Coronavirus (COVID-19) Updates January 25th

January 25th, 2021

JANUARY 25th RESOURCES AND UPDATES:

 

Monday, January 18th, marked the one-year anniversary of the first COVID-19 case being identified in the United States. And on Wednesday, January 20th, we passed another grim milestone - more Americans are confirmed to have died from COVID-19 in the past year than were killed in the entire course of the Second World War.

Total hospitalizations are at 8,730. Of the 219,538 tests reported yesterday, 12,003, or 5.47 percent were positive. There were 1,522 patients in ICU yesterday, down five from the previous day. Of them, 1,005 are intubated. Sadly, we lost 167 New Yorkers to the virus. 

As of 1:00pm today, New York's health care distribution sites have administered 91 percent of first dose vaccinations. 1,180,468 first doses have been administered out of a total allocation of 1,304,050 first doses (this data excludes the federally run Long Term Care Facility program). These sites have administered 71 percent of first and second doses.

So far, 72 percent of New York State hospital workers received the COVID vaccine. We will continue encouraging our health care heroes to get the vaccine—which helps ensure the integrity of our entire hospital system.

Roosevelt Island now has a regular COVID testing site, 524 Main St., Wednesdays - Saturdays, 9 am - 5 pm, sponsored by Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation. Free rapid testing is available both by appointment and walk-in.

Gov. Cuomo urged providers to refrain from scheduling vaccination appointments in advance of confirming their supply. Providers must be sure they will have the doses needed for the appointments opened; we want to avoid any cancellations due to lack of anticipated supply. He noted: New Yorkers who have already received their first dose do not have to worry that they will not be able to get their second dose. Second dose allocation is a separate process, and we always ensure there are enough second doses to complete vaccination for those who received the first dose.

As part of New York's ongoing response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Governor announced that the Open Enrollment Period for uninsured New Yorkers will be extended through March 31, 2021. New Yorkers can apply for coverage through NY State of Health, New York's Official Health Plan Marketplace, or directly through insurers. Additional information on NY State of Health insurance options during the COVID-19 emergency can be found here.

Extending the Open Enrollment Period to March 31, 2021 helps to align New York with the federal Public Health Emergency which was recently extended to April 20, 2021. This extension allows individuals eligible for Qualified Health Plan insurance additional time to enroll for coverage in 2021 and means that enrollment remains open for all NY State of Health programs, which is especially important during the ongoing public health emergency. Coverage start dates will vary:

o   Enroll by February 15: Coverage starts March 1

o   Enroll March 15: Coverage starts April 1

o   Enroll by March 31: Coverage starts May 1

The rate of increase of statewide COVID hospitalizations is slowing. During the week of December 22 to December 28, the average increase in hospitalizations was 165 per day. From January 5 to January 11, the average increase was 48 per day. In the past seven days, the average increase was just 5 per day. The downward trend is clear. In fact, hospitalizations today are down 218 from Wednesday's high of 9,055. While this is great to see, we must remain alert due to the presence of the more contagious UK strain in New York State.

New York has conducted over 30 million tests. Getting tested for COVID regularly is a great way to ensure your health and the health of those around you. If you are experiencing symptoms of COVID or believe you may have been exposed to the virus, get tested. Find a testing site near you. You can also call 1-888-364-3065 to make a free appointment at a New York State-run testing location.

New York State will investigate prescription drug price hikes connected to the pandemic. We've seen too many instances of pharmaceutical companies take advantage of those in need. The Department of Financial Services' newly formed Office of Pharmacy Benefits announced an investigation today into significant price spikes for six drugs that were connected to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Governor Cuomo announced a new proposal to help small businesses impacted by COVID as part of my Fiscal Year 2022 Executive Budget. The Pandemic Recovery and Restart Program is a $130 million proposal to help small businesses that were most impacted by COVID recover from the COVID-19 pandemic. The Program would establish three new tax credits and expand a fourth tax credit to help small businesses, arts and theatrical industries, restaurants, and other businesses to bring back jobs and help the economy recover faster.

The University of Washington Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation’s (IHME) weekly “reference scenario” estimates 161,241 additional deaths nationwide from 1/15 - 5/1, for a projected total of 566,720 deaths since the beginning of the pandemic. The IHME estimates that if 95% universal mask compliance were attained in the next week, 31,439 fewer cumulative deaths would occur by 5/1; if mask mandates were eased, their model projects approximately 54,425 more deaths by then.

