As of this afternoon there were more than 5,200 cases statewide and 3,615 cases in New York City.
We continue to monitor the situation closely and are actively working with the community, the private sector and health providers to increase capacity for a likely surge and increase access to testing.
The following information and resources can help you get up to speed on the latest developments, get involved, and ensure you have everything you need to stay healthy in body and mind:
- The Numbers & Will We Shelter in Place?
- Healthcare: What to Do If You’re Sick, Testing, Beds, & Call for Staffing
- Work From Home Mandate + Relief for Workers & Businesses
- Protecting Tenants & Homeowners
The basic advice remains the same: healthy or sick, please stay home. You should only leave your home for essential tasks such as work (if you cannot work from home), and getting groceries and supplies or essential medical care. You do not need to panic if you feel sick. If you are sick, stay home. If you do not feel better in three to four days, consult your healthcare provider. Try to call, text, tele-medicine or use your patient portal to contact your physician.
Thank you for all of your sacrifices you are making as we seek to get through this pandemic together. While we've done our best to provide the most useful updates, we've put together additional resources and will be updating them at BenKallos.com/corovavirus
As the coronavirus continues to spread, my team and I are monitoring the latest updates and will keep you apprised of the simple steps you can take to keep yourself and our community safe. Please continue to let me know any question or feedback you have, or even just how you are staying engaged or passing the time at home!
Council Member, District 5
P.S. If the links in this email aren’t working for you, please click here to view it in your browser. You can see our prior updates at BenKallos.com/newsletters or click Update #1, Update #2.
THE NUMBERS & WILL WE SHELTER IN PLACE:
Earlier today, Governor Cuomo announced that New York State now has more than 5,200 confirmed positive cases of COVID-19. At least 3,615 of the cases are here in New York City. The significant increase in confirmed cases is not because more people are being infected but because testing is finally becoming available and more tests are being performed.
As of now, there are NO plans for a so-called “shelter in place” order. However, both City and State health officials are imploring that residents, especially young people, obey the social distancing requirements and stay at home as much as possible to avoid the need to implement stricter rules. This is something my family, staff and I are taking very seriously and we encourage you and your neighbors to do the same.
HEALTHCARE: TESTING, BEDS, & CALL FOR STAFFING
Working to Expand Testing
The East Side is home to some of the best hospitals in the world. I am working with hospitals and universities and the private sector to continue expanding testing capacity for New York City and State. If you work in the healthcare or pharmaceutical industries and need help coordinating with the government to help test or treat New Yorkers, email me at email@example.com.
NYC Expands COVID-19 Testing Capacity to Over 5,000 Daily
Today, the Mayor announced that testing, which remains appointment-only, has expanded to 10 acute-care hospitals, seven community health facilities, and four drive-thru test sites throughout the five boroughs. NYC Health + Hospitals has expanded its COVID-19 testing capacity by 5,000 tests per day through a partnership with OPKO Health's BioReference Laboratories. Results will be produced within 1-2 days, halving the current pace of turnaround from private reference labs.
Testing will be prioritized for those with serious illness at hospitals and health care facilities across NYC Health + Hospitals, frontline health care personnel and first responders. Those with mild illness are encouraged to continue staying home, practice social distancing, and consult their healthcare provider if their symptoms do not subside in 3-4 days.
Opening 350-beds on Roosevelt Island
I am proud to be working with the City to open as many as 350 new beds at Coler Hospital on Roosevelt Island. While these new beds are not currently planned to serve patients testing positive for coronavirus, it will increase capacity throughout the public health system to treat as many people who contract coronavirus as possible and, most importantly, keep them alive. If you have suggestions for where we can open more healthcare beds, please email me at BKallos@BenKallos.com.
Navy Medical Ship Coming Soon to Ease NYC Hospital Surge
A 1,000-bed Navy hospital ship, the USNS Comfort, is intended to supplement New York hospitals that are overwhelmed with coronavirus cases by providing medical care and protection for non-coronavirus patients, according to the Pentagon. The ship is currently under maintenance in Norfolk, VA, but will arrive in mid-April.
Help Needed: Healthcare Surge Staff Support Opportunity
The City of New York is seeking New York State-certified healthcare workers to support healthcare facility needs.
