Coronavirus (COVID-19) Updates November 30th

November 30th, 2020

NOVEMBER 30th RESOURCES AND UPDATES:

 

Mayor Bill de Blasio announced yesterday (11/29) that K-5 schools and 3-K and pre-K programs will reopen next Monday, 12/7. All District 75 special education grades will reopen Thursday, 12/10. (The Mayor said today that middle and high school students are unlikely to return before January.)

What’s more, the City will no longer use a hard-and-fast three percentage positivity rate to close all schools, the metric used to close them in the first place. Instead, testing will be ramped up to test 20% of school populations each week to be able to spot specific positivity hot spots in the schools. One positive case would cause that student or staffer’s class to quarantine, while two or more cases can cause the whole building to close.

At schools where there is enough space and staffing, the goal is to bring students back five days a week, and thus allow those schools to have just two types of students: fully remote and fully in-person classes. Only students who have already signed up for in-person learning-- an estimated 190,000 students-- will be allowed to return to buildings; and no students will be allowed to return to buildings without signed testing consent forms from parents. Parents can complete the testing consent form here: http://mystudent.nyc. The next window for additional families to opt-in to in-person learning will be when a vaccine is "widely available."

Governor Cuomo Announced the Winter Plan to Combat COVID-19 Surge in New York State. Here's what you need to know about the Winter Plan:

  1. The State Department of Health is implementing new emergency hospital measures to manage capacity. Hospitals are directed to identify retired medical staff, prepare to add 50 percent bed capacity, and confirm they have the mandatory 90-day stockpile of PPE, among other measures.
  2. The State will refine the criteria for Yellow, Orange and Red Zones. The refinement will take into account important factors including the rate of hospitalizations, available hospital and ICU beds, and hospital staffing, and is part of our larger strategy of protecting hospital capacity. These changes will be implemented after experts evaluate any "post-Thanksgiving effect" in the COVID numbers.
  3. If a hospital system is overwhelmed, we can pull an "Emergency Stop." In addition to the three existing micro-cluster zone levels (Yellow, Orange and Red), New York will add a new "Emergency Stop" level, which will effectively put that area under the NY on PAUSE guidelines from the spring. This new level would be used if a hospital system in that area was at serious risk of becoming overwhelmed.
  4. The State will encourage school districts to keep schools open, particularly K-8 schools. Our efforts will be focused on keeping K-8 and Special Education open as long as it can be done safely—using sustainable, ongoing testing. While local school districts are able to close at levels under the State's mandatory closure rule, they are urged to keep K-8 schools open whenever it is safe.
  5. Small gatherings have now been identified as the number one spread of COVID-19. At least 65 percent of all cases come from these settings and sixteen states, including New York, have already limited gatherings to no more than 10 people. While the government's ability to monitor small gatherings is limited, public education on the safety concerns of small gatherings is crucial. Help us spread the word on the danger these gatherings pose.
  6. It will likely be months before a critical mass of vaccinations becomes available. Even though a vaccine is expected to be released in the coming weeks, we're still a while away from having a vaccine that is widely available. As the State operationalizes vaccine distribution, we continue to base our plan on three pillars: Fairness, Equity and Safety.

The WHO released an update on COVID-19 and schools. View that update here.

Any New Yorker can get tested and you can find a testing site near you hereYou can also call 1-888-364-3065 to make an appointment at a New York State-run testing location—most sites have available appointments at drive-thru or walk-in locations.

New York State is opening an emergency facility in Staten Island to respond to the rising cases. There were 108 hospital admissions of Staten Island residents in the past seven days (11/16-11/22), up from 27 admissions a few weeks ago (10/26-11/1). At the request of local hospitals, an emergency facility for COVID patients at the South Beach Psychiatric Center will open that will utilize up to 108 beds on two floors to handle overflow for COVID-19 hospitalizations.

Look up any address in the state and see if it's in a cluster zone. New Yorkers can look up any address to determine if it is in or near an existing cluster zone using this tool on the State's website. The tool includes a navigable, regularly updated map of New York State that shows all the current cluster zones in the state.

