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Out-of-work chef donates gourmet meal to busy hospital staff during coronavirus outbreak

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Omar Karasu is a teacher during the week and a private chef on the weekends – and doubly out of work due to closures meant to slow the spread of COVID-19.

But despite his own struggles, he and his family donated a professionally prepared meal to frontline medical workers at St. Charles Hospital in Port Jefferson, N.Y.

“I said to them, if I can’t help my students, and I can’t cook for clients … I might as well do something,” said Karasu, who also coaches junior varsity lacrosse at a nearby high school. “We should show that we appreciate them.”

Emergency room staff at St. Charles Hospital in Port Jefferson, New York, dig into a home-cooked meal donated by an out-of-work local chef. (Courtesy: Omar Karasu)

Emergency room staff at St. Charles Hospital in Port Jefferson, New York, dig into a home-cooked meal donated by an out-of-work local chef. (Courtesy: Omar Karasu)

His parents, whose Sugar Sugar Day Spa is just down the street from the hospital and was also forced to close, donated the food. He cooked it and dropped it off for doctors and nurses in the emergency room and intensive care unit.

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Karasu is among dozens of local caterers and restaurateurs who have donated hot meals to the hospital, according to director of public relations Marilyn Fabbricante.

“I think that the deliveries of food have been a very, very bright spot for all of our staff who are working so hard these days,” she told Fox News. “We couldn’t be more grateful to the community for the support they’ve shown.”

While she could not provide an exact number of COVID-19 patients being treated at the hospital, she said she believed that all of the area’s hospitals have at least a few cases.

New York state has been especially hard hit by the coronavirus, with more than 80,000 confirmed cases, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Wednesday. Many of them are centered around New York City and its suburbs, which include Port Jefferson.

Cuomo, whose brother has contracted the illness, last month issued an executive order restricting schools, restaurants and “nonessential” businesses, forcing many to close or offer only food to go. Many states across the country have implemented similar measures in the fight against the virus’s spread.

(Courtesy: Omar Karasu)

(Courtesy: Omar Karasu)

During the social distancing shutdown, the number of confirmed cases has continue to climb, but at what appears to be a slowing pace, according to the latest numbers in the state.

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New infections have dropped to 12 percent over the past three days, compared to 41.4 percent in the two weeks before the shutdown went into effect.