COVID-19 Facts and Updates

March 5th, 2020

The COVID testing and vaccine rollout is far from streamlined–to say the least–so I’ve compiled the resources I know about on this page in an attempt to create a one-stop portal (I’ve folded in information from my previous testing-only page). Most testing is free or covered by insurance; vaccines are all free. This page’s information is updated as we receive updates (Much of this information comes from the NYC and NYS COVID vaccine portals). Jump to the information you’re interested in by clicking the links below:

Vaccine Eligibility // Vaccination Sites  //  About the Vaccine  // Testing Sites

Vaccine eligibility

Figure out if you’re eligible here (NYC Dept. of Health site) or here (NYS webpage). 

As of Monday, 1/11/21, these categories are newly eligible:

  • People age 65+
  • Public-facing grocery store workers
  • First responders and support staff
  • Correctional facility staff
  • P-12 schools, college, and child care staff (including school bus drivers)
  • Public transit employees (including airport and airline staff)
  • People living, working, or volunteering in congregate homeless shelters

The groups already eligible (Phase 1a) are:

  • Health care workers and public health professionals who see patients in person
  • Home health aides
  • Nursing home residents and staff
  • Staff and residents in facilities run by various NYS health agencies (Offices for People With Developmental Disabilities, Mental Health, and Addiction Services)
  • Medical examiners, coroners, and many funeral home workers
  • Lab staff working with COVID-19 specimens or those administering vaccines

This list of eligibility will be updated regularly.

Vaccination sites

To avoid large lines at the vaccine sites, all vaccines are currently scheduled by appointment. If you’re eligible, you can find vaccination sites and make an appointment:

  1. Ask your primary care provider if they are administering vaccines.
  2. Use the NYC COVID vaccine finder.
  3. Call the NYC vaccine hotline (877-VAX-4NYC or 877-829-4692) 8 am – 9 pm, a NYC Health + Hospital or Dept. of Health Vaccine Hub site.
  4. Contact providers listed in the NYS eligibility survey.
  5. Call the NYS vaccine hotline (833-NYS-4VAX or 833-697-4829).

Appointments may also be available at Northwell Health locations.

Once you’ve scheduled an appointment, complete this online form. (Once you complete the form, you’re then supposed to receive a submission ID number by email.) Bring to your appointment your submission ID and proof of employment (employee ID card, pay stub, or letter from your employer certifying you work there). If you’re 65+, bring a form of ID with your birthdate (driver’s license, passport, etc.).

Once you’re vaccinated, register for the CDC’s V-safe online tool, which texts a weekly symptoms survey to your smartphone to track any post-vaccine side effects and helps public health experts track the vaccine’s effectiveness.

If you’re hesitant, learn more about the vaccine.

If you are hesitant to take the vaccine right now, here are some facts to consider.

Research on “messenger RNA” (mRNA)– a template cells use to carry genetic instructions for producing proteins– has been ongoing for decades (the MIT professor who developed it won the 1993 Nobel Prize in Medicine) after mRNA was discovered in 1961. That’s one reason why these vaccines were able to be tested so quickly in clinical trials.

Recently developed biological technology used by a small, nimble German pharma company, BioNtech, helped test and perfect the synthetic mRNA, which forms the basis for the vaccines. As one observer put it, “It is absolutely extraordinary that this new approach to vaccination — injecting chemical RNA into the muscle — has come through so quickly and proven to be so effective. It opens up a whole new field of vaccinology…”

The Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine, the first to be approved by the FDA, was tested on 18,198 people (9.1% of participants were Black, 28% were Latinx, 4.3% were Asian, and 0.5% were American Indian/Alaska native). The Moderna vaccine was tested on 15,200 people. Around half of the recipients reported fatigue or chills, and one in seven reported a 24-hour fever. No serious side effects were identified in any recipient, and recipients who felt ill nonetheless said they were glad to have gotten the vaccine. (More here).

Finally, the mRNA vaccines do not contain the virus itself– the way, say, measles vaccines do– and do not alter DNA in the human body’s cells.

I’ll be getting a vaccine now that I’m eligible (as someone over age 65); I think everyone should.

testing sites

Private Hospitals

  • Lenox Hill Hospital
    100 E. 77th St.
    (212) 434-2000
    Mo-Su: 8a – 4p
    Referral required from primary care physician
    Cost varies by insurance type‍
  • New York-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center
    525 E. 68th St
    (212) 746-5454
    Mo-Fr: 9a – 5p
    COVID and antibody testing available
    Appointment necessary
    Completely covered by insurance
    Free for those without insurance

Local/Community Testing Locations (Pop-Up Locations)
All sites are walk-in, completely covered by insurance and free for those without insurance unless otherwise noted.

