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Thursday, April 23, 2020

Following Meeting With President Trump, Governor Cuomo Announces Partnership With Federal Government to Double Testing Capacity in New York State


Governor Andrew M. Cuomo makes an announcement in the Red Room at the State Capitol. April 21, 2020. (Mike Groll/Office of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo)

A rush transcript of the Governor's remarks published on Tuesday is available below:

We had a meeting at the White House this afternoon and it was very productive and it was positive and we got a lot done.

I've been talking for a number of days as have most governors about testing as the next phase that we have to enter into. We're starting to talk about reopening and planning reopening.

Everyone is obviously concerned about how you reopen and if you reopen in a way that is too rushed and you're not prepared you could actually see the infection rate go up which is the last thing that anybody wants. Testing is the best way to inform and educate yourself as you go through the reopening process so you can watch not just hospitalizations - which we'll have that data - but also testing so you can look at the infection rate across the state and see how the infection rate is increasing.

Also, testing for employees who want to go back, employers who want to know whether or not the employees are actually negative of the virus. Testing has been a very big task to undertake. There's also been a lot of back and forth between the states, my state included, and the federal government about who does what on testing and who is  responsible.

I said this morning that I think in many ways people are just talking past each other because the federal government is helping on testing and states are responsible for testing but testing is a very complicated issue with a lot of levels. To have a real progress you have to sit down and go through the various steps of testing and actually decide who does what and that's what we did this afternoon.

We agreed that the state government should be responsible for managing the actual tests in their own laboratories. We have about 300 laboratories in the State of New York. We regulate those laboratories. It's up to a state to determine how many tests, where those tests should be done, New York City versus Buffalo versus Long Island, et cetera, the staff to do those tests, how often you do the tests - those should all be state decisions and state responsibilities.

The antibody test, which is one of the tests, how do you use those, when - that should all be up to the states.

The tracing function - that is the function after testing that actually traces people who are positive, who did they come in contact with, to isolate them - that's all the state's responsibility.

The problem with testing and bringing testing up to scale has been the national manufacturers of the equipment who make the testing kits that they have to send to the state labs so the state labs can actually perform them. Those are done by national manufacturers. The national manufacturers have said they have a problem with the supply chain to quickly ramp up those tests. They need swabs, they need vials and they need chemicals, quote, unquote reagents.

That is where the federal government can help. States cannot do international supply chains. I guess they could, but not in this time frame and it's not what we do. You shouldn't have 50 states competing to do international supply chains. One of my colleagues, Governor Hogan the Chairman of the National Governor's Association who is the Governor of Maryland - Republican, good man - he was bringing tests in from South Korea. Very creative and proactive on his part, but that's not what state's normally do. Let the federal government take responsibility for that federal supply chain for the national manufacturers. That's what we agreed in this meeting.

That is an intelligent division of labor, in my opinion. Let each level of government do what it does best and it ends this back and forth, what do the states do, what does Washington do, who's responsible, et cetera.

To quantify that situation in the State of New York, we now do, on average, about 20,000 tests per day. Our goal, which is very aggressive and ambitious but set it high and then try, our goal is to double the 20,000 to get to 40,000 tests per day. We need several weeks to ramp up to that, but it is a very aggressive goal. That is our current system at maximum. Our current laboratory system, 7-days-a-week, 24-hours-a-day. The maximum our system, as it exists, can do is that number. That's our goal and it was a very productive conversation. Again, that is the biggest single task we have to do that is identifiable from today. It ends the whole back and forth and the finger pointing in a very fair and smart way. It's a smart resolution so I feel very good about that. If we could double our tests that would be a home run. That is a really, really big deal.

We also talked about funding to the states. The legislation that the Congress passed did not have funding for the states. It passed additional money for small business and that's great and we need that and that's a positive, but it did not fund state governments, which to me is just a mistake, frankly. Fund small businesses, fund airlines, but you don't fund police, you don't fund fire, you don't fund healthcare workers, you don't fund teachers, you don't fund schools, you cut the aid to schools in this state. You know the state governments are broke, to use a very blunt term. You know the state governments are now responsible for the reopening and the governors are going to do the reopening, and they have no funds to do it. So, we talked about that, the President said he understood the issue and that he would work very hard to get funding for the states in the next piece of legislation that passes. And we hope there is another piece of legislation.

I also told the President, from my parochial point of view, we had a conversation with Secretary Mnuchin and the President, that there is a match. What's called a local match for FEMA funding. When the FEMA does something, the local government should match that funding by twenty five percent. I said to the President there is no way New York can pay that match because we don't have the funding period and it is disproportionate to New York, because we've had such a much larger number of cases than any other state in the United States. That it falls disproportionately on New York, which disproportionately is dealing with this crisis in the first place. We get all the hardship and then we get a bill because we had the hardship. Makes absolutely no sense and as a practical matter we couldn't pay it anyway. The President said he understood and that he would work to waive the local match. Secretary Mnuchin said he understood. Secretary Mnuchin was very supportive and I thank him for his support and the President said that he understood and that he would take care of it and I believe that he will, because he did understand it and that's a big deal for the state of New York.

Again, the incongruity the state that had the most pain and death should get a bill because they endured pain and death. I mean it makes no sense. So, that was a lot and it was complicated, but vitally important and the resolution was good across the board.

We met not just with the President, but with members of his team because a lot of this is granular and detailed and if you don't work out the details there is no conceptual agreement, right? It has to be on the details, so people actually know what we're agreeing to and it was on that level. So, I thank all the people on the President's team who made themselves available and work this through with us in detail and it's a really positive, positive resolution.

Saturday, April 18, 2020

Mayor de Blasio Expands Testing to Communities Hardest Hit by COVID-19

Mayor Bill de Blasio Facebook Page Screenshot

NEW YORK—Mayor de Blasio announced on Friday the opening of three COVID-19 testing sites for communities hardest hit by the pandemic. NYC Health + Hospitals/ Gotham Health East New York, Morrisania, and Vanderbilt will offer COVID-19 testing on a walk-in basis, with a priority for those over the age of 65 with pre-existing conditions that put them at risk for serious illness. Two additional sites at NYC Health+ Hospitals/ Queens and NYC Health+ Hospitals/ Sydenham in Manhattan will open on Monday, April 20th.

The City will also partner with One Medical, a national digital health and primary care provider, to offer COVID-19 testing and virtual care services. Appointment-only testing will be prioritized for frontline 1199SEIU members, including adult care employees or those who work with people with disabilities, as well as other non-member healthcare professionals, essential workers, and NYC residents who are 65 and older with preexisting conditions. With its five testing sites, One Medical will be able to conduct 3,500 tests per week throughout New York City

"Communities of color have been hardest hit by the COVID-19 crisis," said Mayor Bill de Blasio. "We know that widespread testing is a key part of containing the spread of COVID-19, which is why we are doing everything we can to bring more testing to our most vulnerable."

The NYC Health+Hospitals community testing clinics will offer tests by walk-in from 9:00 AM to 3:30 PM, Monday, through Friday at East New York and Morrisania. Testing at Vanderbilt will be available from 8:30 AM to 4:30 PM, Monday through Friday. Two additional sites at NYC Health+ Hospitals/ Queens and NYC Health+ Hospitals/Sydenham will open on Monday, April 20th. These five sites will initially be able to conduct a total of 2,400 tests per week. Patients' test results will be available within one to two days via phone call and electronically through MyChart.

