4/5/2020 Email Update on Coronavirus Cases in NYS

Dear Community,

I am hopeful as we head into the new week – today New York State saw an increase in the number of COVID-19 patients discharged from the hospital, and a decrease in the number of new hospitalizations. Additionally, today was the first day since the outbreak began that New York’s daily COVID-19 death toll was lower than the day before. This wonderful news indicates that New Yorkers are taking this pandemic seriously. Every person who stays home, practices social distancing, and uses a facial covering in public, is protecting their entire community as well as themselves. While it is too early to determine if these trends will continue, it is clear that your commitment to following important safety protocols and health guidelines is making an impact – keep up the good work!

Today Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced that the federal government is deploying approximately 1,000 personnel to New York State, including doctors, nurses, respiratory technicians, and therapists. Today 104 doctors, 174 nurses, and 13 respiratory therapists were deployed to New York City’s public hospitals.

In accordance with the plan to coordinate hospitals statewide, New York State is working to create a “surge and flex” system to balance the patient load. If one hospital starts to have a projected high intake of cases, the state will work to shift that patient load to other hospitals with more capacity. This means that patients may go to the hospital closest to them, and be asked if they are comfortable being transferred to another hospital with more available resources.

Today New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced that an additional 2,865 full service ventilators and 1,790 BiPAP machines have been distributed to New York City hospitals. The city has 135 ventilators on reserve for rapid deployment as needed, and will continue to procure ventilators from the state and federal government to meet the rising demand.

Mayor de Blasio also announced that the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center and the Hospital for Special Surgery have agreed to take on non-COVID-19 patients from NYC Health + Hospitals in need in order to expand bed capacity for public hospitals providing care for patients with the coronavirus.

It was also announced today that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and FEMA are preparing a 200-bed field hospital across twelve acres in Van Cortlandt Park to treat COVID-19 patients. Our office will provide further information as it is made available to us.

Important Cancellation Notice: Our Virtual Town Hall with NYC Comptroller Scott Stringer originally scheduled for tomorrow, April 6th is postponed until further notice, due to the sudden passing of the Comptroller’s mother from COVID-19. I ask that you join me in sending your condolences to him and his family during this time. We will let constituents know when the event is rescheduled.

NYC Department of Education Updates: 

  • Remote Learning: In order to meet the security needs of New York City Public School students, the Department of Education (DOE) announced that it will be phasing out the use of the tele-conferencing software “Zoom” for remote learning, and transition to a more secure software format to protect the information of its students. Further details will be announced.
  • Reminder for Parents & Teachers: The DOE announced it will continue remote learning during the time originally scheduled for Spring Recess, Thursday, April 9th through Friday, April 17th. Any students or school staff who wish to celebrate holidays during this time may do so, however these days will not be considered “days off” for the school system, and remote learning will continue for students who are not observing the holidays.
  • The Board of Education is also soliciting Spring Remote Learning ideas from parents –activity recommendations can be emailed to educationcouncils@gmail.com by tomorrow, April 6th, 2020.

Food Resource Reminder: The NYC Department of Education has expanded its free “grab and go” meals – breakfast, lunch, and dinner – to ALL New Yorkers at its 435 sites across the five boroughs. Kids and families will be able to pick up meals from 7:30AM – 11:30AM, and adults will be welcome to pick up meals from 11:30AM – 1:30PM. No one will be turned away. You can locate the closest meal site to you online, or by texting “food” or “comida” to 877-877.

Unemployment Resources: The week of March 23-29, the Department of Labor (DOL) received 8.2 million calls and the online system received 3.4 million visits. DOL typically receives 50,000 calls and 350,000 online visits. I know that many people are frustrated and have experienced long wait times, and technical issues with the website. To address the surge in applications, DOL is doing the following:

  • Asking filers to call or visit the website on staggered days based on their last name: 
    • A-F on Monday
    • G-N on Tuesday
    • O-Z on Wednesday
    • Thursday, Friday, and Saturday will be for those that miss their days;
  • Automating portions of the claim process so fewer people need to call the hotline;
  • Increasing personnel capacity by 700 for the hotline;
  • Expanding Call Center Hours: to Monday through Thursday from 8 a.m. to 7:30 p.m., Friday’s 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Saturdays from 7:30 a.m. to 8 p.m;
  • Adding 20 servers to support website capacity.

Please note, that even if you are delayed in receiving your application, you will still receive all the benefits you are entitled to.

The DOL has created an updated FAQ fact sheet regarding unemployment insurance benefits, as well as a chart to help New Yorkers navigate unemployment benefits under the federal CARES Act. The DOL has also released further guidance for self-employed New Yorkers.

Small Business Resources:

  • Paycheck Protection Program (PPP): The PPP is part of the Federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act, a $2 trillion federal stimulus package passed on March 27th. The PPP provides loans of up to $10 million to support small businesses and other eligible entities to pay workers, interest on mortgage obligations, rent, insurance, paid sick or medical leave, utilities, and payroll related costs incurred from Feb. 15, 2020 – June 30, 2020. The program is now open for small businesses and nonprofits with under 500 employees to apply – the program is first come, first serve with a limited pool of money so it is encouraged that small businesses apply as soon as possible.
  • Disaster Loan Assistance: All businesses and nonprofits in New York State are now eligible to apply for federal low-interest disaster relief loans if they have suffered significant economic injury due to COVID-19. You can find more information and apply online.

 

Ways to Lend a Helping Hand:

  • Passover Meal Delivery Workers Needed: The Bayit Hebrew Institute is looking for volunteers with access to a car to help deliver Passover meals to seniors and at-risk individuals on April 8th. Sign-up to volunteer.
  • If you are an oral or plastic surgeon or veterinarian and can donate a ventilator, please donate at nyc.gov/helpnow.
  • Manufacture PPE: Businesses interested in receiving state funding to manufacture personal protective equipment (PPE) products should contact Eric Gertler at 212-803-3100 or COVID19supplies@esd.ny.gov.
  • Donate or Sell Supplies: EDC launched a new website this weekend for local businesses that want to support the COVID-19 emergency response effort by providing or manufacturing supplies. Learn more at the new website: COVID-19 Emergency Supply Sourcing & Manufacturing.
  • Donate Food & Beverages to health care Workers: We Will Provide is giving New Yorkers the opportunity to treat health care workers in Westchester to hot meals, chocolates, and coffees from local businesses. Visit their GoFundMe page to learn how to participate.
  • Donate to Feeding Westchester: Feeding Westchester is an organization working to ensure that all residents of Westchester County have access to food. You can find out more about Feeding Westchester and support them here.
  • Support the National Domestic Workers Alliance (NDWA): NDWA is an alliance of nannies, in-home care workers and house cleaners. Learn how you can support them by clicking here.
  • Support Restaurant Workers: On the Line is working to employ restaurant workers who have lost their jobs to bring meals to our food-insecure neighborhoods. To learn more about their work and how to support them click here.
  • Support the Westchester Community Opportunity Program (WESTCOP):  WESTCOP is a social service organization helping residents across Westchester County. To learn more about their work and how to support them, click here.
  • Donate Space: New York City is still identifying new hospital capacity. They are particularly interested in private spaces that may not be yet on their radar. If you have space to offer, please fill out this space survey here: NYC Share Your Space Survey.
  • If you are a tailor, seamstress, stitcher or more: You can lend your expertise to the Skilled Laborers Brigade and make PPE for our state and city. To join, click here. You can also connect with SewForNY by clicking here.
  • To see how you can get involved for New York State, click here.
  • For how to help in New York City, click here.
  • Remember, New York is recruiting help from around the country, not just the state. 