The State Department of Health released guidance on shopping safely this holiday season. Winter holiday activities, such as shopping and social gatherings, present a risk of COVID-19 spread to New Yorkers, particularly within areas of the state where confirmed cases and clusters have recently increased. The Department of Health issued new guidance to help both businesses and New Yorkers prepare for holiday shopping, urging New Yorkers to avoid crowds, wear face coverings in public, and stay home if they feel sick.

Gothamist provides guidance on getting tested.

On Dec, 11th Search and Care is offering an Advocacy workshop. They know that many seniors will come out to help their electeds stand up for their rights, and this is for the even larger group who have something to say, but don’t know where to start. Here is the link for this empowerment workshop.

Beginning Dec. 9th Search and Care is launching a virtual book lover’s group, whose facilitator will read aloud with discussion to follow. Here is the registration link for the Reading Room. Register in advance for both!

Entertainment/Distractions

Our Town covers the woman who walked every side street in Manhattan, from 1st to 155th. Read about it here.

Guggenheim: For online programs and tours at the Guggenheim, click here.

For a look at Atlas Obscura, and the fascinating stories it tells, from a First Amendment Museum in Maine to the first cookbook written by a Black woman, click here.

There’s nothing like the shop windows in New York during the holidays. For a video of the livestream of Saks Fifth Avenue’s displays, click here.

Tonight (11/30) through Sunday (12/6) at 7:30 pm, the Met Opera will stream “Stars in Signature Roles,” nightly free recordings of legendary operas and performers. Click the title (and scroll down to Week 38) to access this week’s schedule.

Wednesday (12/2) at 6 pm, artist Nari Ward discusses “White Lies Subject and More,” part of the [email protected] virtual series. Click the title to register.

Wednesday (12/2) at 7:30 pm, Alvin Ailey hosts a free opening night virtual benefit, including a celebration of the 60th anniversary of Alvin Ailey’s “Revelations.” Register here.

Mount Vernon Hotel Museum & Garden: Thursday (12/3) at 7 pm, take a “Virtual Holiday Candlelight Tour” of the Mount Vernon Hotel Museum & Garden. Click the title to register.

FINANCIAL AND LOCAL BUSINESSES UPDATES

For a podcast on small business and a potential wave of virus restrictions, see and listen here.

Tomorrow (12/1) at 6 pm, East Harlem small business owners can learn about low- and no-interest loan options through a Zoom workshop hosted by Community Board 11Union Settlement and Uptown Grand Central.

Wednesday (12/2) at 1 pmeCornell’s “19th Annual Labor and Employment Law Roundtable” discusses likely labor policies under the Biden administration and its expected effect on workplace safety, labor law reform and workplace discrimination. Click the title to register.

Wednesday (12/2) at 6 pm, “Breaking Down the Basics of ‘Non-payment’ Eviction Cases” is the topic of the monthly free virtual housing clinic sponsored by Council Member Helen RosenthalGoddard Riverside and TakeRoot Justice. Register here.

The City’s new Open Storefronts program will now allow storefront businesses to operate directly outside their store from Friday, 10/30 through Wednesday, 12/31. Read the FAQ for eligibility and operating guidelines, and apply here.

Open Restaurants that use outdoor heating must follow newly released guidance from the Dept. of Buildings and the FDNY for electricnatural gas and propane heaters.

Open Restaurants are subject to new regulations pertaining to roadway barriers, snow and dining enclosures, per the Dept. of Transportation.

If you are a New York City renter at risk of eviction, you may be eligible for free legal assistance. For more information, please contact the Mayor’s Office to Protect Tenants or the City Tenant Helpline by calling 311, or visit the New York City Tenant Resource Portal by clicking here. You may also seek help through the Legal Aid Society by calling (212) 577-3300 or by clicking here for more information.