Additionally, One Medical's five testing sites—one in each borough—will be open 9:00 AM to 6:00PM -6PM by appointment only. One Medical will be able to do 3,500 tests per week throughout New York City. Brooklyn and Queens are open today and Manhattan, the Bronx and Staten Island will be open starting Monday, April 20th. Those who meet the testing criteria and would like to schedule an appointment call 1-888-ONEMED1 OR go to onemedical.com and use code NYCCARE30

"On the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic, we see clear disparities in communities of color, lower income populations, immigrants, and New Yorkers with multiple comorbid conditions," said NYC Health + Hospitals President and CEO Mitchell Katz, MD. "Our public health care system has long provided high-quality care to underserved communities in New York City. The community testing clinics will support and improve our efforts to provide critical services to those most in need."

"Communities of color have long experienced inadequate access to health care, housing, healthy food, and economic opportunity, which increases the prevalence of COVID-19 risk factors," said NYC Health + Hospitals Chief Medical Officer Machelle Allen, MD. "Offering testing in the most impacted communities will help us to address the disparities and ensure resources are being distributed fairly during this public health crisis."


Friday, April 17, 2020

Governor Cuomo Announces 'NYS on PAUSE' Extended until May 15

Governor Cuomo Facebook Page Screenshot

Amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo on Thursday announced all NYS on Pause restrictions and closures will be extended until May 15th. This action is taken in consultation with other regional states. The states will re-evaluate after this additional closure period.

Governor Cuomo also directed all New Yorkers to wear masks or face coverings on public transportation systems and while taking private transportation or riding in for-hire vehicles. Additionally, all operators of public systems, private carriers and for-hire vehicles must wear a mask or face covering at all times while working. These directives expand on the Executive Order announced by the Governor yesterday requiring all people in New York to wear a mask or a face covering when out in public and in situations where social distancing cannot be maintained. The Executive Order will go into effect on Friday, April 17th, at 8 PM.

The Governor also announced the state will give 100 ventilators to New Jersey. Yesterday the Governor announced the state will give 100 ventilators to Michigan and 50 ventilators to Maryland.

"Unpausing New York and reopening our economy is going to be an ongoing process over the coming weeks that we're working through with other states, but we have to do it in a way that doesn't drive up the infection rate and create a second wave of the virus," Governor Cuomo said. "We have shown that we can control the spread of the virus, but we can't now undo all the progress we've made. As we continue to work on a regional plan to get people back to work and get businesses back up and running in a safe and responsible way, we are extending all NYS on Pause functions until May 15th in coordination with other states in our multi-state council because although we can control the beast, we need to get that infection rate down even more and we are not there yet."

Finally, the Governor confirmed 8,505 additional cases of novel coronavirus, bringing the statewide total to 222,284 confirmed cases in New York State.

Thursday, April 16, 2020

Mayor de Blasio Announces New York City COVID-19 Immigrant Emergency Relief Program with Open Society Foundations

Mayor de Blasio Facebook Page Screenshot

NEW YORK— Mayor de Blasio today announced a partnership with Open Society Foundations to establish the New York City COVID-19 Immigrant Emergency Relief program, reaffirming the City’s commitment to ensure all New Yorkers, regardless of immigration status, are included in citywide COVID-19 response and relief efforts. This $20 million donation marks an essential step to provide emergency monetary relief to immigrant workers and their families, who have largely been excluded from federal COVID-19 relief programs.

“Immigrants are the heart of this City – they are our friends, neighbors and colleagues,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “This crisis has shown it is now more important than ever for New Yorkers to look out for each other. I want to thank the Open Society Foundations for partnering with us to ensure that all New Yorkers, regardless of their documentation status, can get the support they need.”

“COVID-19 does not discriminate, but for immigrants, often working on the frontline of this crisis, it is a hardship multiplier for them and their families. We must make sure that everyone in our city, regardless of immigration status, has access to the support they need," said First Lady Chirlane McCray. “Immigrant New Yorkers are our neighbors, loved ones, and community members. We value and depend on them, and we want them to know that their City will not leave them behind.”

"New York City is the epicenter of the COVID-19, with more cases and casualties than most whole countries. This crisis has laid bare just how much we depend on low-wage workers who stock our grocery shelves, harvest and deliver our food, staff society's essential services. These essential workers are also the people with the least access to services and benefits, many of them beyond the reach of the government's stimulus package. The Open Society Foundations is proud to support NYC and its partner organizations, including National Domestic Workers Alliance, to provide direct relief to these workers, who are literally holding up our society right now, and hope that policymakers going forward will address the structural inequalities they live with every day," said Patrick Gaspard, President of the Open Society Foundations.

The NYC Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs and the Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City will create a citywide network of community based organizations that will provide direct, one-time emergency relief payments to immigrant families – including undocumented workers – who play a vital role in the City’s workforce and economy.

This initial funding will reach up to 20,000 undocumented workers and their families affected by COVID-19 related job loss and facing financial distress. The citywide network of community based organizations and worker centers will disseminate one-time emergency relief payments to eligible New Yorkers in the following amounts:

$400/individual

$800 for couple or single parent with children

$1,000 for family with multiple adults and children

And/or where identified increased additional supports.

This network of community partners will also connect and assist individuals with information or enrollment for other forms of relief and resources such as unemployment, SNAP, cash assistance, or emergency food delivery programs they may be eligible for on a case by case basis and more.

New York City is home to 3.1 million immigrants who comprise about 37 percent of the City’s population and 44 percent of its workforce– including approximately 360,000 undocumented workers and 48,000 undocumented business owners. In 2019, foreign-born New Yorkers, including the undocumented population, contributed about $232 billion to the City’s GDP. Among the one million essential workers who are on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic—delivery workers, EMS staff, drivers, health care personnel, and more—half are immigrants.

Undocumented workers and their families—approximately 738,000 New Yorkers, including 218,000 children—remain particularly vulnerable at this time. Over a third of NYC’s undocumented workforce are low income, are ineligible for most safety net assistance, and have been left behind by federal stimulus packages because of their documentation status.

The Open Society Foundations will also provide a $15 million donation to the Fund for Public Schools’ (The Fund) NYC Schools COVID-19 Response Effort to support New York City Department of Education's (DOE) school communities during this challenging time. This is the largest gift The Fund and DOE have received to date in response to COVID-19 and will support emergency childcare and the remote learning of young and school-age children of essential workers on the frontlines, ranging from medical and emergency personnel to transit workers.

"This Administration has always worked to ensure equity and inclusion is at  the forefront of everything we do, and why we will not stand idly by as our immigrant communities continue to be cut out of federal support despite being disproportionally impacted by this pandemic," said J. Phillip Thompson, Deputy Mayor of Strategic Policy Initiatives. "Our partnership with Open Society will do what the federal government has failed to do—acknowledge and support the immigrant New Yorkers who are the backbone of our City."

“Immigrant communities, including undocumented families, have been gravely and disproportionally impacted by COVID-19, but left out of federal stimulus relief. There can be no serious effort to address this moment and this tremendous gap in equity without connecting our fellow New Yorkers to the care and resources they need, regardless of their immigration status,” said Bitta Mostofi, Commissioner of the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs. “We are grateful to the Open Society Foundations for this partnership—a critical part of our efforts to support and empower immigrant families who need it most. We hope to build on the Immigrant Emergency Relief Fund Program in New York City and we urge our state and federal counterparts to follow suit and ensure that some of the country’s most essential, and most vulnerable, communities are protected.”

“Throughout this crisis, we’ve spared no effort to ensure our students and families feel safe and supported by their schools and by their city, and we’re so grateful for this generous gift. With the support of the Open Society Foundations and the Fund for Public Schools, we can continue to enhance remote learning efforts for 1.1 million children and provide emergency childcare for essential workers—services New Yorkers need in the difficult months to come,” said Schools Chancellor Richard A. Carranza.