 

This is a difficult time for all of us – and I know many are experiencing high levels of stress and anxiety. Please know that you are not alone. I urge you to call 1-844-863-9314, for free online mental health assistance related to COVID-19. For general mental health assistance, please call 1-888-692-9355 or visit the NYC WELL website. 

As of today, April 5th, 2020, there are 122,031 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in New York State. To date, New York has conducted 302,280 tests statewide. 74% of patients who have been hospitalized have been discharged. 12,187 patients have been discharged in total, including 1,709 New Yorkers discharged yesterday alone. There were 574 new hospitalizations yesterday compared to 1,095 hospitalizations the day before. 

We have now lost 4,159 New Yorkers to the virus.  

Of the confirmed cases: 

  • 67,551 are located in New York City
  • 13,723 are located in Westchester County
  • 14,398 are located in Nassau County
  • 12,405 are located in Suffolk County
  • 5,326 are located in Rockland County

You can find the geographic breakdown of coronavirus cases by County here.

As of April 4th, the Westchester County breakdown is as follows: 

  • 34 are located in the Village of Pelham
  • 29 are located in the Village of Pelham Manor
  • 501 are located in Mount Vernon

 

As of April 5th, the New York City borough breakdown is as follows:

  • 12,738 in The Bronx
  • 17,520 in Brooklyn
  • 21,781 in Queens
  • 9,251 in Manhattan
  • 3,628 on Staten Island

Note, that the New York City numbers do not align with state-wide numbers due to different release times.

Update on COVID-19 Data: The Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH) has added various breakdowns of the available data to their website in an effort to be as transparent as possible.

Big City Emergency Managers Data Tracker (new)

Case counts (including age, gender and borough breakdown)

Deaths (including age, gender and borough breakdown along with pre-existing conditions)

Hospitalizations (including age, gender, and borough breakdown)

This is an evolving situation. For updated information on COVID-19 (in multiple languages) from trusted sources for your designated area, please visit:

Center for Disease Control and Prevention

New York State Department of Health

Westchester County Department of Health

New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene

You can also always call the New York State Novel Coronavirus Hotline at 1-888-364-3065 or the New York City Hotline at 1-844-NYC-4NYC with any questions.

While you are at home, don’t forget to fill out the Census! Only 28% of Bronxites, and 16% of Mount Vernon residents have responded. Let’s make our communities count! For more information, and to complete the census, you can click here.

As we begin a new week, remember to make space to take care of yourself. Stay hydrated, go outside for a walk (while maintaining social distancing, and covering your mouth and nose), and stay virtually connected with loved ones.

If you were forwarded this email, you can subscribe to our newsletter here. 

Stay strong. 

With Gratitude, ?

State Senator Alessandra Biaggi

_____________________________________________________

3/29/2020 Email Update on Coronavirus Cases in NYS

March 28, 2020

Dear Community,

I know that these have been challenging times and that we are all adjusting to our lives during the coronavirus pandemic. If we’ve learned anything from the past, we know that New Yorkers are strong. We’ve stood together, supported one another, and helped our neighborhoods during such trying times. New Yorkers persevered and became stronger, braver, more connected to our communities than ever before. I know that we will get through this together. I want to sincerely thank everyone for their strength and courage during this time.

I am deeply saddened by the loss of Giacomina Barr-Brown, who worked as an administrative assistant in the 49th Police Precinct for the last seven years. I am grateful for her years of public service to her community. I offer the Barr-Brown family my thoughts and well-wishes in this hard time.

Governor Andrew Cuomo announced New York on PAUSE will remain in effect for another 2 weeks until April 15th, 2020. All non-essential businesses must remain closed and 100% of non-essential staff will continue to work remotely.

Wadsworth Public Health Lab has developed a less intrusive, self-administered saliva and “short nasal swab” COVID-19 test. Once made available, this will increase testing capacity across the state and medical professionals will begin administering the new tests as early as next week. Patients will be able to administer tests themselves in the presence of medical professionals which will reduce potential exposure to those working on the front lines.

The U.S.N.S. Comfort hospital ship will dock in New York tomorrow. The ship has a 1,000 hospital bed capacity and will be staffed by federal medical professionals. The U.S.N.S. Comfort will not serve patients with COVID-19 but will take patients with other medical needs from local hospitals, reducing hospital overcrowding, expanding hospital capacity for COVID-19 beds and to limit potential exposure to other patients. Additionally, The United Nations donated 250,000 facemasks to New York City Hospitals.

Tomorrow, a new drive-through COVID-19 testing center will open in the Bronx in Co-Op City. Residents must have an appointment to receive a test. To make an appointment, please call 1-888-364-3065. Priority appointments will go to high-risk individuals.

Montefiore Medical Center has opened a drive-through COVID-19 testing center in the Bronx Zoo Parking Lot. Residents must make an appointment by calling 311. Priority will go to high-risk individuals.

Mayor Bill De Blasio is committed to getting supplies and health care workers to our hospitals. Yesterday, the Mayor’s office distributed 1,400 ventilators to NYC hospitals. By the end of the week, an additional 1,000 contract nurses will be staffing New York City’s Health and Hospitals.

Mayor Bill De Blasio has announced that by tonight a total of 650 inmates will be released from New York City Jails. Our jail population has now decreased by 860 people.

New York City is receiving the largest number of 911 calls ever. The Mayor is committed to adding more personnel, more ambulances, and more shifts to meet the demand. The New York Police Department is actively enforcing social distancing practices. If you are not following directions to social distance you may be subject to a fine of $250-$500. 

Senior Update: As of tomorrow, 100% of senior centers will be providing meals to seniors through direct delivery. To be connected with these services, please call 311.

Car Inspection Update: The Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) has suspended car inspection until further notice. This only applies for car inspections that lapsed during the time of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Update for Immigrant Communities: The New York State Office for New Americans has released information to ensure that immigrants and refugees are well informed during the coronavirus pandemic. All residents, no matter their immigration status, can seek and receive medical care related to COVID-19. Utilizing medical care and services as a result of the coronavirus will not be held against any individual in a “public charge” test.

Tax Update: The New York State Department of Finance has released updated information about filing deadlines that can be found here and updated their website with useful resources.

Pharmacy Update: Governor Cuomo announced that major pharmacy chains will now offer free home delivery services.

Law Enforcement Update: The New York State Department of Health has released new guidance for law enforcement agencies and personnel to limit exposure and transmission of coronavirus. You can read the guidance here. 

Unemployment Resources: The New York State Department of Labor (DOL) has created a website with guidance and resources for those in the process of filing for unemployment. You can access updated information here.

Ferry Update: As a result of lower ridership and to conserve resources, the Staten Island Ferry is operating on a reduced schedule starting at midnight.

For Mount Vernon Residents: A tent has been installed outside of Mount Vernon Hospital to screen patients for COVID-19 symptoms before entering the hospital. The tent is active from 10am until 6pm with the hope to expand hours until 10pm. Please note that this tent is not a testing facility.

For those that have religious celebrations coming up, we have to worship the way we can during the COVID-19 pandemic. While physical gatherings of any size are not permitted under New York on PAUSE, I encourage you to celebrate with loved ones virtually as I will be doing with my family.