NYC Department of Social Services/Human Resources Administration (DSS/HRA): For updated information on COVID-19 and changes to social services benefits, including SNAP food assistance, cash assistance, and burial assistance, please refer to DSS/HRA’s Important information about COVID-19 and your HRA benefits.

Attend one of two virtual information sessions to learn about grants available from my office for schools and nonprofits and get your questions answered by my budget staff. These projects enrich the community and city as a whole.

If you have questions before the session, visit the capital funding page of Borough President Gale Brewer’s  website or contact Director of Budget and Capital Projects Vanessa Díaz-López at [email protected]gov.

Funding Opportunity for Small Businesses: DreamxAmerica and global social impact non-profit Kiva U.S. have partnered to distribute $1 million of funding to 100 small businesses in the form of 0% interest, $0 fee, highly accessible loans $1,000 to $15,000 in size, depending on need. All U.S. small businesses are eligible, including those in need of COVID-19 relief; immigrant, refugee, and first-generation entrepreneurs are especially encouraged to apply. Apply here and a member of the DreamxAmerica team will reach out personally to support you.

Apply now to earn up to $22.50 an hour removing snow and ice as a snow laborer with the Dept. of Sanitation. You must be 18 or older and eligible to work in the U.S.

Learn new job skills and earn certificates to advance your career through 4,000 free online courses offered by the state Dept. of Labor and Coursera, such as “How to Manage a Remote Team” and “Entrepreneurship.” View the course catalog.

Apply by Friday, 12/4 to the Neighborhood Commons fellowships in policy, design, engagement and communications, sponsored by the Design Trust for Public Space and the NYC Dept. of Small Business Services.

Applications (or nominations for others) for the David Prize close Friday, 12/4, which awards $200,000 to five visionary New Yorkers seeking to better the city through transformative projects.

Black college sophomores can apply to a paid, six-week internship with JP Morgan Chase’s Advancing Black Pathways Fellowship Program. Attend a virtual information session Wednesday, 12/2 (5-6:45 pm) or Tuesday 12/8(noon - 1:45 pm). Apply here by Sunday, 12/20.

Small business owners can check if they are eligible for New York State support programs or incentives. There are a number of business incentives that small business owners may be able to take advantage of. To get started, simply answer questions about your business and New York's Business Express Incentive Wizard will provide a list of New York State programs and services that could help your business get off the ground.

New York State is providing $328 million for the Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP) which helps income-eligible families pay heating costs. Visit access.nyc.gov/programs/home-energy-assistance-program-heap to learn more or apply.

Free financial counseling is available by phone through the NYC Dept. of Consumer and Worker Protection. Book an appointment online or by calling 311.

Robin Hood’s COVID-19 Relief Fund is now accepting grant applications for nonprofits that provide frontline support to vulnerable populations.

The Dept. of Small Business Services has launched Career Discovery NYC, a free career search and skills training tool.

Restaurant & Bar Reopening Toolkit – Find all the guidelines and resources you need in one place, including checklists, Open Restaurant siting criteria, and posters. Download it here, and find additional guidance and resources for restaurants on SBS’ restaurant reopening guide here.

Find Outdoor Dining Fixtures & Equipment – Please click here for the City's directory of equipment rental fixtures & equipment for safe outdoor dining.

The Department of Small Business Services (SBS) will work to ensure that the most up-to-date guidance and materials needed by small business owners for a safe phased-in reopening are readily available. The information will be housed on a centralized resource page with guidance and best practices for the restaurant industry across all five boroughs. SBS will also launch a reopening supplies marketplace for easy access to wholesalers selling PPE, gloves, sneeze guards and other equipment. Business owners can call a hotline at 1-888-SBS-4NYC to ask questions about this process.

PPE for Small Businesses: NYC SBS coordinating with 70+ BIDs and Chambers of Commerce to provide 2 million pieces of PPE to small businesses citywide. Find a distribution partner near you at: Free Face Coverings for Small Businesses & Their Employees

The City’s Department of Small Business Services has shared their new “Find a Job” page, which lists open employment listings from across NYC. Learn more and search the listings.