“As the impacts of COVID-19 ripple throughout our city, it is our duty as a community to ensure that no one gets left behind, especially our immigrant neighbors who are an integral piece of the fabric of New York City," said Toya Williford, Executive Director of the Mayor's Fund to Advance New York City. "When philanthropy comes together with local government and community-based organizations, our ability to help the most vulnerable among us is unparalleled. We are deeply grateful for OSF's commitment to New York City's immigrant communities.”

“Our ability to recover and heal as a community from the impacts of COVID-19 relies on the strength of our partnerships," said Gabrielle Fialkoff, Senior Advisor to the Mayor for COVID Relief. “I want to thank the Open Society Foundation for working with us to prioritize the most vulnerable New Yorkers--the members of our immigrant communities—so they have the support they need to provide for themselves and their families. And this work could not be accomplished without the support of New York City’s non-profit community and I want to thank them for putting themselves on the front-line of this crisis.”


Wednesday, April 15, 2020

Governor Cuomo Issues Executive Order Requiring All People in New York to Wear Masks or Face Coverings in Public

Governor Cuomo Facebook Page Screenshot

Amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced he will issue an Executive Order requiring all people in New York to wear a mask or a face covering when out in public and in situations where social distancing cannot be maintained, such as on public transportation. The Executive Order will go into effect on Friday, April 17th.

Governor Cuomo also announced the state will begin conducting antibody tests, prioritizing frontline health care workers, first responders and other essential workers, beginning this week. Using a new finger prick method the state will test up to 2,000 New Yorkers per day. The state is also asking the FDA for expedited approval of a finger prick antibody test that could test up to 100,000 New Yorkers a day. Additionally, the state is continuing to engage with other partners including hospital labs and private companies to bring mass antibody testing to scale statewide.

The Governor also announced the state will give 100 ventilators to Michigan and 50 ventilators to Maryland.

The Governor will also issue an Executive Order requiring nursing homes to report positive COVID-19 cases and deaths to the families of those who are living in the nursing home facility within 24 hours. The order will include adult home and other assisted living facilities. Previously, State Department of Health issued guidance asking these facilities to communicate this information to families; this new order makes that guidance mandatory.

The Governor will also issue an Executive Order allowing individuals assisting with the COVID-19 response or individuals who have been displaced due to COVID-19 to stay in a hotel in New York City for more than 28 days without becoming a tenant.

The Governor also announced that the State University of New York and The City University of New York are using 3D printers to produce critical personal protective equipment for New York's frontline health workers. SUNY campuses are producing about 2,100 face shields a day amongst 13 SUNY campuses, its four Cornell colleges, and its four university centers. Teams at six CUNY colleges have adapted their 3D printers and associated materials to make elements that are used in protective face shields for local hospitals. The face shields are being donated to medical teams across the state, as resources are needed by hospitals, nursing homes and testing sites.

"As we continue to flatten the curve and slow the infection rate of the virus we have to build a bridge from where we are now to the reopening of the economy, and the single best tool to do that is large scale testing," Governor Cuomo said. "We have done more tests than any other state in the nation - more than 500,000 in over a one-month period - but we need to do more and we need the help of the federal government to get people back to work and begin our return to a new normal. We are going to begin conducting antibody testing for our frontline workers and we are currently able to test 2,000 people per day, and we are asking the FDA for approval of a finger prick test that would allow us to test 100,000 people per day. Another part of getting to the new normal is continuing to stop the spread of the virus, and to do that I am issuing an Executive Order that says all people in public must wear a mask or face covering."

Finally, the Governor confirmed 11,571 additional cases of novel coronavirus, bringing the statewide total to 213,779 confirmed cases in New York State. Of the 213,779 total individuals who tested positive for the virus, the geographic breakdown is as follows:

County: Total Positive/ New Positive

Albany: 548/ 13

Allegany: 28/ 0

Broome: 153/ 7

Cattaraugus: 32/ 0

Cayuga: 36/3

Chautauqua: 24 /1

Chemung: 69/ 5

Chenango: 71/ 3

Clinton: 45/ 0

Columbia: 96/ 12

Cortland: 23/ 1

Delaware: 46/ 1

Dutchess: 2,048/ 114

Erie: 1,751/ 83

Essex: 12/ 0

Franklin: 13/ 0

Fulton: 24/ 2

Genesee: 76/ 0

Greene: 73/ 7

Hamilton: 3/ 0

Herkimer: 40/ 1

Jefferson: 47/ 0

Lewis: 7/ 0

Livingston: 31/ 0

Madison: 105/ 1

Monroe: 884/ 34

Montgomery: 32/ 0

Nassau: 26,715/ 1,465

Niagara: 204/ 7

NYC: 118,302/ 7,837

Oneida: 246/ 17

Onondaga: 449/ 18

Ontario: 62/ 1

Orange: 5,716/ 138

Orleans: 33/ 2

Oswego: 42/ 1

Otsego: 44/ 0

Putnam: 571/ 13

Rensselaer: 124/ 4

Rockland: 8,474/ 139

Saratoga: 227/ 3

Schenectady: 237/ 2

Schoharie: 20/ 0

Schuyler: 6/ 0

Seneca: 18/ 0

St. Lawrence: 92/ 0

Steuben: 151/ 4

Suffolk: 23,278/ 816

Sullivan: 424/ 9

Tioga: 25/ 1

Tompkins: 115/ 3

Ulster: 733/ 43

Warren: 77/ 0

Washington: 42/ 2

Wayne: 48/ 0

Westchester: 20,947/ 756

Wyoming: 34/ 2

Yates: 6/ 0


Saturday, April 11, 2020

Mayor de Blasio Announces Donation of 10,000 Meals for Healthcare Workers from New York Road Runners

Mayor de Blasio Facebook Page Screenshot

NEW YORK—The New York Road Runners donated $100,000 to the Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City to provide 10,000 meals to frontline healthcare workers in the New York City Health + Hospitals system. Last week, they donated 20,000 pairs of examination gloves to the City. NYRR will continue to partner with the City to provide needed supplies to New Yorkers.

“Nowhere is the strength and unity of New York more apparent than at the New York City Marathon. I am not surprised the organization that puts together that tremendous event each year is stepping up to cheer on our healthcare workers from the sidelines and say thank you with this generous gift,” said Mayor de Blasio.

"Our valiant healthcare workers are serving our families, friends and neighbors under extreme duress and at risk to their own health. They deserve our unending gratitude. The generosity of the New York Road Runners will help sustain and support our embattled workers, and we are grateful for this partnership.” said First Lady Chirlane McCray.

“During these unprecedented times we must all come together to support each other and, in particular, our healthcare workers on the front lines who are risking their lives every day to help. For over 60 years, New York Road Runners has partnered with the City to help keep New Yorkers active through programs and events such as the TCS New York City Marathon. These events are made possible through the support of countless city agencies and doctors, nurses, emergency responders, and other medical professionals. They are our heroes and we are privileged to support them through the Mayor’s Fund and in other ways over the days, weeks and months ahead,” said Michael Capiraso, President and CEO, New York Road Runners.

"Community-based organizations are the backbone of this city, and the generosity of the New York Road Runners is evidence of that," said Toya Williford, Executive Director of the Mayor's Fund to Advance New York City. "NYRR's willingness to step up and support our frontline hospital staff and first responders showcases the depth of our community ties."

Additionally, this week Voss donated nearly half a million bottles of water to frontline health care workers, and Lavazza Premium Coffee donated 40,000 bags of coffee to 20 hospitals and medical facilities throughout the five boroughs. Apollo Global Management and co-founder Josh Harris also donated 100,000 N95 masks to Elmhurst Hospital.


