other parts of New York, said the haste at which federal contracts were awarded created confusion for potential bidders.

Moore proposed developing a strategy for any future emergency situations to allow a more rational process. 

"Let's learn what happened here to prepare for the future," he said.

Garden City-based Pacific Link International Corp. corralled $9.4 million for multiple contracts, including deals to supply disposable surgical face masks and other personal protective equipment to the Department of Veterans Affairs and protective face masks to the Internal Revenue Service.

Darby Dental Supply LLC in Jericho provided personal protective equipment for the Indian Health Service and the Federal Bureau of Prisons under contracts worth $3.7 million, according to the data.

Another major contract, worth $47 million, went to Melville-based Haugland Group LLC for hospital construction services in Westchester County, according to federal data.

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Big Deals: COVID-19 contracts that landed on Long Island

  • $48 million to Duopross Meditech Corp. for safety syringes
  • $47 million to Haugland Group LLC for hospital construction
  • $11.1 million to Tasty Brands LLC for meal boxes
  • $9.7 million to ES Foods Inc. for meal boxes
  • $4.5 million to Brookhaven National Laboratory for research

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