Tips for Parents During Remote Learning: 

  • Have a designated space for school work
  • Create a schedule that works for your family
  • Take breaks when necessary
  • Have compassion for your child
  • Take care of yourself
  • Allow yourself and your child to adjust to remote learning
  • Reach out to others

 

As of today, 76,000 health care professionals and nearly 12,000 mental health professionals have volunteered to serve New York State on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic. To volunteer, please fill out the Health and Professionals survey. 

Ways to Lend a Helping Hand: 

  • Donate Plasma: If you tested positive for COVID-19 before March 7th and have recovered, you can sign up to donate plasma and help save another New Yorker’s life here.
  • Donate or Sell Supplies: EDC launched a new website this weekend for local businesses that want to support the COVID-19 emergency response effort by providing or manufacturing supplies. Learn more at the new website: COVID-19 Emergency Supply Sourcing & Manufacturing.
  • Donate to Feeding Westchester: Feeding Westchester is an organization working to ensure that all residents of Westchester County have access to food. You can find out more about Feeding Westchester and support them here.
  • Support the National Domestic Workers Alliance (NDWA): NDWA is an alliance of nannies, in-home care workers and house cleaners. Learn how you can support them by clicking here.
  • Support restaurant workers: On the Line is working to employ restaurant workers who have lost their jobs to bring meals to our food-insecure neighborhoods. To learn more about their work and how to support them click here.
  • Support the Westchester Community Opportunity Program (WESTCOP):  WESTCOP is a social service organization helping residents across Westchester County. To learn more about their work and how to support them, click here.
  • Donate Space: New York City is still identifying new hospital capacity. They are particularly interested in private spaces that may not be yet on their radar. If you have space to offer, please fill out this space survey here: NYC Share Your Space Survey.
  • If you are a tailor, seamstress, stitcher or more: You can lend your expertise to the Skilled Laborers Brigade and make PPE for our state and city. To join, click here. You can also connect with SewForNY by clicking here.
  • To see how you can get involved for New York State, click here.
  • For how to help in New York City, click here.
  • Remember, New York is recruiting help from around the country, not just the state.

 

As of this today, March 29th, 2020, there are 59,512 confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus in New York State. There have now been 172,000 tests performed in New York State.  It is important to remember that although the number of positive cases is increasing, this number is reflective of the state’s increased testing capacity.

 

Of the confirmed cases: 

  • 33,768 are located in New York City
  • 8,518 are located in Westchester County
  • 6,445 are located in Nassau County
  • 5,023 are located in Suffolk County
  • 2,209 are located in Rockland County

 

You can find the geographic breakdown of Coronavirus cases by County here.

The Westchester breakdown is as follows: 

  • 21 are located in the Village of Pelham
  • 21 are located in the Village of Pelham Manor
  • 212 are located in Mount Vernon

 

The New York City borough breakdown is as follows: 

  • 6,250 in the Bronx
  • 5,582 in Manhattan
  • 8,887 in Brooklyn
  • 10,737 in Queens
  • 1,984 in Staten Island

 

Note, the New York City numbers do not align with state-wide numbers due to different release times. You can find a summary of the New York City data here. The New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene has released a map of positive coronavirus cases across the five boroughs. It is important to note that this data reflects testing behavior by neighborhood and can be misleading in terms of where the virus is most prevalent.

 

You can also always call the New York State Novel Coronavirus Hotline at 1-888-364-3065 or the New York City Hotline at 1-844-NYC-4NYC with any questions.

 

This is an evolving situation. For updated information on the Coronavirus (in multiple languages) from trusted sources for your designated area, please visit:

 

While you are at home, don’t forget to fill out the Census! The Bronx and Mount Vernon are both self-reporting at only a 16% rate. Let’s make our communities count! For more information, and to complete the census, you can click here.

 

Entering this new week, remember we will get through this together –– don’t forget to get some fresh air (while socially distanced), stay in contact with loved ones, and make sure to hydrate. 

 

Stay strong. 

 

With Gratitude,

State Senator Alessandra Biaggi

____________________________________________________________

PREVIOUS EMAIL UPDATE FROM MARCH 28th

Dear Community,

This evening, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued an advisory for New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut, urging residents to avoid all non-essential domestic travel for the next 14 days. This travel advisory does not apply to employees of critical infrastructure, such as trucking, or food supply. You can read more about the CDC’s guidance here. 

Today, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo issued an Executive Order moving the New York State Presidential Primary to June 23rd to align with New York’s State and Congressional Primary. This will ensure that our democracy can continue to thrive without endangering the health and safety of New York voters and poll workers. Now we need to pass my bill, S8015, to expand access to absentee voting given the current public health risk. No New Yorker should have to choose between protecting their own health and the health of their community, and exercising their civic duty.

New York State’s world class doctors and scientists are working on two potential treatments for COVID-19. The New York State Department of Health Wadsworth Lab is working with other labs around the state to evaluate the effectiveness of antibody testing which could be used to assist COVID-19 patients who are very ill. The Governor also announced that 1,100 doses of Hydroxychloroquine and Zithromax have been administered to patients in New York as an experimental COVID-19 treatment.

Governor Cuomo also announced today that President Trump has approved the construction of additional hospital facilities, including at the New York Expo Center in the Bronx. Following the completion of these sites and others in progress, each borough in New York City, and Westchester, Rockland, Nassau, and Suffolk counties will all have a 1,000 patient overflow facility. New York State also plans to designate certain hospitals as COVID-19 only facilities, including Westchester Square Hospital in the Bronx.

Additionally, the Governor announced that Empire State Development (ESD) has authorized $7.5 million in funding for COVID-19 Business Counseling support. ESD will work with 70 non-profit partners to help small businesses around the state secure disaster assistance, including through the Small Business Administration Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program.

Today Governor Cuomo announced that he will sign an Executive Order requiring all private and public hospitals in New York to allow one person to accompany a woman during labor and delivery. Support persons must not have any COVID-19 symptoms and will be screened for symptoms.

As a reminder, the New York State of Health and the New York State Department of Financial Services have announced a special open enrollment period for uninsured New Yorkers. New Yorkers can enroll through the New York State of Health marketplace or directly through insurers between March 16th and April 15th, 2020, and receive insurance coverage beginning April 1st, 2020. More information is available here. New York City residents can also call 311 or visit the GetCoveredNYC website.

Tax Update: Today, Governor Cuomo issued an Executive Order to enable New York State to extend the deadline for personal and corporate taxes to July 15.

Update for Undocumented New Yorkers: New York State will treat all COVID-19 tests, evaluation, and treatment as emergency services under Medicaid. Accordingly, these expenses will be reimbursed by Medicaid for undocumented New Yorkers. You can read more under the “‘Emergency Services Only’ Coverage” section here.

HRA Update: All in-person HRA appointments are now cancelled. No negative action will be taken in client’s cases. New Yorkers who need to access HRA services should use ACCESS HRA or call 311, whenever possible. As a reminder, HRA has consolidated their locations, you can find available locations here.