Friday, April 10, 2020

Governor Cuomo Announces Five New COVID-19 Testing Facilities in Minority Communities Downstate; Confirms 10,621 additional cases, bringing statewide total to 159,937

Governor Cuomo Facebook Page Screenshot

Amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo on Thursday announced five new testing facilities downstate, primarily in minority communities. A drive-through mobile testing facility will open at the Sears Parking Lot at 2307 Beverly Road in Brooklyn tomorrow at 12:30 p.m., and a drive-through mobile testing facility opened at the Club House at Aqueduct Race Track Parking Lot, 110-00 Rockaway Blvd, in Queens on Monday April 6th. In addition, the state is opening three walk-in facilities at health care centers in the South Bronx; Jamaica, Queens; and in Brownsville, Brooklyn. The walk-in facilities will open next week and will be by appointment only.

The state has opened nine testing facilities to date. The sites will prioritize tests for individuals that are among the highest risk population. Residents who would like to be tested at these facilities must make an appointment by calling 888-364-3065.

The Governor also announced the "New York Loves" effort to coordinate all foundations, philanthropies, not-for-profits, charities and other entities that want to help or donate to the state during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. New York Secretary of State Rosanna Rosado and State Director of Nonprofits Fran Barrett will coordinate this effort and any resources that are collected, and will work with local governments that need additional help.

The Governor is also asking all New Yorkers who have recovered from COVID-19 to contact the state and donate blood. Individuals who have recovered from the virus may have convalescent plasma in their blood, which has antibodies against the virus and could help with the development of a treatment for the virus. More information about how to donate is available here.

Governor Cuomo will also issue an Executive Order to bring additional funeral directors to New York to help with the high number of deaths due to COVID-19.

"Our efforts to reduce the spread of the virus through social distancing are working better than we expected because people are complying with them," Governor Cuomo said. "Rapid testing and increasing our testing capacity is going to be the bridge to the new economy and restarting, but we also need to make sure we are learning the lessons of what we're going through now because we haven't finished going through it yet. We are going to increase testing and open new testing sites to collect more data in African-American and Latino communities so we can better understand why this virus kills and has higher fatality rates in certain communities, and what we can do to address it."

Finally, the Governor confirmed 10,621 additional cases of novel coronavirus, bringing the statewide total to 159,937 confirmed cases in New York State. Of the 159,937 total individuals who tested positive for the virus, the geographic breakdown is as follows:

County: Total Positive/ New Positive

Albany: 379/ 37

Allegany: 22/ 1

Broome: 105/ 17

Cattaraugus: 17/ 2

Cayuga: 16/ 2

Chautauqua: 18/ 1

Chemung: 59/ 4

Chenango: 55/ 2

Clinton: 40/ 1

Columbia: 70/ 7

Cortland: 16/ 0

Delaware: 37/ 0

Dutchess: 1493/ 98

Erie: 1362/ 157

Essex: 8/ 1

Franklin: 11/ 1

Fulton: 15/ 1

Genesee: 56/ 9

Greene: 28/ 3

Hamilton: 3/ 1

Herkimer: 32/ 3

Jefferson: 42/ 2

Lewis: 6/ 0

Livingston: 26/ 1

Madison: 91/ 1

Monroe: 698/ 47

Montgomery: 28/ 10

Nassau: 20140/ 1592

Niagara: 146/ 12

NYC: 87028/ 5225

Oneida: 158/ 33

Onondaga: 358/ 11

Ontario: 43/ 4

Orange: 4090/ 225

Orleans: 22/ 6

Oswego: 36/ 3

Otsego: 39/ 1

Putnam: 438/ 35

Rensselaer: 79/ 4

Rockland: 6665/ 252

Saratoga: 172/ 10

Schenectady: 167/ 18

Schoharie: 12/ 0

Schuyler: 4/ 0

Seneca: 15/ 3

St. Lawrence: 76/ 7

Steuben: 89/ 7

Suffolk: 17413/ 1569

Sullivan: 294/ 15

Tioga: 17/ 5

Tompkins: 105/ 6

Ulster: 460/ 38

Warren: 40/ 7

Washington: 25/ 5

Wayne: 39/ 0

Westchester: 17004/ 1117

Wyoming: 29/ 2

Yates: 1/ 0


Wednesday, April 8, 2020

Mayor de Blasio and Commissioner Salas Prosecute Repeat Price Gougers

Mayor de Blasio Facebook Page Screenshot

NEW YORK—Mayor Bill de Blasio and Department of Consumer and Worker Protection (DCWP) Commissioner Lorelei Salas today announced the Department has filed three additional cases against repeat price gougers for knowingly increasing prices in violation of DCWP’s regulations under the City’s Consumer Protection Law. DCWP issued a total of 203 violations to three businesses for selling face masks, hand sanitizer, cough medicine and other products at drastically increased prices. In one particularly egregious example, one business was charging a consumer $20.00 for one N95 face mask. The cases will be heard at the City's Office of Administrative Trials and Hearings (OATH) where DCWP is seeking a total of up to $101,500 in fines. On March 25, DCWP filed its first case against a repeat offender of its price gouging regulations.

"Taking advantage of New Yorkers in a crisis is unacceptable," said Mayor Bill de Blasio. "Don't even think about price gouging in our city. We won't stand for it, and we will hold you fully accountable."

“If you continue to knowingly take advantage of consumers, shame on you! We hope the message is loud and clear – we will not tolerate price gouging,” said DCWP Commissioner Lorelei Salas. “If you have been overcharged, we urge you to file a complaint by calling 311.”

DCWP is filing cases against:

     Burns Pharmacy (68-04 Burns Street, Queens) for 24 violations of price gouging hand sanitizer and face masks. DCWP is seeking up to $12,000 in fines.

     Hong Kong Supermarket (157 Hester Street, Manhattan) for 139 violations of price gouging face masks, gloves, disinfect wipes and hand sanitizer. DCWP is seeking up to $69,500 in fines.

     Thomas Drugs (171 Columbus Avenue, Manhattan) for 40 violations of price gouging face masks, gloves and cough medicine. DCWP is seeking up to $20,000 in fines.

DCWP is actively inspecting stores based on consumer complaints.Businesses found to be overcharging consumers by 10 percent or more for any personal or household good or service that is needed to prevent or limit the spread of or treat COVID-19 will be issued a violation. Examples of covered products include disinfectants, soap, cleaning products, diagnostic products and services, and medicines. Since March 5, DCWP has received more than 7,200 complaints and issued more than 2,700 violations for price gouging. DCWP encourages consumers who are overcharged to file a complaint at nyc.gov/dcwp or by contacting 311 and saying “overcharge.” Consumers who believe they were victimized by price gouging should keep their receipts and any information about the store where the transaction occurred, and file a complaint with DCWP. If the price gouging occurred while DCWP’s regulations were in effect, DCWP can prosecute the illegal activity.

On March 5, the Commissioner declared face masks in short supply and that declaration was extended with the addition of hand sanitizer and disinfectant wipes on March 10. The declarations were made under the Rules of the City of New York (6 RCNY §5-38), which allows the commissioner to declare certain items temporarily in short supply for 30 days during extraordinary circumstances. On March 16, the Agency promulgated an emergency Rule under the City’s Consumer Protection Law that makes price gouging illegal for any personal or household good or service that is needed to prevent or limit the spread of or treat COVID-19. The Rule (NYC Administrative Code §20-701(b)) makes it illegal to increase prices by 10 percent or more for a 60 day period. The Rule can be extended once for an additional 60 days. The Rule covers any personal or household good or service—such as disinfectants, soap, and cleaning products, diagnostic products and services, medicines, and tissues—that is needed to prevent or limit the spread of or treat COVID-19. The fine for price gouging is up to $500 per item or service. If businesses are paying more to obtain these items themselves, they must provide proof to DCWP and any increase must be comparable. If a business paid $2 more per item, they cannot charge customers $50 more.

