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Las Vegas Sands donating 2M masks, 20K protective suits to Nevada, New York

Updated March 31, 2020 - 11:17 am

Las Vegas Sands Corp. is providing a second substantial wave of medical equipment donations to protect health care professionals and first responders from the spreading coronavirus.

The resort company announced Tuesday that Nevada and New York will receive 1 million surgical masks each and that Nevada’s health care industry also will get 20,000 protective suits. New York leads the nation in COVID-19 confirmed cases and deaths.

Surgical masks donated for Nevada will be distributed from the company’s corporate headquarters in Nevada. The protective suits will be donated to hospitals and first responders.

The donations come as health care workers and first responders across the country struggle to obtain protective equipment while treating victims of the highly contagious virus and often are reusing single-use equipment or wearing homemade or makeshift masks and suits. Nevada has received only a fraction of the protective gear it has requested from the federal government, according to Gov. Steve Sisolak.

‘Hope for the future’

The equipment obtained by Sands is being flown to Las Vegas from China, where the company is the market leader for the casino industry in Macao.

“Hopefully our donations will help protect people on the front lines so they can continue their invaluable work, and we can start to see the numbers of people affected begin to diminish,” Sands Chairman and CEO Sheldon Adelson said in a statement.

“Our properties in Las Vegas may be empty right now, but our hearts are full of hope for the future,” he said. “The determination and courage I have seen in our team members, which I know is the same throughout this country, gives me every confidence we will get through this unprecedented crisis.”

Adelson’s wife, Miriam, is a physician and philanthropist.

The donation is the second wave of medical equipment provided by Sands. The company previously gave 100,000 masks to the Las Vegas health care industry and 5,000 masks to the Metropolitan Police Department. It also donated 1,900 coronavirus test kits to the state of Nevada.

Adelson said the 1 million masks being sent to New York will help a state in desperate need of support. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has begged for health care reinforcements, saying up to 1 million more workers were needed to fight the coronavirus there, especially in New York City.

“People are looking to New York as a bellwether for what comes next, both in terms of the pandemic’s impact and for how quickly the region, particularly New York City, is able to recover from the aftermath of the virus,” Adelson said. “It’s important we steer resources to the places where the need is the greatest and most urgent.”

‘Humbled’

Southern Nevada hospital representatives said they are happy with the latest donation.

“Words can’t express our gratitude to the Las Vegas Sands Corp.,” said Karla Perez, regional vice president of the Valley Health System. “We are humbled by the extent to which our community is reaching out to caregivers at this challenging time to make sure we are protected. We will never forget this act of compassion and goodwill.”

“We are incredibly grateful for the outpouring of support from companies big and small,” said Gordon Absher, a spokesman for Dignity Health-St. Rose Dominican Hospitals.

“We’ve always known we can count on the support of our neighbors when faced with adversity.”

Sisolak’s office also offered kudos for the donation.

“The governor is very grateful to the Las Vegas Sands Corp. — and all others who have stepped up and helped — for flying in a million masks and 20,000 protective suits for Nevada,” said Ryan McInerney, Sisolak’s communications director. “This generous donation will undoubtedly help our health care workers, hospitals, and first responders save and protect the lives of thousands of Nevadans.”

In addition to the donations of protective gear, Sands is giving $250,000 to several local organizations. The company is contributing to Three Square, Southern Nevada’s largest hunger-relief organization; Communities In Schools, which is helping provide meals to students who would otherwise be participating in their school’s free and subsidized meal programs; and Share Village Las Vegas, a veterans assistance organization that also runs a community food pantry.

Sands also has donated 60 pallets of food and more than 55,000 bottles of water to local organizations.

The Review-Journal is owned by the family of Las Vegas Sands Corp. Chairman and CEO Sheldon Adelson.

Contact Richard N. Velotta at rvelotta@reviewjournal.com or 702-477-3893. Follow @RickVelotta on Twitter.

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