Because supply is low, first-dose vaccinations originally scheduled for Thursday through Sunday (1/21 - 1/24) at City COVID-19 Vaccine Hubs have been rescheduled for exactly one week from the appointment date. Manhattan’s Vaccine Hub locations are Wadleigh Campus/I.S. 88 and Marta Valle Secondary School. (As far as we understand, this only applies to the Vaccine Hubs.) The Dept. of Health says they’ve emailed and phoned anyone affected. All second-dose appointments remain the same, so far.

If you’ve been lucky enough to have been vaccinated -- or once you are-- 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.

Beware of COVID vaccine fraud. To help root out vaccination fraud or scams across the State, New York established a hotline that New Yorkers can call to report suspected fraud. It is a red flag if anyone is promising you the vaccine in exchange for payment. To make a report, call 1-833-VAX-SCAM (1-833-829-7226) or email [email protected]

The New York City Emergency Management Department has issued a travel advisory for Tuesday, January 26. The National Weather Service has issued a Winter Weather Advisory for New York City in effect from 7 a.m. Tuesday through midnight. A Winter Weather Advisory means that periods of snow, sleet or freezing rain may cause travel difficulties during Tuesday’s morning and evening commutes. According to the latest National Weather Service forecast, a wintry mix of light rain, sleet and snow will begin early Tuesday morning and continue intermittently throughout the day becoming increasingly steady by the evening commute. A total of 1 inch of snow and 1/4 to 1/2 inch of sleet and rain is forecast, with the potential for a thin coating of freezing rain in the afternoon and early evening. Precipitation will begin to taper off after midnight with isolated light rain and snow showers possible through Wednesday morning. Alternate Side Parking Regulations are suspended Tuesday, January 26; parking meters remain in effect.

Read the Lenox Hill Hospital/Northwell Health Monthly Update here.

Wednesday (1/27) at noon, members of the disability community are invited to speak about their experiences with the NYPD and suggestions at a virtual Police Reform & Reinvention discussion hosted by the NYPD and the Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities. Register here. The Governor called for every municipality to submit a police reform plan by April. I issued a “Police Reform Toolkit,” which you can see here.

Thursday (1/28) at 5:30 pm, NYCHA hosts a virtual town hall about the Blueprint for Change, with a presentation by Chair Greg Russ and a Q&A. Translation is available in Spanish, Russian, and Chinese. Register here.

Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer has a concise and easy to understand explainer detailing who can receive the vaccine and how to get it. MBP Brewer has created a Testing & Vaccine webpage on my site in an attempt to create a one-stop portal.

Education/Parenting

Join the DOE for a Virtual High School Admissions Event, Info Sessions Here.

Tuesday (1/26) at 11 am and 6 pm, the Bard Early College Academy at Urban Assembly School of Music and Art hosts a virtual open house. Register here.

Tuesday (1/26) at 5:30 pm, PS/IS 180 Hugo Newman College Preparatory School hosts a virtual open house. Join on Zoom.

Tuesday (1/26) at 6 pm, MS 250 West Side Collaborative Middle School hosts a virtual open house for parents. Register here.

Tuesday (1/26) at 6:30 pm, middle school Mott Hall II hosts a virtual open house on Zoom (meeting ID: 846 8321 0482, passcode: 085178).

Wednesday (1/27) at 2 pm, Tech Congress hosts an information session for its 2021 Congressional Innovation Scholars program, which places technologists to serve as tech policy advisors to members of Congress. For example, scholars have worked on the House Judiciary Committee’s Antitrust Subcommittee report on Big Tech, helped pass the OPEN Government Data Act into law, and worked to change defense procurement policy to allow start-ups to better compete with larger contractors. The program pays a stipend equivalent to an annual salary of $60,000 and other benefits. Applications close Friday, 2/5.

College and graduate students can now apply for a paid summer internship with NYC Comptroller Scott Stringer. Apply by Friday, 3/5.

Entertainment/Distractions

Wednesdays through 2/17 at 8 pm, docuseries “Isolation to Creation” premieres, documenting the artist residencies sponsored last year by the Guggenheim’s Works and Process program. Watch free on All Arts.

Thursday (1/28) at 6 pm, make a vision board for 2021 with Bloomingdale School of Music. Register for the virtual event here.

Search and Care offers free, one-on-one, English/Spanish telephone and Zoom counseling for adults 60+, “Talkin’ It Out.” Contact 212-289-5300, ext. 205 to make an appointment.