Monday, April 6, 2020

New Jersey: Governor Murphy Signs Executive Order to Strengthen COVID-19 Response Efforts by Allowing Certain Retirees to Return to Public Employment

Governor Murphy Facebook Page Photo

TRENTON – To further strengthen the ability of New Jersey’s public workforce to respond to COVID-19, Governor Phil Murphy today signed Executive Order No. 115, allowing retirees to return to State and local government employment without impacting their retirement pensions and removing restrictions on law enforcement’s ability to temporarily supplement their ranks. Governor Murphy’s Executive Order also enrolls newly hired State employees in the State Health Benefits Plan (SHBP) immediately upon hire. The SHBP enrollment only applies to new State employees hired in connection with COVID-19 response efforts.

“Right now, we need all the experienced help we can get – whether it be retired law enforcement officers returning to duty, or nurses who can return to University Hospital,” said Governor Murphy. “Today’s Order will remove roadblocks preventing retired public employees from joining our fight against COVID-19 – in any capacity they can – without impacting their pension status.”

The Governor’s Executive Order makes the following changes to the State’s personnel policies for the duration of the public health emergency:

Retirees: Retirees may return to public employment in any capacity, including full-time, part-time or as SLEOs, provided:

The retiree has retired before the date of the executive order;

The retiree has completed at least a 30-day separation from their employment, dating from the date of retirement or the date of board approval, whichever is later; and

The retiree’s return to employment is necessitated by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Special Law Enforcement Officers (SLEOs): The 25% SLEO cap is suspended and a municipality may employ the number of SLEOs as are necessary in the judgement of the law enforcement agency to address public health and safety.

New Hires: Any individual hired by a State or local entity in response to the COVID-19 pandemic may immediately enroll in SHBP.

The Order will take effect immediately.


Mayor de Blasio Announces New Production Line Making Surgical Gowns for NYC Healthcare Workers

NY City Hall Press Office Photo

NEW YORK—Today, Mayor Bill de Blasio visited the Brooklyn Navy Yard where manufacturers are making surgical gowns to keep our healthcare workers safe. The City is working with manufactures to create production lines for protective equipment critical in the fight against COVID-19. Public hospitals have at least a week’s worth of gowns to protect their workers, but private hospitals and nursing homes are running low. Every piece of equipment counts in the fight to save the lives of New Yorkers.

“New Yorkers band together in a crisis - and this production line is exactly the kind of solidarity that will get us through this. Day by day, we are assessing what we need to keep our frontline workers safe– and the ability to produce protective equipment here in New York City is critical,” said Mayor de Blasio.

SUPPLY PRODUCTION

Today, Mayor de Blasio visited a production line run by Crye Precision, a design and manufacturing company based in the Brooklyn Navy Yard that is producing gowns with the help of women’s wear brand Lafayette 148 and other sewing shops at the Yard. The Administration projects over 300,000 gowns will be produced by the end of April by factories across the City.

Last week, Adafruit, a Manhattan-based company that makes machine components; Makerspace NYC, a community workspace for industrial manufacturing at Brooklyn Army Terminal; Bednark Studios, a custom fabrication company at the Brooklyn Navy Yard; and Duggal Digital Solutions, a custom printing company, produced and distributed 127,000 face shields to the Department of Health. Over the next three months, local industrial firms will manufacture up to 1.5 million face shields.

In March, the New York City Economic Development Corporation began coordinating with local businesses to manufacture needed medical supplies at scale as part of the COVID-19 emergency response. The Administration facilitates coordination with the Department of Health to ensure products meet the City’s safety standards and protocols. The City has received over 2,000 responses so far to its call for local production.

SAFE STREETS PILOT UPDATE

Last night, the Administration reached a decision to suspend the safe streets pilot. This is a part of our ongoing effort to use City resources wisely to promote social distancing. Over the past two weeks, overcrowding was not an issue, but we did not observe enough people utilizing the open space to justify the presence of the over 80 members of the NYPD across the four sites. We are still open to reviewing other innovative ways to open public space to New Yorkers and may adjust course as this situation evolves.

DOG RUNS

Today, NYC Parks is closing dog runs as a part of ongoing efforts to maintain social distancing in public spaces. The City has been monitoring parks closely, and has observed overcrowding at dog runs and received numerous complaints. This week, NYC Parks will also remove any remaining basketball rims and tennis nets and lock up all courts with a gate, including handball courts. On Friday, the City closed all playgrounds. Our parks remain open for the people, and dogs, to enjoy.


Saturday, April 4, 2020

Governor Cuomo Announces 1,000 Ventilators Donated to New York State; Confirms 10,841 Additional COVID-19 Cases - Bringing Statewide Total to 113,704

Governor Cuomo Facebook Page Screenshot

Amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced that 1,000 ventilators have been donated to New York by the Joseph and Clara Tsai Foundation. The Joseph and Clara Tsai Foundationand the Jack Ma Foundation have also donated one million surgical masks, one million KN95 masks and more than 100,000 pairs of goggles to the state. The Chinese government and Ambassador Huang Ping, Chinese Consul General, have facilitated these donations. The ventilators arrived at JFK Airport today.

The National Basketball Association is also contributing one million surgical masks for New York's essential workers in collaboration with the New York Knicks, Brooklyn Nets and China's New York Consul General Huang Ping.

Additionally, Oregon Governor Kate Brown has offered to provide New York with 140 ventilators from Oregon's stockpile.

Governor Cuomo will also issue an Executive Order allowing medical students that are slated to graduate to begin practicing immediately to help with the state's surge health care force. To date, 85,000 health professionals, including 22,000 out-of-state individuals, have signed up to volunteer as part of the state's surge healthcare force during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

"This pandemic has been stressing our nation on every level and we are doing everything in our power to prepare for the fight that will come at the apex," Governor Cuomo said. "Ventilators remain our greatest challenge, and we have received a generous donation of 1,000 ventilators from the Joseph and Clara Tsai Foundation and the Chinese government, as well as 140 ventilators from Oregon - and these ventilators will save lives. This is a painful, disorienting experience, but we will get through it together and we will all be the better for it."

Finally, the Governor confirmed 10,841 additional cases of novel coronavirus, bringing the statewide total to 113,704 confirmed cases in New York State.


Mayor de Blasio Announces Partnership with JetBlue and United Airlines to Fly Healthcare Workers to New York City for Free

Mayor de Blasio Facebook Page Screenshot

NEW YORK—To strengthen our fight against COVID-19, Mayor de Blasio on Friday announced partnerships with JetBlue and United Airlines to provide free round-trip flights for medical volunteers traveling to New York City. As we face an unprecedented strain on our healthcare system, the Mayor is asking all healthcare workers to join New Yorkers on the frontlines in the battle against this virus. Mayor de Blasio yesterday called on the federal government to institute an essential draft of all private medical personnel.

“Our healthcare workers are heroes, and right now they need reinforcements to save as many lives as they can. I am calling on medical professionals from across the country to come to New York City and help us win this fight. This invaluable partnership with JetBlue and United Airlines will ensure we can provide transportation to these fearless warriors at no additional cost,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio.

"Our nation's healthcare workers are on the frontline of the coronavirus pandemic, providing lifesaving support to our family members, neighbors and friends," said First Lady Chirlane McCray. "We are deeply grateful for their courage and service, and we thank our generous partners for their support during this challenging time."