  • Roosevelt Island
    524 Main St.
    We-Sa: 9a – 5p
    Rapid testing only
    Make an appointment here

More information on testing sites can be found here or here.

What You Need to Know About New York City's Localized Restrictions

COVID-19 continues to spread in New York City (NYC) with concerning increases in community transmission in certain neighborhoods. NYC is taking action by implementing restrictions in three zones identified by the State — red, orange, yellow. Find out if you are in a Covid-19 Hotspot Zone.

Red Zone

Schools: All New York City public schools and nonpublic schools must close and return to full remote learning.

Businesses: All nonessential businesses are required to close. Only essential businesses as designated by New York State Empire State Development Corporation can remain open.

Food Service Establishments: Restaurants, bars, cafes, and other food service establishments can provide takeout and delivery service only. No indoor or outdoor dining is allowed.

Houses of Worship: Houses of worship may remain open at 25% capacity, up to a maximum of 10 people, whichever is fewer.

Gatherings: Non-essential gatherings of any size are prohibited and must be postponed or canceled. Any individual who encourages, promotes, or organizes mass gatherings may be fined up to $15,000/day.

Orange Zone

Schools: All New York City public schools and nonpublic schools must close and return to full remote learning.

Businesses: Businesses including gyms and fitness centers, and personal care services, including barbers, hair salons, spas, tattoo or piercing parlors, nail technicians and nail salons, cosmetologists, estheticians, the provision of laser hair removal and electrolysis, etc. must close.

Food Service Establishments: Restaurants, bars, cafes, and other food service establishments can provide outdoor dining and takeout and delivery service only. There is a four-person maximum per table. No indoor dining is allowed.

Houses of Worship: Houses of worship may remain open at 33% capacity, up to a maximum of 25 people, whichever is fewer.

Gatherings: Non-essential gatherings must be limited to no more than 10 people for both indoor and outdoor settings. Any individual who encourages, promotes, or organizes mass gatherings may be fined up to $15,000/day.

Yellow Zone

Schools: All New York City public schools and nonpublic schools may remain open. Testing guidance will be issued by New York State on Friday, 10/9/2020.

Businesses: All businesses may remain open but must follow COVID-19 requirements for their sector.

Food Service Establishments: Indoor and outdoor dining is allowed. There is a four-person maximum per table.

Houses of Worship: Houses of worship may remain open at 50% maximum capacity.

Gatherings: Non-essential gatherings must be limited to 25 people maximum for both indoor and outdoor settings. Any individual who encourages, promotes, or organizes mass gatherings may be fined up to $15,000/day.


Restart NYC – Guidance for Phase Four

The City entered Phase Four of Restart NYC on July 20. This phase includes reopening for low-risk outdoor arts & entertainment, media production, and professional sports competitions with no fans. The date for higher education, Pre-K to grade 12 schools, low-risk indoor arts & entertainment, and malls have not yet been determined.

Below is Phase Four guidance for the following:

How You Can Prevent the Spread of COVID-19

  • Stay home if sick
    Only leave for essential medical care and testing or other essential errands.
  • Keep physical distance
    Stay at least 6 feet away from other people.
  • Keep your hands clean
    Wash your hands often with soap and water. Use hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.
  • Wear a face covering
    You can be contagious without symptoms. Protect those around you by wearing a face covering.
  • If you get a call from “NYS Contact Tracing” (518-387-9993), PLEASE answer the phone. 

Restart NYC – Guidance for the Previous Phases 

Phase Three: Businesses that may start operations in Phase Three include personal care services such as tattoo and piercing parlors, appearance enhancement practices, massage therapy practices, spas, cosmetology salons, nail salons, tanning salons, and waxing salons.

Phase Two: Businesses that may start or expand operations included: offices, in-store retail, outdoor dining, hair salons and barbershops, real estate, commercial building management, and retail rental, repair, and cleaning, vehicle sales, leases, and rentals.

Phase One: Businesses that may start to reopen or expand operations included: retail, construction, manufacturing, and wholesale trade.


Coronavirus (COVID-19) Information Links


Upper East Side Local Businesses During Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Community Board 8 is trying to keep businesses and residents connected with a listing of all the open businesses in our community during the outbreak of the Coronavirus (COVID-19). While this is the most up to date list that we have, we encourage you to check with the businesses as things are quickly evolving.


Coronavirus (COVID-19) – Past Updates from CB8