Ways to Lend a Helping Hand: 

  • Donate Plasma: If you tested positive for COVID-19 before March 7th and have recovered, you can sign up to donate plasma and help save another New Yorker’s life here. 
  • Donate or Sell Supplies: EDC launched a new website this weekend for local businesses that want to support the COVID-19 emergency response effort by providing or manufacturing supplies. Learn more at the new website: COVID-19 Emergency Supply Sourcing & Manufacturing.
  • Donate Space: New York City is still identifying new hospital capacity. They are particularly interested in private spaces that may not be yet on their radar. If you have space to offer, please fill out this space survey here: NYC Share Your Space Survey.
  • Medical Professionals: New York State is looking for qualified health, mental health, and related professionals to supplement our health care capacity. Take the Health and Professionals survey. 
  • Recruiting Drivers: New York City is looking for TLC-licensed drivers to help with important work related to COVID-19, such as delivering food to older adults who can’t leave their homes. This work will be paid $15/hour plus reimbursement for gas and tolls. Drivers will be selected on a first-come, first-serve basis. The initial need for drivers will be small, but we expect it to increase as we expand our programs. Sign-up here, at DeliveryTLC.
  • Volunteer with City Harvest: To help City Harvest meet the increased need for food, they have created several volunteer opportunities at our Food Rescue Facility, and we need your help. Please check our Volunteer Portal for upcoming opportunities. If you haven’t volunteered with City Harvest before, you will need to create an account before signing up
  • To see how you can get involved for New York State, click here.
  • For how to help in New York City, click here.

 

As of this today, March 28th, 2020, there are 52,318 confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus in New York State. There have now been 155,934 tests performed in New York State.  It is important to remember that although the number of positive cases are increasing, this number is reflective of the state’s increased testing capacity.

Of the confirmed cases: 

  • 29,766 are located in New York City
  • 7,875 are located in Westchester County
  • 5,537 are located in Nassau County
  • 4,138 are located in Suffolk County
  • 1,896 are located in Rockland County

You can find the geographic breakdown of Coronavirus cases by County here.

The Westchester breakdown is as follows: 

  • 21 Pelham
  • 20 Pelham Manor
  • 188 Mount Vernon

The New York City borough breakdown is as follows: 

  • 5,752 in the Bronx
  • 5,237 in Manhattan
  • 8,129 in Brooklyn
  • 9,831 in Queens
  • 1,781 in Staten Island

Note, the New York City numbers do not align with state-wide numbers due to different release times. You can find the summary of the New York City data here.

You can also always call the New York State Novel Coronavirus Hotline at 1-888-364-3065 or the New York City Hotline at 1-844-NYC-4NYC with any questions.?

This is an evolving situation. For updated information on the Coronavirus (in multiple languages) from trusted sources for your designated area, please visit:

While you are at home, don’t forget to fill out the Census! The Bronx and Mount Vernon are both self-reporting at only a 16% rate. Let’s make our communities count! For more information, and to complete the census, you can click here.

This Sunday, I hope you take time for yourself and your family –– get some fresh air (while socially distanced), stay in contact with loved ones, and make sure to hydrate.  

Stay strong.

With Gratitude,

State Senator Alessandra Biaggi

____________________________________________________________

PREVIOUS EMAIL UPDATE FROM MARCH 27th

Dear Community,

I know this is a challenging time and it can be hard to know what information to trust or follow. I want to encourage all of you to be mindful of rumors and look to government sources for verified information. The Center for Disease Control and PreventionNew York State Department of HealthWestchester County Department of Health, and New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene are all good sources for the most up-to-date information, and have resources in multiple languages.

Today, President Trump signed into law a $2 trillion COVID-19 relief package. The bill includes direct cash assistance to many Americans, expanded unemployment insurance, loan programs for businesses, and aid to states and local governments, among other measures. You can read more about the details of the CARES Act here. 

New York is continuing its efforts to bolster hospital capacity around the state. Today, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced that the temporary hospital facility at the Javits center is now complete. The 1,000 bed facility will open on Monday. FEMA and the Army Corps of Engineers are currently building additional 1,000 bed facilities at SUNY Stony Brook, SUNY Old Westbury, and the Westchester Convention Centers. The Governor and Army Corps of Engineers have also identified potential temporary hospital sites, including at the New York Expo Center in the Bronx, and are waiting for approval from President Trump to begin construction. 

The U.S.N.S. Comfort hospital ship is set to arrive in New York’s harbor on Monday. The 1,000 beds on board will be used to treat non-COVID-19 patients and free up space in other facilities. Governor Cuomo has estimated that New York State will need as many as 140,000 hospital beds and 40,000 ICU beds at the peak of cases.

As medical professionals around the state put themselves in harm’s way to treat patients with COVID-19, the least we can do is ensure they have access to the necessary protective equipment. I am grateful for Governor Cuomo and New York City Mayor de Blasios’ proactive efforts to identify sources of personal protective equipment, stockpile it, and distribute it to hospitals as needed. New York State currently has 1.2 million N-95 masks, 4.6 million surgical masks, 1.5 million exam gloves, 15,000 protective gowns and coveralls, and 3,000 ventilators. Today, New York City distributed 1 million surgical masks, 200,000 N95 masks, 50,000 face shields, 40,000 medical gowns, and 10,000 boxes of exam gloves to New York City hospitals. Tomorrow, New York City will receive an additional 2 million surgical masks, and 800,000 more N95 masks, which they will distribute to city hospitals.

In the last day, an additional 10,000 health care workers signed up to volunteer as part of New York State’s surge health care force. Now more than 62,000 retired medical professionals and students have signed up to help fight COVID-19. Additionally, more than 10,000 mental health professionals have signed up to provide free mental health services to New Yorkers. As a reminder, you can call 1-844-863-9314 to schedule a free mental health appointment. I continue to be humbled and moved by all the New Yorkers who are stepping up to serve their communities in this time of crisis. 

As we finalize the New York State budget in the next few days, we need to keep these brave doctors and nurses and the patients they serve in the front of our minds. Today, I published an op-ed with my colleagues, Senator Gustavo Rivero and Senator Robert Jackson, calling on the Governor to abandon proposed cuts to Medicaid and raise revenue instead. We cannot afford to balance our budget on the backs of those who are most vulnerable, especially right now.

As a reminder, the New York State of Health and the New York State Department of Financial Services have announced a special open enrollment period for uninsured New Yorkers. New Yorkers can enroll through the New York State of Health marketplace or directly through insurers between March 16th and April 15th, 2020, and receive insurance coverage beginning April 1st, 2020. More information is available here. New York City residents can also call 311 or visit the GetCoveredNYC website.

Update on Jails: As of this evening, New York City jails will have released 450 vulnerable detainees. Additionally, the New York State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision announced that they will release 1,100 people who are being held in jails and prisons for technical parole violations. This includes 600 people being held in New York City jails.

NYC Employees Workplace Rights Update: The New York City Department of Consumer and Worker Protection has released guidance for employees and employers about their rights and responsibilities during the COVID-19 crisis. You can find information about paid sick leave, schedule changes, benefits and resources, and more here. 

Insurance Update: Governor Cuomo announced that New Yorkers and small businesses facing financial hardship may defer paying premiums for property, casualty insurance, including auto, homeowners, renters, workers comp, medical malpractice, livery and taxi insurance for up to 60 days. Consumers may also defer paying life insurance premiums for 90 days. They will not face late fees nor can negative data be reported to credit bureaus for failure to pay during the timeframe.

Update on Construction Sites: Today, Governor Cuomo announced that all non-essential construction sites will be shut down. You can learn more about what constitutes essential construction here. 