“As New York’s hometown airline, we are honored to be able to help right in our own backyard. We are honored to provide critical travel needs for medical professionals and first responders,” said Joanna Geraghty, president and chief operating officer, JetBlue. “The work of first responders is tireless, and the hours long. For those volunteering to help in areas of need, the last thing they need to worry about is how they will get here to answer the call. We applaud the healthcare workers who are helping us get through this challenging time and inspiring humanity along the way.”

“We are profoundly grateful for the extraordinarily talented and selfless individuals who are working around the clock and have an unwavering commitment to support our communities and medical providers at this time of exceptional need,” said Jill Kaplan, President, New York / New Jersey for United Airlines. “It is our hope that providing air travel at no cost will allow additional dedicated volunteers and first responders the ability to reach the Tri-State area, that has been hit hardest by COVID-19.” 

"The New Yorkers working on the frontlines of COVID-19 have been and continue to be incredibly brave and tireless in their efforts," said Toya Williford, Executive Director of the Mayor's Fund to Advance New York City. "To know that there are health care heroes across the country who are willing to lend their support, and that United and JetBlue stand ready to fly them here, is wonderfully heartening. The Mayor's Fund is deeply grateful for our trusted partners in the business community during these trying times."

The Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City and New York City Emergency Management will work closely with JetBlue, United Airlines, and other carriers to coordinate travel for medical professionals who are selected to provide their services in the City’s time of exceptional need. Medical professionals who want to step up to volunteer should register here.

JetBlue has already started transporting medical professionals, and has flown more than 50 in to New York City. These numbers will continue to increase in the coming weeks as medical professionals receive their New York City work assignments. JetBlue is headquartered in Queens and has always stepped up to help the City in times of need. In the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, JetBlue served more than 25,000 meals to New Yorkers and donated nearly $1 million to recovery efforts.

Business, individuals, governments, and philanthropies have rallied around New York City to provide support. The City thanks:

Facebook for 25,000 masks and 48,000 pairs of gloves

Missions of Qatar for 60,000 surgical masks

Natixis for 70,000 respirators and masks

Municipality of Shanghai for 20,000 masks

The Met for 33,000 gloves, 350 N95s, protective suits, and booties

Rudin Management for 10,000 pairs of gloves

New York Road Runners for 20,000 pairs of gloves

“A Million Masks” for 1,000 N95 masks

Ford for 50,000 face shields

American Express for 36,000 N95 masks

Louis Vuitton for 21,000 N95 masks

Discovery for airing PSAs about the City’s free grab and go meals

Uber for $750,000 in free rides for health care workers and first responders

UberEATS for $250,000 in food codes on the UberEATS app for healthcare workers and firefighters

JetBlue for free flights for critical medical workers who volunteered to serve in New York City

United for free flights for critical medical workers who volunteered to serve in New York City

Goldman Sachs for their donation to the Fund for Public Schools

Rihanna and the Clara Lionel Foundation for their donation to the Fund for Public Schools

President Duterte Taps ROTC in Handing Over Emergency Subsidy

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte updates the nation on the government's efforts in addressing the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) at the Malago Clubhouse in MalacaƱang on April 3, 2020. TOTO LOZANO/PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte on Friday called on the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) members to help the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) in handing over cash assistance and food packs to vulnerable sectors after designating the department as lead agency in distributing emergency subsidy.

Disappointed by the flood of complaints, the President decided to transfer the task of providing relief from local officials to the DSWD.

“Sinabi ko kay Rolly, General Bautista, siya ang Secretary ng DSWD, ‘Ikaw na ang humawak’,” the President said during his talk to the nation aired Friday night. “Ang problema ngayon sabi nila — sabi niya, ‘Hindi kaya.’ Hindi kaya ang distribution, kulang ang tao niya.”

“Sabi ko, well, he’s a military man. He can always ask the Armed Forces to… Distribution lang naman ‘yan. Hindi ‘yan pamulitika,” he further said.

The President then called on idealistic young volunteers to help the DSWD in distributing the emergency subsidy at least in the country’s urban centers.

“I’m calling upon mga ROTC, get in touch with DSWD. Doon sa mga siyudad, just give your accreditation, maybe an ID at makatulong kayo.”

Through the “Bayanihan to Heal as One Act,” Congress granted President Duterte special powers to realign certain state funds to deliver P200 billion in emergency subsidies to 18 million low-income households that have lost their sources of income amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

The P200-billion program for distribution in cash and basic needs over the next two months is the largest direct financial assistance program granted by the government to Filipino families in the country’s history.


Friday, April 3, 2020

Palm Sunday and Easter Masses will be Broadcast Live from St. Patrick's Cathedral on PIX11

St. Patrick's Cathedral Facebook Page Photo

New York, NY - The Archdiocese of New York and New York’s Very Own PIX11 will partner to broadcast Mass on both PALM SUNDAY, April 5, and EASTER SUNDAY, April 12, LIVE from St. Patrick’s Cathedral.

TIMOTHY CARDINAL DOLAN, Archbishop of New York will celebrate both Masses at St. Patrick’s Cathedral, although without a congregation present due to the coronavirus outbreak. Each Mass will be broadcast beginning at 10 a.m. throughout the Tri-state area on PIX11.

As the most sacred time of the year for Christians approaches, public gatherings and worship services have been suspended due to the life-threatening public health concerns arising from COVID-19. In light of these circumstances, the Archdiocese of New York is grateful to PIX11 for bringing these Masses to the homebound public.

“We may not be able to gather in our churches this Easter, but, thanks to PIX 11, we’ll be together in spirit,” said Cardinal Dolan.  “I look forward to praying with all of you, in a very special way, for those who have died and their families, the sick, and the doctors, nurses, and health care professionals who have been courageously fighting this disease.”

“PIX11 is honored to work with the New York Archdiocese to broadcast the Palm Sunday and Easter Sunday Masses in service to our community,” said Bart Feder, vice president and general manager of PIX11. “Offering access to Cardinal Dolan’s words of comfort from St. Patrick’s is a gift to our region during this most challenging time.”   

PIX11 has been broadcasting Christmas Midnight Mass from St. Patrick’s Cathedral in the Tri-state area for over 40 years.

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A live-streamed of the Mass will also be available at  www.youtube.com/c/SaintPatricksCathedralNYC,PIX11.com/Mass and

Facebook.com/PIX11News

Hashtags: #EasterinNY #Easter #PalmSunday #NewYorksVeryOwn

About PIX11:

Founded in 1948, WPIX-TV (PIX11,) a division of The E.W. Scripps Company, has long been regarded as a groundbreaking station in New York. In 2006, PIX11 became the flagship station of the CW Television Network and PIX11’s award winning news, successful primetime programming, off-network sitcom favorites, public affairs shows and outstanding event coverage have contributed to the station’s success. The station has been honored with numerous awards for excellence, including over 375 Emmy® Awards. PIX11 also has a long history of local sports coverage and in 2015 became the broadcast home of the New York Yankees. Since 1999 PIX11 has also been the broadcast station of the New York Mets. The station is also home to the New Jersey Lottery drawings. PIX11 engages with audiences across multiple social platforms; find us on Facebook at facebook.com/pix11news, on Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat: @pix11news. For more information visit www.pix11.com.

Thursday, April 2, 2020

Mayor de Blasio Calls for Draft of Essential Medical Personnel

Mayor de Blasio Facebook Page Screenshot

NEW YORK—As New York City works to quickly quadruple the number of hospital beds throughout the city, today, Mayor de Blasio today called on the federal government to institute an essential draft of all private medical personnel to help in the fight against COVID-19. The United States must mobilize a national response to meet the rapidly growing demand for medical personnel – first in New York and then other localities throughout the country.