WAYS YOU CAN HELP

Tomorrow (12/1) and next Tuesday (12/8) from noon - 5 pm, donate toys to City Council Speaker Corey Johnson’s annual toy drive. Drop off new, unwrapped toys at 224 W. 30th St., suite #1206.

Donate holiday gifts to clients of Services for the Underserved. Learn more here or by emailing Minjung Park, volunteer and community relations manager.

If you get a call from NYS Contact Tracing, pick up. Contact tracers are working around the clock to trace clusters and inform people who have been in contact with someone who tested positive for COVID. How can you help? Simply by picking up the phone. If your caller ID says "NYS Contact Tracing," pick up and help New York stop the spread. (Tracers will never ask for your Social Security Number or financial information; if someone does, they are not an official tracer and you should hang up.)

Religious facilities can share their space with dancers looking for rehearsal space, a project of Partners for Sacred Places. NYC Dance in Sacred Places can be a mutually beneficial opportunity for artists struggling to find affordable studios and sacred places seeking to share space with the community.

Get a flu shot. Find pharmacies and clinics offering flu shots through the NYC Health Map. You can sort for free shots and for locations covered by Medicare and Medicaid.

Give your friends a call. Check in with your family. Ask them how everything is going and how they are feeling. Let's show each other some love because mental health is just as important as physical health. New Yorkers can also call the State's mental health hotline at 1-844-863-9314 for free emotional support, consultations & referrals to a provider.

If you order for delivery, order directly from the restaurants, and not through third-party apps that charge restaurants high fees, making it even tougher for them.

The pandemic has caused declines in organ donations. With so many people awaiting lifesaving organ transplants, Governor Cuomo urges New Yorkers to become organ donors and join the NYS Donate Life Registry.

Apply to become a member of the NYC Community Emergency Response Teamwhich assists first responders with community preparedness and disaster support. Apply here.

Donate Plasma: Recovered COVID-19 patients are needed to donate plasma, which is used to treat critically ill patients across the country. Donate at a NY Blood Center location. Eligible donors can give convalescent plasma up to eight times in a three-month period.

Nominate an individual or organization doing outstanding urban public health work for the Joan H. Tisch Community Health Prize. Nominations will be accepted until December 31.

Wear a mask: The New York Times found that those ignoring the mask rule are nearly twice as likely to be men as women. Watch a New York 5-year-old explain why everyone should wear a mask

THE CITY is asking folks who know any New York City residents who have died of COVID-19 to fill out a simple form to tell them about the lives of those we’ve lost. Their goal is to put as many names, faces and details to the numbers as possible. You’ll find more here — including the form.

Donate blood. The New York Blood Center says that levels of blood are dangerously low. To make an appointment to donate, visit nybc.org or call 1.800.933.2566. Appointments are strongly recommended.

Support local businesses by buying gift cards. We have posted links to sites selling gift cards. Another site selling gift cards to restaurants, barber shops, and events like ghost hunts, and museums, see SupportLocal at https://supportlocal.usatoday.com/cities/

New York City Service is looking for volunteers to help those affected by COVID-19, click here.

New York State has provided a form for the donation of goods, services, or space. To access the form, click here.

The dedicated staff at the Stanley Isaacs Center415 E. 93 St., needs help supporting their older adult clients through meals and case management services. Interested in volunteering? Contact [email protected]org

LOCAL ELECTED OFFICIALS' TELE-TOWN HALLS & COMMUNITY EVENTS

Senator Krueger's Virtual Town Hall: COVID-19 and Your Mental Health

Co-Sponsored By:
Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney, Senator Brad Hoylman
Assembly Members Dick Gottfried, Dan Quart, and Rebecca Seawright,
and Council Members Ben Kallos and Keith Powers

On Wednesday, December 2nd from 6pm – 7pm, Steven N. Moskowitz, MSW Director, Bureau of Emergency Preparedness and Response at the State Office Of Mental Health, along with Douglass Ruderman, Director, Project Hope at the State Office of Mental Health, will join Senator Krueger to discuss the impact of COVID-19 on our mental health.