The Animal Medical Center in New York City honored two remarkable dogs for their work supporting health care heroes. At their virtual gala, the AMC, the world's largest non-profit animal hospital, recognized Hunter, a registered therapy dog affiliated with Hudson Valley Paws for a Cause, and Dogtor Loki, as "Top Dog Honorees." Hunter, a 10-year-old Standard Poodle, has worked with recruits at the U.S. Military Academy in West Point since 2013 and at the Veterans Administration Hospital in Montrose, NY. Dogtor Loki, a 3-year-old Rottweiler, works at the University of Maryland Medical Center, providing much-needed comfort to the hospital's patients and staff during a challenging year. Thank you to these remarkable animals!

Apply now to join your Community Board, the most grassroots form of local government. The Boards are pivotal in shaping their communities and work to enhance and preserve the character of the city’s many unique neighborhoods. Applications close Monday, 2/1/2021.

FINANCIAL AND LOCAL BUSINESSES UPDATES

NYC created "What to Expect When You’re Inspected: NYC Indoor and Outdoor Dining Checklist for Participating Establishments." Check it out here. 

NYC Restaurant Week runs through Sunday (1/31), with all participating restaurants doing takeout and delivery exclusively.

Tuesday (1/26) at 4 pm, small business owners are invited to a Paycheck Protection Program information session with representatives from the Small Business Administration, hosted by Rep. Adriano Espaillat. Watch on Facebook.

Wednesday (1/27) at 1 pm, small theaters are invited to an information session about receiving $2,000 operating grants from Art New York’s Creative Opportunity Fund. Register here.

Wednesday (1/27) at 1 pm, nonprofits are invited to an information session about “Project Innovation,” a grant from NBC 4 New York and Telemundo 47. Learn about the application, which closes Friday, 2/12, here. Register for the webinar here.

Wednesday (1/27) at 3 pm, webinar Commercial Corridor Challenge: Building small business resilience during the COVID-19 crisis” shares results from a qualitative analysis of LISC NYC’s Commercial Corridor Challenge. Click the title to register.

Applications open Thursday, 4/1 for the Shuttered Venue Operators Grants aka Save our Stages. Arts venues and representatives can see eligibility criteria here and should note they must have been in operation as of 2/29/2020 and must not have received a Paycheck Protection Program loan on or after 12/27/2020. For additional info, contact [email protected].

Monday, 2/1 is the deadline to apply for COVID Rent ReliefThe State will subsidize eligible tenants’ rent for April, May, June, and July 2020. Apply here. (Those who previously applied for this relief over the summer and were denied will be automatically reconsidered for this next round.) To qualify, tenants may now meet these criteria:

  • Earned reduced income in April, May, June, or July 2020, compared to March 2020 and paid more than 30% of that income in rent.

  • Had a household income at or below 80% of the Area Median Income before 3/7/20. (See the 80% AMI for your household size here.)

If you need help with your application, gather your income and rent documentation for the March-July period and call 212-531-1609 ASAP (leave a voicemail if necessary and we’ll call you back!).

The Mayor extended the City’s Open Storefronts program through 9/30/21, allowing storefront retail businesses to continue operating directly outside their store. Plan now for warmer weather; read the FAQ for eligibility and operating guidelines, and apply here.

You could work as a snow laborer removing snow and ice for the city Dept. of Sanitation. If you apply now, you’ll be ready to work after the next storm. Pay is up to $22.50 an hour; you must be over age 18 and eligible to work in the U.S. (The Census Bureau is also hiring-- looking for employees to take additional surveys. View a field representative job description and application link here.)

Learn about the Paycheck Protection Program application process at a webinar hosted by Congressmember Adriano Espaillat. Watch on FacebookYouTube.

TechCongress, a technology policy fellowship, is recruiting for its 2021 Congressional Innovation Scholars program, which places technologists to serve as tech policy advisors to Members of Congress. The program pays a stipend equivalent to an annual salary of $60,000 and other benefits. Scholars have been working on the House Judiciary Committee’s Antitrust Subcommittee report on Big Tech, helped pass the OPEN Government Data Act into law, and worked to change defense procurement policy to allow start-ups to better compete with larger contractors. TechCongress will host an information session Wednesday, 1/27 at 2 pm. Applications close Friday, 2/5.