“Our City faces unprecedented challenges in the weeks ahead,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “Every ventilator and doctor can save life, which is why we are marshalling every possible resource to our City in record time. But the facts remain the same: the federal government must step up and provide the reinforcements we need. The battle will be long, and we cannot fight it alone.”

Citywide as of 6:00 PM on April 2, there are 49,707 positive cases of COVID-19 and 1,562 fatalities. There are 9,343 confirmed cases in the Bronx, 13, 290 in Brooklyn, 7,398 in Manhattan, 16,819 in Queens, and 2,822 in Staten Island.

As of 6:00 PM on April 2, there were at least 9,680 people hospitalized. Of those individuals, at least 2,240 were in the ICU.

New Recommendations for Face Covering
The Department of Health and Mental Hygiene is advising all New Yorkers to cover their noses and mouths using a scarf, bandana, or piece of clothing when in public to reduce the risk of transmission. This recommendation is modeled off a new study from the CDC published April 1st, which outlines the possibility of pre-symptomatic COVID-19 transmission in Singapore.

New Yorkers should not use surgical or N95 masks as face covers. Masks must be preserved for health care workers and first responders.

New Yorkers should continue to practice social distancing measures.

Critical Supplies
The City is currently working to dispatch 400 ventilators from the federal stockpile that were distributed by the State. While these ventilators will sustain the City for a short, interim period, a minimum of 2,500-3,000 ventilators must be procured by Sunday to carry the City through the next week. The City still needs a total of 15,000 ventilators. The City has made a formal request of the federal government, which can be read here.

To preserve the City’s supply of ventilators, City hospitals are training staff on how to use BiPap machines, which can keep some patients from requiring a ventilator. If you are willing to donate or sell a ventilator to New York City, please call 833-NYC-0040 or visit NYC.gov/HelpNow.

Health + Hospitals also needs 1,000 nurses, 300 respiratory therapists, and 150 physicians by Sunday, April 5th to adequately treat every COVID-19 patient.

Expanding DOE Meal Hubs to all New Yorkers
To ensure every New York City resident can access nutritious meals, the Department of Education’s Meal Hubs will expand service to include all children and adults across the five boroughs starting on Friday, April 3. Sites will begin grab-and-go adult meal service, serving three meals a day, Monday through Friday. Adults and children can pick up three meals at a time and no adult will be turned away. There is no registration or identification required.

Meal hubs will operate from 7:30 AM- 11:30 AM for children and families and 11:30 AM- 1:30 PM for adults. Since March 16, the Department of Education’s free meals programs have served approximately 1.2 million meals to families and students at over 440 Meal Hubs sites across the city. Meal Hub locations can be found at here or text NYC FOOD to 877-877.

Relief for Small Businesses
The Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) opens up Friday, April 3rd. The $350 billion federal loan program is open to small businesses or nonprofits with fewer than 500 employee. The program is open on a first come, first serve basis. Those who are interested should apply here.

Stay Informed
Over 800,000 New Yorkers have signed up for the City’s COVID text notification system to get regular updates on the latest developments with coronavirus in New York City text COVID to 692-692.  New Yorkers can text COVIDESP to 692-692 for updates in Spanish. You will receive regular SMS texts with the latest news and developments. If you have any questions on finding medical care call 311.


Philippines: DSWD will lead relief distribution, grant of financial aid, says President Duterte

Presidential Communications Photo

The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) will spearhead the distribution of relief goods and financial assistance after President Rodrigo Roa Duterte says local officials are abusing the release of assistance to the people in the midst of Luzon-wide community quarantine.

“Tinanggal ko sa politiko kasi maraming reklamo. Tinanggal ko sa politiko ‘yung distribution ng pera pati ang bigas na pagkain,” President Duterte said during his address to the nation Wednesday night.

“Ibinigay ko kay Secretary Bautista lahat na ‘yan kasi itong DSWD may sariling distribution network na ‘yan, ‘yung Pantawid. So meron. Idagdag na lang nila doon sa matatanggap doon sa recipient ng Pantawid.”

Presidential Peace Adviser Carlito Galvez will assist the DSWD in providing support to the people, the President said.

In a previous address, the President warned local officials to avoid corruption and to refrain from politicizing distribution of relief goods and financial support to vulnerable sectors.

As he ordered the immediate distribution of relief goods, the President also made an appeal to the public to help maintain order.

“Mayroon tayong ginawang mga hakbang na to sustain us but only if there is order in the society. Kasi ‘pag magulo, walang order, walang distribution na mangyari kasi inaagaw, ina-ambush,” he said.

“Kaya mapipilitan ako na sabihin: Huwag na huwag ninyong gawin ‘yan kasi I will not hesitate to order to shoot you,” the President further said.

The President likewise warned the Kalipunan ng Damayang Mahihirap (Kadamay), a leftist organization, not to foment discord as the country battles a pandemic, stressing his government is ready to detain those who will violate the law.

“Intindihin ninyo ‘yan. Kaya huwag kayong maggawa ng kalokohan at mag-riot-riot diyan because I will order you detained at bibitawan ko kayo pagkatapos na wala na itong COVID,” he said. “Huwag ninyong subukan ang Pilipino. Do not try to test it.”

President Duterte also assured the country’s frontliners especially doctors, nurses and other health workers of his support after hearing reports of mistreatment.

“‘Yung mga tao na gumagawa ng ganun, I am ordering the police to go around. Huwag kayong mag-istambay diyan sa istasyon. Maglakad kayo, tandem, at maghanap kayo ng mga taong bastos,” he said.

“‘Yung mga frontliners, huwag kayong mag-alala. I will support and defend you,” he added.

The country is currently in the third week of month-long enhanced community quarantine throughout Luzon aimed at containing the spread of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).

As of Wednesday, the Department of Health (DOH) reported that there are more than 2,000 infected individuals in the country with 96 deaths.


Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Governor Cuomo Announces Regeneron is Creating 500,000 Test Kits for State at No Charge; Confirms 7,917 Additional COVID-19 Cases in New York State - Bringing Total to 83,712

April 1, 2020 - Albany, NY - Governor Andrew M. Cuomo provides a coronavirus update during a press conference in the Red Room at the State Capitol. (Mike Groll/Office of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo)

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that New York-based Regeneron Pharmaceuticals is creating 500,000 test kits for the State at no charge amid a nationwide shortage of test kits and swabs. The first batch of test kits was delivered to the State on Monday and the State will receive an ongoing delivery of 25,000 kits per day. Additionally, Corning has donated 100,000 tubes and provided an additional 500,000 tubes to the State at reduced cost and expedited delivery, and Puritan has sold medical swabs to the State. To date, the State has tested 220,880 individuals, with 15,694 new people tested just yesterday.

Governor Cuomo also announced that New York City playgrounds will close to address the lack of adherence to social distancing protocols. Open spaces in New York City will remain open.

Additionally, the Governor announced the launch of a new PSA that provides information on how to apply for unemployment benefits and reassures New Yorkers if their unemployment filing is delayed, they will still receive full unemployment benefits. The PSA is also available with Spanish subtitles here.

The Governor also reminded New Yorkers to complete the 2020 Census online, by telephone or by mail.

"New York has been very aggressive on testing from day one - so far we have tested more than 220,000 New Yorkers with more than 15,000 new tests every day - and it has helped us slow the spread of this virus," Governor Cuomo said. "Rapid testing is the fastest way to return to normalcy and get the economy back up and running, and will also help end the anxiety that has become the most oppressive part of this situation. We now have new testing capacity in New York thanks to donations from Regeneron and Corning so we can continue our work to plan forward and prepare for when the apex of the curve hits our healthcare system. In the meantime, New Yorkers must continue to comply with all social distancing protocols and stay home as much as possible to prevent spreading this virus to others."