Compliance with Social Distancing: It is critical that we continue to practice social distancing, especially in parks and other outdoor spaces. If you see overcrowding, please call 311 to report it so that city officials can help educate New Yorkers and make sure everyone is following the rules.

Guidance for New Yorkers with Pets: The New York City Department of Emergency Management is encouraging all New Yorkers with pets to plan ahead in case of a medical emergency. You can access their guide for planning for pets in case of an emergency here.

NYC Park’s Update: The 2020 NYC Parks Department’s tennis season is delayed until further notice. All tennis courts are currently closed to tennis play, and tennis nets are being removed from courts.  NYC Parks tennis permit sales have been suspended. Any 2020 season tennis permits previously purchased will be valid through the 2021 season. You can find full information about NYC Park closures here.

Tenant Support Update: Tenant Support Unit (including Universal Access to Counsel) helps tenants understand their rights as renters and connects them to a range of resources to address housing-related issues, including free anti-eviction legal assistance. This can be a useful tool during this state-wide eviction moratorium and suspension of default judgements in place. Their hotline is 212-331-6236 (Monday – Friday, 9:00am – 5:00pm). You can get more information on the Tenant Support information page here and an overview on Tenant Legal Services here.

Update for NYCHA Residents: NYCHA residents can find the most up-to-date information, including resources for rent hardship, mental health, and domestic violence, here. 

Rent Freeze Update: The New York City Rent Freeze Unit assists eligible senior citizens and people with disabilities in enrolling in the Department of Finance’s rent freeze (SCRIE/DRIE) and homeowner tax exemption programs (SCHE/DHE/VHE/CHE). Their hotline is 929-252-7242 (Tuesday – Saturday, 10:30am-6:30pm). You can find more information on the NYC Rent Freeze Unit Website here.

Job Resources: New York City’s Workforce1 Career Center launched a Virtual Center (or call 718-960-2458) to help New Yorkers prepare for, and connect to, jobs across New York City’s five boroughs and in every sector of the economy. Candidates can be connected via web or phone to one-on-one help from professionals for help with job opportunities, individual career advisement, resume and interview preparation, and workforce training. Current employment opportunities include Stop & Shop, Fresh Direct & PBM Guardian Industry Services.

Ways to Lend a Helping Hand:

  • Donate or Sell Supplies: EDC launched a new website this weekend for local businesses that want to support the COVID-19 emergency response effort by providing or manufacturing supplies. Learn more at the new website: COVID-19 Emergency Supply Sourcing & Manufacturing.
  • Donate Space: New York City is still identifying new hospital capacity. They are particularly interested in private spaces that may not be yet on their radar. If you have space to offer, please fill out this space survey here: NYC Share Your Space Survey.
  • Medical Professionals: New York State is looking for qualified health, mental health, and related professionals to supplement our health care capacity. Take the Health and Professionals survey. 
  • Recruiting Drivers: New York City is looking for TLC-licensed drivers to help with important work related to COVID-19, such as delivering food to older adults who can’t leave their homes. This work will be paid $15/hour plus reimbursement for gas and tolls. Drivers will be selected on a first-come, first-serve basis. The initial need for drivers will be small, but we expect it to increase as we expand our programs. Sign-up here, at DeliveryTLC.
  • Volunteer with City Harvest: To help City Harvest meet the increased need for food, they have created several volunteer opportunities at our Food Rescue Facility, and we need your help. Please check our Volunteer Portal for upcoming opportunities. If you haven’t volunteered with City Harvest before, you will need to create an account before signing up
  • Donate Blood: The New York Blood Center is currently having trouble meeting patient needs. You can learn more and sign up to donate here.
  • To see how you can get involved for New York State, click here.
  • For how to help in New York City, click here.

 

As of this morning today, March 27th, 2020, there are 44,635 confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus in New York State. There have now been 138,376 tests performed in New York State.  It is important to remember that although the number of positive cases are increasing, this number is reflective of the state’s increased testing capacity.

Of the confirmed cases: 

  • 25,398 are located in New York City
  • 7,187 are located in Westchester County
  • 4,657 are located in Nassau County
  • 3,385 are located in Suffolk County
  • 1,457 are located in Rockland County

You can find the geographic breakdown of Coronavirus cases by County here.

The New York City borough breakdown is as follows: 

  • 4,880 in the Bronx
  • 4.478 in Manhattan
  • 7,091 in Brooklyn
  • 8,529 in Queens
  • 1,534 in Staten Island

Note, the New York City numbers do not align with state-wide numbers due to different release times. You can find the summary of the data here.

You can also always call the New York State Novel Coronavirus Hotline at 1-888-364-3065 or the New York City Hotline at 1-844-NYC-4NYC with any questions.

While you are at home, don’t forget to fill out the Census! The Bronx and Mount Vernon are both self-reporting at only a 16% rate. Let’s make our communities count! For more information, and to complete the census, you can click here.

I hope you take time for yourself and your family this weekend –– get some fresh air (while socially distanced), stay in contact with loved ones, and stay hydrated. 

Stay strong. 

With Gratitude,?

State Senator Alessandra Biaggi

3/16/2020 Email Update on Coronavirus Cases in NYS

March 16, 2020

Dear Neighbor,

This is a rapidly evolving situation and there have been a number of key updates over the last few days that will be critical to slowing the spread of the Coronavirus in our state and protecting the most vulnerable among us.

I want to reiterate the new guidance that the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene released yesterday for all New Yorkers. First and foremost, all New Yorkers should stay home as much as possible. New Yorkers should only leave their homes for essential tasks like grocery shopping or work (if you cannot work from home). You may leave your home to go on a walk or exercise outside, but practice social distancing and stay at least 6 feet away from others. Parents, I urge you to talk to your children and teens about how serious this guidance is and impress upon them the need to stay home and not gather in groups. 

All New Yorkers should act as if they have been exposed to COVID-19 and closely monitor their health. If you have symptoms, stay home. Only seek medical attention if your symptoms do not get better after 3-4 days or if you are very sick. Following this guidance will be critical for ensuring that those most in need can get medical attention, and will help keep all New Yorkers safe. For questions and updates, contact the Novel Coronavirus hotline at 1-888-364-3065.

Today, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy, and Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont issued a joint Executive Order closing all movie theaters, casinos, gyms, and bars that do not serve food, effective as of 8pm on Monday, March 16th. All bars and restaurants will also be closed, except for take-out or delivery services. Governor Cuomo is also recommending that all non-essential services close by 8pm.

I know that these new restrictions will place an enormous burden on many small businesses in our community. Beginning tomorrow, Tuesday, March 17th, businesses in New York City with fewer than 5 employees will be able to apply online for employee retention grants. Soon, New York City will also begin to offer low interest loans to businesses with fewer than 100 employees. Businesses can find more information here. Pelham small businesses can fill out this survey to add their business to a directory of Pelham small businesses and connect with the Pelham Chamber of Commerce. More information is available here.

Both Governor Cuomo and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio made announcements today about their efforts to increase hospital capacity in anticipation of a growing number of cases. Governor Cuomo is easing certain regulations to allow existing hospitals to expand their capacity. In the absence of action by the federal government to mobilize the Army Corps of Engineers, as Governor Cuomo has requested, New York State will begin to work with the National Guard and building unions to expand hospital capacity in New York State. They plan to retrofit existing facilities into health centers and are asking local governments to identify facilities and available beds that can be used.