Apply by 2/16/21 for one of 32 affordable apartments in six West Harlem buildings (118 W. 139th St., 123 W. 112th St., 30 W. 132nd St., 281 W. 118th St., 120 W. 139th St., and 122 W. 139th St.). Studios to four-bedrooms are available with income limits of $48,480-$120,080. Apply through the NYC Dept. of Housing Preservation and Development’s Housing Connect portal.

Apply by Wednesday, 1/27/21 to the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s paid internships for undergraduate and graduate students. The internships all begin in the summer but vary in length.

Arts organizations can now apply for an ArtTable fellow for summer 2021. ArtTable provides $4,000 stipends for women arts students or emerging professionals to spend up to eight weeks with an arts organization. Host organizations can apply here by Sunday, 1/31.

Applications are now open for the Cultural Arts Capital Loan Fund from the Fund for the City of New York. This loan initiative provides bridge financing to assist small and mid-sized nonprofit cultural arts organizations with their capital project expenses, with a priority to groups that have capital grants from the Borough President, City of New York and the Department of Cultural Affairs. BIPOC-led organizations are strongly encouraged to apply. Fill out this inquiry form to start an application.

The Interest Rate Reduction Grant reduces the interest expense owed on an existing business loan with select Community Development Financial Institutions. Click here to find participating CDFIs and more information.

Artists are invited to apply for the Experimental Projects Residency Program from Alfred University’s Institute for Electronic Arts. Apply here.

Applications for HEAP can be accessed by calling 212-331-3126 or visiting the ACCESS HRA website for instructions here. HEAP applications are available for download here.

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.

The DSNY has issued the below information about restaurant outdoor dining and snow. For more information, click 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.

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.

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

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

The NYC Civic Corps is seeking nonprofit organizations to host 2021-2022 AmeriCorps members, who help develop host organizations’ volunteer programs. Learn more and apply here.

The Dept. of Sanitation is seeking locations with indoor storage space that can host eCycleNYC bins for electronics recycling. Interested building owners and managers can fill out this form, and DSNY will be in touch.

Order directly from restaurants, not from delivery apps. See why the New York Times.

Businesses and organizations can donate extra food and supplies to local organizations that can then redistribute them. Details about eligible donors and recipients can be found online: For food donations visit nyc.gov/donatefood; for non-food donations, visit nyc.gov/donate.

Borrow free equipment for community clean-ups from the Dept. of Sanitation by calling 311, emailing [email protected] or submitting this form.

If you are experiencing COVID symptoms or believe you may have been exposed to someone who is positive, get tested. Find a testing site near you. You can also call 1-888-364-3065 to schedule a free appointment at a New York State-run testing location.

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.)

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.

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.

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? Shifts: Meal Plating from 7:00am-9:00am; Meal Delivery from 9:45am-1:00pm; Cold Packing from 10:00am-1:00pm. Contact [email protected]org

LOCAL ELECTED OFFICIALS' TELE-TOWN HALLS

2021 Virtual Roundtable for Boomers and Seniors from Senator Liz Krueger. “Being Mortal: Thinking About End of Life Decision Making”

This year's Roundtable series will bring together experts to offer concrete tools to assist with end of life planning, and provide a forum to ignite our imagination about what we value and how we want to live as we age.

To RSVP for any or all of the sessions in this year's series, please go to https://tinyurl.com/2021SeniorRoundtableSeries.

Thursday, February 18th - Health Care Proxies and Living Wills 10 am - 11:30 am

- Sally Kaplan, Program Director, What Matters: Caring Conversations about the End of Life, Marlene Meyerson JCC
- Tina Janssen-Spinosa, Senior Staff Attorney, Total Life Choices Program Coordinator, NYLAG

Thursday, March 18th - Research on the Use of Psychedelics to Address End-of–Life Existential Distress 10 am - 11:30 am

- Anthony Bossis, PhD, Clinical Assistant Professor, Department of Psychiatry, NYU Langone Health
- Mary Cosimano, MSW, Director of Guide/Facilitator Services, Center for Psychedelic and Consciousness Research, Johns Hopkins

Thursday, April 22nd - Living Well: What Do We Value Most? 10:00 am – 11:30 am

- Rabbi Angela Warnick Buchdahl, Senior Rabbi, Central Synagogue
- Jeannie Blaustein, PhD, D. Ministry, Founding Board Chair, Reimaging End of Life, Adjunct Faculty, Pace University, Psychology

Thursday, May 20th - Reimagining Later Life Care Models 10 am – 11:30 am

- TBA

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:

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

Coronavirus (COVID-19) – Past Updates from CB8