Finally, the Governor confirmed 7,917 additional cases of novel coronavirus, bringing the statewide total to 83,712.

Mayor de Blasio to Create Hospital at Billie Jean King Tennis Center to Relieve Need at Elmhurst Hospital

Mayor Bill de Blasio Facebook Page Screenshot

NEW YORK—Mayor de Blasio on Tuesday announced a new temporary hospital facility at the Billie Jean King Tennis Center in Flushing Meadow, Queens. The facility will treat COVID non-ICU patients beginning next Tuesday, April 7th. The hospital will reach its full capacity of 350 patients over the next three weeks. These additional beds will help relieve some of the current need at Elmhurst Hospital.

“We’re approaching the toughest weeks of this crisis, and our City is rising to the challenge,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “We are increasing hospital capacity at breakneck speed to ensure that every person in need of care will get it – no questions asked.”

Citywide as of 6:00 PM on March 31st, there are 41,771 positive cases of COVID-19 and 1,096 fatalities. There are 7,814 confirmed cases in the Bronx, 11,160 in Brooklyn, 6,539 in Manhattan, 13,869 Queens, and 2,354 in Staten Island.

As of 6:00 PM on March 31th, there were at least 8,400 people hospitalized. Of those individuals, at least 1,888 were in the ICU.

Hospital Capacity Update
NYC Health + Hospitals has now added 1,000 contract nurses to support existing staff system wide. To support the continued surge of patients, Health + Hospitals will also add an additional 1,000 nurses in the coming weeks. The City has also asked the federal government to supply 1,000 nurses, 3,000 respiratory therapists, and 150 doctors to support hospital staff across the City.

Critical Supply Update
Today, the City distributed 800,000 N95 masks, 3,000,000 face masks, 120,000 face shields, 40,000 gowns, and 600,000 surgical gloves to hospitals citywide.

The City has put out a call to oral surgeons, plastic surgeons, and veterinarians across the City to donate ventilators that are currently not in use. More information on how to donate is available here.

The City has now received and is working to dispatch all 2,500 ventilators received by the federal government. To date, the City has distributed a total of 3,056,000 face masks, 3,287,880 N95 masks, 65,470 gowns, and 1,305,940 surgical gloves to hospitals across the City.

City Jail Update
Through a combination of efforts by the Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice and the District Attorneys and the State, as of today, the City has released at least 900 people from our jails.

Playgrounds
Parks Department Staff has noticed a consistent lack of social distancing with children’s play equipment at 10 playgrounds across the City and will close them by the end of today, Tuesday, March 31st. The playgrounds include:

Brooklyn:

Middleton Playground

Fort Greene Park – 2 playgrounds

Brighton Playground

Bronx

Watson Gleason Playground

Manhattan:

Fort Tryon - Jacob Javits Playground

Raoul Wallenberg Playground (in Highbridge Park)

Queens

Mauro Playground (in Meadows Corona Park)

Staten Island:

Clove Lakes Park - 2 playgrounds

The City will continue to closely enforce social distancing rules and close additional playgrounds as necessary.

Protecting Amazon Workers
The Mayor has directed the Commission on Human Rights to investigate Amazon for the alleged firing of a Staten Island Fulfillment Center worker who organized a strike over the company’s health and safety practices.

Alternate Side Parking
Alternate Side Parking (ASP) citywide will be suspended for an additional two weeks through Tuesday, April 14th. Any New Yorker under isolation who has received a 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. For additional questions call 311.

Enforcing Closure of Non-Essential Construction Work
Following new State restrictions temporarily halting all non-essential construction, the Department of Buildings formulated specific guidance and agency operating protocols to implement these new emergency orders. Moving forward, only emergency construction work, essential facilities construction work, and work that is performed by a sole worker on a job site is permitted in New York City until further notice.

Emergency Construction Work includes the following:

Projects necessary to protect the health and safety of a building's occupants

Any emergency work ordered by the Department

Restoration work for essential services such as heat, hot water, or electricity

Work necessary to repair a condition that severely affects life, health, safety or property

Any work where it would cause an unsafe condition to halt the project before it is finished

Essential Facilities Construction includes:

Roads, bridges and transit facilities

Utility work

Hospitals or Health Care Facilities

Transitional or Homeless Shelters

Affordable Housing

Other essential facilities as directed by the Department

All other work regulated by DOB, and not covered by the above, is required to suspend operations until further notice. In addition, DOB will be rescinding all previously issued After Hours Variance (AHV) permits. Going forward AHV permits, required to perform any work at night or on the weekend, will only be issued for approved essential or emergency work. Non-essential construction sites must submit a request to continue work and be approved by DOB. Requests can be submitted at www.nyc.gov/dobnow.

Department of Buildings inspectors will be regularly inspecting construction sites citywide to ensure that they are complying with the emergency order; that non-essential construction operations have been suspended where required, and proper safety measures have been implemented. All sites, essential or non-essential must maintain appropriate social distancing measures, including for elevators, meals and entry and exit. Violations of social distancing or non-essential construction work will lead to enforcement actions from the Department, and subject to fines of up to $10,000 starting on Tuesday, March 31.

Any construction site that has been halted due to this emergency order must be properly secured and maintained at all times in order to safeguard the public throughout the duration of time while operations at the site are suspended. The owner of the site is legally responsible to ensure the sites are kept safe. See below some of the requirements for suspended construction sites in the city:

Weekly safety inspections of the site by the owner, or an individual designated by the owner

Accurate logs of each of these required safety inspections must be kept at the site at all times

All public sidewalk and walkways adjacent to the sites must be maintained in a safe condition

All garbage, debris, and standing water must be removed from the site

Helping NYC’s Small Businesses
The Department of Small Business Services started the NYC Employee Retention Grant program as an immediate response to the economic setbacks small businesses were facing because of the coronavirus outbreak. The City moved swiftly to provide service to businesses that have up to 4 employees with this grant and has been successful in serving over 1,200 businesses with the allotted $10 million for the grant program, an average of $7,800 for each grant. This grant program will officially close to applicants on Friday at 5pm, and the City will continue to serve small businesses through the Small Business Continuity Fund, which is also first come first serve. This loan gives up to $75,000 to businesses with up to 99 employees. Businesses can use this loan to supplement their payroll costs, for working capital, inventory, and other investments. Eligible owners who would like to learn more about the loan program should call 311 or visit nyc.gov/covid19biz. The City is also working to connect small businesses to the programs and loans offered by the United States Small Business Administration. SBS will be offering technical assistance to ensure that NYC small businesses are best prepared to fully access business assistance programs funded by the federal stimulus.

Postponing Annual Tax Lien Sale Until August
The City will postpone its annual tax lien sale until August, as residents continue to cope with the COVID-19 outbreak.

Property owners who are facing hardships making their property tax payments can take advantage of several existing Department Of Finance programs. These include exemption programs to lower the amount of taxes owed, standard payment plans, or a new Property Tax and Interest Deferral (PT AID) program, for those who qualify. More information on those programs can be found on the agency’s website.

Stay Informed
Nearly 800,000 New Yorkers have signed up for the City’s COVID text notification system to get regular updates on the latest developments with coronavirus in New York City text COVID to 692-692.  New Yorkers can text COVIDESP to 692-692 for updates in Spanish. You will receive regular SMS texts with the latest news and developments. If you have any questions on finding medical care call 311.