New York City has already identified several facilities that can be used to expand capacity, including Westchester Square Hospital in District 34 which will provide 150 additional beds. Today, Mayor de Blasio also signed an Executive Order requiring that all elective surgery be postponed, effective in 96 hours, to free up additional capacity in existing hospitals.

Today, Westchester County Executive George Latimer declared a State of Emergency in Westchester County. The declaration will allow the county to expedite measures to respond to the pandemic in Westchester, and close down all 44 public and private county schools not already closed for a minimum of 14 days. Read the official statement here. Following suit, the Village of Pelham and the City of Mount Vernon have also declared  state of emergencies, as to expedite response coordination with the county and state governments.

Reminder About School Closures: 

  • New York City schools are closed through at least Monday, April 20thRemote learning will not begin until Monday, March 23rd. All families should sign up for a New York City Schools Account to facilitate remote learning. This week, families can pick up grab-and-go breakfast and lunch from all New York City public school buildings between 7:30am-1:30pm. Any student can pick up food from any school, you do not need to go to your child’s normal school building. I want to thank all of the school janitors, cafeteria workers, safety personnel, and others, who showed up to work today to ensure that New York City students could continue to get meals.
  • The city is working in partnership with Spectrum and other internet companies to provide free internet access to students in K-12 or college for the next 60-days in order to participate in remote learning.
  • Pelham schools will remain closed through at least Friday, April 10th. Distance learning will begin on Wednesday, March 18th.
  • Mount Vernon schools will remain closed through at least Friday, March 27th. All after-school and senior programming will be suspended until March 30th. Families can find more information about grab and go meal programs and remote learning here.

 

Community Resources: 

  • NYCHA residents can find the latest update from the New York City Housing Authority here.
  • The Riverdale Y is giving out free lunches to seniors, both for those who are able to pick up and for delivery. If you are in need of this service, please reach out to the Senior Center Director Sharon Asherman via email at sasherman@riverdaley.org.
  • Feeding Westchester will be working with the Mount Vernon Department of Parks & Recreation to deliver meals to homes.
  • Yesterday, the State of New York Unified Court System announced that all eviction proceedings and eviction orders are suspended effective today. However, if tenants need assistance you can call the Met Council’s Tenants’ Right Hotline on Monday and Wednesday between 1:30-8:00pm, Tuesday between 5:30-8:00pm or Friday between 1:30-5:00pm for assistance in English and Spanish at 212-979-0611.   

 

Ways to Help: 

  • Donate blood: The American Red Cross is urging healthy, eligible individuals to schedule a blood, platelet or AB Elite plasma donation appointment to help maintain a sufficient blood product supply and avoid any potential shortages. There is a donation location in the Bronx at Fordham University open from 11:00am-5:00pm, sign up for a time here.
  • Retired or non-practicing medical professionals: Governor Cuomo is asking retired and non-practicing medical professionals to return to the field to help expand New York’s testing capacity and serve those in need of critical medical care.  If you are able to volunteer your time and medical training in any way, please email my office at biaggi@nysenate.gov with your contact information.
  • Volunteer to run errands: If you are able to run errands for those who are at high risk from COVID-19, you can sign up through Invisible Hands.

 

Mental Health Resources: I know that these are challenging times and we all may need extra support. New York City residents can call 1-888-NYC-Well or text WELL to 65173 to connect with free and confidential mental health and substance use support.

Alternate Side Parking: As of right now, the Mayor has not suspended alternate side parking. However, individuals who are under mandatory or voluntary isolation may request to have their ticket dismissed, if they can present appropriate documentation. For information, please call 311.

As of this evening, March 16th, 2020, there are nine hundred and fifty (950) confirmed cases of the Novel Coronavirus in New York State. Of the confirmed cases, four hundred and sixty-three (463) are located in New York City, Two hundred and twenty (220) are located in Westchester County, one hundred and nine (109) are located in Nassau County, sixty-three (63) are located in Suffolk County, sixteen (16) are located in Rockland County, twelve (12) are located in Albany, eleven (11) are located in Orange County, ten (10) are located in Dutchess County, ten (10) are located in Monroe County, seven (7) are located in Ulster, six (6) are located in Erie County, five (5) are located in Saratoga County, four (4) is located in Schenectady County, two (2) in Greene County, two (2) in Putnam County, two (2) in Allegany County, one (1) is located in Broome County, one (1) is located in Delaware County, one (1) is located in Herkimer County, one (1) is located in Tioga County, one (1) in Tompkins County, one (1) in Montgomery County, one (1) in Ontario County, and one (1) is located in Onondaga County.

This is an evolving situation. For updated information on the Coronavirus (in multiple languages) from trusted sources for your designated area, please visit:

While you are at home, don’t forget to fill out the Census! It is critical that all New York residents are counted in the Census in order to get the funding we deserve for our schools, public transportation, affordable housing, roads, and more! For more information, and to complete the census, you can click here.

I know this is a difficult time and each day seems to present new challenges. I urge each of you to take time for yourself – drink water, go outside for a few minutes, and stay connected to your friends and family. We will get through this together.

With Gratitude,?

State Senator Alessandra Biaggi

Dear Neighbor,

As of this evening, March 9th, 2020, there are one hundred and forty-two (142) confirmed cases of the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) in New York State. Of the confirmed cases, ninety-eight (98) are located in Westchester County, nineteen (19) are located in New York City, seventeen (17) are located in Nassau County, four (4) are located in Rockland County, two (2) are located in Saratoga County, one (1) is located in Ulster County, and one (1) is located in Suffolk County.

Best practices remain the same, and New Yorkers are encouraged to continue following good hygiene methods to stay healthy! There has been no change in public risk level.

Today Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced that the State will produce up to 100,000 gallons of hand sanitizer per week. The alcohol-based hand sanitizer will be made available to residents free of charge, and distribution will be prioritized by the most impacted and high risk communities and state agencies, including the Metropolitan Transportation Agency (MTA) and the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). The State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision (DOCCS), through its correctional industries entity known as Corcraft, will produce the formula recognized by the World Health Organization.

Special Guidance for Vulnerable New Yorkers: The New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene advises those with chronic lung disease, heart disease, cancer, diabetes, or a weakened immune system to avoid unnecessary events and gatherings. If you have family or friends who have one of these conditions, do not visit them if you feel sick.

Pelham Seniors: In a proactive effort to prevent further spread of the Coronavirus to our most vulnerable residents, the Senior Citizens Board along with the Town Of Pelham Board and the Town Recreation Department have decided to suspend all Senior Citizens Programing for the next 14 days.

New Guidance for Students and Schools: The New York State Department of Health and the New York State Education Department issued new guidance for students and schools, which can be accessed in full here. Under the policy, schools will close for an initial 24-hour period if a student or a teacher or any other staff at the school test positive for the Novel Coronavirus. This will allow the school to undergo disinfection, and for the State to perform an assessment of the situation and make a determination going forward in that particular school district.

Manhattan College and Horace Mann School in the Northwest Bronx have voluntarily suspended in-person classes as precaution as they monitor two students exposed to secondary contact of the virus at their respective schools. Fordham University has also voluntarily suspended in-person classes to reduce community spread.