New York State-certified healthcare workers can register to receive surge staffing opportunities for patients in need during this challenging time. If you are a certified healthcare worker who wants to volunteer please register here.
Mental Health During Social Distancing
Life during a global pandemic can be stressful, and working from home or otherwise avoiding public spaces can lead to increased anxiety. Visit NYC Well, call 888-NYC-Well or text “WELL” to 65173 to receive free confidential counseling in more than 200 languages.
Remote Instruction to Begin on Monday, March 23
Effective March 23 until April 20, remote learning will go into effect for grades K-12. Starting Tuesday, March 17 and for the remainder of this week, teachers and administrators will participate in professional development on remote learning and students can pick up materials for continued instruction using the info below.
The Department of Education will support schools at all levels of readiness to deliver remote learning, and more information will be provided to families about online platforms.
- Set up your DOE Student Accounts
- Request a device for an NYC student using the Remote Learning Device Request Form
For teachers and school staff:
- Schools and staff can view the Coronavirus Communications page for information and links to staff facing information
- Learn at Home instructional resources for teachers.
Alternate Side Parking Suspended
Alternate Side Parking Regulations have been suspended from Wednesday, March 18, 2020 to Tuesday, March 24, 2020. Parking meters and all other parking rules remain in effect throughout the City. The City may extend the suspension based on street cleanliness and workforce availability. Any New Yorker under isolation who has received a parking ticket can appeal to the Department of Finance and should provide medical documentation or testimony, which will be taken into consideration when their case is reviewed. To learn how to dispute a parking ticket, visit the Parking Ticket or Camera Violation Dispute.
Ride-Share, Pools, and Shared Access-a-Ride Trips Limited
Mayor de Blasio announced that he signed an executive order to ban ride shares and pools to protect drivers and riders alike, in agreement with the major ride-share companies. Uber has suspended Uber Pool in the US and Canada, following an expansion of its paid sick leave policy for drivers, while Lyft has suspended Lyft Line in “all markets.” The Metropolitan Transportation Authority also announced this week it would stop offering shared Access-A-Ride services to its mobility-impaired and elderly riders in an effort to stop the spread of COVID-19.
International Travel: Return Home If Abroad
The State Department has issued a Level 4 travel advisory for the entire world, effectively telling Americans not to leave the country and to return home if they are already overseas.
WORK FROM HOME MANDATE + RELIEF FOR WORKERS AND BUSINESSES
75% Work From Home Mandate for All Employers
Governor Cuomo signed an order mandating that 75% of employees for non-essential services must work from home. That is an increase from the previous 50% in an effort to ensure social distancing. Exceptions for essential personnel include:
- health care operations including research and laboratory services
- infrastructure including utilities, telecommunication, airports and transportation infrastructure
- manufacturing, including food processing and pharmaceuticals
- retail including grocery stores and pharmacies
- services including trash collection, mail, and shipping services
- news media; banks and related financial institutions
- providers of basic necessities to economically disadvantaged populations
Relief Funds for Employees of Industries Affected by COVID-19
Some community groups and individuals have set up donation drives for emergency relief funds. These funds will collect donations to provide relief to individual workers affected by COVID-19. So far, these funds exist for:
PROTECTING TENANTS AND HOMEOWNERS
Tenants’ Rights During COVID-19 Pandemic
- Your landlord cannot evict you, kick you out, or ask you to leave your apartment for being under home-quarantine or having COVID-19.
- Your landlord cannot discriminate against you, kick you out, or ask you to leave your apartment because of fears and stigma around COVID-19.
- Being under isolation or quarantine in a hospital or other facility does not change your tenancy – your apartment remains your primary residence.
- You will still need to pay rent during quarantine or any time in a medical facility, as is the case for any illness.
- If you have questions about your rights in the workplace or if you believe your employment protections have been violated, please visit the NYC Commission on Human Rights.
The City is here to help you maintain stable housing. If you have questions related to paying rent during quarantine or hospitalization due to COVID-19, you can contact the Mayor’s Office to Protect Tenants.
Today, Governor Cuomo signed an executive order putting in place a 90-day mortgage relief plan to protect New York State families who are undergoing financial hardship related to COVID-19. Learn more about the announcement from NPR.