New Yorkers have been living with the COVID-19 for months and currently are facing a second wave of the virus. Many of us are worried and anxious, and those of us who have lost a loved one, lost our job, or are recovering from the virus may be experiencing significant mental health symptoms for the first time in our lives. At this town hall we will hear from the experts about the impact of the virus on our mental health, and about resources designed to address it.

You will have the option of joining the event online through Zoom, a webinar hosting service.

You will also have the option to view the event online through Facebook. Please note that you do not need a Facebook account or profile to view the event through Facebook.

If you do not have access to a computer, tablet, or other electronic device, you can listen in by telephone.

**Once you register for the event, you will receive a confirmation email with the Zoom and Facebook links, and the call-in information.**

The event will feature a question and answer session with Steven Moskowitz and Doug Ruderman. If you have questions about how COVID-19 impacts your mental health, if it’s normal to feel the way you do, and about available resources to address your and your family’s mental health needs, please RSVP for the town hall on December 2nd. Attendees will be able to submit questions through Zoom and Facebook during the event but are strongly encouraged to submit them in advance.

Please let us know if you plan to attend the December 2nd Virtual Town Hall by registering at https://tinyurl.com/covidandmentalhealth.

Coronavirus (COVID-19) FAQs & Resources

The State's Coronavirus Hotline is open 24 hours if you have any questions or concerns: 1-888-364-3065. **If you need help getting medical care, you can also call 311. New York City will provide care regardless of immigration status or ability to pay.

The NYP COVID Hotline 646-697-4000 can answer questions about COVID-19. This hotline is a public service to provide information only and not to diagnose, treat, or render a medical opinion. Their Coronavirus Frequently Asked Questions document is available on the NYP Coronavirus website.

To get regular updates on the latest developments with coronavirus in New York City text COVID to 692-692. You will receive regular SMS texts with the latest news and developments. Please check nyc.gov/health/coronavirus for the latest updates

If you are experiencing stress or feel anxious, contact NYC Well at 888-NYC-WELL (888-692- 9355) or text WELL to 65173. NYC Well is a confidential help line that is staffed 24/7 by trained counselors who can provide brief supportive therapy, crisis counseling, and connections to behavioral health treatment, in more than 200 languages.

Additional resources:

New York State developed a contact tracing app to help stop the spread of COVID-19. The app uses Bluetooth technology — not location data — to quickly alert users if they have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19. Once alerted, users can quickly protect themselves and others by self-quarantining, contacting their physician and getting tested.

Governor Cuomo assures us that the app does not violate privacy. The app does not compromise privacy or collect your personal information. Use of the app is completely voluntary and anonymous. The app will never track your location. Privacy is protected because your data is kept anonymous and is not identifiable to any individual. Any data you voluntarily choose to share is anonymous and can be deleted at any time. Learn more about the app's expert-vetted security and privacy here.

As you go about your day, the app uses Bluetooth to sense when another person with the same app comes within 6 feet of you. Your phone exchanges a secure random code with the other phone to record your proximity.

 If the app notes that you've been within 6 feet of someone for more than 10 minutes, the app adds their phone's random code to a list of close contacts. When a fellow app user tests positive for COVID-19, a Case Investigator from the county health department will ask if the person is willing to share the app's list of "close contact" codes to help protect other people. Sharing your list is secure and private. The app never reveals who you are to anyone.

Each day, the list of codes for "confirmed cases" is sent to every phone that has the app. The app compares its own list of close contact codes to the list of confirmed cases. If there's a match, the app displays a COVID Alert. Using these lists of anonymous codes, the alert is kept private. No one ever knows who generated the COVID Alert. Neighboring states including New Jersey and Pennsylvania have launched Exposure Notification Apps that work in concert with New York's.

Alerts can only come from other people who use the app, so we need as many New Yorkers as possible to download the app.

 Download the app on your iPhone here.  Download the app on your Android device here.

Coronavirus (COVID-19) – Past Updates from CB8