Additional Guidance: 

  • The State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision (DOCCS) has issued new guidance for visitors of New York State correctional facilities to help avoid the introduction of the virus into facilities, which can be accessed in full here.
  • The State Office of Children and Family Services released guidance for all funded, operated, licensed, regulated, programs or designated providers, which can be accessed in full here.
  • The State Office of Mental Health released guidance for all funded, operated, licensed, regulated, programs or designated providers, which can be accessed in full

For updated fact sheets on the Coronavirus (in multiple languages) for your designated area, please visit:

I encourage you to listen to the recommendations of your health care provider regarding your personal health, or call the Novel Coronavirus Hotline (1-888-364-3065) if you have any questions. My office will continue to provide updates on guidelines and protocols as they are made available. 

With Gratitude,

State Senator Alessandra Biaggi

Dear Neighbor,

As of this evening, March 8th, 2020, there are one hundred and five (105) confirmed cases of the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) in New York State. Of the confirmed cases, eighty-two (82) are located in Westchester County, twelve (12) are located in New York City, five (5) are located in Nassau County, two (2) are located in Rockland County, two (2) are located in Saratoga County, one (1) is located in Ulster County, and one (1) is located in Suffolk County.

New Yorkers are encouraged to continue following good hygiene practices to stay healthy.

This evening, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved Northwell Labs to test samples for the Coronavirus, which will begin immediately. The Governor is continuing to advocate for FDA approval of more private labs in order to expand testing capacity in New York State.

Special Guidance for Vulnerable New Yorkers: The New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene advises those with chronic lung disease, heart disease, cancer, diabetes, or a weakened immune system to avoid unnecessary events and gatherings. If you have family or friends who have one of these conditions, do not visit them if you feel sick.

Those with a history of smoking and vaping are more likely to experience serious illness related to COVID-19. For help quitting, call 866-NY-QUITS.

Support for Small Businesses: Today New York City announced that it will provide relief for small businesses across the City seeing a reduction in revenue because of COVID-19. Eligible owners who would like to learn more about these programs should call 311 for assistance.

NYC School Safety: The New York City Department of Education will hire an additional eighty-five (85) school nurses to ensure every district school building has a full-time nurse by the end of the week. All international school trips have been cancelled for the remainder of the school year. After sending a survey to nonpublic schools to help identify shortage of paper towels, soap, hand sanitizers, and medical supplies, the Department of Education will distribute materials to any school experiencing shortages.

If you are based in New York City and would like to receive SMS text updates on the latest developments with the Novel Coronavirus, text “COVID” to 692-692.

For updated fact sheets on the Novel Coronavirus in your designated area, please visit:

As always, my office will continue to provide information for our community in regard to the spread of the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) in New York State, and updated guidelines and protocols as they are made available.

With Gratitude,

State Senator Alessandra Biaggi

_________________________________________________________________________

PREVIOUS EMAIL UPDATE FROM MARCH 7TH

Dear Neighbor,

Today, March 7th, 2020 Governor Andrew M. Cuomo declared a State of Emergency in New York with regard to the spread of the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19). Health officials have confirmed that there has been no change in public risk level, and that this declaration does not indicate otherwise.

It is important to remember that for 80% of people diagnosed with Coronavirus, the level of severity is similar to a common cold or flu. 

As of this evening, there are eighty-nine (89) confirmed cases of the Novel Coronavirus in New York State. Of the confirmed cases, seventy (70) are located in Westchester County, eleven (11) are located in New York City, four (4) are located in Nassau County, two (2) are located in Rockland County, and two (2) are located in Saratoga County.

The State of Emergency Declaration will allow for the following:

  • Expedited procurement of cleaning supplies, hand sanitizer and other essential resources.
  • Allowing qualified professionals other than doctors and nurses to conduct testing.
  • Expedited procurement of testing supplies and equipment.
  • Expedited personnel onboarding.
  • Expedited leasing of lab space.
  • Allowing EMS personnel to transport patients to quarantine locations other than just hospitals.
  • Providing clear basis for price gouging and enforcement investigation.

The New York State Department of State’s Consumer Protection Division has created a toll-free hotline, 1-800-697-1220, for New Yorkers to report price-gouging of consumer products related to cleaning and hygiene supplies. The Governor also directed the Consumer Protection Division to launch an investigation into reports of unfair price increases of consumer products such as household cleaning supplies and hand sanitizer amid the Novel Coronavirus outbreak.

The Administration for Community Living (ACL) released a new resource, What do Older Adults and People with Disabilities Need to Know about Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19).

The Port Authority has instructed all terminal operators to intensify cleaning protocols. This includes increased cleaning of restrooms using EPA-approved and CDC-endorsed cleaning agents and increased wipe down of frequently touched surfaces.

Best practices for staying healthy remain the same:

  • Cover your coughs and sneezes with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands).
  • Wash hands often with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds.
    • Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.
  • Do not touch your eyes, nose or mouth with unwashed hands.
  • If you feel sick, stay home.

The NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene recommends that New Yorkers refrain from shaking hands, and instead use a friendly “elbow-bump” to greet one another.

SYMPTOM PROTOCOL: If you are experiencing symptoms of Coronavirus (fever, cough, shortness of breath and breathing difficulties) contact the Novel Coronavirus Hotline 1-888-364-3065, your primary care doctor provider, or your local Urgent Care Clinic BEFORE going in person to consult with a medical provider. You can also call 311 if you are located in New York City, or 211 if you are located in Westchester County.

As always, my office will continue to provide information for our community in regard to the spread of the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) in New York State, and updated guidelines and protocols as they are made available.

With Gratitude,

State Senator Alessandra Biaggi

____________________________________________________________________

PREVIOUS EMAIL UPDATE FROM MARCH 6TH

Dear Neighbor,

I would like to inform you of the latest developments regarding the spread of the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19).

As of this evening, there are forty-four (44) confirmed cases in New York State. Of the confirmed cases, there are thirty-four (34) located in Westchester County, four (4) in New York City, four (4) located in Nassau County, and two (2) located in Rockland County.

The New York State Novel Coronavirus Hotline, 1-888-364-3065, is now operating 24/7 through the Department of Health. Residents can call to receive information and status updates regarding the spread of the virus. If you are located in New York City, you can also call the NYC Health Department at 347-396-7990 for further instructions.

This evening, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo in partnership with the State Department of Health released updated TESTING standards and guidelines, which can be accessed in full here. Testing for COVID-19 shall be authorized by a health care provider when: 

  • An individual has come within proximate contact (same classroom, office, or gatherings) of another person known to be positive; or
  • An individual has traveled to a country that the CDC has issued a Level 2 or Level 3 Travel Health Notice, and shows symptoms of illness; or
  • An individual is quarantined (mandatory or precautionary) and has shown symptoms of COVID-19 illness; or
  • An individual is symptomatic and has not tested positive for any other infection; or
  • Other cases where the facts and circumstances warrant as determined by the treating clinician in consultation with state and local department of health officials.

Coronavirus testing is free, however if you are uninsured or do not have a primary health care provider, please call your local Urgent Care Clinic or hospital to learn more about your eligibility.

New York City tests are being processed at New York City Public Lab, and all other New York State tests are being processed at the Wadsworth Center Lab.

This evening Governor Andrew M. Cuomo in partnership with the State Department of Health also released updated QUARANTINE standards and guidelines applicable to all local health departments, which can be accessed here.

Public transportation is safe to ride. New York City Transit is continuing to clean and sanitize all subway and ferry stations daily, and all subway cars and buses every seventy-two (72) hours. High-touch areas of Metro North Stations – including Grand Central Terminal – are being sanitized daily, and all Metro North Train cars are being cleaned and sanitized every seventy-two (72) hours. Access-A-Ride is also sanitizing their vehicles once a day.

Best practices to keep yourself and others healthy remain the same, and are reiterated below:

  • Cover your coughs and sneezes with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands).
  • Wash hands often with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds.
    • Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.
  • Do not touch your eyes, nose or mouth with unwashed hands.
  • If you feel sick, stay home.

SYMPTOM PROTOCOL: If you are experiencing symptoms of coronavirus (fever, cough, shortness of breath and breathing difficulties) contact the Novel Coronavirus Hotline 1-888-364-3065, your primary care doctor provider, or your local Urgent Care Clinic BEFORE going in person to consult with a medical provider. You can also call 311 if you are located in New York City, or 211 if you are located in Westchester County. 

FACT SHEETS:

  • New York State Department of Health resource page specifically dedicated to Coronavirus that is updated regularly, which can be accessed here.
  • New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene fact sheet with NYC specific information you need to know about Coronavirus, which can be accessed here.
  • The Westchester County Department of Health fact sheet with Westchester County specific information you need to know about Coronavirus, which can be accessed in English, Spanish, and Chinese.
  • New York State Education Department has compiled important information for school administrators, teachers, and personnel on the issue as well, and can be accessed here.

We must continue to remain calm and united in the wake of this outbreak – New Yorkers are always stronger when we stand together. My office will continue to provide updates on the city and state responses to the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19), and keep our community informed of any new guidelines as they are made available.

With Gratitude,

State Senator Alessandra Biaggi

—————————————————————————————————————

PREVIOUS EMAIL UPDATE FROM MARCH 5TH

Dear Neighbor,

I would like to provide you with updated information regarding the spread of the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19).

As of this evening, Thursday, March 5th, there are a total of 22 confirmed cases in New York State. Of the confirmed cases, eighteen (18) are located in Westchester County, three (3) are located in New York City, and one (1) is located in Nassau County.

I want to again urge all residents of District 34 to remain calm and vigilant. The best way to protect yourself from becoming infected is by practicing good hygiene:

  • Cover your coughs and sneezes with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands).
  • Wash hands often with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds.
    • Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.
  • Do not touch your eyes, nose or mouth with unwashed hands.
  • If you feel sick, stay home.

New York State has created a free Novel Coronavirus Hotline, 1-888-364-3065, for residents to receive information and status updates regarding the spread of the virus. The hotline operates seven (7) days a week from 9AM – 6PM (they are working to expand operating hours to 24/7).

SYMPTOM PROTOCOL: If you are experiencing symptoms of Coronavirus (fever, cough, shortness of breath and breathing difficulties) contact the Novel Coronavirus Hotline 1-888-364-3065, your primary care provider, or your local Urgent Care Clinic BEFORE going in person to consult with a medical provider. You can also call 311 if you are located in New York City, or 211 if you are located in Westchester County.

FACT SHEETS:

  • New York State Department of Health resource page specifically dedicated to Coronavirus that is updated regularly, which can be accessed here.
  • New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene fact sheet with NYC specific information you need to know about Coronavirus, which can be accessed in English, Spanish, Chinese, Bengali, and more.
  • Westchester County Department of Health fact sheet with Westchester County specific information you need to know about Coronavirus, which can be accessed in English, Spanish, and Chinese.
  • New York State Education Department has compiled important information for school administrators, teachers, and personnel on the issue, which can be accessed here.

IMPORTANT INFORMATION FOR THE AGING COMMUNITY: The Department for the Aging (DFTA) has issued a third guidance to all City contracted and non-contracted senior providers on cleaning and readiness. DFTA is also developing a plan to visit over 600 senior congregate settings weekly to ensure implementation of congregate setting protocols. DFTA, The NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, New York City Housing Authority, NYC Housing Preservation & Development, New York City Housing Development Corporation, New York City Emergency Management Department, and NYC Public Engagement Unit are having daily meetings regarding the City’s elderly population and exposure to Coronavirus.

The State is currently processing hundreds of tests a day and is working towards operating at a capacity to process 1,000 tests per day. The $40 million allocated this week by the State Legislature is being put towards increasing staffing and testing capacity at labs. New York City cases are being processed at the NYC Public Health Lab.

Related fees for Coronavirus testing are waived for all currently insured New Yorkers.

It is determined that public transportation is safe to ride, and the MTA has ordered the cleaning and sanitizing of all subways and buses every seventy-two (72) hours.

I am grateful for the strength of our community in the wake of this outbreak. My office will continue to provide updates on the city and state responses to the Novel Coronavirus, and keep our community informed of any new guidelines as they are made available.

With Gratitude,

State Senator Alessandra Biaggi

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PREVIOUS EMAIL UPDATE FROM MARCH 4TH, 2020

Dear Neighbor,

I would like to bring your immediate attention to an urgent matter that is impacting our district. 

Today, Wednesday, March 4th, 2020 I was informed that New York State now has six confirmed cases of the coronavirus (COVID-19). Five of the confirmed cases either hold a connection to the Riverdale community in the Bronx or are in close proximity to Pelham and Mount Vernon. According to available information, on March 3rd, a resident of New Rochelle in Westchester County was confirmed to be infected – the individual is employed in Manhattan, and is said to have had previous respiratory health problems. The individual is the father of a student who attends Salanter Akiba Riverdale (SAR) High School in the Bronx, and a student who attends a Yeshiva University in Manhattan. As of this morning, the two children, his wife and neighbor have tested positive for COVID-19. The father has not recently traveled internationally to any of the countries identified as hotspots for the virus. The New York City Department of Health is reporting that this is the first case of community spread in New York City, meaning that the source of his infection is unknown.  

The father is currently hospitalized at New York-Presbyterian Columbia University Irving Medical Center, and his impacted family members and neighbor remain quarantined at their homes in New Rochelle. As a precaution, SAR High School will voluntarily remain closed until after Purim and SAR Academy will remain closed until Friday. The Yeshiva University will remain closed until Friday as well, and members of the Young Israel Synagogue of New Rochelle who have attended recent services are mandated to self-quarantine in their homes. The schools remain in contact with the New York City Department of Health, and are complying with advised preventative measures and guidance on next steps.

I want to extend my gratitude to SAR High School Principal Rabbi Tully Harcsztark for his swift response in taking precaution, and the New York City Department of Health for their support in advising our community on next steps. As is recommended by the Department of Health, it is critical that both Bronx and Westchester residents remain calm and continue to follow best practices to protect themselves and their neighbors – this includes frequently washing your hands, disinfecting objects and surfaces, and following the advice of your doctor. 

This week the New York State Legislature allocated $40 million to ensure the state has the necessary resources to effectively respond to the virus and keep New Yorkers safe.  

My thoughts are with the family and all those impacted. My office will continue to monitor the situation, remain in contact with the New York City and State Departments of Health, and share information with the community as it is made available.

The New York City Department of Health is encouraging anyone who is concerned about having been in close contact with one of these individuals to contact their health care provider, call 311 if you are in the Bronx, or call 211 if you are in Westchester. 

Here and below is additional important information you need to know about coronavirus COVID-19. 

While it is assumed that more coronavirus cases will be confirmed, New York City and State are prepared to deal with this public health outbreak.

With Gratitude,

State Senator Alessandra Biaggi